Is your trust in science based on faith or based on science?

What I mean is this: how much do you actually know about the science most atheists parrot? Most atheists know as little science as most Christians know as little theology. Just as a Christian trusts his priest to tell him what he believes, an atheist trusts scientists with a Ph.D. tacked to their name to tell them what they believe. But how many times have the scientists turned out to be wrong? I only ask this because it seems this is central to the problem that most atheists have. They are repulsed by the phrase “believe” – they are addicted instead to the phrase “know”. But honestly, do you really know, or are you just believing what you’re told? I would like to remind you that in the 1970′s the scientists of the day were seriously concerned that we were about to enter an ice age, and less than 30 years later they are now convinced Earth is about to turn into a desert.

Unless you’ve observed something yourself, or observed and interpreted the evidence yourself and drew your own conclusions, you are just as guilty as faith as any religious person.

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Why were priests excluded in the first place?

In U.S. child abuse reporting laws, traditionally only those with professional expertise in recognizing signs of abuse were mandatory reporters:  health care workers, teachers, etc.  People with real expertise and training.

The standard here in the U.S. for reporting is "reasonable suspicion", and those reports start time-consuming and invasive investigations that can result in taking children away from their parents.  You don't want that sort of thing going on because the nosy neighbor doesn't like that the kids are running around the yard.  So mandatory reporting for "reasonable suspicion" was limited to those with professional training whose reasonable suspicion could be relied on.  That did not include priests.

Re child abuse reporting laws. During my years at San Francisco Sex Information:

1) I had the training and might have reasonable suspicion. But knowing only what phone callers told me, I was unable to identify the location and was not a mandated reporter.

2) I described my work as a wonderful remedy for twelve years in Catholic schools.

Here's a word you probably haven't seen; bizarrerie - the Catholic sexual ethic.

Okay, it's my definition, not New Oxford American's.

Robert: Even today, child abuse and neglect in most states can only be committed by a parent or other legal custodian, and only child abuse is subject to reporting requirements.   Citizens, supervisors, employees are not, in U.S. law, required to report crimes more generally. 

Gallup: Failure to report is a felony or misdemeanor in 46 states and a punishable offense in all 50 states. But one occupation on that list get a special exemption from facing criminal charges for failing report the rape, beating, or neglect of a child in most states. And we've covered that occupation already. The information at those links comes from the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. And your gainsaying of that reputable source is based on what, and comes from where?

Robert: From the definitions of the legal term "child abuse" in the statutes of those states.  You can peruse them at http://www.childwelfare.gov .   For example, in the current statutes in Massachusetts, reportable child abuse is defined as the "nonaccidental commission of any act by a caregiver upon a child under age 18 that causes or creates a substantial risk of physical or emotional injury..."

Click on the link in my words above. Look at the names on the columns in the document: medical care professionals, childcare professionals, school professionals, clergy members, photo/film processors, other, and the general public. Note the 'general public' applies to "citizens, supervisors, and employees" and it applies to 20 states.
Posting a non sequitur link and a partial definition of child abuse in Massachusetts does not refute that, although the latter underscores that clergy still get a free pass. In fact, one glaring omission from the reporting requirement you quoted suggests the source is questionable. Medical professionals (who are not caregivers) are required to report child abuse in Massachusetts: this comes from my friends, a married couple who are both board-certified medical doctors in that state.
Again, it is not enough to quote isolated text that you feel is authoritative, in this or any discipline.
So why did you? Again, you've doubled your standards.
And I didn't quote isolated text. I provided direct links to complete documents, which contained specific and relevant information. Unlike your link, http://www.childwelfare.gov, which leads to a title page and no specific information. 
There are reasons why people who practice in the field engage in many years of specialized study and internship.   Absent that study, there is a high burden to do sufficient research on principles, context, and actual practice which govern interpretation of the text if you wish to build a genuine understanding.
Why do you assume this is all I have ever done? I have another friend-- an agnostic lawyer-- who lives down in the Catskills. We had many enlightening discussions about Cardinal Law and this very subject while the scandal was unfolding. I found it most enlightening, but I can't cite a conversation in a web link.
Beyond that, my "genuine understanding" is that if an employee tells his boss he's been raping children, the boss reports him to the proper authorities, and that goes no matter what the law requires, or how much worrying the public relations department might do.
Blaming the law for Cardinal Law's failure to act is disgusting, Robert. But it's your routine.

Posting a non sequitur link and a partial definition of child abuse in Massachusetts does not refute that.

Well, yes, it in fact does.  Because you see, the mandatory reporting applies only to child abuse.  If something does not meet the legal definition of child abuse, then the mandatory reporting statute and its protections for good-faith reporters do not apply.

ChildWelfare.gov is actually an official source, because states are required to provide the federal government with information on their child abuse statutes annually under CAPTA.  That is different from your link to RAINN, which is a special interest lobbying organization.

In fact, one glaring omission from the reporting requirement you quoted suggests the source is questionable. Medical professionals (who are not caregivers) are required to report

No omission, just your lack of understanding.  There is a difference between who can commit child abuse or neglect, and who is a mandatory reporter of child abuse or neglect.  A priest, being non-custodial, cannot commit child abuse, and therefore none of the mandatory reporters are obligated by law to report.  If they choose to report, they are not protected by the statutory immunity provisions of the reporting law, and can be subject to civil lawsuit for slander.

A priest can of course commit the crime of sexual battery (rape) or other lesser offenses.  Like all ordinary crimes in the U.S., there is no legal obligation to report.  Moral obligation?  That is between you and your God(s) or personal philosophy.  I would say there is a moral imperative to do so for felonies at least, but the standard for making such a report may be higher than "reasonable suspicion."

my "genuine understanding" is that if an employee tells his boss he's been raping children, the boss reports him to the proper authorities

An employee may tell his employer that he's been raping children, and then claim that he said no such thing. What a man tells his bishop in a moment of candor can be quite different from what he will admit to in public. If the employer reports (a public record), then the employer may be subject to a slander suit by the employee, where the burden of proof shifts to the employer.   This is a challenge for many employers, particularly in cases where the evidence may be weak or witnesses unwilling.

That being said, it is a consideration, not an excuse.  A person in a leadership role should have the moral fortitude to do what is right even in the face of legal or personal risk.

Blaming the law for Cardinal Law's failure to act is disgusting, Robert.

Except that's not what I'm doing, and you know it.  I'm blaming the law for its inability to prosecute Bernard Law for that failure.  There's a difference.  Bernard Law's failure to act was contemptible, and I condemn it unequivocally. 

Gallup: Posting a non sequitur link and a partial definition of child abuse in Massachusetts does not refute that.

Professor Robert: Well, yes, it in fact does. 

I'm afraid it doesn't. You're short by 49 states. You obviously did not look at the link you provided yourself, because it refutes what you say about mandatory reporting.

Look at the other 49 states. Or you can continue not bothering. Instead, read this summary of mandatory reporting requirements for child abuse, available on another site published by the federal government, which is inclusive of all 50 states. Note it includes the following statements:

"In approximately one-third of the states, mandated reporting is limited to those situations where the abuse was perpetrated or allowed by a person responsible for the care of the child. [...] In two-thirds of the states, the statutes specify circumstances under which child abuse is a reportable offense irrespective of the defendant’s relationship to the victim."

I also encourage you to read the entire entry from this legal dictionary, which includes the following:

"Until the 1970s the prevalence of [child] sexual abuse was seriously underestimated. Growing awareness of the problem led legislatures to enact reporting requirements, which mandate that any professional person (doctor, nurse, teacher, social worker) who knows or has reason to believe that a child is being abused report this information to the local Welfare agency or law enforcement department."

Note that priests are "professional persons" and they were exempted from most reporting laws all along, exactly as I said. Furthermore, the RAINN links I posted indicated that the reporting laws include "the general public" in 20 US states.

So your statement that "citizens, supervisors, employees are not, in U.S. law, required to report crimes more generally" is false. Reporting is required in all 50 states and in 20 states it's required by the general public.

A priest, being non-custodial, cannot commit child abuse, and therefore none of the mandatory reporters are obligated by law to report.

In two-thirds of US states, anyone may be charged with child abuse-- not just caregivers-- and that includes priests. In those states all of the mandatory reporters are obligated to report. 

Priests cannot commit child abuse? There's a difference between mindless gainsaying and spreading misinformation that could actually lead to children getting hurt.

An employee may tell his employer that he's been raping children, and then claim that he said no such thing. What a man tells his bishop in a moment of candor can be quite different from what he will admit to in public. If the employer reports (a public record), then the employer may be subject to a slander suit by the employee, where the burden of proof shifts to the employer.

The reports may be made public (unless a judge says otherwise) but the information in the reports may be provided to police and child welfare agencies confidentially. The employee may figure it out, but then it's up to the employee to prove the employer went to the police or child protection agency.

Gallup: Blaming the law for Cardinal Law's failure to act is disgusting, Robert.
Robert: Except that's not what I'm doing, and you know it.  I'm blaming the law for its inability to prosecute Bernard Law for that failure.  There's a difference.  Bernard Law's failure to act was contemptible, and I condemn it unequivocally.

Condemnation that comes on the heels of shifting the blame elsewhere is not unequivocal. I know you wrote, "The civil justice system failed" and there was no blame assigned to Cardinal Law in those words.

As I said before, the criminal justice system did not fail. It (mal)functioned as intended: the laws were written to render it powerless over clergy. They're STILL written that way in Massachusetts and in a majority of states, Robert. Even in 2002, right after this huge scandal, loopholes for clergy were written into the revisions to the law. That's not failure, it's corruption. The powerful and influential clergy who benefit from it-- via overwhelmingly religious public officials, voting populations, and shameless hucksters like you-- have everything to do with that.

@Gallup, all this is just chasing your tail.  The fact is that Bernard Law was not a mandatory reporter, because under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that were in force at the time, (1) child abuse could only be committed by a guardian, and (2) only professionals in child care as defined by the statute were mandatory reporters.  Besides, failure to report is typically a misdemeanor.

So there wasn't a legal case to be made, and the reason had nothing to do with some vast imagined conspiracy.  It had to do with how child abuse was treated historically under the law everywhere.

read this summary of mandatory reporting requirements for child abuse

Which you conveniently neglect to admit goes on for 5 paragraphs about exceptions and limitations.  There's no question, though, that the trend is toward increased mandated reporting, and both statutes and case law are in flux many places.   Like many laws put in place in the quest for perfect security, those also have implications for liberty and protection of the innocent.

Priests cannot commit child abuse? There's a difference between mindless gainsaying and spreading misinformation that could actually lead to children getting hurt.

Priests can commit sexual battery, gross sexual imposition, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, etc.  We are talking legal definitions here, and "child abuse" has a different legal meaning than colloquial meaning in many jurisdictions.

The employee may figure it out, but then it's up to the employee to prove the employer went to the police or child protection agency.

No, that's not the way it works.  The childrens' services agency only has jurisdiction as defined by law, and only childrens' service agencies have legally mandated protections for reporters.   For any crime outside the jurisdiction of childrens' service agencies, like rape, law enforcement agencies have sole responsibility, and in the ordinary criminal justice system those are public records because defendants have a right to confront their accusers.

What Bernard Law did was horrendous, but according to the chief law enforcement official of the state it was not provably illegal.  So if you're mad that he's not in jail, blame the state.  If you're mad that he's an ass, blame him.

What is truly irrational is to blame a worldwide church community who happened to share his religious philosophy.  That worldwide church community is what "Catholic Church" means

@Bob - However, in honesty you must admit that you know very little about me -

Oh, I have the measure of you, an apologetic catholic, who keeps on saying, 'Oh, they are doing over there as well - so much diversion Bob, does not sit well with me. You helped get rid of Bernard Law, but the problem is Bob, he is sitting pretty, as are many other pedophiles and pedophile protectors, who have scuttled off, to all to be protected by successive popes.

I guess, you would say, well at least he isn't in a position of protecting any more pedophiles, when in fact, you should be helping other catholic parents and other good people in the catholic church to get these criminals charged by law to answer to their crimes.

It's not my calling, though.  I teach and do research.  -

It is not mine either, Bob, but I can put myself in the shoes of a parent whose child's life has been ruined, who has been raped and sodomized, and then those dregs are then protected by your church, and re-acted as any decent, upright, ethical moral citizen in any country, of any political, religious or secular persuasion, would do. Did you sign the petition Bob, or how about you start one on your own in your country - don't just sit on your hands, and say "What a good person am I, I helped move Bernard Law out of Boston - Yayyyy.

You do what you can when it's in your neighborhood -

No, nowhere near it - I know what is going on in America, I know what is going on in Nigeria, where people are screaming out for contraception, to stop a mother from having too many children, that they know will starve to death, all because of the catholic church.

Are you truly judging me and others by the same yardstick you judge yourself?

Absabloodylutely, Bob. I could not sleep at night, if I knew that an organized group that I was a member, professing to be the best 'group' on earth, was protecting pedophiles, and I did not do anything about it. I find it really distressing, disappointing and truly sad, that a supposed catholic, thinks it OK to sit on their hands. If that were the case, Bob, pedophilia would remain as rampant as ever.

Get out of your bubble, Bob.

I will admit to being somewhat pedantic and professorial at least -

Pedantic yes, about protecting your religion, making excuses, apologist, blinkered, yep, all these, that is how you come across.

It has always baffled me, that when one claims to be an educated christian, the education stops at a certain point, in your case, it seems to be genesis, how the catholic church came into being, and how the vatican came to be protected.

Why do you call yourself a catholic, when this particular group doesn't give a fig for the lives it has destroyed.

Do you think contraception should be used?

This is not catholic bashing bashing per se, Robert, this is pedophile bashing, it is just the fact the catholic church is at the top of the pile, a protected species, in a systematic campaign of protection, and the only ones to get away with it are catholic priests etc, hundreds, if not thousands of priests, protecting their assets, while successive popes have hidden pedophiles and pedophile protectors behind state boundaries, that is a crime against humanity, and that is what is happening.

Because Bernard Law clearly did not learn of the abuse of children through a religious confession - who cares how he was found out, the fact is, he was found out, and of course, it was a surprise to him that he was found out. The only reason he absconded, was the fact his parishioners, the sheep who propped up this particular diocese, cut off the money supply. Oooops, time to go.

I really don't believe you could be so blind with the following statement - Bernard Law of course was not housed in the Vatican.  He was made the pastor of the Major Basilica of St. Mary in Rome - Splitting hairs, Bob.

Question: Why is he not in the US being charged for his crimes of protecting pedophiles.
Answer: Because he is being protected by Pope Francis, and therefore the vatican.

Where non-performers or those who have made poor judgments - No Bob, this is not poor judgment nor non-performer, this person is a criminal, and along with many others, are being protected by the catholic church, your church, I do believe Bob.

I don't approve of the practice - I not only not approve of this, it is obscene, repulsive, a stain on humanity.

but it does have the advantage of avoiding litigation and being relatively expedient -

My jaw is now dropping on ground, and you just don't get it, which is why nothing will change in the catholic church, if it depended on the likes of you, and the other millions just like you. Leave it to the distraught parents of these children, leave it to secular people, leave it to people who want to uphold justice.

You just stay in your bubble, Bob.

You helped get rid of Bernard Law, but the problem is Bob, he is sitting pretty

It seems to me the problem you have is with western jurisprudence, which places restrictions on ex post facto laws and bills of attainder, and which generally errs on the side of protecting the accused.   You are correct, I support those legal protections, and that does mean that sometimes guilty parties or just plain bad people get away with things.  I think the protections are important, though, to prevent other forms of intimidation or abuse.

All of your anger seems to come down to that issue, displaced onto religion.  So to answer your "question" properly:

Question: Why is he not in the US being charged for his crimes of protecting pedophiles.

Answer:  Because the Attorney General of Massachusetts decided that he had not committed any crimes, and chose not to prosecute.

@Bob - Again, it is not enough to quote isolated text that you feel is authoritative, in this or any discipline -

This is exactly the reasoning and hiding of the catholic church in your country.

You're obfuscating again, Bob. You know where I come from - as in a previous comment - you said I don't know what goes on in your country - so I stuck to one, and only one pedophile protector in your country. I could give you a very long list if you wish, but you being a scientist and researcher, I would have thought would want to do your own research on this religion that you follow, that is so good, so honest, so honorable, so trustworthy.

It seems to me the problem you have is with western jurisprudence -

No, Bob, your church have a big problem defining what is right and what is wrong.

http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/04/08/297203/3-us-priests-remove...

How about Paul Shandley, who raped a boy from the age of six, for seven years.

Catholics didn''t expose him, journalists found him, and reported him to the district attorney. The following is just part of your education, Bob - but who would like to bet me, he will not read any of it - because Bob wants to stay in his bubble, and hopes all this will just go away, and can these atheists just not talk about it anymore?????

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_sex_abuse_cases_in_the_United...

I would think, hope, assume, that anybody of even a reasonable standard of morals, would think the systematic practice of raping a child, a human adult sodomizing a boy, in some cases for years, to the point he can never lead a normal life - to be criminal, in a western society. But, obviously not. Your counterparts, are protecting criminals by dodging around rules and law, how do these priests etc, sleep at night, after what they have done.

We are having enquiries here, where hundreds of children have come forward to tell their story. Maybe, that is what you need to hear, how these children have suffered. The enquires were bought about by parents and police, not catholics, who just wish it would all go away. This should also be happening in your country, Bob, start a movement, there must be other catholics just like yourself, who are appalled at what is happening in your country, and want to do something about it. It is not going away. That is why Ratzinger fled. He could see what was coming.

The Archbiship who started the Australian petition, which went all over the world, and peoples from many countries signed it - to the vatican - did you sign it? Hundreds of these petitions are going all over the world from many countries, people are waking up to the fact that not only, mainly boys, systematically raped, but also systematically told to go away?

These dregs can't hide their crimes anymore, people all over the world are joining forces against the horrific behavior of the catholic church. Viva la Internet.

All of your anger seems to come down to that issue, displaced onto religion -

Not displaced, Bob, these dregs could only do what they did, for many decades, because of your religion, the vatican, which puts up every barrier, and millions of dollars - and these cowards hid behind the cross and cloth,just so they can rape boys in many districts, over decades. Am I wrong??? Grass roots people are the ones to change things, people just like you.

No, Bob, your church have a big problem defining what is right and what is wrong.

That link refers to several priests who were fired.  Firing them seems justified and seems to me to be the right thing to do.  Do you think they should have been retained?

How about Paul Shandley (sic)

Paul Shanley was a truly disgusting, despicable individual.  He should have been removed from the priesthood in the 70s for his gay and child sex advocacy, particularly when coupled with the early allegations.  I would have fed him to the fish.  But then one might say his gay advocacy was before its time, and that the allegations were just slander from conservatives who didn't like his positions of tolerance toward homosexuality.   I'm sure that's what he claimed.

These dregs can't hide their crimes anymore, people all over the world are joining forces against the horrific behavior of the catholic church. Viva la Internet.

On this, we'll agree.   Every bit of this should be excised, root and branch, from any institution in which it has festered.  To the extent the internet helps alert others to patterns of behavior by predators or cover-ups by officials, Viva!  Sicut in die honeste ambulemus.

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