Pope urged to force Pell to explain role in paedophile cover-up

pell

POPE Francis has been urged to force Cardinal George Pell to explain any involvement he may have had in the cover-up of paedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale.

Secret church documents tendered to a royal commission revealed that the Cardinal helped move Australia’s worst paedophile priest between parishes.

The move came decades after complaints were first made about Ridsdale and years before his last known offending.

It is not clear whether Cardinal Pell knew of the offending.

Now a social media campaign is demanding Pope Francis act on the stunning revelation.

Angry supporters of child sexual abuse victims are lobbying the pontiff on Twitter to take immediate action to force Cardinal Pell to appear at the commission.

There have also been calls for his sacking.

Pope Francis promoted Cardinal Pell, a former archbishop of Sydney and Melbourne, to the newly created position of Prefect of the new Secretariat for the Economy last year.

While the Vatican is yet to comment on the latest revelations it is expected they will mount increased pressure on the Cardinal.

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43 thoughts on “Pope urged to force Pell to explain role in paedophile cover-up

  1. Now that the recent court case I have been involved in is over and I can talk about some of the issues related to this crime, I want to bring the whole utilitarianism issue up again.

    From;
    http://philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/7639/how-to-use-act-utilitarianism

    “John Smith, M.D., is a psychiatrist with a private practice. He has been extremely successful in helping child-abusing parents. Many of his clients have sent him others; at present, nearly seventy per cent of his clients are people who have physically, mentally, or sexually abused their children.

    Dr. Smith’s provision of effective therapy is not the only reason for his exceptional concentration on child-abusing clients. He also systematically refuses to report child-abuse cases to the authorities, and he includes no mention of child abuse in his clients’ files. Because of this, a number of his clients are serious abusers who have not previously sought counselling and who will not take their abused children to physicians because of their fear of being reported to authorities. Dr. Smith believes that by rigorously protecting confidentiality, he is able to help precisely those people who are most likely to injure their children.

    Now I have to use the Act-Utilitarianism and define in which way Dr. Smith action is affecting the people affected by his action. Now my instructor told me to use numbers in terms of the amount of happiness that either created or lost. For instance, Dr. Smith action creates 5 point happiness for the parents but -6 for the affected children. Now I could just randomly assign numbers to those cases, but that does not seem right. So I am asking you guys how you would approach this case by using numbers to define the amount of happiness. Thank you.

    Daniel”

    Now let’s see how utilitarianism actually helps to foster this crime.

    Change the titles a bit – instead of a psychiatrist substitute Catholic Priest. Instead of Dr Smith substitute Cardinal Pell (remember that he once said that he would treat the matter of paedophilia as a matter not to be disclosed, under the seal of confession).

    Seal of Confession? Roman Catholics are happy to confess all sorts of crimes under the seal of confession and not be reported to the authorities by priests violating the seal of confession. In fact many do. Thus crimes such as Pell is accused of knowing about, go unpunished because the majority of the RC’s expect the seal of confession not to be broken.

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    • *Sigh* “Now let’s see how utilitarianism actually helps to foster this crime.”

      Then you go on to imply that “the seal of confession” is an example of utilitarianism, somehow, without explaining how.

      You actually touch on a (legitimate IMHO) criticism of utilitarian ethics, but I doubt you realise it.

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      • Stu,

        The Bible never ever gave permission to confess our sins to other people (unless we have wronged them and is part of our restitution to the wronged party).

        Try teaching what the Bible’s position on confession, seal of confession, etc. really means to the average Catholic, and you will soon find out how hard it is for him/her to stop confessing to priests. In the case of catholics, it is easier and more dignified to confess to a priest than to the person you have wronged. It is easier to confess to a priest because the priest cannot force you to endure the consequences of your actions (eg restitution), without breaching the seal of confession (such as going to cops, etc).

        And this is where utilitarianism comes in. Because utilitarianism’s aim is to promote the idea that “greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the guiding principle of conduct”:
        – The Biblical position on confession is rejected because it would hold far more people accountable for their actions than the Catholic rite of reconciliation does. The greatest amount of people are not happy to be held accountable.
        – Because the happiness of the greatest amount of people rests on not being held accountable for their actions, they are unlikely to seek to redress a wrong or provide restitution to those they have wronged. The whole rite of confession is an utilitarian tactic of avoiding responsibility for one’s action.
        – It is utterly degrading and humiliating for one to meet face to face with their victims. This does not promote the “greatest happiness of the greatest number of people”. Therefore it is rejected in favour of utilitarianism. Rite of confession and reconciliation as practiced by Catholicism allows them a way of escape.

        In fact I would go as far as to say that utilitarianism does not work; instead of curbing the evils it allegedly curbs, it allows them to flourish.

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    • @ davinci: As to be expected, you have provided a veritable word salad, peppered with baseless assertions, and which doesn’t address the point.

      “Because the happiness of the greatest amount of people rests on not being held accountable for their actions…”

      How? And how is confession an example of pursuing “the happiness of the greatest amount of people”?

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      • I have written:

        “In the case of catholics, it is easier and more dignified to confess to a priest than to the person you have wronged.”

        “they are unlikely to seek to redress a wrong or provide restitution to those they have wronged.”

        “– It is utterly degrading and humiliating for one to meet face to face with their victims.”

        Does that clarify your question Stu?

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      • “Does that clarify your question Stu?”

        No. The key word you are ignoring is “how”. Explain how confession maximises utility.

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      • You could just as easily make the broad sweeping statement that :

        In the case of christians, it is easier and more dignified to pray to God for forgiveness than talk to the person you have wronged

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      • Stu,

        “No. The key word you are ignoring is “how”. Explain how confession maximises utility.”

        I answered this question:

        “It is utterly degrading and humiliating for one to meet face to face with their victims.”

        The question you should be asking is why the Catholics are prepared to confess their sins to a priest instead of going to those they have offended and confess how they wronged them and ask for the wronged person’s forgiveness. Jesus made it clear that confession to a priest is not the answer, when He said:

        “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you;Leave there your gift before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Mat. 5:23,24

        I can guarantee that if this passage was made mandatory under cannon law, fewer people would sin, because they would soon learn how bitter it is to seek the forgiveness of those whom they have wronged, every time they sin against someone.

        But instead of obeying the Scripture and taking note of the passages that safeguard entrance of sins such as paedophilia, the RC has brought in utilitarian measures such as confession, seal of confession, etc. because people are more happier to follow a religion that does not strike at their wicked deeds.

        Cardinal Pell has made the following comment regarding the seal of confession:

        “If that is done outside the confessional (it can be reported to the police)…. (But) the Seal of Confession is inviolable. If the priest knows beforehand about such a situation, the priest should refuse to hear the confession… That would be my advice, and I would never hear the confession of a priest who is suspected of such a thing.” (Wilkipaedia – Article on Cardinal Pell).

        Meanwhile the Bible says:

        “But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the LORD.” Isaiah 26:10

        When Pell uses words such as “can be reported”, “seal of confession inviolable”, he is not arguing from a scriptural base but an utilitarian base.

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      • @ davinci: “I answered this question:”

        Which is clearly not the question I actually asked.

        “The question you should be asking…”

        I will decide the questions I ask and the circumstances in which I ask them.

        As for Pell using a “utilitarian base” is it worth me asking “how” yet again? I doubt it. In the meantime, we can dismiss your baseless assertion.

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  2. I know definitions of utilitarianism frequently mention happiness, but I think we should look more to the base of the word – utility. This implies usefulness, and so benefit, rather than happiness.

    It’s nice to see people happy, but not always is happiness a means to learn the lessons of this life, although I’m sure it can be useful in some instances. For learning these lessons perhaps something more utilitarian than happiness is needed.

    I don’t know if I’m making sense! 🙂

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      • Would anyone have a (simple) explanation/teaching on ‘separation of church and state’ they could give me to read up on please, as I really do not understand its implications for Australia? I’ve listened to/read lots on this subject re USA, but what about us? My understanding concerning this subject is very limited and I would really like to learn more. I’m here to learn, so please don’t look down on me for asking. Thank you.

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      • Hi Mon. The concept of “separation of church and state” usually refers to the degree of distance between an established religion and the government.

        Ultimately, that degree of distance depends on where you are. In Australia, there are references to the Christian God in the Constitution, but the same document stops Parliament from making laws to establish a state religion or make religious affiliation a prerequisite for holding a certain official position.

        However, our de facto monarch us also the “defender” of the Anglican Church, so we have a conflict of interest.

        You really need to look at every individual country to see where degree of separation lies.

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      • Thanks very much Stu.

        I never realized that it was dependent on the “degree” of distance of separation for each country. I thought that the rules of separation were pretty much the same for countries like England, USA and us. It makes sense to me now—Cheers.

        But why is Phillip George in such a huff with any Christian who believes in the separation of church and state? I would have thought it a good thing (and the Christian ethos) to allow for religious freedom in a multicultural society. But can politicians really separate their religious beliefs from their civic duties? As I read recently, “A person of faith cannot separate religious beliefs from his or her thoughts and actions any more than you can separate your central nervous system from your body. Your faith, if genuine, controls your every move, your every thought. Faith is not something you “put on” when convenient. Either you are a person of faith, or not.”

        Yes, I agree, but that should not be licence to enact laws that take away our freedoms….surely not? Lots to think about. 🙂

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      • The state doesn’t tell you what religion you have to belong to, restrict religious freedoms or establish religious tests.

        The church doesn’t tell the government how the country should really be run, or tell their parishioners how to vote.

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      • Hey Mon – this article from the Huffington Post might offer a good explanation for the likes of PhillipGeorge – I’m betting he’s an answer “B” kind of guy.

        How to Determine If Your Religious Liberty Is Being Threatened in Just 10 Quick Questions

        1. My religious liberty is at risk because:

        A) I am not allowed to go to a religious service of my own choosing.
        B) Others are allowed to go to religious services of their own choosing.

        2. My religious liberty is at risk because:

        A) I am not allowed to marry the person I love legally, even though my religious community blesses my marriage.
        B) Some states refuse to enforce my own particular religious beliefs on marriage on those two guys in line down at the courthouse.

        3. My religious liberty is at risk because:

        A) I am being forced to use birth control.
        B) I am unable to force others to not use birth control.

        4. My religious liberty is at risk because:

        A) I am not allowed to pray privately.
        B) I am not allowed to force others to pray the prayers of my faith publicly.

        5. My religious liberty is at risk because:

        A) Being a member of my faith means that I can be bullied without legal recourse.
        B) I am no longer allowed to use my faith to bully gay kids with impunity.

        6. My religious liberty is at risk because:

        A) I am not allowed to purchase, read or possess religious books or material.
        B) Others are allowed to have access books, movies and websites that I do not like.

        7. My religious liberty is at risk because:

        A) My religious group is not allowed equal protection under the establishment clause.
        B) My religious group is not allowed to use public funds, buildings and resources as we would like, for whatever purposes we might like.

        8. My religious liberty is at risk because:

        A) Another religious group has been declared the official faith of my country.
        B) My own religious group is not given status as the official faith of my country.

        9. My religious liberty is at risk because:

        A) My religious community is not allowed to build a house of worship in my community.
        B) A religious community I do not like wants to build a house of worship in my community.

        10. My religious liberty is at risk because:

        A) I am not allowed to teach my children the creation stories of our faith at home.
        B) Public school science classes are teaching science.

        Scoring key:

        If you answered “A” to any question, then perhaps your religious liberty is indeed at stake. You and your faith group have every right to now advocate for equal protection under the law. But just remember this one little, constitutional, concept: this means you can fight for your equality — not your superiority.

        If you answered “B” to any question, then not only is your religious liberty not at stake, but there is a strong chance that you are oppressing the religious liberties of others. This is the point where I would invite you to refer back to the tenets of your faith, especially the ones about your neighbours

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-emily-c-heath/how-to-determine-if-your-religious-liberty-is-being-threatened-in-10-questions_b_1845413.html.

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      • Thanks Bubba,

        Good stuff! Easy for me to comprehend. And yes, what a turn around for Ireland….but that I can understand. It’s like a pendulum, isn’t it? Severe religious (like parental) oppression, only breeds contempt and rebellion in the end. I went to a Catholic Primary School decades ago. They were all Irish Nuns and Priests and all bar one that I had anything to do with, were severe………….

        And the stories my Mum has told me about what the religious in her country got away with all those years ago…..shock horror! Even my Dad witnessed sexual perversion by the very ones (Christian) that were meant to protect them at school. That kind of religion does more harm than good.

        We seem to be coming to our senses though, and thinking for ourselves now, thank God!

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      • “But can politicians really separate their religious beliefs from their civic duties?”

        I believe some topics in parliament need a ‘vote of conscience’ to be called for, rather than individuals being required to follow the party line of either side..

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      • Bubba Ray

        For once I totally agree with you (the article you quoted from Huffington Post).

        You cannot force people to obey God against their own will. That is why Joshua (in spite of conquering Canaan and destroying Caananite religious centres) said “Choose you this day whom you will serve…”. Throughout the Bible you find that acceptable worship of God is based on choice, not forced conversion.

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    • Actually I am not confusing happiness with hedonism. I use the word “happy” in the sense of what people are prepared to put up with, what people are prepared to tolerate. Bryan for example, is quite happy to have GLBT with all that this implies, as part and parcel of Christianity. Notwithstanding this, he probably won’t go into a sexual or drunken orgy to celebrate this sort of tolerance.

      And when you think about it, happiness with a situation is the motivation behind what many people are prepared to accept readily.

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      • Riiiiight because you can’t possibly be of LGBT orientation without regularly participating in drunken orgies.

        Your prejudices are showing

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      • “Actually I am not confusing happiness with hedonism.”

        Maybe not. However, given repeated requests for you to demonstrate that the maximisation of utility is the basis of the motives of the Catholic Church in certain certain areas, Strewth and I can be forgiven for speculating.

        For the same reason, I’m less inclined than Bryan to look as kindly of your apparent linking of homosexuality with “drunken orgies”.

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      • Hi Bryan,

        Why the link then between orgies and tolerance of LGBT? Why would one follow the other ?

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      • Well I dunno Bubba. But I don’t think davinci was implicating me in orgies or whatever. Perhaps a strange link but I’m not offended. I don’t know any gay friends who go to orgies either. Perhaps davinci watches too much Fox News.

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      • The Bible uses phrases like “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” and “pleasures of sin for a season” to describe people who are uncomfortable with the truth, by striking at the foundational motives which makes them uncomfortable with the truth.

        Those to whom these phrases actually apply to, often deny that the Bible describes them, by interpreting these phrases as the type of hedonism that was practiced in St Paul’s times, involving orgies, drunkedness, (or a combination of both). This is a common understanding of these phrases within the type of Christian community that advocates inclusion of the GLBT (and of which Bryan is a member). Hence my association between hedonism and orgies, etc.

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      • Do you not allow Gays at your church, davinci?

        I’m sure they did at the last church I attended because I never heard a word preached against it, and I attended several times a week for nearly three years. It was a large church so I wouldn’t have had a clue who was and who wasn’t, and I really didn’t care to know anyway. Why should I?

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      • Rob Buckingham finishes this video with these words:

        Whatever you think of homosexuality remember that every person is loved by God and every person is loved by Jesus and when He was on the cross He died for every person and that our calling is to love our neighbour as we love ourselves. It’s just as if they were us. Lord God I pray help us as a church to reach out to everyone with your love and grace, with your kindness, with your tolerance, with your patience. Lord God I pray, forgive us and forgive the Christian Church for giving this world the notion that You are anti-homosexual. Lord God I thank You that You are not anti-anyone, that You are for us, for You so loved the world that You gave, that whoever. May this truth settle in our hearts and change our lives and through us change the lives of others, we pray in Jesus name.

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      • Monica,

        Do I allow homosexuals at my church? Let’s see:

        Group 1 homosexuals
        They don’t identify themselves as such, and we don’t ask our visitors to identify themselves as straight or otherwise. Because we don’t know what is in their hearts we allow them, as well as anyone else that wants to attend church.

        Group 2 homosexuals
        Identify themselves as such and also make known a desire to repent and be converted. We actually welcome them and will give them every support in their endeavour to overcome their sinful lifestyle.

        Group 3 homosexuals
        Don’t identify themselves as such. Become church members and we find out what they are. These get excommunicated, because the Bible tells us that before baptism people have to bring forth fruits of repentance. These are not treated any differently than any other group of people who are guilty of sins they should have repented of before baptism. Nevertheless, these type of homosexuals are not barred from attending church, should they so desire if excommunicated.

        Group 4 homosexuals
        These not only identify as such, but are activists with the agenda of changing church doctrines to allow and support the homosexual lifestyle and sexuality. If they come to church and merely sit there silently, they are permitted to do so. If they come to church and start pushing homosexuality then they are forbidden to stay there.

        Group 5 Homosexuals
        This group has striven to hide their inclinations and has been identified because they were caught out committing a crime (usually against children). We don’t want to have anything to do with this group.

        Which group did you have in mind Monica? Come to think of it, which group does Bryan have in mind?

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      • Sounds fair to me davinci. I’ve never had anything to do with church leadership so was just wondering. Yes, I think that’s very fair. Thanks.

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      • Yeah Bryan,

        What if ‘gluttons’ were on the church’s hit list instead? Could you imagine half- empty auditoriums, stadiums and churches/mega-churches? Do you think there are fat, obese and morbidly obese saints in Heaven? 😉

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      • Um sounds a lot like group five should be paedophiles rather than homosexuals.

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    • No you have it all wrong strewth.

      You are ignoring the fact that usefulness is subservient to happiness in utilitarianism. Allow me to demonstrate.

      The German people were once happy to embrace the concept of racial purity; the utilitarian tactics to achieve this was a holocaust which was believed as being utilitarian (or useful) in removing racially impure strains from within the german Aryan race.

      Peter Singer would have severely disabled people murdered because murder serves a utilitarian purpose in achieving happiness. In this case happiness of those who would otherwise be unhappy in looking after a disabled person.

      The Catholic Church is happy to cover up child molesting under the seal of confession. The seal of confession is a utilitarian (or useful) measure in not talking to police about priests caught up in this sin. The seal of confession is a utilitarian or useful measure in not revealing to the Church at large, why child molesting priests should be immediately excommunicated as the Bible says they should be.

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      • Davinci “You are ignoring the fact that usefulness is subservient to happiness in utilitarianism. ”

        You have a strange notion of what constitutes a fact. Utility can be measured in many way with happiness and/or the absence of suffering being the most common measures.

        The Nazi did what did because they were irrational racists. Peter Singer does not advocate “murdering” disabled people to make their carers “happy”. Provide the reference quoting him if you think I’m wrong.

        You imply that doing something anything that is done purely because individual or group thinks that it is “useful” to them, equates to utilitarianism. This is clearly wrong, as any rudimentary research on the subject will show.

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      • Stu

        “You imply that doing something anything that is done purely because individual or group thinks that it is “useful” to them, equates to utilitarianism. This is clearly wrong, as any rudimentary research on the subject will show.”

        Meanwhile Strewth wrote:

        “I know definitions of utilitarianism frequently mention happiness, but I think we should look more to the base of the word – utility. This implies usefulness, and so benefit, rather than happiness.”

        To which you wrote:

        “Well said Strewth….”

        Clearly Stu you are irrational.

        Want more?

        You started this argument about paedophilia with the words that it can be cured using utilitarianism.

        Yet when I pointed out the example from Stack Exchange, you wrote:

        “You actually touch on a (legitimate IMHO) criticism of utilitarian ethics, but I doubt you realise it.”

        Clearly you are irrational because after suggesting utilitarianism as a solution to child abuse, you recognised that there is a legitimate criticism of utilitarian ethics… when I asked the readers to replace the word psychiatrist with priest.

        Clearly you are irrational when you fail to recognise the fact that practices within Catholicism instead of solving the child abuse problem, they actually foster by removing the checks and balances that the Christian Scriptures had put in place; child abuse is just one by-product of removing such checks and balances.

        Jesus made the point when He said:
        “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you” meaning that some problems are the by-products of other causes not directly related to the problems at hand. Consequently, remove the underlying problems and you eliminate the by-products.

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      • @davinci:

        “Clearly Stu you are irrational.”

        Yet you think it rational to quote chunks of text and then fail to address any relevant points.

        “You started this argument about paedophilia with the words that it can be cured using utilitarianism.”

        I have never said anything that remotely supports this statement. Falsely attributing words to people seems to be a habit with you.

        “…you recognised that there is a legitimate criticism of utilitarian ethics…”

        And you still haven’t been able to work out what my criticism actually is.

        “…you fail to recognise the fact that practices within Catholicism…”

        Wrong again. I actually agree that church practices, including confession, can contribute to children abuse. But that’s not the issue here. The issue is that you falsely attribute these actions to utilitarian ethics, by repeatedly making the same baseless assertions.

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      • Ok Stu

        you claim that I put words in your mouth, by writing:

        “You started this argument about paedophilia with the words that it can be cured using utilitarianism.”

        I have never said anything that remotely supports this statement. Falsely attributing words to people seems to be a habit with you.

        Let’s have a look at what you wrote on April 10 2015 when we were discussing legitimacy for MBLAA to exist:

        “Objections to organisations like the one above can be made using an objective and rational ethical system like utilitarianism (as an example).”

        You are not only irrational, you are a liar as well. You are a liar because objections to organisations like MBLAA or Catholic Church paedophilia only exist because the purpose of these objections is against the very existence of paedophilia.

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      • Davinci:

        The statements “paedophilia can be cured using utilitarianism” and “objections to paedophilia can be made using an objective and rational ethical system like utilitarianism” are not remotely similar in any way.

        The second statement can be attributed to me, the first cannot.

        I understand that English is not your first language, so you may wish to find a native speaker with reasonable comprehension skills to vet your comments before calling me irrational or a liar.

         “You are a liar because objections to organisations like MBLAA or Catholic paedophilia Church only exist because the purpose of these objections is against the very existence of paedophilia.”

        I have no idea what you are trying say here.

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  3. It’s kind of ironic the the moves made years ago to protect the Church and it’s good name have contributed so much to the fall of the Church as a moral authority.

    30 years ago could anybody imagine the people of Ireland overwhelmingly voting against the wishes of the Church on a moral topic?

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    • 500 years ago, the Roman Catholic Church was extorting money from people through indulgences. The Bible says that you break one commandment of God, you break them all (James 2:10).

      300 years ago the Roman Catholic Church so oppressed the French that in outrage the French had a revolution and modern atheism was born.

      30 years ago the Church covered child abuse cases, despite the fact that the Bible supports severe punishment for this sort of abuse.

      Like

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