Just when I thought I wouldn't have to write the words "child rapist" one more time today, along comes a story about the Vatican saying clergy busted for child sex abuse were mostly raping teenagers, not the little'uns! OH, PHEW.
According to The Guardian, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent observer to the UN, issued a statement saying "that rather than paedophilia, it would 'be more correct' to speak of ephebophilia, a homosexual attraction to adolescent males." Actually, ephebophilia is an attraction to adolescents, period. These instances just happen to involve men and boys because of that whole women being ineligible for ordination thing. But hey, who among Vatican spokespeople can resist an opportunity to conflate ordinary gay men with sexual predators?
"Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90% belong to this sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17."
Oh, that's much better. Psst, the age of consent in Italy is 16, when one of the participants is more than 3 years older and has some kind of influence over the other. Across Europe and South America, it ranges from 13 to 18. In North America, 15 to 18. Shall I go on, or can we just agree that even in many exceedingly Catholic countries, "Only 10-20% of our child rape victims were younger than 11!" is not fucking comforting? And come to think of it, neither are all the 11 to 13-year-olds, at the very least?
Perhaps realizing this, Tomasi focused primarily on pointing fingers elsewhere.
He also quoted statistics from the Christian Scientist Monitor newspaper to show that most US churches being hit by child sex abuse allegations were Protestant and that sexual abuse within Jewish communities was common.
He added that sexual abuse was far more likely to be committed by family members, babysitters, friends, relatives or neighbours, and male children were quite often guilty of sexual molestation of other children.
See? Everybody's doing it!
You know, I've been accused of Catholic-bashing here recently, and I suspect I will be again, but nevertheless, this shit is just beyond the pale. I respect people's right to make their own religious choices, but I do not respect a church hierarchy that bends over backwards to protect rapists, deny that the problem's all that bad, make excuses, deflect blame and, as if all that weren't enough, smear gay men while they're at it. Rape apologists are working my last nerve today, and the God-flavored variety were my least favorite ones to begin with.
Some religious leaders, however, do get it right. Says Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, head of the New York Board of Rabbis, in response to Tomasi's craven finger-pointing: "Comparative tragedy is a dangerous path on which to travel. All of us need to look within our own communities. Child abuse is sinful and shameful and we must expel them immediately from our midst." What a concept.