Cross Culture Catholic Case Study
The impacts of culture on a society can be measured in the collective behaviors that manifest from those who celebrate some sort of culture. Culture is a combination of many aspects, but in totality suggest a background environment of impulses and forces which lay out a pathway of behavior for an individuals. These pathologies are not healthy or unhealthy in themselves, but serve as backdrops or roles for humans to play and interact within society.
Cross cultural psychology aims to examine the impact of culture on mind behavior. The strength and efficiency in which organized religion plays within one's culture cannot be argued. The spiritual content of human beings cannot be denied and the aims of religion is to make sense of these spiritual urges and blend them within our total and whole being. Organized religion makes this very difficult in many aspects and the focus of this case study revolves around the troubles of Charlie, a devout Roman Catholic who has recently witnessed a horrible crime being committed by his parish priest.
This case study will first give background information regarding Charlie and his situation. The impacts of both organized religion and the Catholic Church itself on society will also be examined to identify the cultural aspects of this organization. A portfolio will be presented that documents Charlie's case and several historical events that have contributed to impacts of the cultural other.
Charlie was baptized in the Catholic Church shortly after his birth and dictated by his mother and father who have been practicing Catholics all their lives. Both of Charlie's parents come from many generations of Catholics and throughout both sides of the family there have been many who have served has priests and nuns throughout the ages. The dedication to the church and its values was and is a very strong influence on Charlie.
Today Charlie is a 16-year-old young man attending Catholic High School that is sponsored by his family's parish. Charlie is bright articulate and is active in sports and music in his free time. Charlie has 5 brothers and 2 sisters, where he is the second oldest of the seven children. Charlie's parents are both college educated and Charlie's father earns his living as a government worker in the local nuclear power plant. Charlie's mother is a registered nurse at the parish's hospital and works with young children in the pediatric ward.
Charlie has had a history of fighting and disrespect with his parents and many of his siblings. Charlie's aggression has been useful in his athletics however and his coaches often reward him for his ability to funnel his aggression into high performance on the athletic field. Charlie's grades are strong and when asked about his future Charlie has made suggestions that he is considering the armed services or the priesthood, or maybe both.
Charlie identifies heavy with the Christ motif presented in the Catholic Church. Charlie believes that suffering and pain is a true measure of a man's character and that through trials and tribulations of the most serious kind, a resurrected ideal can surface from the crucifixion. Charlie is a very faithful young man and attends mass nearly every day and performs daily prayers upon rising and before going to bed every night.
Charlie's family ignores him in many ways. He rarely sees his parents on the weekday due to his schedule and the parents inability to negotiate time off. The entire family is essentially diffused except on Sunday when all are require to attend Mass together, followed by a Sunday meal. This is the only time the family spends time together as a whole and when Charlie has the chance to really interact with his other family members.
Amongst his family members, small to little expectations have been placed upon him and his generally ignored....
Charlie knows there is something dysfunctional about him and his family but is not quite sure what it is and how his religion impacts his interactions with his family and how is Catholic background also plays a role in his development. Charlie often feels that the love he feels from his parents is not genuine or real and that he longs for a deeper and more intimate relationship with others.
Charlie has always been torn between his love for his church and the self seeking demands of a normal person. The heavy burdens that are portrayed within a Catholic culture have demonstrated to him that it is impossible to live without sin. Sin plays a large part of Charlie's mental and behavioral approach. Like many who spawn from this area of culture, guilt plays another heavy role in the behavior of its members. Charlie in his history has demonstrated many signs of overbearing guilt and problems.
Charlie has had problems in the past with females and has never had a meaningful relationship with a member of the opposite sex. Charlie has a tendency to repress his natural emotions in favor of spiritual guidance and this has caused some issues in his social circles and how he manages to make and sustain friendship. Charlie has been active in his church for a long time and finds himself donating many of his free hours helping around the church which was the many cause for the crisis that he is experiencing right now.
Charlie was recently proposition by 2 of the parish's priests to commit sexual acts with them. Charlie discovered the two men in the rectory bathroom during a study hall break. Charlie was asked to join the encounter and promptly refused and left the building immediately. Charlie then went home and prayed upon his crisis.
Charlie had read about many of the problems with sexual abuse in the Catholic church bud did not think it applied to him and his church. He had imagined that God would not allow for such problems and that Jesus would not let him despair in his time of trouble.
Within this particular culture, the Catholic's act in deep secrecy and place a high emphasis on the hierarchical systems. At the very top of this clandestine organization, their cult leader, the Pope, is also known as the Vicar of Christ. This means that followers are force to believe that their leader is an actual representation of a divine entity. This selective mysticism is helpful in creating harmful environments that serve violence and coercion as a virtue. The hierarchy that begins in the Vatican in Rome bleeds out into every Catholic parish throughout the world.
The Catholic culture has damaging impacts upon its followers. Sin is seen as burdensome and humanity is often shamed in its humanness according to Catholic dogma and strict rules. Physical, emotional and sexual abuse runs rampant amongst its followers and many Catholics who have left this organization have suggested that it acts within the frame work of a dangerous cult.
The religion diminishes the feminine aspect of society and the individual. The followers of this organized religion are forced to believe that the son of god was conceived without sexual intercourse by a Jewish woman named Mary. The women of this cult are thereby shamed and marginalized by suggested that sexual intercourse is unholy and goes against the natural order of things. Charlie has been impacted by this idea as all of his relationship with females suggest this problem with idolizing the woman.
Idolizing in general is also problematic within the Catholic Church. Symbols are often worshiped and bowed down upon and seen as supernatural. Many Catholic churches have a violent crucifix at the head of their temples and churches. These violent images prey upon their followers and suggest that their reflected culture is one of violence and torture.
Resolving the Case
Historically the Catholic Church has been mired in abuse and scandal. Terry (2008) wrote " prior to 2002, few researchers had empirically studied the problem of child sexual abuse by clergy. The studies that did exist offered a glimpse into the issue, but they were limited in nature because of small sample sizes or because they were based on information from a parish or diocese or on clinical samples. There is little information that relates to identifiable pathologies of the offenders (e.g., clear indications of pedophilia), and there is much information that indicates an opportunistic selection effect. Although the majority of victims were male, it is this group of children to whom the priests had the most (and most unrestricted) access. In addition, the average priest with an allegation of abuse waits 11 years before the first known abuse occurs."
Charlie's indoctrination to his religion and his dedicated relationship to his maker have made things very difficult in handling the problem he has witnessed. Charlie knows that something is horribly wrong with his church and parish, but in order to reveal this he will have to expose some nasty truths about his own family's corroboration with the organization. Charlie has been raised to view…
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