The Church of Rome has been engulfed by an unending scandal. It is indisputable that thousands of clergy around the world sexually abused children for centuries. I was brought up in that church. I am a disbeliever. There is much in the church that I dislike but I recognise that there is plenty of good in the Catholic Church too.
Of course most clergy are innocent. They deserve the same presumption of innocence as everyone else. There are about half a million clergy and religious of the Roman Catholic Church in the world. Let us not tar them all with the same brush. The thing is we hear this daily list of clergy who have been found guilty of these crimes that when another one is accused part of me thinks – here we go again, yet another paedo priest. But of course that is totally unfair.
There are many priests whom I like. These are very giving men and they are Christian in the best sense of the word. I know of 2 priests who were accused and the police found that there was no case to answer.
The paedophilia in the church is surely an open goal for Protestants who loathe the RC church as well as those of other faiths who despise it. Oddly, they seem not to have taken advantage of this suppurating wound.
The village that my parents inhabit from time to time had a priest in the mid 1990s who allegedly abused boys in a sexual manner. None of them said anything until a Down syndrome boy told on him. I suppose that Down’s children are not so easily silenced because of their subnormal intelligence – they perhaps do not understand the threats that may be made against them. I do not know if these allegations are true are not. The priest was moved on pronto. So far as I know no legal action was taken. I was a teenager then and I remember being unshocked and not even thinking that the priest had done something terribly wicked.
I would like everyone to calm down about the situation. This is not easy as it is a terribly emotive issue.
Is this vice more widespread amongst the clergy than the laity? Almost certainly. Logic suggests that if one is not permitted a good outlet for one’s desires then one will find and evil outlet for them. Celibacy is impossible for almost everyone and it surely is partly responsible for this problem. Like W E H Lecky said it is, ‘proclaiming war on human nature.’ This no marriage rule came in only a millennium ago. There were married popes before it. It has been breached since – allowing some African priests to wed when that was a strong expectation in their society and likewise accepting Anglican priests as converts and priests though these men had spouses.
Compensation is paid to victims. The trouble is this may attract some chancers.
The problem was in the old days the clergy were so exalted that nobody would listen to any allegations however well-founded.
There is a good side to the church. It inspires great art and architecture. It runs charities. It had provided solace for the dying and bereaved. I see its services as performance art. I like the liturgy as a poetry recital and I like the music.
But yes it preaches nonsense. It wastes money. It has sanctified many atrocities. It was the enemy of free expression and inquiry. Uptight, moralistic, sanctimonious, killjoy, hypocritical, censorious, God bothering, effeminate, intolerant, waffling and grandmotherly. It will always crawl to tyrants and not stand up for truth and justice. It jusitifies this by expediency but surely religion is about doing the right thing? What if Jesus had chosen expediency over his mission? It was obscurantist and sought to return us to the Middle Ages. Part of me says, like Voltaire, ‘Ecrasez l’Infame!’
Its power has been broken. It is feeble, toothless and has next to no appeal among the young. People get holier as they age, or so it was till now. At this rate there will be no priests left in a century.
In the old days if a boy had no desire for girls he was told to be a priest. Of course many of themw ere gay and did not know. Queerdom was not talked about at all except in a condemnatory way.
Well we need less hysteria. This crime has always been there and always shall.
The Church in the past covered this up because it could not be left with egg on its face. How shameful to value that over saving children from woeful abuse.
What I think is unjust is to lump Bishop Casey in with the nonces. He banged an adult – fine. That is not the same league as kiddie fiddling.
Swinging is surely happier and mentally healthier than sexual repression.