I wrote my doctoral dissertation in 1979 for Gonzaga, a Roman Catholic University, "Toward a Theory of Family Violence, its Antecedence, Treatment, and Prevention." I identified the role of religion in maintaining abuse in the family. I defined the problem, referenced other authors who supported my claim, I provided evidence of how the process appeared to the outside observer, the many treatment strategies, and prevention. 

Our reality is that physical and mental abuse happens in the family, sexual abuse happens to individuals by family members, as well as active, and devoted church leaders and members, and furthermore, the church hierarchy knows it, denies it, and conceals it. 

Given that reality, what is the treatment plan for those who suffer and those who cause suffering? Treatment always offers different points of view. We cannot expect to continue to submit and obey authority figures; that is what we have done, for who knows how long, at least for four thousand years, going farther back than the Old Testament Bible.  

What is the remedy? 

1. Stop giving false names to the abuse event, i.e. "discipline," "spare the rod and spoil the child,"  "the right of the patriarch and dominant member of the family or church to control." 

2. Assault of any kind is a crime against humanity and must be treated as a chargeable offense. 

3. Those who suspect assault, whether physical, mental, or sexual, have to report those suspicions, i.e., family members, neighbors, teachers, religious leaders, to authorities without fear of repercussions. 

4. Those who make false reports of being a victim of assaults, whether physical, mental, or sexual, must be treated as committing a chargeable offense and have to be held accountable for making false statements.

5. Those found guilty of family-assault must go through a communication, problem-solving,  conflict resolution, and team building training program. 

6. Law enforcement officers and judges must go through communication, problem-solving,  conflict resolution, and team building training program. 

7. Each member of society shares in the responsibility to end family violence and church member violations, from family, through neighbors, teachers, medical professionals, law enforcement and judges. 



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Replies to This Discussion

Report Details Sexual Abuse By More Than 300 Priests In Pennsylvani...

Facebook refused to publish my piece, "Religion, Family Violence, and Child Sexual Molestation by Priests".

Facebook hasn't the courage to be able to deal with something like this, Joan.  They already are catching enough heat regarding trolling and fake news as it is.  I don't think they're prepared to confront the reality of child abuse and your prescription for dealing with it.

Their PA abuse is a drop in the bucket. Sorry to hear about Facebook's refusal.

$3.8 billion paid in lawsuits and claims over sex abuse allegations...

Since the 1980s, the Catholic Church in the United States and its insurance companies have paid out more than $3.8 billion in lawsuits and claims involving allegations of clerical sexual abuse, according to a monitoring group.

BishopAccountability, a non-profit that tracks allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, says the payouts involved cases filed by more than 8,600 survivors who were allegedly sexually abused by an undisclosed number of clergy since the 1950s.

Spokesman Terry McKiernan told CNN the number of associated clergy is difficult to calculate because some settlement announcements omit the number of predator priests.

The largest payout the group is aware of totaled $660 million and was issued in Los Angeles in 2007. It was issued on behalf of 221 priests, lay teachers and other church employees who were accused of victimizing 508 people.

The group has a detailed list on its website naming some of the largest settlements and other case details.

Another possible part of the remedy:

While priest-penitent privilege is likely to remain in various countries' legal systems for some time (in the U.S., it's generally seen as required by the "free exercise" of religion clause of the First Amendment), priests could make religious absolution for assault of any kind conditional on the perpetrator confessing and submitting to the secular justice system. (Or they can give absolution if the perpetrator has been found guilty and is not appealing.)

btw, it looks like state laws vary as to whether priests must report information about child abuse and neglect learned in confession. (In most states they aren't required to.)

Clergy as Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect (Child Welfare Information Gateway, childwelfare.gov)

Let me see if I understand what you mean, Grinning Cat.

If the perpetrator confesses and submits to the secular justice system, 

or if the perpetrator has been found guilty and is not appealing,

then the perpetrator can have religious absolution; 

is that correct? 

That's what I meant, yes.

Though I read -- on TVTropes; take it for what it's worth -- that Catholic priests aren't allowed to make absolution contingent on the penitent disclosing to someone else what they disclosed in confession; that would also be (indirectly) breaking the confessional seal.

A great idea, GC, on paper.

Withholding absolution would be no threat to the perps - those cornholing altar boys et. al., and those concealing it, surely don't believe their own doctrine, or they wouldn't be doing the shit they're doing. And it wouldn't help the confessors sleep any better, because they're pre-programmed to be incapable of thinking of anything except the self-interest of the RCC tribe. It would depend on an honor system, assuming the priests, bishops or whoever happen to be granting absolution are going to apply the rule. But passing such a law would be an excellent message that religion's license to grift has a drop dead date.

Oh, and you (upstart) religions that don't have confession? Fugetaboutit!

If nothing else, it would be worth its weight in gold to see the ensuing battle if this legislation were proposed. The RCC has already spent tons of money lobbying against extensions of statute of limitations laws. [Huh! Wonder why!]  If laws were threatening to shut down their sinner/forgiver client privilege, it would make the war on christmas look like a mere WWII.




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