As you may know, for at least the past thousand years some Catholic priests & bishops have sexually abused underage children.
Furthermore, since the 19th century, the Vatican’s official policy has been to cover up sexual abuse by priests & bishops, rather than to discipline or excommunicate them (indeed, it has sometimes promoted them). As per Thomas Doyle’s very even-handed overview at http://www.richardsipe.com/Docs_and_Controversy/2010-03-04-solicitation.html, it is actually the case that since 1922, the Vatican’s official policy has been to conceal all abuse investigations under complete secrecy, and to discipline members of the clergy with penalties seemingly up to and including dismissal from office (but not excommunication; this was reserved for victims who did not report abuse). This requirement of secrecy has ensured the continuation of abuse, both in specific cases and as a general historical pattern—especially since, as the spate of court cases post 2002 have shown, the policy of investigating and disciplining abusers was in practice replaced by intimidating victims into silence, hushing up allegations, etc.
These facts are now well documented and, I believe, beyond dispute—see for example ‘Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God’ by documentarian Alex Gibney. And I think they furnish us with the material for a very strong argument against Catholicism’s Christian credentials
Edit 2012-11-20: as well as the insertions above indicated by underlining (previous text is struck through), I have also updated the argument below to clarify that it is leadership or governance which is at issue here in establishing a minimal condition for a legitimate Christian church.
- a. Where possible, a legitimately Christian church leadership would uphold biblical requirements of its priests & bishops—that they must be above reproach, lovers of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, disciplined, and well thought of by outsiders (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9); while simultaneously protecting and rescuing the weak (Psalm 82:3)
b. If a legitimately Christian church leadership would do this, how much more would a church leadership do so that was officially instituted by God, directed by the Vicar of Christ, and guided by the Holy Spirit
- It has been possible in many cases for the Catholic Church’s leadership to uphold the biblical requirements of its priests & bishops; and to protect and rescue the weak (underage children) from them
- In these cases, the Catholic Church’s leadership has not only failed to uphold the biblical requirements of its priests & bishops; and to protect and rescue underage children from them, but it has knowingly and systematically worked toward the opposite goals
- Thus the Catholic Church’s leadership does not, where possible, uphold biblical requirements of its bishops; nor fulfill the requirement to protect and rescue the weak
- a. Therefore, the Catholic Church’s leadership is not a legitimately Christian church leadership
b. Therefore, how much more is the Catholic Church’s leadership not officially instituted by God, not directed by the Vicar of Christ, and not guided by his Holy Spirit
Given that the Catholic Church’s leadership claims to be not merely a legitimate Christian church leadership, but in fact the leadership of “the One True Church”, I think there’s plenty of fodder there to create an even more damning argument to prove it satanic by definition. But what we have so far is quite enough to know that one ought not believe that Catholicism is a legitimate form of Christianity.
I found these sources particularly helpful in addition to Thomas Doyle’s paper, which I linked above:
- http://www.bishop-accountability.org/settlements/—contains a good summary of abuse cases settled in US civil suits, including notes on the number of victims (often many dozens to many hundreds) and the number of clergy involved (also often in the dozens, and occasionally into the hundreds). There seems to be a lot of very good, objective information on this website.
- http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/21/world/europe/21pope.html?pagewanted=all—a report, compiled by 5 journalists, demonstrating effectively that the Vatican is taking no practical measures to prevent or redress sexual abuse cases, and also documents the involvement of the current pope in covering up and enabling further abuse.
- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/24/pope-sexual-abuse-lawrence-murphy_n_512483.html—not that I’m a huge fan of the Huffington Post, but this article does do a good job of canvassing several others to demonstrate how the current pope is implicated in covering up and actually halting the investigation into Fr Lawrence Murphy, who abused as many as 200 boys at St John’s School For The Deaf in St Francis, WI.
- More to be added if I find them; there are plenty of websites and articles out there, but a lot of them are just repeating the same content, or are too prejudiced to qualify.