Wednesday, September 28, 2005

"Protecting God's Children"????

Since I am teaching CCD at the parish this year I had to attend our diocese's "safe environment" program. The one we are using is called "VIRTUS - Protecting God's Children". The three-hour session I attended yesterday was largely a waste of time in my opinion. There are two videos shown where they interview a few victims of sexual abuse and two convicted pedophiles. My general impressions of the program were these:

1. They assume we are dummies who never talk to our kids, have no idea who they play with, whose house they are at, etc. etc. (maybe this is true in many quarters?????);

2. There was no mention of God in the program except in the title (in fact they state that we need to tell our kids that the reason we cover our body is for "health and safety" reasons. There is no mention of chastity, being made in the image and likeness of God, being a temple of the Holy Spirit, etc. etc.) - only temporal things seem to matter;

3. They imply that the scandal in Catholic Church for these past two years has everything to do with pedophilia - which we know is false;

4. They present common sense things as revolutionary ideas.... (for example: a. talk to your kids and find out who they are playing with and whose house they slept over last night.... or b. if you see someone, even if its a close friend, fondling your child, you should stop it....) Okay, an exaggeration-but not much;

5. They assume it is inevitable that a victim will have life-long, devastating scars (I dispute this one the grounds that: a. it is well-known that children tend to be more resilient and recover more quickly from terrible things than adults do; b. that a child who has a proper understanding of themselves and God and sin and forgiveness will cope better; and c. if the parent doesn't sweep it under the rug for fear of embarrassment as was done by the parents and the bishops in all these cases, but deals with the abuse and the child properly, the child will cope better also.) ; and

6. Suspicion is the order of the day. Trust no one.....especially anyone who wants to teach kids.....

Number 5 is important, because if VIRTUS is the model they are going to teach - they are correct. A victim will never recover. However, supposedly the Catholic Church proposes something better.........

Of course the origin of the VIRTUS program is dubious at best - I have not done the research myself, but I have a folder of emails from friends that claim to link VIRTUS to various evil organizations.

There is also a 3-session VIRTUS for children (starting in kintergarten). To our diocese's very partial credit, the last of the 3 sessions was scrapped as being too explicit, and the first two sessions are parental opt-in or opt-out sessions, depending on your parish.

I won't teach VIRTUS to my students - it is against my religion.

The 'facilitator' at the course my wife attended admitted that VIRTUS was being implemented because otherwise the insurance company threatened to cease coverage.

That's a great headline: "Insurance companies meet to discuss Catholic Church doctrine - US bishops provide rubber stamp!"

I have read the curriculum for the students - again God is largely absent! Temporal health and safety (and insurance premiums) are the concern of curriculum. Even if this curriculum were not taught in a public, co-ed setting, it is still problematic.

It is a longstanding Church teaching that parents have the priority and obligation of teaching - especially in sexual matters. The Church has always recommended that these teachings not occur in public settings, but in the home. If bishops and pastors don't believe the parents under their spiritual guidance have the ability to teach the Truth and the Faith - especially with respect to these matters in their homes, then the bishops and the pastors should assist the parents - NOT by taking on the parents responsibility, but by teaching the parents how to carry out their God-given responsibility....

Oh yes. I forget. This isn't about "Protecting God's Children" - it is about money, and placating an unplacatable media.....

I am sorry I am so cynical this morning, but this whole thing has me been upsetting to me.


alicia said...

my comments got too long, so they're over at the blog.

Anonymous said...

In Alicia's comments she remarked that I was thinking of using duct tape.

Not quite duct tape. I was beginning to enjoy watching her. (during the PGC class - the rest of the time is my own business!) I remember that she was upsetting the nun presenting the program. Too many questions, too many observations.
The video includes words and phrases that are specific to the "abuse field" without any explanation. "Grooming" comes to mind although a definition could be pulled from context.

I received a more detailed instruction as a non-teaching employee at a California Community College nearly 20 years ago. A mandated class. But it, at least, made no effort to show me how to do it!

And that is my biggest objection to the PGC class. (but not my only one!)

John Huntley

Anonymous said...

I have relatives who abused me as a child and who continue to have full protected access to children. They are "supercatholics". I use the term "supercatholic" to identify a person who is prominently at Mass every Sunday and who acts as the "thought-police" of the rest of the family, arranging to ostracize any relatives who fraternize with protestants, etc. My relatives are not priests or nuns, but are "laity". I was handed over to my older sister and her husband at a young age to help babysit. They both used me for sex. They also went to adult "swinger" parties that included young girls. As the family matured, their eldest daughter became a licensed social worker as a Catholic college grad and proceded to place her professional access and influence at the beck and call of her parents. She had survived by playing role of helpmate to them in subjecting her younger sister to similar abuse, and as an adult she was helpmate to them in punishing me and my family for attempting to speak up. I tried to force them into counseling after the psychologist who was helping me, identified the behavior within my extended family as "cult-like". In fact, it was a cult, because they had done what all destructive cults do: they had set up a false social front around a criminal core, and they had found a way to divert blame to their victims.

Any relative who questioned "the church" (actually, just their corner of it) was not only ostracized from family gatherings, but also subjected to inappropriate complaints and harassment from the social service agencies who respected my niece's credentials, but also had every business and job position affected by incredibly fierce harassment and threat from just two of these same relatives and the few who unthinkingly supported them.

Eventually, I got my neice fired from Catholic Charities for abusing her license, but she continues to act as a volunteer for "child adbvocacy" groups. Of course, as a result, I am despised among a much larger circle than just the "supercatholics" who knew what was going on. That neice actually converted to Judaism and now uses the "antisemite" card to play the same game against anyone who attempts to bar her access to records!

Many of these groups that use people like her are actively engaged in blackmail and extortion. They are also actively involved in distorting the role of the Catholic Church in the population of sinning adults because this gives these groups a convenient scapegoat that captures the public imagination in ways a nonreligious criminal does not.

My story is not unique. The concept of "protecting children" is a seed that was planted in polluted soil, and the plant has mutated into bearing fruit that is completely unlike the original intentions.

Catholics who have left the Church because of similar experience with "supercatholics" soon see how completely equal all the other churches and organizations are, with regards to wolves in the flocks. Unfortunately, programs like VIRTUS are used by the parish "status quo" in such a way that any who have travelled outside the flock are suspect, but no one inside it is, and so VIRTUS and similar programs actually will worsen the problem of child-abuse by staff. The left-wing Democrats are especially skilled at using these programs to punish critics of their candidates and officials, and they don't seem to care about the degree to which professional criminal pedophilia benefits from their nod-and-wink use of such fronts.

Jim Curley said...

Dear Anonymous: I am so sorry to hear your story. I will pray for your whole family. The pain is so great, the family destruction so devastating-these wounds take much time to heal.

Anonymous said...

I'm on my way to a Virtus session this morning, and feeling very cynical about it myself.