Iain, what about a blog on the Catholic Church—-to me it looks like it has Terminal Cancer. You have given the Muslims a good run—now it’s the Catholics turn.
In the fifties its was a conspiracy of international communists that inspired that spittle flecked outrage of a paranoid group of theorists and it seems to me that today we are facing a very similar sort of rolling witch-hunt for kiddie fiddler priests within the Catholic church.
Frankly as a life long atheist I have never surrendered my self to the notion that any Godbotherer deserves any sort of deference or has any sort of deity derived authority because it always struck me as lacking any sort of logical sense that an omnipotent deity would need any intermediaries between this world and the next. However for those in the thrall of organised faith the authority of the religious functionaries and the prophets of the faith is an unquestioned given. Naturally this is the foundation for the abuse stories that motivates the likes of Richard or our other regular Craigy, to a fever pitched excitement.
The foundation stone for the systemic history of priestly abuse surely has to be the rather bizarre idea that to be a a religious functionary you have to deny and repress the intrinsic biological imperative to breed and give up your sexuality to the deity. The thing is that this imperative is so strong that its denial takes an almost superhuman act of will to overcome. Being only human many fail to live up to this impossible ideal. It is of course no surprise that the contemporary church is struggling to find recruits for its priesthood in this age of far more open sexuality. Add to this the tendency for victims of childhood abuse to themselves subsequently tend to abuse a new generation children and you have the elements for an almost perfect cycle of self-perpetuating misery. finally we have the not unexpected desire for the church theocracy to try to avoid scandal and loss of social standing by dealing with any accusations against priests in house rather than seeking any sort of secular justice. To my mind the real scandal here is that the response of the church has been to essentially sweep such things under the rug and to have unjustified faith that an abuser could change or that they would not offend again if they were placed elsewhere in another parish.
With al that in mind I still find it hard to endorse the sort of “all Catholicism is evil” thinking of the likes of Richard and Criagy because most of the practising Catholics that I have known in my life have in fact been very decent people with a very sincere desire to see a human society that is caring compassionate and just. So I tend to think that the desire to see the church brought down that is so evident in the Richard and Craigy’s thinking may prove to be counter-productive. The abusers that are being named are almost always old men and the offences cited are likewise far from being contemporary . Allegations about events in the long distant past are notoriously difficult to prove to any sort of satisfactory legal standard and it generally comes down to a battle of veracity between the accuser and the accused both of whom may be less than frank and suffer from the frailty of memory, Its a legal can of worms and only the eaters of such wrigglers, the legal profession, are likely to benefit from the creation of Royal commissions or judicial inquires of any sort, the victims of abuse will still have their legacy of angst to deal with, the perps are unlikely to be adequately punished at this remove from their offending (if they are not already dead from old age) and the good works of the church are likely to suffer as its resources are diverted to the pockets of lawyers and those who see a way to gain monetary compensations for their suffering. That sounds like a classic no win situation to me but I expect that my readers will disagree so its over to you in the comments …
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