pink_trike wrote:Lay members of the Catholic Church and many in the general public were well aware of the corruption within the Church for decades before scandals finally started getting media attention. The belief that priests and the church were beyond criticism resulted in an absence of public dialogue which in turn allowed the corruption to continue and grow to massive proportions. As a result, countless children / adult survivors of abuse needlessly suffered. ....
This code of silence that exists to protect the reputation of the institution was, in both cases, taught by the institutions. The only way corruption stops is when the laity stops being the bearers of the secrets......
Sources please.......If this is your personal opinion, you're entitled to it, though a clear statement that it's your opinion would have been nice. Otherwise, a sweeping criticism of 60+ million lay American Catholics needs some substantiation. Example: someone I'm very close to is Catholic and was unaware of the sexual abuse by priests until it was made public and confirmed.
If you're only saying that some laity and some general public were aware, that's fine too. Then how about some documention of what percentage of the laity knew about abuse? But you should know very well the dynamics of vicitimization if you're a therapist (which I saw you mention in another post, I believe - correct me if I'm wrong). Victims don't go around spreading the word of their abuse - quite the contrary.
Please provide the numbers. Otherwise, opinions arent very useful.
I'm not aware of any statistical documentation of how many Catholics were aware of the corruption before it hit the media. Generally, well-kept communal secrets aren't polled. Having grown up in a small city with a huge Catholic population in the 60s and 70s, I know that the corruption was well known but not addressed directly. Instead, it was commonly addressed by adults through "jokes" about being careful around priests. Even comedians on tv joked about it in the 70s - it was that widely known. It was also widely reported among my peers which priests to stay away from. This type of prevalent, indirect communication was with purpose - to warn children. It was the only way that the issue could be widely addressed publicly - and this type of communication should be respected for what it was/is. Naturally, there are no statistics that document how prevalent this awareness was, or how extensive the denial was, but having lived all over the country I'm aware that my city wasn't unique in this respect at all. Communities of people are frequently much smarter and much more aware than they are given credit for - often knowing things very clearly that they aren't allowed to speak publicly - and devising work-arounds to make sure the info spreads anyway.
I disagree that "opinions" and observations aren't useful. They only become a problem when we believe they are solid and when we become attached to them too deeply (or react to other people's opinions too strongly). Our experiences as humans are all we have to work with as we attempt to manage human society. The more direct our communication is, and the less denial we engage in, the more effectively we work with circumstances. Publicly sharing our experiences and observations and by extension, our opinions, are a necessary part of life. I have opinions. So do you. So does everybody. They are valuable, particularly if they are held in the service of the larger community.
I do understand the dynamics of victimization, having worked with both child and adult survivors of abuse...the dynamics don't stop with the person who was directly victimized - they ripple out through the extended community and frequently the community will attempt to silence the victims in the interests of the institution's reputation or because of fear of punishment by the institution, or fear of punishment in some imagined next life. Denial and worship/fear of power results in a "don't rock the boat" mentality that enables more victimization and denial. The only way that entrenched corruption in the Catholic Church was at least partially stopped was when victims from all over the world started going to the press and retaining lawyers. Too bad it had to come to that, and too bad that we are still a culture of abuse and silence, even after all the exposure that has taken place in recent years.
Any monk in Thailand that is engaging in any corrupt activity is victimizing the laity and other monks, as well as damaging the institution. More exposure and dialogue, not less, is needed if the institution that was designed to contain and protect the Dharma is to remain viable and respected. Real respect is always earned, and not just a mere protocol that is concretized by power, fear, denial, community pressure, or blind religiosity.