Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. Founded by Mark Kleiman (1951-2019)
Sexual predation in the Catholic Church
The pope’s letter to the Irish continues the church’s long-time strategy of attending to the welfare (and self-regard) of church officials, from abusive priests up. An apology with no action in this context and for offenses this vile is about making the apologizer feel better about himself, not about the victims, just as keeping the abuse secret and passing predatory priests from parish to parish with a dose of prayer and self-reflection is about being able to pretend that they aren’t evil. As long as it goes on in that mode the church will continue to rot away from within, especially as long as church policy is to instruct priests and higherups to commit misprision of felony.
Maybe the problem is theological: if what really matters is the status of immortal souls after death, the victims are not at any special risk there and the abusers and their enablers are in good shape if they stay current with their confessions, which is more likely if they are comforted in the bosom of the church than if they are given to the cruel ministry of a penitentiary. I don’t recall anyone putting that theory forward, but there it is. If your principal reality is something no-one has ever checked out or reported back from, all sorts of sick stuff is possible.
Still, the church exists in our world, and what most surprises me about the whole ghastly history to this point is how the princes of a two-millenium-old and generally pretty successful enterprise could go on screwing up so badly. This cancer has popped up sequentially in at least five countries; wouldn’t someone, after theÂ American cases were revealed and their toxicity demonstrated, wonder if there wasn’t something to get ahead of in other places?Â How are the Vatican higher-ups thinking about the dog that hasn’t barked yet in Italy, France, Spain…that it’s a northern, Germanic/Celtic, thing and it doesn’t happen in Latin countries?Â Or are they thinking that it’s a matter of practice, learning to more effectively suppress the facts in places where they haven’t burst forth yet [good luck with that one]?
Or are they just irrational, inept, and crazy with fear and (I hope for their sakes), guilt?
Author: Michael O'Hare
Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training.
He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.
Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at UniversitÃ Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs.
At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4Ã—5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.
View all posts by Michael O'Hare
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