Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Getting Your Henry VIII On - Using Moral Panics and Catholic Sex Crimes For Political Gain ( New Research)

There is no doubt there was a sexual abuse crisis in the United States Catholic Church that was horrific. I am not sure what caused it but I have theories. Regardless I think the Church got unfairly singled out as to a greater society problem.

Further while every instance was serious and horrific , it's also clear many used and sadly still use this to create a classic moral panic. Now a again a moral panic does not mean there is not a problem. The recent Vatican Sex abuse conference did that illusion away. However as stated here at Pedophile Priests. The Social Construction of a Moral Panic

..Let there be no misunderstanding: at the origin of moral panics are objective and real dangers. Moral panics do not invent a problem; they exaggerate its statistical dimensions. In a series of excellent studies, Jenkins demonstrated how the issue of pedophile priests is perhaps the most typical moral panic today. Two characteristic elements exist: a real fact which serves as a starting point, and an exaggeration of this fact by moral entrepreneurs...

There are signs to me that we might be having a MORAL PANIC over cyber bullying which is leading to some rather concerning laws ,and even perhaps bullying of kids with same sex attraction See new revelations on the Rutgers case as to that last example.

As to clerical sex abuse and moral panics see the NOW NON CATHOLIC and respected sociologist Phillip Jenkins piece Forum: The myth of the 'pedophile priest'

Now I am going through this extensive introduction before I get to the piece I want too talk about for two reasons. First I am not trying to deflect or say there is was no problem with sex abuse. But importantly these events can cause "moral panics that are manipulated for many purposes.

I see that in the media all the time. How dare the Church talk on X ( immigration, economics, health care , contraception coverage) because all their Priests are raping little boys.

In American history we have seen other moral panics used against Catholicism. For instance in the anti Catholic literature of the 1800's there is not much hint of child abuse. The danger supposedly then was WATCH OUT MEN those priests will be having sex with your wives!

Which brings me to this incredibly interesting piece today. See Mischievous Monks and Naughty Nuns? Scholar re-examines the illicit sexual accusations against monasteries in England during the dissolution

Protestants call this the English Reformation. Catholics generally these events still THEFT. But it is amazing how history repeats itself. The attempt to manipulate the illict sex (crimes at times) activities of a distinct minority of clergy into a moral panic for political gain. What King Henry VIII did nearly 500 years ago is a tactic we see today.

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