the reluctant apostle

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Aug 18, 2005

New Zealand Bishop Peter Cullinane enters the public conversation about the civil response to abusers of children. Painful reading.

The public is right to insist on protecting people against thugs and sexual deviants.

True.

But the public needs to set aside understandable but distasteful feelings of vengeance ...

Distasteful? Is vindictiveness wrong because it's immoral or because it's unpleasant to those of superior taste? If the latter, what standing does a bishop, as bishop, have for instructing the public in etiquette?

... and try to come to grips with what is likely to minimise the chances that further innocent children will suffer at the hands of identified child molesters.

Baffling. Who's had the problem in coming to grips with the relevant facts of life here -- millwrights or bishops?

We must be willing to take the steps necessary to protect children and ignore our dysfunctional desire to simply punish.

So it's dysfunctional as well as distasteful. We now have our psycho-therapeutic bases covered as well as our table manners. But is there a minister of the Christian religion in the house?

However much it might grate on our feelings, the evidence tells us that assisting child molesters to put their lives together in ways that allow them to function effectively, is the most effective way to reduce the risk of them re-offending.

No, Excellency. The evidence tells us that the most effective way of eliminating recidivism is putting molesters to death. And life-term imprisonment takes second place. That's if we're talking -- as you are -- about the risk of re-offending. My own religious convictions teach me that there are also non-utilitarian values to be pondered, such as the salvation of souls, which could oblige us to tolerate an elevated degree of risk in order to achieve a higher good. But you seem inordinately bashful about mentioning them.

Strategies, including treatment, aimed at achieving this goal do not exclude holding the offender responsible. On that basis, would my attitudes make me part of the solution or part of the problem?

I think you answered your own question.

Pathetic. Here's a guy who takes three full whacks at the tee-ball and still can't bounce it out to grandpa. He's obviously unclear himself about what he wants to say, and there's hardly a sentence in the piece that doesn't curl back and eat its own tail. If he wished to make use of it, however, he'd have a genuine gift to give his readers in the Gospel, which teaches us -- and them -- about sin, justice, punishment, repentance, forgiveness. Why couldn't he drop the gibberish and just talk Christian?

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