Vatican Syndrome – a variant of Stockholm Syndrome

Vatican Syndrome

Vatican Syndrome

Leaving the Catholic Church is not usually as difficult as leaving other faith-based organisations, such as Scientology or Islam, where the consequences can be brutal. A Catholic doesn’t have to renounce Christianity in order to leave the church. There are many non-Catholic Christian churches that will happily welcome ex-Catholics. A Catholic could also decide to keep the Christian faith, but pray in private. Both options avoid having to address the veracity, or any other aspect, of the faith itself.

Yet, even with the constantly growing number of revelations of the magnitude of the sexual abuse pandemic in the Catholic Church, most of the faithful still feel a strong allegiance to the Vatican.

Why? Vatican Syndrome – a variant of Stockholm Syndrome.

In 1973 four employees of the Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg in Stockholm were taken hostage during an attempted bank robbery. They were held for six days in one of the bank’s vaults. Nooses, guns and dynamite were initially used to scare them into submitting to the robbers’ instructions. One of the hostages was heard screaming as a robber held her in a stranglehold while on a call to the Swedish Prime Minister.

The police moved into the apartment above the bank and drilled a hole in the ceiling of the vault. The bank robbers fired bullets through the hole, but eventually they surrendered after the police pumped tear gas into the vault.

After the event, none of the hostages would testify against their captors. In fact they raised money for their defence and visited them in jail. The police were baffled by this behaviour and called in criminologist and psychologist, Nils Bejerot. He said the state of mind of the hostages was the result of a type of brainwashing. Bejerot coined the term Norrmalmstorg Syndrome, which became known internationally as Stockholm Syndrome.

In 1974, heiress Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army. They locked her in a closet for long periods, blindfolded her, gagged her and raped her. She eventually agreed to join her captors’ cause and was famously seen on surveillance video carrying an assault rifle during an armed bank robbery.

NVID at Amazon

At her trial the defence tried to establish that brainwashing was the cause of her actions. The judge didn’t buy it. Hearst was sentenced to seven years, although she served less than two before being pardoned.

Following her release, Patty Hearst never showed any sign of reverting to the behaviour she exhibited while under the influence of the SLA. Her free will had been reinstated. She returned to normalcy.

There are many more examples. Today Stockholm Syndrome is widely understood and accepted. It not only applies to hostage and prisoner scenarios, but also to the sexual abuse of children.

“Aspects of Stockholm Syndrome could be identified in the responses of adult survivors of child sexual abuse, which appeared to impact on their ability to criminally report offenders. An emotional bond, which has enabled the sexual abuse of children, has served to protect the offender long after the abuse has ceased.” – Shirley Jülich, Stockholm Syndrome and Child Sexual Abuse, Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 2005.

Recovering from Stockholm Syndrome usually involves counselling, in which the patient is helped to understand that the feelings they have are part of a normal survival instinct. The recovery process involves a return to normalcy in the lives of victims.

An abused kidnap victim would have much less chance of recovery, including a return to normalcy, if the perpetrator was a famous and revered person who regularly appeared in the media, on magazine covers and billboards, everywhere the victim went.

The Catholic Church gives the appearance of being omnipresent and omnipotent, especially through the prominence of Catholic Churches, which are often the grandest structures in towns and cities where Catholics reside. So it’s not surprising that Catholics, any number of whom may be experiencing Vatican Syndrome to a greater or lesser extent, can’t begin to comprehend a mental escape, or a return to normalcy.

Which means that Vatican Syndrome, sadly, is likely to be with us for a very, very long time.

NetGalley ad Sept

Vatican Syndrome – Definitions

Stockholm Syndrome – An emotional attachment to a captor formed by a hostage as a result of intermittent stress, abuse, threats and a need to cooperate for survival.

Vatican Syndrome – A strong, ideological allegiance, within a congregation, to an institution that beats, threatens, abuses, and intimidates them. A psychological survival strategy.

Beatings – Copiously reported from Catholic schools and orphanages
Threats – An omniscient God, Hell, eternal damnation, pain and suffering
Abuse – Sexual, mental and physical abuse by clergy and teachers
Intimidation – Priests learn of sins in confession Speak out and you will be ostracised

Vatican Syndrome – a variant of Stockholm Syndrome.

kneelingman avatar

When was the Catholic Church NOT a Haven for Pedophiles?

When was the Catholic Church NOT a Haven for Pedophiles?

When was the Catholic Church NOT a Haven for Pedophiles?

Kneeling Man: Oi, God! You there?

God: Of course, Neel.

KM: Right, stick your fingers in your ears and bugger off, you’re not going to want to hear this.

God: What?

KM: Piss off, I’m not in a good mood. This is a rant and I don’t want or need your input.

God: Oh… Okay, bye…

KM: Rhetorical question –

When was the Catholic Church NOT a haven for pedophiles?

The story that follows is fiction. It doesn’t invoke works of ancient hearsay, so heresy cannot be claimed. Neither can blasphemy, because blasphemy’s not relevant unless something that can’t withstand rational scrutiny claims to be true.

One day, more than a thousand years ago, a parish priest made an unscheduled visit to the largest landowner in the district. On arrival he heard unusual noises coming from the basement. The priest descended the steps and found the landowner engaged in buggery with a ten-year-old boy. Also present, in varying states of undress and arousal, were three of the landowner’s friends. The priest gasped and turned to leave. One of the men  grabbed him and dragged him back inside. The peasant boy was sent on his way with a warning to keep their secret, on pain of death for his whole family. The priest was tied to a post.

The landowner and friends had been caught in an act of such vile debauchery that their execution would surely follow. A plan was hatched. The priest was killed and buried right there in the basement. One of the landowner’s friends was a visitor from another province and therefore unknown to any of the locals. On the following Sunday he appeared in the pulpit and announced that he was the new pastor of the parish and that the previous priest had been reassigned to another parish far away.

After one particularly depraved session with a young alter boy, which included a few flagons of consecrated wine, the conspirators realised that not only was the church providing a good cover for their activities, it was also facilitating them. Perhaps it could provide a whole lot more besides. Soon the rapidly expanding group had killed and replaced priests in eight neighbouring parishes, and eventually took over the cathedral in the provincial capital.

Sensing that they couldn’t continue to expand through violent acquisition, the newly installed bishop and his cronies declared a split from the established church and set themselves up as a committee of cardinals to forge some new rules. Promises of a better heaven and a more terrible hell helped to swell attendances but it was the forgiving of sins through confession that really appealed to the masses. This was a masterstroke as it gave the priests the power of knowing the secrets of the flock along with an ability to extract extra donations from serious sinners to ensure their secrets remained buried. They also implemented a celibacy rule, so they’d have no further need to maintain a public pretence of being socially acceptable, “normal” heterosexuals.

NVID at Amazon

This new version of the old religion was a runaway success. With income from donations, confessions and indulgences, the church started charities, orphanages and schools. Initially this was a way of keeping stocks of juvenile sex slaves readily available, but also, through clever brainwashing, it increased the numbers of new followers.

In the early days of the church, there was no way for any of the victims of this pedophile empire to know what they a were part of. Each individual victim, sworn to secrecy by their priest, could only believe that were indeed a very unlucky individual. The church continued to grow and spread its system of institutionalised child rape to the point where the victims numbered in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, world-wide.

In the second half of the twentieth century, developments in communication meant that victims began to hear stories of other victims and when they realised they weren’t alone, many began to come forward. The church attributed the complaints to a few bad apples and worked hard to protect its status and, more importantly, the true history of its establishment.

And there ends the fiction. But think about this –

Had such an organisation been established a thousand years ago, and grown and become massively successful, would there be any obvious difference between it and the Catholic Church of today?

NetGalley ad Sept

When was the Catholic Church NOT a Haven for Pedophiles?

( Post Script – The Vatican has always known that thousands of priests were, and are, serial child rapists. Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope following 20 years as the chief enforcer of the Crimen Sollicitationis, the secret, 39 page, Vatican instruction manual for maintaining secrecy of sex offences in the church. It advises on appropriate punishment of victims for disclosing what happened to them, but says absolutely nothing about helping them. [Sex Crimes and the Vatican, BBC, 2006] The Church claims it’s doing all it can to address the problem, although its actions indicate that self-preservation has always been the paramount concern.)

KM: Oi, God!

God: Yes, Neel?

KM: What do you think about that?

God: You told me to go away.

KM: Yeah, but you never listen. At least you never answer prayers.

God: Just because I don’t answer prayers doesn’t mean I’m not listening.

KM: It was a question not a prayer. You going to answer?

God: It’s a more plausible story than most of the shit the Pope comes out with.

KM: Amen to that.

God: Night, Neel.

KM: Night, God.

kneelingman avatar