Archbishop showed no empathy, Victorian parliamentary inquiry hears

38

A Victorian inquiry has heard that George Pell showed a “sociopathic lack of empathy” for two young sisters who were raped by their parish priest.


Australia’s most senior Catholic showed a “sociopathic lack of empathy” in dealing with victims who were raped by clergy, an inquiry has heard.

Cardinal George Pell, current Archbishop of Sydney, had tried to compel victims into silence when confronted with evidence of wrongdoing by parish priests, the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child sexual abuse was told on Friday.

Anthony Foster recalled meeting Cardinal Pell to discuss a priest who had repeatedly raped two of his daughters when they were at primary school.

He told the inquiry that Cardinal Pell, then the Archbishop of Melbourne, had told him, “If you don’t like what we’re doing, take us to court,” and did not appear to be distressed by the incidents.

“In our interactions with the now-Cardinal Archbishop Pell, we experienced a sociopathic lack of empathy, typifying the attitude and responses of the church hierarchy,” Mr Foster said.

Mr Foster’s daughters, Emma and Katie, were repeatedly raped by the late Father Kevin O’Donnell in the 1980s and 1990s when they were at Sacred Heart Primary School in Oakleigh.

But the church was already aware that O’Donnell had been abusing children in 1946, 1958 and 1984 and failed to take any action, he said.

Written By: AAP
continue to source article at m.sbs.com.au

38 COMMENTS

  1. This toxic arsehole is head of the catlick church in Australia, and as such he couldn’t be a better choice.He typifies the arrogant , slimy clergyman so prevalent in this evil organisation.I wouldn’t trust him to piss up against a wall !

  2. Typical church response.

    I wish the details of the case were a bit more specific.  How did that thug manage to repeatedly rape those poor girls?  Were they too young and too scared to report it the first time?  Did they report it, but their reports were ignored (by church authorities or family members), and they forced to remain where he had access to them?  

  3.   @OP Australia’s most senior Catholic showed a “sociopathic lack of empathy” in dealing with victims who were raped by clergy, an inquiry has heard.

    This seems a good diagnostic description!

    http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.ht
    Profile of the Sociopath

    This website summarizes some of the common features of descriptions of the behavior of sociopaths.

    Glibness and Superficial Charm

    Manipulative and Conning

    They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

    Grandiose Sense of Self

    Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”

    Pathological Lying

    Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities.
    Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

    Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt

    A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.

    Shallow Emotions
    When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive.

    Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.

    Incapacity for Love

    Need for Stimulation

    Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.

    Callousness/Lack of Empathy

    Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others’ feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.

    Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
    Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.

  4. I feel sympathy for those who are still trapped inside this evil organisation. I left 20 years ago when I realised after reading The Selfish Gene that natural selection explained my existence and so god was a human invention.  I do not how Mr Pell sleeps at night.

  5. sunbeamforjesus,

    I’d trust him to piss against a wall and blame you. 

    But this analogy is badly timed after the misogynistic Pakistani who shot his young female neighbour (dead) and her mother (injured) because they had the temerity to complain about his public urination on their collective gate.

    We’re really not getting much from this moral guidance religion thing. They’re all very ugly and I don’t understand what people are still doing in their corners.

    He, Pell, knows all of this and can still stand in front of millions having a debate on morals, what a worthless piece of reproduction.

  6. Cardinal Pell, then the Archbishop of Melbourne, had told him, “If you don’t like what we’re doing, take us to court” 
    Recalling Prof Dawkins’ debate with ‘His (Dis)Grace’, Pell came across as disingenuous and ignorant, smug and sanctimonious. This comment confirms that impression…

  7. “I don’t understand what people are still doing in their corners” 
    Is it not just ignorance, lack of education, low IQ and general intellectual laziness that religion thrives on? Of 6 new cardinals just announced, 5 are from 3rd world countries, surely tacit admission of the ‘last resort’ tactics of the RC church…

  8. You’ve left out 1 crucial profile element:

    Extraordinary ability to tolerate obviously contradictory beliefs and fundamental logical errors. 

    I got that one from recently reading Hare’s book “Without Conscience”. He’s an expert in pscyhopaths (sociopaths are really the same thing).

    Psychopaths really do believe many ridiculous logical contradictions. Which may be why they so fool other people and so easily play lie detector tests.

    A couple of examples from Hare’s book were a psychopathic killer who described someone he murdered over a trivial irritation as having learned a valuable lesson. Or, within the same sentence in court evidence, denying that the witness could have identified him as the killer in bank holdup because witness couldn’t have been there as he didn’t seem him there! And then elaborating by saying he should have killed the witness too when he had the chance. (As if the witness should be grateful for having been spared, therefore owes something to the psychopath, and has somehow betrayed him unfairly by appearing in court.)

    Hare emphasises that hardly any psychopaths are violent predators or even particularly anti-social, most will be attracted in other directions. Especially the more intelligent and politically astute.

    Churches would be an obvious employment attraction for many. Particularly owing to the tolerance of contradictory beliefs and the acquisition of status and power based on absolutely nothing. Churhces contrast with other paths to status and power: military, political, industrial, traditional financial extortion and fraud – where at least some tangible service needs to be delivered to clients, if only as a smokescreen.

    When there is absolutely no rational real purpose to the organisation then it makes sense that there wouldn’t be that much focus on internal productive processes and controls, given there is little of consequence intended to be produced. Hence the issues with child abuse etc.

    There’s also another aspect related to child abuse: Hare speculates that the various multiple elements of psychopathy are not accidental deviations but together form a syndrome as a consequence of gene expression for which the trigger is unknown. Psychopathy being a viable male reproductive strategy in specific circumstances. Pretty much all aspects of the syndrome are oriented towards maximising opportunities for the hit and run spreading of genes in an environment where rival reproducers tend to be distracted into a more narrow focus. (I.e. monogamous, with massive ongoing long-term investment in child-rearing.) So most psychopaths will be male. Hardly any females in comparison.

    Which might explain the church of England’s recent rejection of female leaders.

  9. Nodhimmi - 
    Is it not just ignorance, lack of education, low IQ and general intellectual laziness that religion thrives on? Of 6 new cardinals just announced, 5 are from 3rd world countries, surely tacit admission of the ‘last resort’ tactics of the RC church…

    They do seem to be scraping the barrel for backwaters of ignorance and superstition for some of the! 22 new cardinals: -

    Pope Benedict XVI has appointed six priests from non-European countries to be cardinals, at a service in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

    The cardinals, the closest aides of the Pope, come from the Philippines, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, Colombia and the US. -  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/worl

    They are also trying to distract attention from the rumours of internal divisions and corruption.

    Among the new cardinals is 62-year-old New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, a popular former rector of the North American College in Rome which trains future priests in the US.

    He told a closed-door meeting of cardinals old and new on Friday that a “creative strategy” was needed to bring back faith in increasingly secular countries.

    Giving the keynote speech at the meeting, he said the Church should accentuate its positive side, and would accomplish what it terms the “new evangelisation” with “a smile, not a frown”.

    Other new cardinals include Hong Kong Archbishop John Tong Hon and Berlin Archbishop Rainer Maria Woelki.

    The consistory is taking place against a background of disquiet inside the Vatican, our correspondent adds.

    Confidential internal memos alleging corruption among top clerics and some laymen who advise the Pope have been leaked to the media. – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/worl

  10. At first glance I thought the article title meant something ‘from the time of Queen Victoria’ but obviously I was wrong.  Attitudes such as the one displayed by the Archbishop pre-date that period;  they reach right back to primeval slime.

  11. At the end of the article a victim says they feared they would become an abuser themselves. This is a pervasive myth about child abuse, which I believe is perpetrated by Abrahamic dogma.

    The idea that pedophilia is contagious is ridiculous, vicious, and predicated on the assumption that raped children are damaged goods; of less value. At the time the Torah was written, one would receive fewer heads of livestock for the sale of ones daughter had she been raped as a child. In the modern era, many Muslim parents murder their raped children out of shame. Folksy, pop-psych assumptions are perpetrated on trashy TV talk-shows, and people repeat them as if it were a medical fact that the abused grow up to be abusers. If one thinks about it, the notion is absurd.

    If pedophilia were contagious, it would be normalized by now. It would spread geometrically, especially as abusers have multiple victims. Most people who are abused never abuse. It is not a zombie bite. Getting hurt by a monster does not turn a person into a monster. There are all kinds of trashy beliefs on this subject, devoid of any data. There was a time when respectable people believed child-abuse caused homosexuality, as sampling that group revealed high rates of incidents, but no one ever sampled heterosexual populations as heterosexuals. There is also a myth that most sex-workers were abused, and it is perpetrated by those who are hostile to the sex-industry. All of this comes out of the (now) unstated assumption that rape victims are tainted, flawed, made inferior, even despicable.

    The victim quoted at the end of the article feared being transformed into a monster, contemplated herself faulted in being abused. This is a grand achievement of Abrahamism, and why churches will always be cesspools of pedophilia. It is too entrenched in perverted values to salvaged. It attracts, fosters, and protects child-abuse, but why is that surprising with an institutions that celebrates torture and has a bloody human sacrifice as its central icon? Christianity is really fucking weird, and must be abolished. Jesus was a complete, unsympathetic asshole a lot of the time, and there is nothing redeeming in even the most idealized sense of Him.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

  12. Perhaps I should elaborate: We cannot blame society for his “psycopathic lack of empathy”, what we can blame society for is the ideologies and institutions which allow such psychopaths to gain power.

  13. Pete H
    You’ve left out 1 crucial profile element:

    Extraordinary ability to tolerate obviously contradictory beliefs and fundamental logical errors.

    We’ve seen that with theist trolls so many times on this site: – although the moderators tend to tidy away their rants in more recent discussions.

  14. Extraordinary ability to tolerate obviously contradictory beliefs and fundamental logical errors. 

    We’ve seen that with theist trolls so many times on this site: – although the moderators tend to tidy away their rants in more recent discussions.

    I’m just finishing “Not the Impossible Faith: Why Christianity Didn’t Need a Miracle to Succeed ” by Richard Carrier in which he explains just how this attitude typifies the earliest 4 elite converts to Christianity in the first century of the cult. The book is a good read and an excellent take down in response to J.P. Holding’s ‘flagship’ essay “The Impossible Faith: Or, How Not to Start an Ancient Religion,”.

    The search for evidence to support the Christian hypothesis was not only regarded as unnecessary given the exegesis of scripture in a Christian slant by the morally incorruptible apostles,  but anyone who went along the route of empiricism and fact-finding,  was frowned upon and castigated as faithless. 

  15. “Psychopathy being a viable male reproductive strategy in specific circumstances…” hits the nail on the head, I think. We are a complex social animal for whom survival pressures would vary enormously depending on environmental and situational circumstance, and a wide range of behavioural survival strategies would need to be included in our repertoire to be called upon as needed.
    Included in the mix are three more layers of survival pressure which I feel some people don’t always consider: the first is individual; the second is group survival, (which is where I think homosexuality has its evolutionary foundation), and the third is species survival. Each would favour different – and sometimes conflicting – behaviour, and sadly we end up with wretched specimens like this in our midst.

    I’m fortunate not to know too many overtly religious people, and I don’t wish to fall into the trap of simplistic stereotyping, (I’m going to, anyway), but I’ve always felt that the vast majority are somewhere at the very mild end of the psychopathic/sociopathic spectrum. By this I mean religion tends to appeal to those who are socially awkward, emotionally inarticulate, and not a little repressed. The constant banging on about fellowship, unconditional love and the release of joy strikes me as very adolescent. It always feels like an attempt to impose emotion on the cold heart of a psychopath.
    There! Having consigned large parts of our population to the ranks of the mentally ill, I suppose I’d better go and write a few Christmas cards! 

  16.  Everytime I see or hear of Pompous Pell these days, that debate comes to mind. The good professor put him on the intellectual rack that night and now as the revelations come we see how he fully deserved it.

  17. How many more times are we going to have to receive these types of reports before our societies finally take the gloves off and prosecute these bastions of criminal impunity (religious institutions in case it’s not clear) to the full extent of the law, 5, 6, 8 10, 20 thousand times?

    How much longer do we have to wait for those who are supposed to be on our side to finally speak with commensurate derision and publicly urging prosecution and censure instead of wringing their hands at Professor Dawkins’  “stridency”, “fundamentalism” “intolerance” etc.

    Yes, Messrs. de Grasse Tyson, Chomsky, Rees et al. that means you.

  18. A cynical view …it seems to be becoming more and more apparent that  some churches,  catholic ones in particular,  may have been  setup as  places  to hide/protect social deviants from society.   It is very foolish to assume that,  because you are psychopathic or otherwise mentally ill,  that you are not extremely intelligent.  It is a fact that priests used to be the intelligencia centuries ago and were the ones who controlled knowledge and hence the masses.  
    What  a brilliant  ‘sting’  in a sense to  setup  organisations  made up of sexual perverts  that preached  that sexual perversion  was a sin,  and  set up orphanages and schools under the auspices of charity for the perverts to harvest and  ‘prey’  on.  (pun intended)    The extreme ‘do good unto others’  preaching of the clergy was the perfect way to hide the shocking things that they were doing to the most vulnerable members of society…children in orphanages.  An added benefit  was to get their congregations to happily pay for this  and  make them tax exempt, and provide very special concessions when it came to visas for international travel….. after all they were beyond reproach…listen to what they preached…they would never….!  
    I think anyone who deliberately goes into the church as a career or calling should be viewed with great suspicion and kept well away from anyone who is unable to defend  themselves.  They either go in knowing its a grand fraud  in which case they are doubly dangerous, or they are naive.

  19.  Hold on, we should be careful with this loose talk about “non-European countries”. It seems to suggest that all “non-Europeans” are ignoramuses (ignorami?) with low IQs.

    How many of the scientists at the cutting edge of research, whose name crop up on these pages, come from, for example, India or Japan?

  20.  I’m doubtful about the picture of grown men going into the Church for evil reasons, because (correct me if I’m wrong) don’t most Catholic priests go through the seminary, starting when they are barely adolescent, and their sexuality not yet fully formed? A good number are probably pressured by their parents, who fancy having a priest in the family, just as a Jewish mom would like her son to be a doctor or a lawyer.

  21.  

    @CEVA34

    Alan – They do seem to be scraping the barrel for backwaters of ignorance and superstition for some of the! 22 new cardinals: –

     

       – The cardinals, the closest aides of the Pope, come from the Philippines, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, Colombia and the US.

    Hold on, we should be careful with this loose talk about “non-European
    countries”. It seems to suggest that all “non-Europeans” are ignoramuses
    (ignorami?) with low IQs.

    I did not say ALL, and did not mention IQs.  I referred to cardinals from backwaters of ignorance and superstition, as the product of poor education systems.

    How many of the scientists at the cutting edge of research, whose name
    crop up on these pages, come from, for example, India or Japan?

    Many Indians go to European universities to get a good science education.  Japan was not mentioned.
    You don’t get many major scientific research works coming out of the Philippines, Nigeria or Colombia!  The general  population in some states of the  US is not well educated either.

  22. Sorry, could you point out the hand-wringing part in this text? Agree with it or not, it sounds to me like he’s saying not that they go too far, but that they don’t go far enough. See also this and this. One thing to realise with Chomsky is that he doesn’t bother to condemn the Iranian regime, etc, all the time (though he does fairly routinely) because so many other people are already doing it. Talking about that would be tribally correct, but somewhat redundant.

    I can’t find that he’s even commented on Catholic child abuse. He said some positive things about Catholics inspired by Liberation theology in South America (e.g. the assassinated bishop Romero), but that movement was put down by the Catholic hierarchy long ago.

Leave a Reply