Author Topic: Protecting Our Children  (Read 6327 times)

Charles Austin

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Re: Protecting Our Children
« Reply #45 on: July 07, 2020, 07:16:23 PM »
Sorry, Richard.
I shall try to be done with the topic again.
But it is an additional problem when I think I know who the anonymous one is. And why he will not show himself here.
Perhaps I shall write a massive treatise to send to the ALPB to show why they should not allow anonymous posters
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Twice-vaccinated.

Dan Fienen

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Re: Protecting Our Children
« Reply #46 on: July 07, 2020, 07:19:34 PM »
I still have trouble understanding why it matters so much to Pr. Austin whether or not posters are anonymous because he doesn't pay that much attention to who posts when they are clearly identified. He sometimes directs his response to whoever occurs to him rather the who actually posted.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Protecting Our Children
« Reply #47 on: July 07, 2020, 07:26:10 PM »
A meme of a poster on Facebook that I thought was interesting and perhaps applicable to this discussion. As I remember it (can't find it now):

Most women know someone who has been raped.
Most men don't know a rapist.


I can't say that I know a rapist, but I do know four pastors who have been addicted to porn. Two have been arrested (child porn) the other two are in therapy.


Perhaps "protecting our children (and women)" might include no longer protecting the villains.

"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Protecting Our Children
« Reply #48 on: July 07, 2020, 07:29:34 PM »
I still have trouble understanding why it matters so much to Pr. Austin whether or not posters are anonymous because he doesn't pay that much attention to who posts when they are clearly identified. He sometimes directs his response to whoever occurs to him rather the who actually posted.


Perhaps for the same reason that Pr. Austin's posts about this and that he occasionally gets the name of a poster wrong seem to matter so much to you.


ἀφίημι besides being translated, "to forgive," could also mean, "let it go."
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Richard Johnson

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Re: Protecting Our Children
« Reply #49 on: July 07, 2020, 09:52:19 PM »
I still have trouble understanding why it matters so much to Pr. Austin whether or not posters are anonymous because he doesn't pay that much attention to who posts when they are clearly identified.

I still have trouble understanding why you can't follow my VERY STRONG request that you all stop talking about this? I think this has the potential of being a valuable thread, but I'm on the verge of locking it because nobody seems able to follow the rules.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

B Hughes

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Re: Protecting Our Children
« Reply #50 on: July 08, 2020, 07:22:39 AM »
I still have trouble understanding why it matters so much to Pr. Austin whether or not posters are anonymous because he doesn't pay that much attention to who posts when they are clearly identified.

I still have trouble understanding why you can't follow my VERY STRONG request that you all stop talking about this? I think this has the potential of being a valuable thread, but I'm on the verge of locking it because nobody seems able to follow the rules.

The sexual abuse of children by church leaders is horrendous to contemplate. Easier to triangulate in irrelevant topics. Changing the subject may be part of why churches are such easy targets for this bad behavior.

Keeping secrets, moving on is another.  Willow Creek Church, for example, may not survive the internal efforts of their board to deny Bill Hyle's long term abuse of the women on his staff. Sexual abuse is an icky topic to discuss openly.

Commencement2020

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Re: Protecting Our Children
« Reply #51 on: July 08, 2020, 06:16:30 PM »
I was once told that some Catholics who studied why pedophiles want to become priests and they found it wasn't because that is where the children were. Actually they felt guilty about their pedophilic tenancies and wanted to make up for it by becoming a priest. After becoming priests they slip up.

Although Lutherans aren't saddled with a system of indulgences and merits, I remember one Lutheran pastor discussing the degrees of glory in much the same way and how churchworkers would be rewarded with a higher degree of glory because of the sacrifices made to serve in the ministry. This is rarely talked about directly. It is more reflected in little things here and there.

If we got rid of degrees of glory and took away some of the specialness when talking about churchly things and especially when advertising for seminaries maybe the pedophiles wouldn't feel like ministry is a good way to make up for it.

Still another problem is that with reporting increasing in recent years it is possible to lose sight of what is "really" abuse. In some communities the number of CPS reports are so high now that the number of in-home visits and investigations by social workers are around or even slightly higher than the total number of children divided by 18. So "every" child is abused or neglected--and this breeds contempt for the law. When CPS becomes the common enemy that "every" parent is worried about, then the taboo against reporting someone close becomes a factor. Anyone who reports becomes an enemy to all. I don't have a good answer for this, but it may be part of the problem in some places.

Related to the above issue is that many children taken from their parents like for a 72 hour hold or for longer end up being placed with a mixed group of other detained children and a decent percentage of them end up abused by the other children in the system. This makes people see CPS as an enabler of pedophilia rather than the solution to it.

Another factor is mobbing. Because mobbing is unregulated and not transparent it is a good way to get rid of someone raising questions about their openly sexually deviant behavior. I have witnessed this directly. Plus the US Department of Justice says that attacking is one of the five common defenses pedophiles use--https://www.abusewatch.net/pedophiles.pdf

The whole shameless approach from Bolz-Weber and other trendy people is exceedingly dangerous. Part of how some predators work is that they test the waters to see how people respond. They tell off-color jokes and see who laughs or to see if no one objects. The taboo against small things must be retained so that we will all see and notice when something is wrong and not be calloused.

Another more distant factor similar to having strong boundaries about off-color behavior is alcohol. A certain percentage of pedophiles are on alcohol when doing their abusing or have habitual problems with it or other substances and I suspect the same is true of clerical pedophiles. People laugh stuff off that occurs under the influence when they shouldn't be condoning it.

Also some of the different denominations don't talk to each other enough when pastors that get kicked out of one denomination try to join another one. The pastor who groomed me lied about how he had been forced out of the ministry in his previous denomination. Had I known it was for I would have never decided to be alone with him.

Also sometimes children are motivated by getting people to feel guilty when they haven't done anything wrong. Then the youth make up for it by doing wrong things. This makes it easy for them to transgress with the abuser; it is from stereotype threat. In general people can watch for this pattern in preaching or elsewhere so it does not become commonplace and accepted. Related to this is too much talking about circumcision; especially advocating that is is a good thing to do today or that children not circumcised should be. I know it sounds strange for gentiles to do this but some people are strange about it.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 06:24:30 PM by Commencement2020 »

B Hughes

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Re: Protecting Our Children
« Reply #52 on: July 08, 2020, 07:12:39 PM »

The whole shameless approach from Bolz-Weber and other trendy people is exceedingly dangerous. Part of how some predators work is that they test the waters to see how people respond. They tell off-color jokes and see who laughs or to see if no one objects. The taboo against small things must be retained so that we will all see and notice when something is wrong and not be calloused
.

^^^^ This.

 A group of seminarians are being released on the church who have clearly stated they have no intention of abiding by the constraints of marriage. Their champion is continually put onto main stages as their hero. This will not end well and I see a plethora of lawsuits hitting the denomination in the next decade, because, as you note, it creates an environment where abuse may flourish. 

Matt Hummel

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Re: Protecting Our Children
« Reply #53 on: July 08, 2020, 07:37:11 PM »
Something anyone interested in this topic should read is this: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/The-Nature-and-Scope-of-Sexual-Abuse-of-Minors-by-Catholic-Priests-and-Deacons-in-the-United-States-1950-2002.pdf

It is the “John Jay” report instigated by the USCCB to determine the nature of what happened and what could be done to prevent it.

The best description of the problem comes from an older, wiser priest who was one of my direct reports when I ran the Respect Life shop for a diocese. He said the issue is that at least one person in the room has to be a grown-up. For a number of reasons, human formation failed at that in too many instances. But of note is the truth that dare not speak its name hiding in plain sight in the data.

The real issue is not “pedophile priests.” It is ephebophile priests.

The other issue is that the finial organization of the Catholic Church makes it easier to get at “deep pockets.” I am not saying that to lesson the evil. Trust  me, I have insight into this that none of you do. But simply as the warning that a Catholic Diocese makes an easier target, so there are victims in your denominations, but no attorneys to go after the money. Sad, but true. Another good source is a book, not sure if it is in print, Healers, Wounded and Wounding (?). Written by a Lutheran pastoral counselor warning about the dangers in the vocation process in Mainline denominations.

Matt Hummel


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Commencement2020

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Re: Protecting Our Children
« Reply #54 on: July 08, 2020, 11:05:28 PM »
Some priests transgress because they feel guilty and want to get caught. One Catholic I know speculated it has to do with hearing all those confessions.

They get all this guilt from their parishioners, and it needs to go to Jesus. But when this fails or maybe just takes awhile the priest wants to be punished so that everything feels right. So they transgress somehow; for those with a particular inclination it takes that form.

I am one of those people who has difficulty with being too open and too honest. Because of this I tend to be on the receiving end of manipulation; especially when people want to make me feel guilty when I haven't done anything wrong. It is like I am a Catholic priest receiving confessions, but not able to give the guilt to Jesus; or not able to do it well. I can tell when this happens because my vision goes awkward and I feel discombobulated or yucky even when I've done nothing wrong to make me feel that way. At times I am able to give the guilt to Jesus but not often enough.

Recently when feeling awkward and discombobulated I had a very strong desire to post something to ALPB that was ridiculous and got deleted right way, but not before one person commented on it with the word "sigh"--and nothing else. All at once I felt great again and my discombobulation was gone--not at the initial posting, but when I learned it was deleted a short time afterwards. I quickly realized that I must have needed to make a symbolic transgression to deal with the guilt I had (which was not my own to begin with). I understood to myself that this was not the best choice because it was one of those pointless mind games I was better off not playing. But I felt so much better! But I fear my guilt left me and went into someone who then wanted to transgress.

When I interact with an accepting pastor I can feel good again; all at once. But on two occasions that I can think of after interacting with me the pastor went and viewed or distributed something illegal afterwards and I learned about it on the news. Strange because that isn't my "thing". As I understand it the guilt didn't just go away; it left me and went into the pastor, and the illegal actions must have been their coping mechanisms. (My coping mechanisms are to read, write, and sing hymns. I tend to reduce connecting with the people close to me during these times because I want to protect them from the guilt.)

On occasions I interact with darker personalitied people and they start to act erratic in a way that they do not when interacting with other people. I can think of a variety of cases. Empathically the strong part in me connects with the weak part in them and brings it out which destabilizes them. My weaknesses are like Jesus' human nature but the strength in me is like the fishhook of the divine nature. God uses it for good; that I can tell. Whatever the mechanism is I speculate that it is identical to the one where my guilt goes into pastors.

There must be a better way to get the guilt to Jesus without interacting with pastors. Repenting works great, but only if it was my guilt. How to get rid of others' guilt?
« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 11:33:11 PM by Commencement2020 »

Matt Hummel

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Re: Protecting Our Children
« Reply #55 on: July 08, 2020, 11:32:56 PM »
Commencement writes:

Some priests transgress because they feel guilty and want to get caught. One Catholic I know speculated it has to do with hearing all those confessions.

They get all this guilt from their parishioners, and it needs to go to Jesus. But when this fails or maybe just takes awhile the priest wants to be punished so that everything feels right. So they transgress somehow; for those with a particular inclination it takes that form.

Father Hummel responds, paraphrasing Wolfgang Pauli: That theology is not even wrong. Your N of 1 has no validity. Talk to actual priests, and you find one of their greatest joys is in hearing confessions. This is on par with the stupidity that asserts that celibacy is at the root of the issue (ignoring all the denominations with married clergy who act out at the same rates and levels).
Matt Hummel


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Charles Austin

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Re: Protecting Our Children
« Reply #56 on: July 09, 2020, 12:05:46 AM »
I’m with Fr. Hummel here. Nothing of the penitent flies into the confessor and becomes his guilt. That’s nonsense. If true, all helping professions - therapists, psychologists, etc. - would need protection.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Twice-vaccinated.

Rob Morris

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Re: Protecting Our Children
« Reply #57 on: July 09, 2020, 08:22:26 AM »
I’m with Fr. Hummel here. Nothing of the penitent flies into the confessor and becomes his guilt. That’s nonsense. If true, all helping professions - therapists, psychologists, etc. - would need protection.

But secondary trauma and compassion fatigue are real things and well-documented, as are destructive behavior patterns among helping professions.

My tweak would be to the idea that this is a free-floating guilt, which would put it in the realm of the human condition before God. But change the word guilt to stress or trauma, and there is much that is true in the idea that hearing or helping brings it's own, sometimes destructive cost.

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Re: Protecting Our Children
« Reply #58 on: July 09, 2020, 08:35:20 AM »

But secondary trauma and compassion fatigue are real things and well-documented, as are destructive behavior patterns among helping professions.


 To the opening post of this thread, that fatigue can also arise from warning about the potential dysfunction being promulgated by the larger church with little to no impact. How many lay people and church leaders have we lost as a result?

Commencement2020

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Re: Protecting Our Children
« Reply #59 on: July 09, 2020, 07:57:02 PM »
Quote
That theology is not even wrong. Your N of 1 has no validity.

In secular psychological literature, there are a variety of references to guilt being felt in counter-transference. Subjective counter-transference would not count as a transmission of guilt because it was already inside the confessor figure, but objective counter-transference in the confessor figure originates from the penitent. There was also a lot of literature on "countertransference acting out"--with https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4615-3762-5_15 stating "Overall I suggest that the analyst's personal integrity and secondarily the threat of malpractice are the major deterrents to countertransference acting-out."

I didn't find any arguments against counter-transference, although https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16544199/ says that some think it is better not to look at objective counter-transference apart from other factors. It seems plausible this could be studied. You'd need to have a confessional with two brain scanning devices and look for mirror neurons.

Quote
Talk to actual priests, and you find one of their greatest joys is in hearing confessions.

So you and your peers are doing better at it.

People on the internet say:

"Actually, I have heard some priests say that hearing confessions is hard on them."
https://www.quora.com/What-is-it-like-to-be-at-the-receiving-end-at-the-confession-booth-and-listen-to-all-the-salacious-and-juicy-details-of-all-your-penitents%E2%80%99-sins#

"Indeed, most priests will tell you that hearing confessions is hard work."
https://catholicexchange.com/shock-and-awe

The section of https://www.hprweb.com/2017/12/my-side-of-the-confessional/ entitled "People who Interact with the Scrupulous" says it is hard to hear confessions from scrupulous people. The woman writing it mentions "Such advisors also risk a kind of “hypnosis” by the arguments of raging anxiety" which is probably something she personally observed.

But it is a big internet and just because I found three examples doesn't mean your experience is not the predominate one. Yet it only takes a small percentage of priests to ruin it for everyone.

Quote
This is on par with the stupidity that asserts that celibacy is at the root of the issue

Celibacy actually should have an advantage against pedophiles because the criminologist literature reports a decent percentage of pedophiles as being married with kids. The encouragement of celibacy as a discipline against acting out sexual impulses should also apply to pedophiles.

On the other hand, celibacy makes priests more sensitive to others and should help facilitate spiritual connections. I have felt it myself on multiple occasions after having talked with Catholic priests. To study this you would need to see if celibate people exhibit more objective counter-transference than non-celibates.

It seems that some religious leaders have the ability to induce scrupulosity in otherwise healthy people: https://books.google.com/books?id=CxJ4ebpYcwkC&pg=PA121&lpg=PA121&dq=%22Milieu-influenced+scruples+(Type+II)%22&source=bl&ots=ZiaUI9xC49&sig=ACfU3U2vFE7VhpEKj0g1UeEuVgq2DShZDQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiAzMSYvMDqAhXQK80KHSgGBLoQ6AEwAHoECAIQAQ#v=onepage&q=%22Milieu-influenced%20scruples%20(Type%20II)%22&f=false

If it works one way, then it could in theory go the other way, too. Lutherans' belief that contrition properly speaking is what is also called perfect contrition and that concerns about imperfect contrition provoke unnecessary doubts sounds like a reasonable reaction to priests being fatigued from imperfectly contrite penitents, especially of the scrupulous sort. My theory is that they got rid of imperfect contrition partly because the objective counter-transference was too much of a bear.

There is another way to deal with it. On page 187 of that large paper you linked to, http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/The-Nature-and-Scope-of-Sexual-Abuse-of-Minors-by-Catholic-Priests-and-Deacons-in-the-United-States-1950-2002.pdf
it notes that in one study of 25 clergy sexual offenders one of their characteristics was that they "had insufficient training in the issue of transference/counter transference". Thank you for that paper; it got me thinking about this.

So short of getting rid of imperfect contrition that sounds like one thing that could be done to help solve it.

Ezekiel 33, putting the hands on the head of sacrifices, scapegoats, Pilate and the Jews, and Jesus are examples of transferring guilt. We can be empathetic with animals, so the person receiving the benefit of the animal sacrifice would have had an emotional connection with the animal as it dies. The person would felt the animal's innocence and the animal would felt the person's guilt. Turtledoves seem less effective for this, but they were only a substitute.

The excommunication of lawless heretics and the impenitent were practical steps to keep the guilt from spreading to the the whole church. Could the seal of the confessional help keep people safe from the guilt leaving the priest? We also seal tombs, landfills, and septic systems.

The counter-transference literature says to look for it in yourself and to expect it to crop up. You are supposed to talk it out with others when you need to. But if I do that is spreads to others. I guess I need to find someone strong enough to quash it for good. Right now I'm wondering if objective justification could somehow be leveraged do deal with feeling other people's guilt. I am starting to experiment with it and hopefully it will work.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2020, 08:01:48 PM by Commencement2020 »