Lies, Damn Lies, and Catholic Church Funded Statistics Part II
It was encouraging to learn today that German researchers working with catholic officials to produce the latest, supposedly independent, supposedly research based support for Vatican lies about endemic child rape by catholic religious have had enough and pulled the plug on the project.
The German Bishops’ Conference confirmed that it has ended cooperation with the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony (KFN) which had been investigating sexual abuse cases committed by employees of the Catholic Church, citing the lack of trust.
“The relationship of mutual trust between the bishops and the head of the institute has been destroyed,” the Bishop of Trier, Stephan Ackermann, explained on Wednesday morning, saying that constructive cooperation had become impossible.
“Trust is vital for such an extensive project dealing with such a sensitive issue.”
In an interview with public broadcaster “Deutschlandfunk,” Christian Pfeiffer, the head of the KFN institute accused Church officials of hampering his team’s research efforts by continually attempting to intervene in and control the investigation. In an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper he spoke of censorship.
In 2011, the German Bishops’ Conference had authorized the KFN to launch an investigation into sexual abuse cases. This followed reports of abuse at several Catholic schools across Germany, claiming that children had repeatedly been abused.
The team of experts around Christian Pfeiffer consisted of retired prosecutors and judges and was allowed access to personnel records on Church employees going back more than a decade.
The investigation was to determine how such abuses came about, how the Church had dealt with them in the past, and what conclusions could be drawn to prevent new cases.
This followed a spate of allegations in 2010 of abuse of children by priests and other Church employees and the subsequent criticism of the Church’s slow response.
The Catholic Church officially apologized to the victims in March of 2010, and offered victims 5,000 euros ($6,546) each in compensation. During a visit to Germany, Pope Benedict XVI – who was the Cardinal of Munich from 1977 to 1982 – met with victims of abuse as a step towards reconciliation.
Only recently German bishops were crowing about a new self study posing as proper research, whose methodology sounded frighteningly similar to the seriously flawed and misleading John Jay study from the US. I searched fruitlessly for additional details about this German study, or even a copy of the research itself, but there was nothing to be found beyond a media release.
Know we know why.
Sticking to the successful Vatican mind games as trialled on the largely unsuspecting US public, parishoners and politicians, German bishops were clearly intending to buy and then exploit another expensive work of deception to smear and undermine victims and those telling the truth about this important issue.
Unfortunately the German researchers the bishops hoped to buy, the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony (KFN), were either smarter or have more professional integrity than the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
Or perhaps they simply have more humanity.
After all we are talking about prostituting their ability and expertise to protect dangerous, sanctimonious criminals who consider themselves entitled to rape and sexually exploit as many defenceless children as they can get their grubby hands on. At the same time protecting the equally abhorrent criminals who enable and coverup these crimes.
It is entirely possible that bishops misled both the John Jay College and the KFN about their intentions for the work they were commissioning. Catholic bishops find it almost impossible to speak directly or clearly, or to be honest about what they are really up to. They cannot be up front on any topic, far less one as threatening to what is most dear to them – their own careers, and the power, wealth and influence of the institutional church – as the child rape epidemic they can no longer hide.
Avoiding nasty details, sticking to inspiring sounding cliches which are the opposite of reality, impenetrable vagueness, circular reasoning, euphemisms and mental reservation are all so ingrained that most bishops would struggle to communicate clearly if their life depended upon it.
Their stock in trade is saying a lot, while conveying little, and committing to nothing.
Except when blaming others or listing where others have gone wrong and how everything will be so much better if only everyone would blindly obey instructions from the pope and bishops.
It is entirely possible that, when commissioning this work, the bishops claimed they would be completely open and transparent. That they did not intend to hold anything back or hide any details. That they would “co-operate fully”, a favourite claim. And that they were truly interested in finding out the truth and would not try to manipulate or edit the final report to produce a desired result.
If they did claim any of these things, and they have made these claims so often in relation to law enforcement, judicial inquiries, and court proceedings, then, as has happened consistently in all those situations, they lied.
But inevitably, whether misled, naive, or somewhat complicit, at some stage the researchers, both in the US and Germany, would have realised just how little the bishops meant any claims to reveal all details or to want truth, instead of support for their excuses and distractions.
The John Jay College produced not one but two reports based on flawed and incomplete data, which have been consistently misused as representing incidence of abuse. That misrepresentation has been allowed to spread widely, uncorrected, leading the more outrageous apologists, and even bishops, to claim that catholic churches are the safest places around for children. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The second report, based on the same data as the first report, took full flight into cloud cuckoo land. It blamed the Woodstock generation for a sudden flowering of abuse, despite the fact child rape has actually been rampant in the catholic church for two millennia. This report also claimed there is no discernible difference between abuser priests and non abuser priests, despite the significant and deliberate underreporting of known abuse by bishops trying to coverup the problem. There was no difference between abuser and non abuser populations because so many abusers were included in the reportedly non abuser population. The second report also arbitrarily diverged from the official, widely used definition of paedophilia, lowering the age range significantly in order to claim the majority of priests were not in fact paedophiles. And perhaps the most dangerous fiction of all was that the abuse is all in the past, based on a tapering off of reports in recent years. This claim directly contradicts the original report, which noted that only a minority of abuse is reported within a short time frame, and the majority of victims take decades to report, making it impossible to draw reliable conclusions about current abuse rates at this time.
Clearly the German bishops have finally revealed enough of their deception and their dangerously evil intentions that the German researchers have decided they cannot be a party to the report the bishops wish to buy.
It is common practice for research to be commissioned by commercial interests specifically in order to mislead. To give them an advantage against competing messages. Bias, in all its forms, can be used to frame questions that deliver required responses, and data can be carefully selected to exclude information that does not meet the client’s needs. Biased research can usually be easily spotted based on its methodology. But we must assume the bishops went further than just bias.
That they wanted KFN to put the appearance of truth on lies.
Lies that subvert efforts to improve child protection. Lies that keep child rapists out of jail and free to re-offend.
It seems that the researchers at KFN, unlike those at John Jay College, are not prepared to prostitute themselves for the church’s thirty pieces of silver.
Not when children’s safety is at stake.
I sincerely hope Australia’s Royal Commissioners, when appointed, read about this sorry episode.
So they can know what they are up against in the search for the truth of this issue.