The Catholic Church, Victim Blaming, and Rape Culture   2 comments


Content Note: Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church, Victim Blaming, Rape Culture

You may or may not have heard about Father Groeschel’s comments on sexual abuse. They’re pretty bad.

People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to — a psychopath. But that’s not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer … It’s not so hard to see — a kid looking for a father and didn’t have his own — and they won’t be planning to get into heavy-duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping but not having intercourse or anything like that.

I could go after the Catholic Church in the US for creating a culture where this kind of victim blaming awfulness can exist. Father Groeschel is a prominent figure, so it is really disturbing that he can think like this. If he wants to suggest that children are asking to be abused, he needs to a hell of a lot better than “It’s not so hard to see.” I have sure as hell never heard of a single case like that.

But I don’t know how helpful going off on the culture of the Catholic Church would be. It just alienates Catholics who are love their church, but are ignorant to the extent of some of its issues. I would rather reach out to those people. Furthermore, I think there’s hope for the next generation of Catholics. I think there is a lot of dynamism among conservative Catholic youths, and I think they could escape the kind of attitudes on display from Father Groeschel.

Catholics, you need to look into victim blaming and rape culture. It will make you a better Catholic in a way that doesn’t have to alienate you from the Catholic Church. Victim blaming and rape culture are both concepts that can shed light on Catholic understandings of  human dignity, the commodifcation of sexuality, and the preferential option for the poor. If you learn about victim blaming and rape culture, you will better understand the ways that modern society devalues and dehumanizes the least among us.

Catholics of all stripes need to take Father Groeschel’s disgusting, victim blaming attitude as an invitation to be better Catholics than Father Groeschel. If young Catholics possess the dynamism I think they have, they will not shrink away from the opportunity to look at an idea just because it comes from outside the Catholic Church, and I think the concepts of victim blaming and rape culture could both enrich the teachings of the Catholic Church.

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2 responses to “The Catholic Church, Victim Blaming, and Rape Culture

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  1. I’m a Catholic who is very much against victim blaming and rape culture. In some ways, these things don’t get talked about in the young conservative circles you mention because nobody wants to deal with them or think about them–especially those with sheltered backgrounds who can easily tell themselves that “it doesn’t happen as often as people claim.” Anyway, I speak out against these attitudes whenever I encounter them and try to educate myself about the topic. I’m sure you realize that victim blaming occurs outside of the Catholic Church as well, though.

    • I do realize that A LOT of victim blaming takes place outside the Catholic Church, but my background is from those young conservative Catholic circles. That’s a community that I feel like I can speak to and have a strong desire to change. So I do call out Catholics probably more than any other group, but that’s because that’s the group that I am still most familiar with.

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