2 things wrong here: One: ‘priests’ abusing children. Two: a ‘church’ with $166m in spare change.

Via Ben Ralston
on Mar 26, 2011
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Photo credit: Peter Watts

The thing that struck me most about this story of an order of Catholic Jesuits who have agreed to pay out $166m to the (Native American) victims of child abuse (at the hands of their priests) was not the sexual abuse.

We all know that priests have been abusing children sexually. We know how widespread it was (and we hope it no longer is). Somehow, it’s not that shocking anymore. Amazing how easily we become desensitized isn’t it?

The thing that hit me most was the money.

What business does the Church, or any so-called religious institution, have hoarding hundreds of millions of dollars?!

I somehow can’t imagine Jesus ‘saving for a rainy day’.

I mean, it’s not like there are people starving in the world is it? Or villages without water? Or vast numbers of homeless refugees?

I’m not saying that the ‘victims’ of those priests don’t deserve a little compensation.

I’m saying that they shouldn’t need to be compensated, because they should never have been abused in the first place.

And a church that is one of the wealthiest institutions in the world, whose representatives have repeatedly taken advantage of the vulnerable people they are meant to protect, needs to be seriously questioned.

** If your life is scarred by the trauma of abuse, please contact me. I am a therapist and am able to heal the trauma of abuse (even a whole lifetime of abuse) in just one or two sessions. For more info see my blog or website (links in Bio below).


About Ben Ralston

Ben Ralston has been practising personal development—necessity being the Mother of invention—since he was about six years old. He’s been teaching and sharing what he’s learnt along the way for a couple of decades. His main thing is Heart of Tribe retreats—whose very purpose is to help you fall back in love with life, no less. Leading these retreats alongside his woman Kara-Leah Grant—also an elephant journal writer (that’s how they met!)—they combine a deep well of lineage-based yoga teaching experience, with expertise in healing trauma and various other methods of personal development. Ben also works with clients one-on-one via Skype, writes, makes videos from time to time, and is passionate about parenting. He lives in an intentional, tribal community in the hills of Croatia, where you might find him gardening barefoot and talking to the rocks. Connect with Ben on Facebook or YouTube or check out his website for more info.


9 Responses to “2 things wrong here: One: ‘priests’ abusing children. Two: a ‘church’ with $166m in spare change.”

  1. Fully agreed. In Britain we have ComiC Relief. It tooks this event and the whole of the country to raise £74m to help the world out of poverty. this was weeks of fundraising and people busting a gut…the church by the looks of it could have looked down the back of the sofa.

    What Jesus means and meant in his day, is polar opposite to the way churches are run today, and why I am sickened by large scaled organised religions.

  2. Ben_Ralston says:

    Yes. It's such a horrible irony (for want of the right, or a better, word):
    There are wonderful, humble, truly Religious people practicing catholocism, and there is the Catholic church practicing greed and corruption.
    Strange world we live in…

  3. Angela says:

    I remember reading a while back in the London Times that the Catholic Church updated their list of 7 mortal sins and one of them included accumulating obscene riches. Oh the irony! Looks like the Catholic Church hierarchy are headed straight to the fiery gates of hell of they believe in their own dogma.

  4. Ben Ralston says:

    Wow, that’s amazing, but doesn’t surprise me in the least. The hypocrisy and corruption seems to be endemic.

  5. Nadine says:

    Wow…the synchronicity of 'bumping into your blog' at this time is uncanny for many reasons. I have literally just spent the past couple of hours doing some writing along similar lines — about how to effectively deal with one's own trauma as well as that of our communities. One of the very issues I speak of is how often we become 'numbed' by the enormity of diverse issues that humanity continues to face. You pointedly touch upon a few — lack of water, death by diseases for which there are available cures, hunger and starvation in most of the world while in another, people are throwing away food on a daily basis and struggling with self-indulgent issues like obesity. On a level, it is no wonder that one becomes de-sensitized. Mind you, this by no means pardons it. LOL on Jesus saving for a rainy day. Recent catastrophes have shown that save all we want, at the beginning and end of the day, it is how we show up in the world, how we act that makes the difference. To believe let alone offer 'compensation' for essentially ruining the life of another human being is a crime against humanity. Like you, I too am a trained Sivananda instructor. I'd love to add you to my mailing list. Check me out at: http://www.universalempress.com Bless, Nadine!

  6. TamingAuthor says:

    Total biased nonsense, Ben.

    First, the rate of priest abuse is lower than abuse in schools, among therapists, and lower than among family members. So, a valid article would look at areas with higher incidences of abuse. You would probably need to start with teachers who have abused students who are receiving full pay sitting in holding rooms in NYC. That is where you will find greater injustice.

    Second, the Catholic Church has done more in the way of charity than any organization you have belonged to in your entire life. Or for that matter more than any other group. So the bias does not make you look good. In order to write this article you had to purposefully overlook real charity and you had to overlook your mediocre contributions.

    Third, the Church runs a huge infrastructure that delivers services to over a billion people worldwide. I'm estimating you have not delivered help to more than one or two hundred people in your entire life. So perhaps a little humility is in order. The Church has a duty to be able to fund and underwrite its services for its members.

    Ben, be very cautious before sounding off with such bias. It makes you look small.

  7. bri11 says:

    Taming author- your screen name and snobbery also shows how small you are. Your lack of respect for Ben's bias or perspective is apparent.

    You hold no argument with your first point. There are more helping professionals than priests so of course the rate of abuse will be higher among the helping professionals. It’s good we are on the same side though, believing that abuse of children is wrong, let's not forget we share this belief.

    Second, the Catholic Church has probably done just as much damage to people than they have helped. Hoarding millions is action in sustaining the poverty. There is no way to prove my argument, but if you could hold an informed, objective position, you might be able to agree.

    Third, Ben was never claiming to be a bigger help or contribution to the world than the Catholic Church, I think you are just being a hater because your feelings were hurt by Ben's article. It challenges an institution you might invest a lot of time and money into and I honor your ability to protect the things you value. You must see that is what we are all doing, just gotta work together.

  8. bri11 says:

    Like we have become numb to the atrocities influenced by the institutionalization of spirituality, we have also become numb to how these people and systems might be able to help.

    Bottom line: people are sick. Priests along with the other helping professionals are oppressed by the institutions they put their faith into. Institutions require people to put more faith in money than they do in God. God does not keep institutions functioning, people do.

    We so easily create these institutions in our minds to be a living things. But let's not forget that it is people who keep the institutions running, not God. So if people take the time to heal, trust God, and integrate their true spiritual and universal beliefs into every decision they make…..I think that’s where we are supposed to start.

  9. Ben_Ralston says:

    T.A. – Bri11 (below) has answered your comment as well as I could. I would have written more or less the same…