JULY 15 2010 09:19h
Just when we thought there might be a respite from sexual abuse and pedophilia charges within the Catholic church - first in Ireland, and then the U.S., Germany, and Austria - a recent police raid in Belgium brought the issue once more to the front pages of the worldwide media. Following an anonymous tip, investigators armed with crowbars and drills broke into the ancient cathedral’s burial chambers and drilled holes in the sarcophagi of two archbishops, this time in a search for “hidden archives on abuse within the Church. The aggressive and, according to many, “sacreligious”, break-in proved futile in the end, but nonetheless, as one report put it, “the Catholic map of the world is rapidly filling with new cases of abuse…it has long ago become a global problem.”
But is the Catholic church being unfairly targeted, and, if so, why? Are atheists innocent of child abuse, or Protestants, or Jews? While it is true that the Catholic church represents the largest single religious entity in the world, and wields great influence, should it therefore be held to a higher standard by the media? It doesn’t seem quite fair. After all, does a child suffer less agony, physical and emotional, from the illicit touch of an atheist, a rabbi, or a Protestant minister than that of a Catholic? Of course not. And should a pastor or a rabbi or an atheist be spared humiliation, disgrace, and public reprobation in the media and his community because he belongs to a smaller, non-Catholic religious denomination?
Many think not. Several organizations, concerned about offenses within their ranks, have moved to correct the situation. A monitoring group calling itself "Stop Baptist Predators" focuses specifically on offenses committed by Southern Baptist leaders, and has applied pressure on the Southern Baptists Convention to create a national sex offenders database to assist churches in their hiring processes.
Imams are not immune, either. In a 2005 story out from Pakistan during an AIDS day conference, one of the speakers, Dr. Liaquat Husain, explained the rampant spread of AIDS there by the problem of “sodomy in the madrassas.” He revealed that there had been in that year 500 reported cases of sexual abuse, none of which had been successfully prosecuted. There have also been recent instances of Bosnian imams molesting young girls, and in February 2010, an imam was accused of raping three boys. And although no official records seem to exist on the number and extent of such cases, Muslim leaders have expressed deep concern.
Judaism is also under scrutiny. Another group, comprised of Jews themselves, calls itself “The Awareness Center”, and for years now has been investigating and recording instances of sexual abuse involving rabbis and other Jewish religious leaders in world Jewish communities, via the International Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault. They have documented over 200 cases of abuse by rabbis, including serial sodomy, sexual molestation, and child pornography. One was even found to be a member of the “North American Man-Boy Love Association” (NAMBLA). While the watchdog group makes great efforts to keep the public informed, few of these cases have been investigated by the media, and certainly not with the aggressiveness and zeal shown toward the Catholic church.
The processes develop over time, little by little, so that man is scarcely aware of them. Like the story about the frog. If you throw a frog in boiling water, he'll jump out immediately, try to escape as quickly as possible to save his life. If you put him in cold water and increase the temperature little by little, he scarcely notices it, so he fails to react. When the temperature finally reaches the boiling point, the frog dies passively without putting up the least resistance.
That's what happened to our world. (To be continued)