NY Bishop Rape Shames Abuse Victims: Boys Are ‘Culpable’ For Their Actions At 7 Years Old

By Charles Topher | 16 September 2015
Addicting Info

Syracuse Bishop Robert Cunningham testified in an abuse case that, in the eyes of the Church, the boys who were molested are also at fault.

Bishop Robert Cunningham of the diocese of Syracuse, NY doesn’t think priests should take all of the blame for decades, if not centuries, of sexual abuse against young boys. According to Cunningham, the “age of reason” in the Catholic church is seven, so those boys are culpable for their actions.

The shocking statement came during testimony that was recently released from a deposition for a federal lawsuit. Charles Bailey, a survivor of a priest’s abuse, asked then-Bishop James Moynihan whether the church held children victims partly responsible for sexual abuse from priests . “(Bishop) Moynihan said that right to my face – ‘The age of reason is 7, so if you’re at least 7 you’re culpable for your actions.’ That kind of floored me,” said Bailey.

Obviously, the sentiment isn’t something one Bishop believes, but a broader excuse used to cover for the guilt of sexual predators.

The “age of reason” may be seven years old, but that in no way makes it the “age it’s the kid’s fault he was raped.” According to church doctrine, seven is the age a child should understand the difference between right and wrong. It’s also the age a child is eligible for communion.

A spokesman for the diocese has been trying to defend the bishop, saying that his statements in a deposition don’t mean he believes children are responsible for being raped and that it was “unfair to use the deposition to characterize his position otherwise.”

“Unfair may not quite cut it where this man is concerned. When pressed on the issue, he said it wasn’t his place to know how much guilt was on the victim’s hands. The simple answer, “none,” became another distorted version of reality that somehow makes it at least partially a child’s fault when a priest abuses him.

“Well, I mean, without knowing the circumstances completely, did the boy encourage, go along with (it) in any way?” Cunningham asked. The lawyer asked Cunningham if he could imagine any circumstance in which a 14- or 15-year-old boy could be held responsible in the eyes of the church when a priest asks him to engage in sex.

“Obviously, what the priest did was wrong,” Cunningham said. “You’re asking me if the young man had any culpability, and I can’t judge that.”

Actually, you can judge that. Anyone can judge that. What happened is priests used their influence and position as “messengers of God” to force children to comply with their perverted sexual desires. In the very least they were forced to make adult decisions they didn’t have the capacity to make. This bishop and all the priests he defended with this mindless argument betrayed the trust of the parishioners and especially the children of the Diocese of Syracuse.

Charles Bailey has circulated a petition he intends to present to Pope Francis in Philadelphia during his visit to remove Bishop Cunningham as the head of the church there.

Archbishop of St. Louis Robert Carlson on criminal child sexual abuse

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222 COMMENTS

  1. I am very jaw dropped to the floor. Like the devil a lyer and he can not becalled a man of God. Jesus says what about harming a child. How dare him.

  2. This guy’s miter is too tight – it has cut off blood circulation to his brain – and unfortunately the damage is irreversible!

  3. that same bishop probably rants against,birth control under all circumstances, and abortion!!!m but those are women issues and so terrible sins, yeah, right.!

  4. As a profound Atheist, I am loathed to say it, but I must : We must get rid of these Religious nuts as soon as possible. Wake up people ! : See what is, and always was happening within your community and churches. These people are rife and abundant within our communities. Get rid of them asap, get rid of their hypocrisy, their evil insidious presence and root out their paedophilic establishment. As an ex catholic, I know what I am talking about. EVIL is the establishment churches !

  5. Before I get started I am far left of “Liberal.” But, this writer and article is a perfect example of Liberal PC . The other uses Catholic “Collective Guilt” in his writing commenting that this Bishop’s despicable attitude of “Age of Reason” victim culpability for their own assault is part of, if not Church doctrine, then a shared attitude by the Heirarchy. It is not. But, unlike Liberal approved groups,/victims of oppression, minorities, immigrants, LBGT (rightfully so), it is OK to assign Collective Guilt to Catholicism, the Heirarchy, who are equally culpable for this Bishop’s sordid atypical views ! If we assigned Collective Guilt to all or most African-Americans (“that’s the way they are”) for higher violent crime rates, the same Liberals ((rightfully so) would be screaming Rascism. But, when it comes to Christians, Catholics it’s Liberal PC acceptable to bash, not 1 Bishop, but an entire Liberal unapproved group. Hypocrites.

  6. yes this is the Catholic church i was raised in (I was born in 1955), Before our first confession (age 7) the parish priest told us we'd had 7 years to think about our sins, so he didn't want to hear anybody ummming in confession. And at 7 I knew that the REAL sin had nothing to do with whether your mind wandered during church (venial sin) or whether you said a curse. It was whether you were "PURE" This was the word used over and over by the priest and nuns and at 7 i did know what it meant because I was being sexually abused, and "knew" it was a sin on my soul, and to give an incomplete confession was a mortal sin (if you died before confessing it, you would go to hell for eternity). I was sick, at 7, before my first confession because I had no language for what I thought was my sin, and so I had to give a bad confession, and then the next week, with this mortal sin on my soul, take my first communion, the body and blood of Jesus, into my body that was dirty and sick and condemned to hell. At 7.

  7. Uninterested in what a rapist says in his own defense. Uninterested in what Catholic priests have to say in defense of other Catholic priest rapists.

  8. What a judge mental idiot. I’m Catholic I no longer respect a bishop in my church because he’s making excuses for sick priests who my church has covered up for far to long. I’m not interested in listening to anyone who blames a child , even at the age of 18, whose been molested and harmed permanently by sick monsters under the guidance of christs church. Shame on you bishop. Your no bishop to me

  9. If the "age of reason" is 7 years old we would be seeing 7 year olds leaving the church and becoming atheists in droves!! All religions are cults by all the qualifications, catholics especially but all qualify so think about this the next time you are in one of the many " houses of god" "Have I reached the age of reason" or am I still "playing church" like I was when I was 7???? Also, why does "god" need such big fancy houses, and so much money
    ???

  10. Religion is bollocks. More people are becoming non believers because evidence is so close at hand nowadays. It’s all fairy tale written by people who didn’t know where the sun went. More wars are caused by religion than anything else. Whether they are true believers doesn’t matter, they still do it in the name of their god, and think they are righteous in doing so. Stop bullsh-t, you don’t need religion to be a good person, people have been misled for hundreds of years. It needs to be stopped. The amount of people that say atheists are cold hearted and cannot love, what a joke. Because we don’t follow the bible which condones rape, murder and slavery we are the heartless ones? F–k off

  11. I cannot believe what I hear from this rum dumb in St. Louis. Couple that with a “sharing the blame” attitude that these poor excuses for a human beings are purporting, I simply find this position undefendable.

    The rationalization of answers may keep these guys and their church convincing themselves all is fine, but we see it for the bullshit it is..

    I don’t try to argue, debate, or discuss the situation with these defenders of their actions. They want to rationalize and have me ‘see the thought process develop.’ (That has been my experience.)

    The victim needs our help and more often than not he (she?) does not want to acknowledge the situation, much less talk to me about it. I have a friend who took over 40 years to acknowledge what happened to him . I cannot imagine the pressure but this puts on a person .

    And they want to make the situation go away via a definition, or a change of the rules. There are a lot of Catholics who believe priests didn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t, do such a terrible thing .

    I think all I can do is to keep the pressure on and let others know that this is happened , that these men are trying to sweep it under the rug, and offer all the assistance I can.

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