There is sexual abuse that happens all over the place. It can happen between any two sort of people and within any organization. We’ve seen it from teachers, from coaches, at the college level, in the workplace, and from just about any sort of individual in just about any sort of profession. Sometimes it even gets covered up. People will go to great lengths to protect the people and institutions which are important to them. It’s disgusting and I don’t think any rational person is ever happy to hear about it.
One thing, however, that we don’t tend to see is a widespread culture of abuse and subsequent coverups within a field. The Penn State abuse with Sandusky, for instance, was awful and there are plenty of questionable things which happened with that, but that doesn’t mean it’s a staple of colleges to protect predators. That will happen on the individual level and in specific circumstances, but no one can say that there has been a national higher education sexual abuse scandal. Moreover, when abuse does it exposed, heads role.
In contrast to all this is the Catholic Church. The sexual abuse happens at the individual level and is not something which the Church condones, but the coverup has been systematic. It hasn’t been at just one Church or one Sunday School (like Penn State was at just Penn State), but rather the entire, far-reaching organization seems have had a hand in protecting itself. The moral compass of the Church has been awry for decades upon decades now.
I’m going to end this post here because it’s a little longer than I intended, but I have scheduled a post for tomorrow which will list out a number of examples of the systemic failure of the Catholic Church across Europe.