SENTINEL 8-16-2012
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Why the Vatican Visits?

Pedophile priests & JW ministers of molestation?

The Firpo Files

(Sentinel, August 16, 2012)

Don't ask me why, but recently the Vatican twice accessed my Web site,

Sure, I acquired my undergraduate degree from the University of San Francisco, a Jesuit institution, and even taught at Mount Saint Mary's College in Brentwood; but, I don't think they visited for these reasons.

In connection with pedophile priests, they may be investigating the way I handled the false charges of child abuse against Michael Jackson--formerly one of Jehovah's Witnesses--in the court of public opinion. Could they have been researching my articles about him? 

Do Catholics and Witnesses handle child abuse charges differently? Scripturally speaking, how young is too young for a "child" to have sex? And can a minor consent?

The Bible's Biological Clock?: The Bible doesn't give a "marriageable" age either for Jews or Christians.

Interestingly, "In Middle Eastern lands today marriage often takes place after the bride reaches the age of 16," states Insight on the Scriptures (1988), "and occasionally when she is younger. Talmudists forbade marriage in the case of a male who was under 13 years and one day, and in the case of a female who was under 12 years and one day."

Some cultures determined that a boy transitioned from boyhood to manhood when he started having nocturnal emissions ("wet dreams"), indicating he could biologically father a child.

Correspondingly, a girl's conversion to womanhood transpired when she started her menstrual period ("menarche"), which made pregnancy possible.

No exact age was set for "womanhood" just as there is no precise age for menopause. But young Biblical marriage and priestly rape are obviously not the same; and current laws must be obeyed.  

Precocious Youths: There are incidents of minors (ages 7 to 17 for example) who for one reason or another (including being victims of sexual assault) have become sexually precocious.

Sadly, based on misguided emotions, a few may attempt to seduce adults. Should this happen, it is the adult's responsibility to take charge of the situation and resist any such overtures.

The Catholic Church: That the Church relocated pedophile priests who continued their reign of terror is shocking, immoral, reprehensible, and unconscionable.

Regrettably, parents look askance (understandably so) at innocent priests who are as appalled as the rest of us at the actions of pedophile priests, but who must still endure suspicions and rigorous scrutiny.   

Jehovah's Witnesses: Several weeks ago a California jury favored a woman who filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the Witnesses.

She alleged that she was molested as a child by an adult male Witness. She further claimed that the organization's policies fostered abuse.

"We are very sorry for whatever harm this young lady may have suffered," says J.R. Brown, Witness spokesman. "However, the organization is not responsible. We now look to the Court of Appeals for a thorough review of this case.

"The fact that Jehovah's Witnesses abhor child abuse and strive to protect children from such acts is well-known. The individual members of any organization must ultimately bear the responsibility for their own actions, particularly when the acts are so flagrantly against the morals and principles of the organization and society."

A Flawless System?: "Our procedures have been refined over time," the Witnesses note in a candid statement on their Web site at

"Over the years, as we have noted areas where our policies could be strengthened, we have followed through. We are continuing to refine them. We do not believe that our system is perfect. No human organization is perfect. But we do believe that we have a strong, Bible-based policy on child abuse." 

"There are instances when a situation that should have been reported is not," acknowledges Philip Brumley, General Counsel for Jehovah's Witnesses.

"Or where care should have been extended and it was not. But to say that the policy is not followed perfectly is a far cry from saying that there exists a policy to affirmatively minimize, or hide, this problem. The policy that Jehovah's Witnesses have on how to handle cases of child molestation is without equal in the religious community."

Dr. M. Ruth Infante seems to concur. "I think that's a very good policy," says Infante, who doubles as a psychiatrist and psychopharmacologist.

"The elders essentially would take charge of the situation of reporting the abuse to the authorities if there is no ... other adult in authority to do that, to protect the child." Indeed.

My sincere, heartfelt prayers are made with all in mind. May peace and blessings be yours. Amen.