Thursday, September 9, 2010

Kirby explains the Catholic sex abuse cover-up

Paula Kirby, in an article on, provides a perfectly understandable (though still shocking) reason behind the Vatican-ordered cover-ups:

As soon as we understand that canon law deals only with sin and ‘the drama of redemption’, and that its foremost preoccupation when it comes to child sex abuse is the soul of the abuser, closely followed by the perceived need to protect other souls which might fall away if the church were brought into scandal and disrepute, everything about the shameful non-response of the Vatican falls into place and becomes clear.

Damn, she's right. It makes perfect sense: If we assume a priori that leaving Catholicism or failing to repent for a serious sin will result in eternal hellfire, then the rational decision stemming from that a priori assumption is to do exactly what the Catholic church did for decades. The emotional trauma of the victim is trivial compared to the perceived costs.

A conditional afterlife is perhaps the most poisonous religious belief, because it obliterates any proper evaluation of earthly (i.e. non-fake) priorities. Those religions that believe everybody gets to heaven can still distort priorities -- after all, everything in this life becomes less important if it is to be followed by an eternity of bliss -- but since it devalues all priorities by roughly the same amount, it does not have nearly the potential for disruption and hence is not nearly as dangerous.

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