Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance

Affirming Sexual Freedom as a Fundamental Human Right

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Sex and Politics

It’s the people, not the religion!

There was a little noted article in The Independent, Vatican confirms report of sexual abuse and rape of nuns by priests in 23 countries

This information has received so little attention – and it should be headline news.  Not only did the priests sexually abuse and rape the nuns but also forced them to take birth control pills and/or then, when the nuns became pregnant, they were forced to undergo an abortion.

When people talk about the abuse of children by the priests – if it suits their agenda – they frame it in terms of homosexual priests or pedopheliacs.  Clearly that is not the whole story here.

Is it forced abstinence?  Perhaps.  And if it is, or if it could be, why is the church not looking at the forced abstinence as the cause of these crimes – the pretending, the sanctimonious declarations of church policy and then the actions of rape and such enormous emotional and physical abuse?

Rape is a crime of violence but it is also a crime of power.  When you read this article, think about what’s being said.  Think about the hypocrisy by in the leaders of the Catholic faith.  Imagine being one of the nuns, dedicating your entire life to a belief that includes the “sanctity of life”, abstinence, and sex only for the purposes of procreation.  And then imagine that dedication being shredded by one of your spiritual leaders.

“The Vatican reports cited countless cases of nuns forced to have sex with priests. Some were obliged to take the pill, others became pregnant and were encouraged to have abortions. In one case in which an African sister was forced to have an abortion, she died during the operation and her aggressor led the funeral mass. Another case involved 29 sisters from the same congregation who all became pregnant to priests in the diocese.”

“However, the sisters claim they have done so (reported the abuse)  time and time again. Sometimes they were not well received. In some instances they are blamed for what happened. Even when they are listened to sympathetically nothing much seems to be done” One of the most tragic elements that emerges is the fate of the victims. While the offending priests are usually moved or sent away for studies, the women are normally chased out of their religious orders, they are then either to scared to return to their families or are rejected by them. they often finished up as outcasts, or, in a cruel twist of irony, as prostitutes, making a meagre living from an act they had vowed never to do.”

We’re not taking on the Catholic faith.  We’re not taking on any faith or spiritual expression.  What we’re talking about here is sexual abuse – rape – forced abortions, power abuse.  Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Religions like Christianity and Catholicism, Orthodox Judiasim, Muslims and others all have histories of abuse at the extreme edges of the religions.  It isn’t the religions that are “bad” – it’s the people who seek shelter in the religions as a means to an end, and that end would appear to be power.

What do you think might be a solution?  (more than “throw the abusers out of the church, please!)  How can the church and the public address this issue in a way that will end this violation of a fundamental human right to sexual freedom.  Remember, please, that “freedom” is both the freedom to and the freedom not to!