Tuesday, July 22, 2003


Roman Catholic priest Paul R. Shanley of Boston is now reported to have paid to rape boys and sharing them with other men:
One alleged victim said in an affidavit that a man he met as a teen through his church would send him to Shanley, who would molest him and send him back with an envelope of money, some of which the boy would keep.

The "deliveries" continued over many years, according to the affidavit. When the alleged victim was 17, he said, the priest began taking him to bars, and would bring the teenager for games of spin-the-bottle with groups of older men.

Now the fact is that sin will rear its head anywhere. One cannot indict all Catholic priests because of the (severe) failings of a few.

What this does do, however, is show the dangers of 'institutionalizing' religion. The Catholic church--along with many other denominations--has a bureaucracy worthy of the grand dreams of Hillary's health care plan. When that happens you find institutions that are interested only in perpetuating themselves rather than in fulfillling the role for which they were founded. Government agencies, for example, never go away--their full time job becomes justifying their existence. This helps us understand very clearly why predators such as Shanley were protected for decades.

That's why when we read the New Testament we find no evidence of denominational superstructures; we find no complex hierarchy. We find the local church overseen by elders. When we go beyond that we'll always run into trouble.

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