Drawing the line

I don’t often comment on the sexual abuse cases. I will just make an observation about the current allegations against the Regensburg choir and Mons. Georg Ratzinger. Cathnews reports:

There have also been reports of severe beatings by administrators at two primary feeder schools for the choir, one in Etterzhausen and one in Peilenhofen. One director has been cited in several allegations as being particularly abusive, the AP report adds.

Mons Ratzinger said boys would open up to him about being mistreated in Etterzhausen, but did nothing … “Had I known with what exaggerated fierceness he was acting, I would have said something”.

“Of course, today one condemns such actions,” he is cited saying. “I do as well. At the same time, I ask the victims for pardon.”

“At the beginning I also repeatedly administered a slap in the face, but always had a bad conscience about it,” he said, adding that he was happy when corporal punishment was made illegal in 1980.

Of course, today one condemns such actions. In the 70’s and earlier one did not. I too was beaten in primary school by the teacher – with the weapon we call the “yardstick”. She had a lesser weapon we called “the ruler”. Both instruments were designed for drawing a line, and they certainly did so in more ways than one. In fact, all members of my class still remember the day she hit one student so hard on the backside that the yardstick snapped in two… I guess it is an injustice that she hasn’t been imprisoned yet to pay for her cruelty.

But then I guess you would have to imprison my parents too. They had a thing called “the Strap” and it was mighty powerful in laying down the law. My father never administered this punishment in anger. Strikes were administered in strict accordance with misdemeanours and at some duration after the actual crime. It certainly kept four unruly boys in check. Am I too conclude from this that my father did not love me?

For the record, Cathy and I do not and never have used corporal punishment on our children. Like Mons. Ratzinger, my primary school teacher, and my parents, we have all come to realise that there are other less violent ways of disciplining children. But really, are we to be surprised that an elite German School would have used corporal punishment in the era before the 1980’s enlightenment? And we have to realise too that there are some forms of violence – eg. verbal – which can be more damaging on a permanent basis than corporal punishment.

There is, of course, a very, very thick dark line to be drawn between corporal punishment administered rationally and in a limited manner, and sustained, cruel physical, sexual or verbal abuse. According to reports and allegations, there were some in the circle of the Regensburg Choir schools who stepped out of the one thing (discipline) and into another (abuse). But lets not muddy the waters in this discussion. It is vital that, in order to understand what consitutes abuse, we understand what does NOT constitute abuse.

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49 Responses to Drawing the line

  1. matthias says:

    Sadly Schutz it occurred in the 1980s’ .a cousin’s two sons went to Salesian College at Sunbury-the birthplace of THE ASHES- and in the 1980’s the youngest came home bruised on the shoulder and upper arm as a Brother had taken a dislike to a resposne in the sporting field and wacked him with a piece of timber. The mother confronted the school but no action-not until a new principal arrived who ensured that a new broom went through the place. That principal was apparently the best thing that happened and 15 years later he baptised -as a Monsignor by then- one of these boy’s children . he still is a family friend.

  2. Louise says:

    But really, are we to be surprised that an elite German School would have used corporal punishment in the era before the 1980’s enlightenment?

    No. And the fake outrage of the media is in itself illuminating. Spare us. Everyone, whether pagan or Christian etc has used corporal punishment on children until recent times. Why single out this choir?

    • Anne says:

      Because Louise the choirmaster is intimately related to the Holy Father and if sexual abuse/physical abuse can be linked to the Holy Father wow what a scoop!!!!!!

      • Um, sexual abuse is linked to the Pope, Anne, not directly, but certainly indirectly. This has been the case officially ever since 1962 when Pope John XXIII asserted his oversight of the disciplinary process which has seen priestly offenders found guilty of the most disgusting abuse of minors by Rome’s own investigation process transferred incognito between parishes and dioceses rather than reported to the authorities for criminal prosecution. The day to day administration of this process the Pope delegated to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as it was to become, which as we all know until recently headed by then Cardinal Ratzinger. My information is that it was Cardinal Ratzinger who, in 2001, directed Roman Catholic schools not to co-operate with civil authorities in their investigations of such matters. In vain, of course, as dirt has a way of being uncovered. We are now seeing hundreds of cases reported in Germany and apparently Dutch authorities are also conducting investigations in their jurisdiction.
        Unfortunately, the more the RCC has tried to protect itself as an institution from the consequences of its actions , the more it has exposed itself to the contempt of the public. It has also provided yet more empirical evidence to back up Montaigne’s assertion that two things are always found together, ‘supercelestial thoughts and subterrestrial conduct’.
        As Cardinal Walter Kasper said just last weekend, as more cases came to light in Germany, the RCC ‘seriously needs cleaning up’.

  3. matthias says:

    Because Louise it is the choir that the Pope’s brother was associated with and they’re trying to get at the Pope by thinking “ahah- we smell a rat or in german “Ja ,ve haff eine rodent”. But if you ask them they will say ‘No we just want to get at the truth”

    • Louise says:

      Ahhhhhhhhhhh. So that’s it, huh?

      Notice too, that the worst abuse the kids copped was at their school, rather than in the choir itself. Could the media be any more transparent in their fakery?

  4. David,
    I wonder if the line that you have drawn between corporal punishment and sexual and other forms of abuse should be as bold as you seek to have make it?

    I don’t for a minute intend to suggest that Mgr Ratzinger’s confession of having resorted to physical punishment of students as often as he apparently did amounts to criminal culpability, given the standards of the time and the context in which he was working, and not least because corporal punishment was until 1980 still legal in W. Germany.
    But, it seems to me that an evironment in which corporal punishment was inflicted apparently at will and without check is precisely the environment in which the other, more serious forms of abuse will flourish. Not only is there a horrifying lack of respect for the basic humanity of minors in such a context, but that environment will attract the sadistic and the evil, or even bring out such qualities in otherwise only ‘normally sinful’ people.

    I too grew up and went to school in the 1960s & 70s when ‘the ruler’ and ‘the cane’ were still used. But when I reflect upon those days I am struck by how infrequently they were resorted to, and when they were used it was only the headmaster who was authorised to do so (that was indeed the last threat in the teacher’s arsenal, to send one to the headmaster’s office).
    In my memory, at least one teacher who was overly fond of smacking schoolboys’ bottoms was summarily dismissed after his penchant was exposed when a classmate developed nervous dyslexia as a result of such treatment. Any teacher who gave a student a ‘clip over the ear’, as Mgr Ratzinger confesses to doing, would have been disciplined, I’m sure, or at least counselled. I do not recall any class-room teacher ever administering corporal punishment in my presence, other than the case mentioned. That’s not to say it never happened elsewhere, or was always reported, but it seems that even in deepest, darkest Queensland in the unenlightened 1970s there was an understanding in the public education system that corporal punishment was a powerful tool to be used sparingly and as a last resort. More importantly, those authorised to administer it were strictly limited. Where such an approach is lacking, it seems to me that the line you talk about is already fading.

  5. Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

    In my high school both principals during my time had been Golden Gloves (a US youth boxing thing) champs. Take it too far, and Father took you down.

    What miserable unelightened times. No drug problems, teen pregnancy was unusual, little to no street crime, what a terrible environment that was.

    So much better now that we have all things and more, with all these enlightened ways of discipline that work so much better.

    Instead of addressing punishment suitable to the offence, we removed punishment, and now have offences everywhere. There’s real progress for you.

  6. Peregrinus says:

    I think Mark is right. There may be a line between corporal punishment and physical abuse, but it is not at all heavy or black. It’s pretty fuzzy and there’s no agreement on its location. It certainly moves from time to time.

    Like it or not, when it comes to the criminal prosecution of individuals, this works to their advantage. The onus of proof is on those accusing them, and if there is any doubt about how their actions might have been categorised at the time, they get acquitted. I can’t off-hand think of anyone who has been convicted of an abuse-type offence for engaging in what was at the time generally viewed as proper and acceptable discipline. (For engaging in what they themselves considered to be proper discipline, yes.)

    There’s more to this than criminal prosecution, though. Precisely because the line between discipline and abuse is mutable and malleable, we ought to take very seriously the responsibility of deciding where it lies, and how we should or should not treat people. And so should previous generations. And we are entitled to criticise them if, in fact, they didn’t recognise that responsibility, or try seriously to discharge it. A glib acceptance that such-and-such a measure is acceptable because, well, most people accept it was no more defensible in 1960 than it is in 2010. Discipline which seeks to control people through humiliation and degradation should have been just as problematic for a Christian – and in particular a Christian educator – in 1960 as it should be today.

    Msgr Ratzinger in fact says that it troubled him at the time, wishes he had done more about it, and has apologised to the victims. Unless we think he is being cynical and saying this simply because the media demand it, we should accept that if he recognises a real moral issue, there probably is a real moral issue. And the issue is not so much whether Georg Ratzinger sinned – that’s a matter between him and his confessor – but whether we as a community have done enough, and continue to do enough, to recognise this issue.

    Like other poster, I was subjected to corporal punishment in primary school. It was carefully controlled and limited, and always administered by the principal, rather than by the teacher making the complaint. I’ve no doubt it followed “best practice” at the time, and I’m certain that the men who administered it were good, caring and loving educators. Yet, unlike others, I have no hesitation in condemning it as brutalising, humiliating and dehumanising. Only to a modest extent, perhaps, and to a psychically survivable extent, but I don’t think there is any good or acceptable level of intentional brutality and humiliation. (Nor, incidentally, was it remotely necessary for the maintenance of discipline or order. It was abolished when I was 12, and the atmosphere in the school was not at all affected by the abolition.)

    Oh, and one more point. Yes, the media may be interested in this if there is a tangential connection to the pope (or indeed to any pillar of the establishment). We have a shallow media, which trivialises and sensationalises matters of great moment. So what’s new? Dismissing the matter because it is assumed to interest the media solely because of the connection with the pope would be just as shallow, even if the assumption is correct. What matters is not whether the media are interested in this for a good reason, but whether we should be interested in it for any reason. And I don’t, I’m sure, have to point out the reason why we should be interested in how the church has treated children in its care.

    • Tony says:

      Yet, unlike others, I have no hesitation in condemning it as brutalising, humiliating and dehumanising.

      Blimey, as a product of the Christian Brothers during the 60s I would have thought in highly civilised if corporal punishment was handled by the principal. It would have stopped much of the spontaneous brutality that occured.

      There are very few brothers in my recollection who did not administer CP at will, unchecked. One exception was a brother who was an absolute master in psychological humiliation, so he didn’t need it.

      Almost all them got carried away often. They were, and the system encouraged them to be, bastards.

      I know guys who can recall being inspired by one or two of the brothers in a way that influenced their life and their love of learning. But I didn’t meet any. They were either bland or … the other ‘b’ word.

  7. Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

    Maybe now you won’t have to have been there yourself to get exactly what Luther meant when he wrote, after detailing doctrinal and sacramental abuses, about “unmentionable” abuses. He sure as hell didn’t have to draw me a picture.

  8. Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

    BTW, if you want to parody German, rodent is das Nagetier, but rat is die Ratte. The same word rat, der Rat, means advice. Have another go, and start with Wir haben, but get your cases right.

    I think more of an issue of whether this is all really about the current pope, which would be a convenient take because then it denatures even facts if they turn out unfavourable to The Catholic Church, The Catholic Church, The Catholic Church, the god which must always be maintained, is the confusion of corporal punishment, proportionality thereof, and sexual child abuse,

  9. Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

    PS, both languages get confused on what it is to smell. I smell, you stink. To smell is to employ one’s olfactory senses, not to emit a foul odor. You might enjoy the relationship of the German riechen to the English reek in this regard.

    Just sayin, as they say.

  10. Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

    The hangman knows.

    (Don’t worry, nobody will get this, except die Christine.)

  11. R J Stove says:

    Why corporal punishment is considered deplorable when ascribed to pre-Vatican-II Catholics, but becomes positively meritorious when carried out in its most erotomaniac form by today’s heathens at an art gallery or a fashionable nightclub, has yet to be clarified.

    • Peregrinus says:

      You clearly go to more interesting art galleries than I do.

    • Louise says:

      Bravo, Robert, bravo! I should think, Pere, Robert refers to such things as the revolting Henson “art.” Not forgetting, of course, the rape of the 13yo girl Roman Polanski, which was excusable apparently, b/c the man is an “artiste” (and “the right kind of Roman”).

    • R.J.,
      I suspect the consent of the recipients of the ‘punishment’ has something to do with it.

      And I must add that I do think Roman Catholic Christians do their cause a disservice by trivialising the subject or attempting to cast it as simply part of an ‘anti-Catholic’ agenda.

      Those who have known well or counselled victims of physical, psychological or sexual abuse who have suffered thus at the hands of religious authority figures know that the damage done to their souls is often utterly devastating and not infrequently leads to addiction, other self-destructive behaviours and suicide. The litany of sadness and evil that follows in the wake of such abuse is often simply too aweful to contemplate for any length of time. Our Lord said, ‘…whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.’ That suggests to me that RCs ought to take this matter with the utmost seriousness.

      • Louise says:

        For heaven’s sake, Mark! Nobody here is suggesting that child rapists (whether Catholic or not) ought to go unpunished. Indeed, I would go so far as to say they ought to be hanged, but that’s probably not popular. I also believe it is doubly outrageous when a Catholic priest does it for precisely the reasons you mention above.

        However, the fact that the MSM are very selective in their reporting about such things deserves to be highlighted and stated for what it actually is.

        The issue of “consent” re: art and the like is irrelevant when the “art” in question concerns minors, since minors do not have the maturity to make such decisions.

        Nobody and I mean *nobody* here would ever suggest that the Catholic Church or its members are above the law. Heck, it’s not like we’re as thin-skinned as the Muslims. We do not issue fatwas every time we are criticised. But some criticism is valid and other criticism is not. Anyone wanting to make out that the Catholic Church is *especially* vice-ridden will not be able to find the evidence to back up such an assertion.

        E.g. how many teachers in the state school system have been accused of child abuse and merely been shifted sideways into non-teaching roles b/c of unions’ conditions? (And I’m not against unions, btw). If it’s underreported in the MSM or not reported at all, it will not register on peoples’ radars. That’s just manipulative.

        • “Nobody” Louise? Then, pray tell, why does the RCC insist on its right not to report acts of child abuse to the police?

          When the RCC “comes clean” and opens its files on these matters to the various police jurisdictions in which it operates I’ll accept that what you claim is finally true. BXVI could order this tomorrow.

          Now, whether or not the RCC is “especially vice-ridden” or not I cannot say; my faith teaches that all believers struggle with the ‘old Adam’ within, who remains even after re-birth from above, so I’m inclined to adopt a “Christian realist” position in regard to all human institutions. That is why I say that where corporal punishment was not strictly controlled other forms of abuse were likely to flourish.

          But it seems to me that there are two or three peculiar aspects of RCism that have led to this abuse problem becoming seemingly systemic in its life and also account for the obfuscation that has accompanied the handling of the crisis on the part of the leadership. One of these peculiarities is the long-held belief in the superiority of the church over the state in the civil sphere, and the other is clerical celibacy. Any serious addressing of the problem – and the RC church will be forced to address it seriously, the powers arrayed against it will be too great for even the Pope to resist – must not simply address procedures and protocols but also these erroneous elements in the RC ethos.

          There is so much in RCism that is for the good of both society and other Christians, but while your church body continues to fail to examine itself and repent and rid its body-life of this cancer it is living in denial.

          • Louise says:

            Don’t be silly, Mark. I was referring to people at this blog. Get off your high horse.

            Then, pray tell, why does the RCC insist on its right not to report acts of child abuse to the police?

            If it does so, then this is wrong, but it’s the first I’ve heard of it, so again, get off your high horse. Ordinary Catholics believe in God and Christ and His Church. We do not believe that the members of this Church are perfect or anything other than sinners. We are absolutely appalled by what has happened in the Church with respect to child abuse, particularly sex abus and we denounce it in the strongest possible terms. None of which proves that God does not exist, that Christ is not God made man, nor that the Catholic Church is not the Church He founded. It does tend to illustrate the Doctrine of Original Sin.

            The Church certainly needs to get rid of this cancer. Again, who here is claiming it should not?

            Priestly celibacy per se is hardly a cause of child sex abuse. If so, there would be no cases of married Anglican ministers abusing children, nor any cases of teachers in the state schools doing so either. The Church needs to address such hideous issues, but so does the rest of society. Id’d like to see what happens when the shit finally hits the fan in all the other churches and in the state shools etc. Watch out for the cover-ups etc. Provided it ever gets reported…

  12. R J Stove says:

    No, Peregrinus, I don’t do anything of the kind. Unfortunately, I have come across sadomasochism-related tripe being spouted in and around art-gallery milieux, said tripe being pretty much regarded as par for the course:


  13. adam george says:

    One of the most frightening things that occurred in my 10 years at a catholic boys school was the far-too-often physical abuse of fellow students. I have never spoken about this but the cruel use of the leather starp, the hits to the head many suffered and the humiliation of many was horrendous. Sexual abuse aside, we often forget the physical treatment that was donw then and so many kept quiet about. But many of my own age ‘left the Church’ and were appalled at the behaviour of the ‘religious teachers’. Amazing that the horrendous memories never go away. They were bad days for many and if done today teachers would be prosecuted.

    • Schütz says:

      I didn’t attend a Catholic school – rather my schooling was all State until years 11 and 12 at a Lutheran boarding college. My experience of the Boarding College was much better than my experience at the State school in which, as I related in this post, corporal punishment was used by some of the “old-school” teachers. Also at the State School I experienced brutality and abuse from some of the other students. It is interesting to see a growing number of cases of prosecution of minors for bullying in the courts these days.

      • matthias says:

        I attended a State high school and we had one Sportsmaster – a Mr L -at Bentleigh High -who use to smack kids across the face and the head . A brute of a man,and i reckon a lecher as well. My second form (year 8 these days) English teacher ,was a pretty Jewish woman,who use to talk about Israel to the Sephardic Jewish girl in my class, who wore min skirts- this was 1968- and the sportsmaster and another teacher -a Robert Vaughan look alike- use to peer in to her classes.
        I never got belted by this oaf but my father ,a strict Proddy,and a builder with very large hands,made it clear that he would be up at the school and ask this teacher to step outside for a talk. It would be for more than Bible bashing, my Church of Christ minister in training brother would say

  14. PM says:

    There is a consistent bias in the reporting on these issues. One would get the impression from the ABC and Fairfax press that coporal punishment and sexual abuse happened only in church insitutions – which was definitely not true in those days. My father attended a state school in the 1920s and assured me tht coproal punishment was normal here too.

    Even when the ABC has to report things that don’t suit its worldview, it tucks them away with little prominence and doesn’t invite open season in comment boxes. Two relatively recent items that come to mind are one on the growing incidence of arrests for child abuse in the general population – a result of greater awareness of the problem – and another reporting that the NSW Department of Education had removed 42 teachers for sexual impropriety with students in the preceding 12 months. You would have ahad to read the on-line nes site pretty carefully to spot them. These things are only news when they can be used against the church.

    We mustn’t defend the indefensible. In hindsight, the means of enforcing discipline were often excessive – and the volcanic temper with which they were adminstered suggested that the perpetrators were not happy. Some of the attitude problems we find in places such as Catholica probably stem from a reaction against such experiences; one of the most perceptive observations I have heard about the phobia that Cardinal Pell excites was that he probably stirs subconscious memories of tyrannical cane-wielding headmasters.

    But it would be a grievous error to write off the past as all bad. I read recently the autobiography of John Molony, who suceeded Manning Clark as professor of history at the ANU and wrote very warmly of St Patrick’s College Ballarat (including the old catechism!). Even that one-time student radical Jack Waterford now reminisces about how good his pre-Vatican II education at Joey’s was.

  15. R J Stove says:

    I do not intend to comment much further on this whole distasteful topic, but I may perhaps be permitted to say this: there was plenty of corporal punishment at the utterly nondescript secular / government primary school which I attended from 1969 to 1973. It was not sadistically administered by any means, nor can I recall it being carried out by anybody except the headmaster; but it was there. Even the most obviously criminal of us realised it and acknowledged the legitimacy of it: unlike such degenerate little poppets as the “Broken Rites” brigade, to whom the “quality” media now grovel.

    The counsel attributed to both Sun Tzu and General Patton – “Never let your enemy choose the battle site” – should be our counsel as well. It is high time that we, as Catholics, told these poppets and their media enablers: “Enough is enough. We know what your real beefs are. At one moment it’s Rome’s refusal to appease state terror by Israel against Palestinian Christians. At another moment it’s Rome’s veneration of Pius XII. At yet another moment it’s Rome’s denouncing of abortion and contraception. Whatever it is, your target is always the same. You don’t give a tinker’s curse about ‘victims’ rights’. Concerning sex crimes carried out by Muslims, Jews, Protestants, Freemasons and other non-Catholics you are utterly indifferent when not actively ecstatic. You only care about destroying us. In the name of the One True Church we call on you to shut your mouths before you tempt us to shut them for you.”

    • Louise says:

      At yet another moment it’s Rome’s denouncing of abortion and contraception.

      I think you’ll find that these and divorce are the *sole* issues, Rob. And again, well said. They hate Christ and His Church and that’s all there is to it. If we don’t understand that, we can’t win this particular battle.

    • Anne says:

      “At yet another moment it’s Rome’s denouncing of abortion and contraception. Whatever it is, your target is always the same. You don’t give a tinker’s curse about ‘victims’ rights’.”
      Rob what a mean spirited comment that is. Rome “denounces” abortion and contraception because at the most basic level these two contribute to unimaginable pain in life.
      It is because Rome cares not only for the psychological, the spiritual that she denounces contraception and abortion because these two lead to unimaginable abortions and as a consequence life long ontological pain.

  16. Christine says:

    Well, corporal punishment was certainly employed in the public schools I attended back in the day. I remember one of the male teachers was not averse to slamming boys — hard — up against the wall if he thought they needed it. And some of them definitely needed it.

    Everyone, whether pagan or Christian etc has used corporal punishment on children until recent times.

    Very true, Louise, both in the Europe and the U.S.

    Unfortunately, I have come across sadomasochism-related tripe being spouted in and around art-gallery milieux, said tripe being pretty much regarded as par for the course: Also true. This is something that is regarded as an issue of “diversity” by the mainstream media, hypocrites that they often are.

    Locally we’ve had stories about teachers and coaches who have been charged with sexual abuse of children, and recently this:


    Abuse is abuse, whether in the secular or religious realm, but we cannot read back into the past the standards of our own day.

    (Don’t worry, nobody will get this, except die Christine.) Hah, this “reeks” of a Past Elderism!


  17. Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

    Yeah the standards of our day are such an improvement — crime, drugs, sex, foul language and gangs everywhere and now it’s the teachers being assaulted and from my experience as a professor kids graduate from college with less knowqledge of the world around them and basic operations both mathematical and verbal, than once high school graduates have, but full of the warm fuzzies of the liberal agenda.

    Weiss der Henker.

    Nice to see real Catholic thinking emerge here: since we know what’s really in your heart, we don’t have to listen to what you say, because we’re The Catholic Church The Catholic Church The Catholic Church and we’re God himself and you just hate us so halt’ die Klappe!

    • Louise says:

      Yeah the standards of our day are such an improvement — crime, drugs, sex, foul language and gangs everywhere

      You get no argument from me, mate.

    • Louise says:

      I think the non-listening is mostly on the part of the MSM, PE, and anyone who does not wish to hear about God etc. It is possible that even now that our pastors are not doing a very good job of trying to sort out this hideous mess, but one can hardly say they are not listening and certainly not that ordinary Catholics in the pews are not listening.

  18. Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

    No I did not take typing in school ever, so my many typos reflect nothing but many typos.

  19. Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

    And while we’re bloody at it, something I’d like to know even more than Catherine’s phone number is why there is a bleeding smiley to the upper right of the banner on this rotten, blasted, ruddy WordPress (how redundant, four words for the same thing) blog.

  20. Christine says:

    halt’ die Klappe!


    I haven’t heard that expression (shut yur tater trap would be a good colloquial translation) since I was back in Germany!

    something I’d like to know even more than Catherine’s phone number would probably be die Katarina’s phone number :)

    • matthias says:

      An Aussie colloquialism would be “Shut your cakehole/gob/great trap”. And PE my typos i will attribute to -not doing typing in school -that was for the sheilahs i was told-and a appearance quite recently of tremors in both hands -probably my dopamine receptors are getting used up ie Parky’s.

      • Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

        My roomie Crocodile Dundee used to say Shut your gob all the time, and Put a sock in it mate even more often.

        The German expression I used I understand admits of even stronger shall we say thought for thought translation into English, like Shut the (fill in with expletive of choice but I know what mine is) up — but I will defer to die Christine on this since I am not a real German, I just play one in LCMS.

        I’m not a real Irish either despite the name, which perhaps got buried too deep in these damn WordPress embedded threads for Perry to notice.

  21. Christine says:

    An Aussie colloquialism would be “Shut your cakehole/gob/great trap”.

    Just as fitting, Matthias!

  22. Herman says:

    Retrospective views are always burdened with change in acceptability or the boundaries set today. The problem is that it does not excuse the action but merely allow understanding for the lack of knowledge at that time.

    We know that any abuse is wrong regardless of when it is committed. As Christians who are supposed to follow Christ and his teachings we need to seek forgiveness and pay the price. It is only by seeking forgiveness we will follow the true Christ. To seek justification because it was a different time and abuse was acceptable in society does not change the fact that it was abuse. We need to recognize this difficult point because as long as we try to seek understanding or justification for the abuse we have not admitted that we have abused. We need to acknowledge in our heart that we have done wrong and seek forgiveness.

    Men who abuse their wife always have an excuse and even seek forgiveness at times but until these men acknowledge that abusing their wife is wrong, and there is no excuse for this they will not change. It is the same with everyone else we abuse than we abuse there simply is no excuse. We need to seek forgiveness.

  23. R J Stove says:

    Anne, I am not sure why you apparently object to my earlier remark. If it is “mean-spirited” to be totally loyal, as I am totally loyal, to Rome’s teachings against abortion and contraception – indeed, to all Rome’s teachings on other subjects as well – then I would regard “mean-spirited” as a compliment.

    Unfortunately, when the average secularist bigot wants to attack Rome, it is very often the issues of abortion and contraception that agitate him (or, very often, her – vide Catherine Deveny, The Age‘s resident pagan halfwit). Usually such bigots are too clueless to have read Humanae Vitae, let alone to have read any less famous exposition of infallible Catholic teachings on the matter. But their ignorance doesn’t put a damper on their hatred; and their hatred is directed at us, as I endeavoured to say earlier.

  24. Christine says:

    The German expression I used I understand admits of even stronger shall we say thought for thought translation into English, like Shut the (fill in with expletive of choice but I know what mine is) up — but I will defer to die Christine on this since I am not a real German, I just play one in LCMS.

    PE is quite right, the translation I gave is a much milder form, shall we say.


  25. R J Stove says:

    What the Australian mass media – committed as they to destroying Catholicism root and branch – won’t tell you regarding sex abuse:


  26. Joshua says:

    I am as horrified and revolted by abuse of children in whatever manner as anyone.

    Time was, corporal punishment was still legal, and time was, in all schools the discipline was most strict, and today would never be tolerated.

    The Church in particular has a very grave duty to punish any abusers of children within her communion – just as every human institution should do so, from schools to nations. I am sure that Lutherans and all other denominations would agree to do the same.

    To the extent that church authorities have been complicit in these crimes, they deserve every punishment. After all, by covering up and even abetting sins, they have horribly offended against God and against the poor victims – and have brought the Gospel they preach into utter disrepute.

    The danger, of course, is that one group is scapegoated, using this horrible issue as a pretext to condemn it wholesale: in our secular age, the powers that be find it convenient to use the sins and scandals of the Church to attack her.

    Again, I assume much the same is done to attack Anglicans and every other denomination, for much the same reason: certainly Anglicans here in Australia have been attacked in this fashion, just as in general “the churches” have been attacked for the cruelty that apparently occurred in orphanages and mission stations…

    Furthermore, the scoffing world likes to attack the priesthood for its “unnatural” celibacy – imagining in a prurient and illogical fashion that those not married are driven to act worse than beasts. Now, of course the majority of priests keep their vows (whereas most marriages end in divorce, and we all know how common among modern people are all the old sins such as fornication, plus new ones such as viewing internet pornography), but the good are tarred with the same brush as the wicked.

    Because the priest is a standing rebuke to the world, the world delights in attacking him. Woe to him if he be a hypocrite!

    Again, to the extent that men manifestly unfit and unable to keep celibate have been ordained, that is the fault of the due authorities to correctly and carefully vet them. It is a grave offence to let a man who cannot live chastely to be ordained a priest, since (saving grace) he cannot keep his promise: and likewise it is a grave sin for him to hypocritically pretend to be able to do what he cannot.

    What is needed are not more priests, but holier priests, and doubly so for bishops!

  27. Joshua says:

    Does anyone know: are these various forms of abuse becoming more common, or is it that until recently it was taboo to mention them, so that there has been a sudden flood of cases from the past, giving the impression that these crimes are more common than they are?

    I do worry that sexual abuse of minors by “ordinary” people does seem to be on the increase; whereas cases of child abuse carried out by priests seem to date from a generation or so ago, and hopefully that crop of hypocrites will never be allowed to regrow.

    Thank God, in any case, that the old taboo has lifted, since it means that perpetrators have less chance of getting away with their crimes, and hopefully will be dissuaded from carrying out their foul desires.

  28. Joshua says:

    I think of a very sad case: a bloke I knew was ordained a priest some years ago, after I had lost contact with him… recently, I asked a friend in Melbourne about him, wondering where he was now – and discovered to my horror that he had been defrocked after being convicted of, well… I just don’t understand how anyone can do such a thing.

  29. Joshua says:

    I suppose that in the days when such crimes were utterly taboo, rather than expelling a priest who sinned so vilely, seeing as such incidents were not brought before the courts, ecclesiastical authorities may have foolishly thought to cover up so horrendous a scandal – thereby failing the victims, letting the perpetrator off with a warning, and setting themselves us as collaborators with sin, which, when eventually revealed, would defame the very Gospel.

    And during the sixties, when psychologists were peddling all manner of nonsense (as apparently all the world went mad), it was fashionable to downplay the seriousness of such crimes, not realizing the damage done to victims, not realizing the proclivity of perpetrators to reoffend; so priests were moved rather than removed.

    And of course there is the fact that good men sometimes cannot believe that anyone, like them apparently good, could ever do something so terrible. Bishops simply could not imagine that apparently upstanding priests were really monsters.

    I recall Cardinal Pell explaining how, when he first heard of such a case, he asked the accused to explain, and, as he put it, “He lied to my face” – he learnt through bitter experience that priests who were guilty of such offences were adept at pretence, deceiving their superiors into thinking they were unjustly accused.

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