Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, March 22, 2012 10:56 pm

Finally, contraception even the Roman Catholic Church can love; or, It’s time to pick a side

Filed under: Evil — Lex @ 10:56 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I’m finally getting a little caught up on outside reading tonight, and, dear God, I wish I hadn’t:

At least 10 teenage boys or young men under the age of 21 were surgically castrated “to get rid of homosexuality” while in the care of the Dutch Roman Catholic Church in the 1950s.

Evidence of the castrations has emerged amid controversy that it was not included in the findings of an official investigation into sexual abuse within the church last year.

The NRC Handelsblad newspaper identified Henk Heithuis who was castrated in 1956, while a minor, after reporting priests to the police for abusing him in a Catholic boarding home.

Joep Dohmen, the investigative journalist who uncovered the Heithuis case, also found evidence of at least nine other castrations. “These cases are anonymous and can no longer be traced,” he said. “There will be many more. But the question is whether those boys, now old men, will want to tell their story.”

Mr Heithuis died in a car crash in 1958, two years after being castrated at the age of 20, while under the age of majority, which was then 21.

In 1956 he had accused Catholic clergy of sexually abusing him in his Church run care home.

Two clergymen were convicted of abuse but Mr Heithuis, a victim, was nonetheless transferred by police to a Catholic psychiatric hospital before being admitted to the St. Joseph Hospital in Veghel later that year.

There, court papers confirm, he was castrated “at his own request”, despite no submission of his written consent. Sources told Mr Dohmen that the surgical removal of testicles was regarded as a treatment for homosexuality and also as a punishment for those who accused clergy of sexual abuse.

Cornelius Rogge, 79, a well-known Dutch sculptor whose family knew Mr Heithuis in the 1950s, reported the castration to an official inquiry into abuse within the Catholic Church. But his evidence was ignored.

“We once asked Henk to drop his pants when the women were gone. He did that. He was maimed totally. It was a huge shock,” he said.

Last December, an official investigation by Wim Deetman, a former Dutch minister, received 1,800 reports of sexual abuse by clergy or volunteers within Dutch Catholic dioceses in the period since 1945.

The Deetman inquiry received a report of the Heithuis case from Mr Rogge but it was not followed up because “there were few leads for further research”.

Evidence emerged on Monday that government inspectors were aware that minors were being castrated while in Catholic-run psychiatric institutions.

Minutes of meetings held in the 1950s show that inspectors were present when castrations were discussed. The documents also reveal that the Catholic staff did not think parents needed to be involved.

There are also allegations that Vic Marijnen, a former Dutch Prime Minister, who died in 1975, was linked to the case.

In 1956, Mr Marijnen was the chairman of the Gelderland children’s home where Mr Heithuis and other children were abused. He intervened to have prison sentences dropped against several priests convicted of abusing children.

Dutch MPs will today call for a parliamentary investigation into the allegations.

Hey, on the bright side, at least none of those boys grew up to father children who would be aborted.

**drinks entire beer in one gulp**

Where to begin?

Well, let’s begin by making the lines of responsibility and accountability clear. The Roman Catholic Church — or, at least, the Latin Church, which is what most people are talking about in Western Europe and the Americas when they talk about Catholicism — isn’t like Baptists, where each congregation is autonomous, or like Presbyterians or Methodists, which are national denominations with policymaking done by an assembly of clergy and laity. No, the Latin Church is authoritarian and hierarchical: Policy is set in Rome, and Rome, as every pope since John XXIII has shown, demands absolute fealty, the needs of the flock be damned. And those popes have demanded that that fealty take the form of obstructing justice, intimidating witnesses, aiding and abetting first-degree sexual assault tens of thousands of times over the decades, and absolutely refusing to take any kind of responsibility for the most monstrous clerical behavior in the West since the Inquisition.

We are now drowning in evidence that the Roman Catholic Church is, and has been for decades, a continuing criminal enterprise of the type described in the Racketeering-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. That the Justice Department has refused, under presidents of both parties, to investigate it as the law and justice demand does not change this basic fact.

But, you know, political cravenness and corruption, I can understand, if not tolerate. Here’s what I can’t understand. It’s a serious question directed at my Catholic friends, and it’s not rhetorical: I want a direct, honest answer, right here in the comments.

How can you continue to support this? Because every single time you drop a dollar in the collection plate or spend an hour serving on a board, that’s what you’re doing. Unless you are, yourself, taking out pedophile priests or turning state’s evidence while remaining a church member, you are part of the problem. Because this organization is uniquely resistant to change from within. Let’s be clear: That is not happening in our lifetimes, and if you think it is, you are mentally ill.

So you have a choice to make. Are you going to support the continuing criminal enterprise? Or are you going to let the tens of thousands of victims, with their bloody anuses and their charred souls, know that you hear their cries?

I don’t give a damn how valuable your Catholic heritage is to you, because everything that is most important about your relationship to the Church, you can take with you when you go: your faith, your memories, your ability and willingness to show and be Christ’s love in the world. And if, after all these years of disgusting revelations without any sign of real contrition, real repentance, from the institution or the individuals who run it, you can still bring yourself to contribute anything more than an upraised middle finger to this vile parody of Christ’s love, then you are just as much a criminal as they are.

Most of us in Western society get to bumble along through life’s many shades of ethical gray without having to make a lot of stark moral choices, and thank God for that. The grays are hard enough to navigate, but the stakes are lower.

But this? This is as stark as it gets, it is not going away, and the longer you put off a decision, the greater your complicity. Pick a side.Right now. You can pick the criminals or the kids, but you’ve got to choose. And if you choose the criminals, then God help you, because I sure as hell won’t.

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