Liberals/Media to blame for Catholic child abuse

3:51 pm - February 17th 2010

by Unity    

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A senior German Bishop has responded to the latest child abuse scandal to hit the Catholic Church by suggesting to a local daily newspaper that the ‘sexual revolution’ of the 1960s and 70s was at fault for abuse by priests.

According to German news website ‘The Local‘, Walter Mixa, the Bishop of Augsberg, told the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung that “The so-called sexual revolution, in which some especially progressive moral critics supported the legalisation of sexual contact between adults and children, is certainly not innocent,” before adding that the media was also at fault.

The article from which these comments are taken can be viewed in slightly mangled English via Google Translate, which gives this version of the Bishop’s remarks

Bishop Mixa emphasized in these “heinous crime” was the “so-called sexual revolution, certainly not innocent.”We have seen in recent decades, especially in the media, an increasing sexualisation of the public, which also promotes abnormal sexual preference rather than limited,” said Mixa.”Especially progressive morality critics had” even the legalization of sexual contact between adults and minors required.

If anyone come up with better translation then the original German language version of this article is here and please do feel free to post your efforts in comments.

The Bishop was commenting on a scandal that engulfed an elite Catholic school in Berlin at the beginning of the year, which kicked off, in January after a former priest who’d taught at the school between 1975 and 1983 admitted to forcing boys into having sex.

Canisius College, which is operated by the Jesuits, has since admitted that systematic sexual abuse did take place during this period and that it undertaken by at least two priests, although one is reported to have denied having had any part in such activities.

In keeping with previous scandals of this kind, these admissions have opened up a sizeable can of worms for the Catholic Church. It’s now thought that more than a hundred former pupils of Canisius have either contacted lawyers, or the school itself, with complaints of sexual abuse, while the Jesuits have issued an apology and admitted to covering up case of abuse at schools in Berlin, Hamburg, St. Blasien, Goettingen and Hildesheim.

The worldwide Jesuit order has also confirmed the existence of similar cases in Spain and Chile.

Earlier this month, Der Spiegel published a report which suggested that at least 10 church employees in Germany are currently facing accusations of sexual abuse and that at least 94 clerics and church laymen have been suspected of abuse since 1995, only 30 of which were prosecuted due to legal time constraints on pursuing cases.

Clearly, the Bishop is hoping that the timing of these cases, which date from the mid to late 1970s and early eighties, will lend some credibility to his efforts to blame clerical involvement in acts of  schoolboy buggery on the media and on the liberalisation of wider society.

This is, however, entirely at odds with the evidence of abuse that emerged as a result of similar scandals in both the US and Irish Republic.

In the US, the John Jay report found evidence of sexual abuse within the American Catholic Church dating back as far as 1950, whiles Ireland’s Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (CICA), which published its finding only last year, uncovered evidence of systematic abuse in Ireland’s state funded but church-run reformatory and industrial schools stretching back to the 1930s. CICA found that sexual abuse, ranging from improper touching and fondling to rape with violence, was endemic in boys’ institutions through the entire period covered by the inquiry, although not so in girls’ schools, where the main risks of sexual abuse came from predatory male employees/visitors and from outside placements.

More importantly, in terms of Bishop Mixa’s comments, much of the evidence, from Ireland in particular, dates from a time long before the ‘swinging sixties’ and the so-called ‘sexual revolution’, leaving him- and other members of his church – desperately short of a cop out.

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About the author
'Unity' is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He also blogs at Ministry of Truth.
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Reader comments

Also, if it is was down to the evil permissive nature of the times, I don’t see how that would compel the Catholic Church to cover it all up.

Nothing to do with the celibacy rule then? No, of course not.

Richard Lawson @ 2

Nothing to do with the celibacy rule then? No, of course not.

I am always puzzled when that issue is brought up in this particular context. Why would a ban on Catholic clergy marrying women have any effect on the propensity of ephebophiliac priests to molest teenage boys in their charge?

It’s a bears & twinks thing – women are irrelevant.

To address Unity’s main point:

Much of the research done in the US seems to identify a correlation between two distinct sets of priests and this kind of abuse. One group could be crudely categorized as the swinging sixties liberal group; the other is arch-conservative from an almost Jansenist tradition. The former would account for most of the US problem; the latter for Ireland. As for Germany – I dunno.

Ephebophilia, modern usage: To excuse the rape of children by stating that they are slightly older children.

Akheloios @ 4

Point taken. But those of us who supported the reduction of the gay age of consent to 16 would be stretching it some to use the usual tabloid epithet in a case where the victim was, say, fifteen and eleven months.

(Consent, of course, often being another issue here).

6. the a&e charge nurse

So, is this crazy kraut bishop trying to suggest that sexual abuse of children did not occur prior to the swinging 60’s?

My guess is that as soon as you have a combination of sexually repressed men and vulnerable children in an institutional setting one or two of them will give vent to certain unhealthy predilections, irrespective of a sudden upturn in saucy TV faire.

Are any of these apologists ever going to put their hands up for their colleagues misdeeds?

‘which also promotes abnormal sexual preference rather than limited’

Maybe it’s the Google translation but ‘abnormal’ is a qualitative judgement while ‘limited’ is quantitative.

They’re not mutually exclusive descriptions: it’s perfectly possible to have infrequent, genuinely abnormal sex – as this scandal proves.

Well isn’t it a surprise – not really, the catholic church have been blaming liberalism for all the evils in the world since the emergence of the enlightenment, not least because protestantism was associated with the emergence of the enlightenment particularly the underlying principles of liberalism. The catholic church supported the nazis, not because they were anti-semites but because they were anti-liberal and anti-capitalist.

As usual, the religious reich looks for a way to blame their own misdeeds on someone else. “It’s not our fault, it’s the godless heather who are to blame”.

Most of the world’s problems are, and always have been, caused by religion.

Mankind will never truly be free until the black yoke of religion is lifted by the clean light of truth and logic.

@ 5. “where the victim was, say, fifteen and eleven months”

Which is still rape of someone unable to give legal consent. I’ll accept that there is a movement to decriminalise (but not legitimise) sexual relations between minors, and a minor with an adult, if the age gap is negligible, and I support it, as well as the normalisation of the age of consent at 16.

We’re not dealing with any of those issues though. This is rape of children, both male and female, of all ages from pre-teen to late teen, not just near the current age of consent (which would have been several years younger than the then age of consent when the rape happened). The children in these cases, even if near the age of consent, did not agree to the relations but were forced.

Just because paedophiles and the concealers of paedophiles find an archaic word to describe what they do, does not change the fact that they are indeed child rapists and the enablers of child rapists.


I broadly agree with you…. as I tried to indicate above.

However, hetero rock stars are never called paedos when they go with 15 year old groupies are they? So maybe it devalues the term to apply it too loosely.


Paedophilia refers specifically to a sexual attraction towards a pre-pubescent child and is recognised clinical term, so don’t try and conflate the two even if you don’t much like the motives of some of the people who’ve taken to using the term ephebophilia.

Conseravtive religious nuts are always projecting.


“Conseravtive religious nuts are always projecting.”

I blame the invention of PowerPoint myself. It makes projection so much easier than overhead projectors and slide machines…

I just don’t like the recoining of the term Ephebophilia by the Catholic Church to describe what they have done. It’s not just a slight of hand trick to pretend that the abuse of teenage males was somehow consensual, it also hides the fact that it wasn’t just teenage males that were abused. It was also female children, both pre-teen and teenage, pre-teen males, as well as the teenage boys.

The rape of children by men many years older than the children, who are supposed to be acting as guardians cannot be defended. This is true for the physical, sexual and psychological abuse of children by both Priests and Nuns as well.

Ephebophilia is the big projected image of naughty teenage boys tempting saintly priests that we’re supposed to look at to distract us from the sight of the sick old men and women abusing children behind the curtain.

As for Rock Stars, how is Gary Glitter doing?

It might have escaped your notice, “Jay”, that gay 16 year olds who have consensual sex are NOT being raped. A boy or young man of whatever age who is sodomised by a priest is raped.

Personally I think rape is a heinous crime and kiddie fucking is even worse than raping an adult. Are you so obsessed with moving the goalposts and coming up with excuses that you can’t say the same?

9- exactly right. I’m black and I live in a mainly Asian community. I don’t have racial tension with whites or Asians but I think religion of all kinds is shite, I slag off a lot of the imams in this area and I think my neighbours would be better off without them. And I’m sure the same goes for the church.

@ Unity

From the WHO –

B. A persistent or a predominant preference for sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children.
C. The person is at least 16 years old and at least five years older than the child or children in B.

11 year olds are victims of pedophiles. That’s rather the point. Ephebophilia is the shoddy mask that is intended to disguise the fact that pre-pubescent males and females were abused too.

The Papal Nuncio, Silvano M. Tomasi, in a speech delivered to the UN claimed ‘only’ as many as 5% of Priests were involved in the abuse of children. This is the Vatican’s own figure.

The John Jay Report, investigating the abuse of children in the US by Priests states that 6% of recognised 6,700 victims were 7 years of age or younger. 16% of the victims were between age 8 and age 10. That’s over 1400 pre-pubescent children.

22% of the children abused (in the US only) by the 5% of the Priests (that’s 1 in twenty Priests) that are child abusers were the victims of a paedophile. Using the ‘recognised clinical term’.

@16 Bernard

Learn to read Bernard.

Unless you are a complete halfwit, you will realize that I am not making excuses for kiddie fiddlers.

Damn! They caught us. And I was sure we’d covered our tracks on this one.

Okay, chaps, what’s next? My vote’s for training donkeys to crap in christians’ houses.

Which is the inherent problem in a religion that refuses to internalise wrongdoing. It’s always “the Devil made me do it”, instead of the truth, which is that you did it of your own free will. Only here, liberals are supposedly the Devil.

There’s always someone to blame with religions like this. Never your own flawed self.

Take care here. In the current climate, it’s easy to forget that paedophile organisations did openly campaigned for changes to the law in the 60s and 70s, often with the backing of some very prominent European intellectuals. Indeed, my first experience of media was as a teen reading NOTW’s hilarious accounts of Paedophilia Information Exchange (PIE) meetings in London, which were often harangued by livid middle aged housewives armed with viscious handbags, and the more chilling interviews with PIE members.

So this dude is not simply blaming it on the swinging 60s.

See: Veronique Mottier, “Sexuality: A Very Short Introduction” (Oxford Uni Press)

“viscious handbags”

Umm, dangerous handbags that moved slowly?

A point about “The Catholic Church” though from personal experience though. It’s not as monolithic an organisation as is often thought.

As has been mentioned here before I went to an English Benedictine school, Downside (actually, I went to two: Worth as my prep school). There’s a third school (at least) in very much the same group. Ampleforth. (Fra Bertie was for example educated at Ampleforth, taught at Worth and there are many other such cross overs).

Ampleforth has had terrible problems with child molestation over the years. Worth and Downside not at all (at least, none that I’m aware of). When the allegations came out a few years back about what had been happening in Yorkshire those of us who’d been to the other two schools were perplexed: what was different about there?

This isn’t to say anything about the way that the Church as a whole has dealt with the issue: rather, just to point out that the actual abuse seems to have depended more upon local issues than the more simple points of Catholicism, male supposed celibacy and schools.

My attempt at translation (I’ve got A level German, but far from being a fluent German speaker):

Bishop Mixa stressed that the “so-called sexual revolution” was certainly not innocent in these “horrible crimes”. “We have seen in the last decades, especially in the media, an increasing sexualisation of public opinion, which also promotes, rather than limits, abnormal sexual preferences” said Mixa. “Particularly progressive moral critics” had even demanded the legalization of sexual contact between adults and minors.

I hope this translation makes it a bit clearer that Mixa is deliberately conflating two different social trends. One is support for gay rights (or “abnormal preferences” in his terms), and one is about the general sexualisation visible in the media and public life. It is, however, entirely possible to be positive about gay rights, and still think that 8 year old girls should not be encouraged to wear clothes with Playboy logos. Given that the commodification of sex in the West has been largely about commodifying women and girls, that may have played a small factor in encouraging some heterosexual pedophiles. But I frankly refuse to believe that adverts showing desirable young men with ripped torsos really encourages sexual abuse of choirboys.

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