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Patriarchy’s Role in Shielding Pedophile Priests

Vatican Warned Bishops Not to Report Child Abuse. Vatican Shielded Dublin Priest Until He Raped Boy in Pub, Inquiry Says. Pope Lashes Out at Belgium After Raid on Church (investigating sexual abuse by clerics).

All are New York Times headlines revealing Vatican efforts to shield pedophile priests – and itself. I could go on.

Odd that the Church, which incessantly preaches morality to the masses, is so unconcerned with its own.

In stark contrast, a Catholic nun was immediately excommunicated for saving a woman’s life. Sister Margaret was senior administrator of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix when a 27-year-old mother of four arrived, suffering from pulmonary hypertension. Doctors determined the condition would likely kill her. So Sister Margaret okayed an abortion in the eleventh month of pregnancy to save her life.

Even when priests are defrocked for pedophilia they are not normally excommunicated, remaining able to take the sacrament.

The Vatican shielding pedophile priests while excommunicating life-saving nuns seems nonsensical. Confusing.

Yet one thing ties it all together: a rabid support of patriarchy. Really, patriarchy in its old sense: “rule of the fathers.” Or in this case, church fathers.

In patriarchy’s origins, old men ruled young men and women. Such is the case here. Old men are free to do as they will, while young boys must take what they get. Women are not allowed to control their bodies, or let their lives be saved. Old men control all.

Even Mel Gibson’s staunch rejection of birth control and Vatican II liberalization had seemed odd to me, given the many movies he appeared in promoting sex and violence. Not to mention real-life adultery and battering. Until I realized that the consistency in his life is patriarchy, as well. Men doing as they please, sleeping with whomever they wish (despite church prohibitions). But not allowing a wife to control he own womb (suddenly he cares that the church prohibits birth control). And feeling entitled to lash out and “discipline” women at will.

Vatican patriarchy has certainly not been good for women or children, inflicting suffering upon the “minions.”

Georgia Platts

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Standing Up for Mel Gibson… and Chris Brown?

Apparently, Mel Gibson isn’t the only one who feels that his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva “f—ing deserved it” when he hit her. Here’s one guys remark on the matter, posted to the MTV website: “Damn, it is going to be a pleasure to finally see oksana in prison. The ***** is a natural for it! If she pays attention, the inmates there will give her, her final training in how to be an effective porn star. Ah just luvly, the world is unfolding as it should, obviously!”

Written for shock value? Wouldn’t surprise me. But the comment reminded me that now and again a student of mine will defend a batterer when we discuss domestic violence in the Psychology of Women course that I teach.

When the subject of Chris Brown was brought up one day, a student I’ll call Ed opined, “Well, Rihanna deserved it.”

I asked what made him think so.

“He told her to get in the car like four times, but she wouldn’t do it.”

To which I responded, “Four times? Oh, now I totally get it.”

“Well, maybe it was five or six times.”

Tapping my forehead with the palm of my hand, I exclaimed, “So Chris Brown beat Rihanna until she was bloody because she wouldn’t get in the car. Oh, now it all makes sense to me. Thanks for explaining!” Sarcasm in the classroom may not be a recommended method, but he did get the point – after a while.

Continuing I asked whether he would beat his dog or his child bloody if either of them refused to get in a car after being asked five times. No?

Turning to the broader context I added, “From what I understand Rihanna had discovered that a young woman had offered herself up for a booty call via text message, so she was pretty upset. Do you think someone would be more upset that their companion wouldn’t get in a car – after being asked five times – or if they learned their lover planned a sexual tryst with someone else later that evening?”

”And, why should Rihanna get in the car just because Chris told her to?”

While most of my students got the point, Ed didn’t until I asked, “What if the situation had been reversed? What if Chris Brown had discovered that Rihanna was expecting loving from someone else that night? How do you think he’d react?”

Another student gave a quick glance before shouting out, “Probably the same way – by beating her.”

Was Ed speaking in jest, like the MTV commenter cited above? Sadly, my sense is that even in this day in age, some young people still feel it makes sense for men to “discipline” women, and that women sometimes deserve to be hit.

Georgia Platts

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