Sunday, April 11, 2010

Katherine Kersten: Sex Defender

Irony is always especially delicious when it involves Katherine Kersten. She has bemoaned the role of a permissive culture in child sex abuse many times.

In her aperiodic column in the Star Tribune today, however, a genuine “wails to rails” classic, Katie is full of righteous indignation that the Catholic clergy sex scandal, which has led to the Vatican’s door, is such a media story. Imagine! To save some of you a little work, here’s how she winds up:

The Catholic Church remains one of the last and strongest institutional voices to oppose today's fashionable catechism of political correctness. In this respect, it differs from mainline Protestant denominations, which have generally opted to play catch-up with the culture.

The media's sensationalistic crusade against clergy sexual abuse is not so much about protecting children as it is about discrediting the Catholic Church. If media pooh-bahs' [that one’s correct; plural possessive of pooh-bah] one-sided outrage can hobble the church's moral authority and sap its financial base, they will have removed a major obstacle to their agenda's triumph.

The media are trying, with the tacit approval of the dissolute Protestant church denominations, apparently, to destroy the Catholic Church’s mortal authority and “sap” its financial base?

Katie used to be a writer for the “X-Files.” You knew that, didn’t you?

The Catholic Church is doing a fine job of hobbling its moral authority all by itself, not only by because of the abuse, but because of the cover-up.

Rob Levine had another terrific post this week about the role of authoritarian upbringing in creating new little conservatives:

Certainly there are more cases of abuse than the 3 million reported cases. Stories like this one, Papal ally accused of 'ritual beatings': German bishop accused of hitting child with carpet beater at church-run home, have become commonplace. The accused Bishop, it turns out, is part of a "hardline conservative group of German Catholic Church leaders, to which the Pope belonged before his appointment to the Vatican."

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In the Catholic church, in particular, with the worldwide sexual abuse perpetrated by Catholic officials, and the accounts of physical abuse by those even close to the Pope himself, the abuse of children seems to be as much about controlling the abused and accustoming them to authoritarianism as it is about sexually-repressed Christian leaders.

Rob’s observation strikes at the crux of the matter; it’s authoritarianism that Kersten is really defending, embodied in the conservative Catholic hierarchy: “one of the last and strongest institutional voices to oppose today's fashionable catechism of political correctness.”

The abuse grows out of the authoritarianism. That is why the numbers of reported abuse cases in the Catholic Church are so much higher there; not because, as Kersten suggests, Catholics are better record keepers.

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