Archbishop Didn’t Know Sex with Children is a Crime

A law firm has released video of the deposition of St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson in which the Archbishop says that he didn’t know in the 1980s whether it was a crime for priests to have sex with children.

Here’s NBC’s take on the news:  St. Louis Archbishop Didn’t Know Sex With Children Was a Crime

Here’s the take by CBS who interviewed some of the survivors of sex abuse: SNAP: Archbishop Carlson’s Comments ‘Mind-Boggling,’ Shocking

And here’s the take from The American Conservative:  Bishop ‘Not Sure’ Child Molestation a Crime

Why should any of us care about this with respect to health care?

Because Archbishop Carlson wields absolute “moral authority” over the medical policies and employment practices of Catholic institutions in his jurisdiction.  And the largest Catholic medical system in the country is headquartered in his region.  Ascension Health operates in 23 states and the District of Columbia and has more than “1,900 sites of care.”

Related to this, the Archdiocese in Portland, where I grew up, was the first to file for bankruptcy as a way of shielding assets from its victims.  Cardinal Dolan came up with a new way to shield assets when he moved $57 million into a cemetery fund, a move that is receiving scrutiny even now from Federal judges.


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4 thoughts on “Archbishop Didn’t Know Sex with Children is a Crime

  1. KAC

    Either the prelate responsible for denying knowledge of the obvious (legal and moral) implications of child abuse is simply stupid or is cynically “uninformed” is functionally irrelevant. The fact that he is attempting to simultaneously absolve himself and his institution from responsibility whilst asserting claims in the same area is a bit hard to square. Time for some theocratic sophistry to fix this one!

  2. Dina

    I don’t understand why they are not prosectuted by our justice system. Am I correct in that statement? Does a priest who commits these crimes only have to anwser to the church?

    1. catholicwatcher Post author

      Thank the Catholic bishops and the Catholic hierarchy for that.

      According to the UN in a report released earlier this year, the Catholic Church systematically protected predator priests. Here’s part of what the report said: “The committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators.” Here’s more about this:

    2. KAC

      Offenders have been prosecuted but with varying degrees of enthusiasm and sometimes only selectively. Major retribution has been in the form of civil suits (with occasionally substantial payments) and adverse publicity.

      I rather suspect that the peculiarities of Church doctrine with respect to clerical celibacy (extending into reproductive rights for the general public) tends to select for certain personality types who might be particularly susceptible to various “urges”. Plus, it “ain’t natural” to be celibate and you can divine for yourself what the most convenient avenues for release might be. Incidentally, this is not a new phenomenon. The French writer Dennis Diderot’s 18th century novel, “The Nun” was on just that topic. That didn’t exactly endear him to the Church, but neither did remarks like this one: “Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” (from: Dithyrambe sur la fate des rois”)


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