Hat Tip to Pete at Landfill Pointe for this topic.

Pope Benedict XVI, celebrating a “World Day of Peace”, greeted the New Year by criticizing policies that undermine the traditional family, saying they eroded one of the most important foundations for peace in the world. He said the traditional family led by a husband and wife instilled values that promote peace, and added it was an “irreplaceable” institution.

The Pontiff, delivering the traditional New Year prayer for peace, appeared to take a swipe at efforts in several countries to grant legal recognition to gay and unwed couples – although he did not single out any policies by name.

“Those who are hostile, even unknowingly, to the institution of the family … make peace fragile for the entire national and international community,” the Pope told crowds gathered in a sunny St Peter’s Square.

Well, okay, let’s see, the Pope must be talking about those families where spousal abuse, child abuse, and elder abuse do not occur. And, lest we forget, physical abuse is many times accompanied by psychological and emotional abuse. What’s the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me?” Psychological and emotional abuse also takes a toll on families.

If the family is such a safe haven as a foundation for peace, why on earth do we have so many domestic violence task forces, domestic violence commissions, centers for non-violence and on and on?

According to the American Bar Association’s Commission on Domestic Violence, approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States. The U.S. Department of Justice gathered the following statistics between 1998 and 2002:

  • Of the almost 3.5 million violent crimes committed against family members, 49% of these were crimes against spouses.
  • 84% of spouse abuse victims were females, and 86% of victims of dating partner abuse were female.
  • Males were 83% of spouse murderers and 75% of dating partner murderers
  • 50% of offenders in state prison for spousal abuse had killed their victims. Wives were more likely than husbands to be killed by their spouses: wives were about half of all spouses in the population in 2002, but 81% of all persons killed by their spouse.

Moving on to elder abuse, 90% of elder abuse and neglect incidents are by known perpetrators, usually family members, 2/3rds are adult children or spouses. 42% of murder victims over 60 were killed by their own offspring. Spouses were the perpetrators in 24% of family murders of persons over 60.

And finally, the following are some statistics on child abuse:

  • Each week, child protective services (CPS) agencies throughout the United States receive more than 50,000 reports of suspected child abuse or neglect.
  • In 2002, 2.6 million reports concerning the welfare of approximately 4.5 million children were made.
  • In approximately two-thirds (67 percent) of these cases, the information provided in the report was sufficient to prompt an assessment or investigation. As a result of these investigations, approximately 896,000 children were found to have been victims of abuse or neglect—an average of more than 2,450 children per day.
  • More than half (60 percent) of victims experienced neglect, meaning a caretaker failed to provide for the child’s basic needs. Fewer victims experienced physical abuse (nearly 20 percent) or sexual abuse (10 percent), though these cases are typically more likely to be publicized. The smallest number (7 percent) were found to be victims of emotional abuse, which includes criticizing, rejecting, or refusing to nurture a child.
  • An average of nearly four children die every day as a result of child abuse or neglect (1,400 in 2002).

In the mid-1800s, some state courts legally allowed husbands to beat their wives. See Joyner v. Joyner, 59 N.C. 322 (1862); State v. Black, 60 N.C. 262 (1864); State v. Rhodes, 61 N.C. 453 (1868). The cases provide explicit reasons upon which the courts absolved the husbands of wrongdoing in hitting or beating their wives. The underlying philosophy? The husband is the head of the family, the wife is to submit to the husband, and, if she gets out of line, she is to be punished because she is just like a child. That punishment usually took the form of hitting, striking, or beating.

Perhaps when the Pope is pontificating, he might read up on the statistics of abuse and violence surrounding the family unit. The Pope talks about an ideal which may exist for some families; statistics gives us reality in black and white.


About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
This entry was posted in Christianity, Courts, Domestic Violence, Human Rights. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Jeff Pruitt says:

    Since when did the catholic church become the moral authority on peace?

  2. roach says:

    did she say “Pontiff-icating”? giggle.
    but seriously-
    domestic violence IS terrorism.
    heres the face of domestic violence: warning- CSI-ghastly, full color hideousness:

    yet our social service agencies seem unable to do anything about violence, nor changing mens attitudes about women. the most dangerous time where a woman faces death is when she decides to leave her abuser. And cannot kill him first, due to the male hiding behind laws. Nor is the new lover/boyfriend able to do anything, either, usually culminating in a double murder suicide.
    there ought to be a law.
    ps- how do I know this is a CSI photo of a domestic violence homicide- due to the profiler statistic that the abuser kills, and focuses on facial disfigurement- If I cant heve her, nobody will want to look at her.
    again- domestic violence is terrorism, and it causes more death, destruction, mayhem, and tragedy than all our wars combined. 9-11? maybe a days death toll. the horror. the horror.
    for more ghastly hideousness- read
    I hate ugly reality, but everybody seems to object to “my make love, not war philosophy”, and “clinical observations” of “human sexual behavior”. besides- sex and porn makes the religious fundamentalist extremist koolaid drinkers go ballistic with “self-righteous indignation”, but apparently, they’re ok with war, murder, and mutilation- the “just war” is just war. nothing more.

  3. I find it amazing that the Pope even has the wherewithal to say the family is the fundamental unit of peace when so much violence occurs within the confines of the family.

  4. Donald says:

    Dear Ms. Weybright,
    Abuses such as you pointed out in paragragh 4 are exactly what the Pope is referring to in the previous paragraph, “Those who are hostile, even unknowingly, to the institution of the family … make peace fragile for the entire national and international community”. I have another quote I ran across today in “Back to Virture” by Peter Kreeft, “If there is harmony in the heart, there will be harmony in the family. If there is harmony in the family, there will be harmony in the nation. If there is harmony in the nation, there will be harmony in the world.” – Confucius. Pope Benedict is pointing out that the foundation of society is the family, we destroy that foundation (like gay marriage, co-habitation, media bashing of family living which seems to be the norm in out society, etc.) we stand to lose it all.

    In answer to your question, the family is supposed to be a safe haven. Unfortuneatly we have many who do not live a virtuous life with respect for others, etc. so the need for such groups were formed.

    Reading your blog I sense your hostility towards the Pope’s comments and I know part of that may be personal and none of my business but I feel the need to make a point. The view of the Catholic Church in our country is very negative, no doubt about it, and that is due to the fact that this is a Protestant country. This is not a Catholic country and much of that hostility has carried on since our founding. The Catholic Church has done an enormous amount of work in this country for the poor, for families, etc. (Yes, there are those who screw it all up I agree, and that is everywhere, not just the Church) but you will never hear about the good the Church does, its just not good for ratings I guess. The media is quick to bash the Church because in this country you can. We must all realize though that the attack is on all of Christianity.

  5. Donald says:

    Oh and Jeff… The Catholic Church has been the moral authority on peace for about… oh i dont know, 2000 years! Check your history and you might discover that all of western civilization (which includes us) owes its existence to….. drum roll….. the Catholic Church.

  6. Jeff Pruitt says:


    C’mon now. Are you suggesting that the catholic church doesn’t have a history of violence and atrocities?

  7. Pete says:

    I thought the message was quite clear. It does a flip on the “if,” which is stated unconditionally in the Confucian quote: if everyone within and without the traditional family say yes to this patrimony of values, then world peace. This isn’t an exclusive claim of the Catholic church. Another church makes the same claim … oh-oh. Another obstacle to peace.

    In a time span much shorter from the 1800’s — it’s been in my lifetime, when we decided to go ahead and see the bruises on battered wives and children. I can remember when seeing them would have been an obstacle to peace.

  8. Donald says:

    Are you suggesting that the Catholic Church is the only source of violence and atrocities in history? Once again, do some research and dont be so naive.

  9. Phil Marx says:


    Certainly, the Catholic Church is not the source of the worlds problems. To focus on a few ignoble deeds (The Crusades and child molesting priests, for example) while ignoring the many good deeds done would be unfair.

    But it appears that is exactly what many religious organizations are constantly doing towards non-traditional (homosexual, cohabitating, etc.) people. I believe that a lot of the hostility towards the Pope’s statements is defensive in nature. The Pope is attacking people without due cause and people are responding to this.

    There are good people and there are bad people. Some are married, some are not. Some are straight, some are gay. I would challenge you or the Pope to show a clear alignment between a person’s sexual orientation or marital status and their value as a human being.

    The Pope is saying these people are bad because they are gay or because they are living in co-habitation instead of marriage. Even if you subscribe to the Popes moral teachings, these people are only offending themselves and God. There is no evidence that their lifestyles are harming others.

    But people who claim to be moraly pure, while at the same time murdering innocent people or molesting children have been found many times to be hiding within the church (including the Catholic Church).

    If the Pope wants to bless the family for it’s many virtues, let him. But if he wants to demonize other people without validating his claims, then he deserves an angry response.

  10. Donald says:

    “Certainly, the Catholic Church is not the source of the worlds problems. To focus on a few ignoble deeds (The Crusades and child molesting priests, for example) while ignoring the many good deeds done would be unfair.”

    So you are saying that the Christian countries should have let Islam go ahead and roll through Europe? And do you actually think that the percentage of child abuse cases in the Catholic Church is higher than anywhere else, say for instance protestant churches or even our own schools?

    “The Pope is attacking people without due cause and people are responding to this.”

    So you are saying that promoting gay marriages and co-habitation doesn’t break down the family ideal in our society, have you done a comparison to statistics between now and 50 years ago?

    “There are good people and there are bad people. Some are married, some are not. Some are straight, some are gay. I would challenge you or the Pope to show a clear alignment between a person’s sexual orientation or marital status and their value as a human being.”

    I agree with you here. I’m not sure why you brought up the value of a human being subject here since that is not in question. The Church values all life, regardless of their sexual orientation. Your best resource for this is the Catechism of the Catholic Church which you can find online.

    “The Pope is saying these people are bad”

    No, not ever did he say that. That is taken out of context completely. I dont hold that thought against you, I have heard it a hundred times but if you study Church teaching that is not true. Claims like that and many others, as I said in my earlier post, come from our protestant background which is anti-Catholic in nature.

    “But people who claim to be moraly pure, while at the same time murdering innocent people or molesting children have been found many times to be hiding within the church (including the Catholic Church).”

    Yes, they are EVERYWHERE.

    “But if he wants to demonize other people without validating his claims, then he deserves an angry response.”

    Demonize? Very opinionated and biased view. I once also thought as you about these claims until i stopped listening to what people told me about religions (including the Catholic Church) and researched it on my own. I found out that a lot of what I grew up believing was more than a little one-sided. The crusades being only one example.

    I urge you to check out a few more resources also. Hilaire Belloc is a good start.

  11. Jeff Pruitt says:

    My mistake I guess all those witches and heretics were Islamists pushing manifest destiny across Europe.

    The Catholic church was/is/will be all that is good, just and moral in the world. To think otherwise might be your demise – at least it used to be that way but what do I know, I’m just a historical ignoramus.

    If we want to discuss organized religion then let’s dig a little deeper – well beyond the Catholic church. The very foundation of organized religion was a way for elites to control and rule over the masses. If you didn’t want to be a producer then you had to figure out a way to get your goods without working for them. And what better way than to pronounce yourself the Vicar of Christ…

  12. Phil Marx says:


    I am not saying that bad people do not exist outside of the church or outside of it’s sanctioned institutions (the monogamous, heterosexual couple). But the Pope’s message gives the blanket implication that the traditional family always breeds good results, while alternative lifestyles always cause harm.

    Allowing a homosexual couple to wed in no way threatens the sanctity of the heterosexual marriage. Asking for marriage to be the exclusive domain of heterosexuals is not protecting the traditional family, it is only harassing those who hold alternative lifestyles.

    Given the furror that so many people raise against homosexual marriage, you would think that someone is proposing to ban heterosexual marriage. The Pope, and other religious figures, are trying to create the appearance of a problem where none exists.

    If religious leaders want to preach to their followers that certain behavior should not be engaged in, that is none of my business. But if they want to urge the passing of laws to FORCE others to follow their advice, then I will strongly protest.

  13. Donald says:

    I guess we will have to agree to disagree. Time will only tell the “error of our ways”. Good discussion though.

    Jeff, good luck to you.

  14. Donald:

    A better understanding of Mormonism or any other religion for that matter does not come from those who would criticize, downplay, and deny the existence of the religion. Usually there is an ulterior motive involved. The website you provided is simply a Catholic attempt to discredit and distinguish Mormons from Christians.

    I guess I hold with the notion that if a church follows the teachings of Christ and Christ is accepted by its followers as the Saviour, then that is a Christian religion. I really get tired of hearing churches battle for superiority as the “one true church.” What difference does it make if you believe in Christ and do his work?

    Organized religions protect themselves. I read the material, and, as far as I am concerned, it makes little difference to me. After all, wasn’t it the Catholic Church that became so corrupted that Martin Luther broke from the church? Wasn’t it Johann Tetzel, an indulgence preacher in the Catholic Church who used the indulgences to take money from poor believers? I believe the phrase went, “When the coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs.”

    Churches are run by human beings – mainly males at the top of the hierarchy – and are primarily patriarchal in nature. A number of denominations do not recognize the value of women in the ministry. And where does that come from? Men who translated the word of God and decided, according to God, that women don’t have a place in the church other than as “helpmates.” Wasn’t it Paul in Corinthians who said women should keep quiet in church and only ask questions of their husbands at home?

    And, here is a question that has puzzled me for years.

    Genesis 1:26 – And God said, “let us make man in our image, after our likeness:…” Who is “us” and who is “our?” Who was God talking to? That passage seems to indicate that there was more than one “likeness.” If God is a formless shape, then how could God make humans in his/her image?

    Genesis 1:27 – So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them. I will ask this again, if God is formless, how can man and woman be made in his/her image?

    I believe organized religions do a lot of good, but I also think they have strayed from their original design. Endless battles over which one is the one true church prove nothing. Religious denominations are some of the wealthiest entities in the world, and they are tax free.

    And that is probably why Jesus said “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20.

    My grandfather was a Baptist minister, and he was also a member of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s in west central Indiana. How does a minister, a “man of God”, find it acceptable to belong to a group formed out of hate? My mother was the first born and she was punished by beatings with belts, cords, and hangers.

    Family units are where children learn hate and prejudice, for example, racial hatred, ethnic hatred, etc. Family units are important, but I would still disagree with the Pope’s vision of the family as the fundamental unit of peace.

  15. Phil Marx says:


    I want to commend you for your part in this discussion. Obviously, you were outnumbered on this particular blog-thread. Often when that happens a person will stray far from their main point or begin making personal attacks. While I may disagree or fail to understand some of your opinions, I feel that you expressed them with integrity.

    I believe that too many people utilize the blogs for making arguments, in which there should be a decided winner and a decided loser. I prefer to see them as discussions, in which persons with alternative views may enlighten one another with their thoughts.

    Here, it appears as though both sides had adequately expressed their opinions. And no converts were being made either way at present (Except for Jeff who has converted to Catholicism and is already planning his campaign to become the next Pope – LOL). Disengagement from the conversation is probably the most practical decision at this time.

    Although we seem to disagree on many points, hopefully we’ve both given each other some thoughts to consider. The process of enlightenment is not usually an immediate one. Perhaps we’ll have this convesation again sometime in the future and find that we’ve both learned something from one another.

  16. Donald says:

    Phil, I agree with you 100%. I have learned a lot from this conversation already (like, patience, prudence, and temperance which I seem to be lacking a little of) but I have enjoyed it. I get little opportunity to have discussions of this type and I do miss that (I couldnt get to sleep the past two nights, the gears were turning too fast). I apologize for being argumentative to all here, I should know better by now. I look forward to future ‘sharing of views’. Thankyou Phil for that reply.

  17. Donald, Phil, and Jeff:

    I want to thank you all for your input into this blog article. Religion tends to be one of those topics that generates much controversy, and we will probably never resolve the differences among the denominations.

    Although I am opinionated on many topics – of course that is why I started my blog – I appreciate those who post maintaining civility towards each other.

    I hope that a future topic will pique your interest and desire to take part in a discussion.

Comments are closed.