Tuesday, June 26, 2012

failing to prevent oneself from actively damaging kids

Even as it struggles with the revelations of sexual abuse and the failure of top officials to act, the Philadelphia Archdiocese, long considered an eminent stronghold of Catholic power and tradition, is being battered from several sides [emphasis added].  NYT
To act or not to act is not the question. The failure to act in this case is an action, ethically speaking. A person who watches someone burn when they could save them is acting. Lying in bed all day is an action. To exist is to act and the active/inactive spectrum by itself tells us little or nothing of these actions' ontological or ethical character but rather speaks to an everyday sensibility that may or may not have something to do with energy, movement, vegetation, animation...it's a distraction relying on semantic confusion...

Ah, but this discussion isn't even necessary here because it's quite misleading to say that "top officials" chose to let child abuse happen when they could have easily prevented it, which would have been horrible enough. They were not put in an unfortunate position, their options limited, victims of circumstances and third parties. They were not caught in the crossfire. They didn't try to do the right thing but gosh-darn everyone makes mistakes. They were not victims. They were causes. They were active in any sense you can think of, normal, weirdo-philosophical, or whatever. They created the problem, as is clear from the same article:
[T]he searing trial...ended Friday with the conviction of a senior Philadelphia archdiocese official, Msgr. William J. Lynn, on a charge of endangering children by placing a known pedophile in an unwary parish [emphasis added].  
The pedophile priests, almost all of whom went to Catholic schools or at least were raised in Catholic homes, are products of the Church. They were vetted by the Church. After demonstrating their predatory habits, they were set up by the Church to "sin" again. (And, come to think of it, this is telling. With the focus on sinning, wrong actions hurt God first and foremost, while victims' pain is always part of a test. Strike that "first and foremost," because this is only about God -- maybe this is a good time to mention that God is an authoritarian parent substitute? Victims' pain can't even be called "secondary" because without God, pain, pleasure, and humans don't matter. Nothing matters. This is why Catholics are so confused when non-religionists argue for humanist ethics. "Why do you care?," they wonder.)

Anyway, where was I? I guess just bringing attention to this propaganda technique: "failing to prevent bad things from happening [that were actually the predictably horrible consequences of one's own behavior]."

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