Father Ed's Blog

A Catholic priest reflects…

Guidance: not only by a star

Everyone knows the story. The magi were guided by a star until they found the baby Jesus in the stable. Well not according to scripture which states the magi arrived after the birth at a house where the holy family were residing. And that is why we celebrate Epiphany after Christmas! And, importantly, it was not the star alone which guided the magi; whom scholars assume were Zoroastrian priests from Iran.

The star certainly guided at the outset of their journey. They began gazing to the heavens for portents, exhibiting a primitive and superstitious form of faith. Because they hungered for truth, seeking God with sincere hearts, he led them via that star, to Bethlehem. But not directly to Jesus…

The star gazing only got them so far then. It connected them to the realm of the supernatural but could not ultimately fulfil them. It took them to the brink of discovery but no further. And so, to move forwards, they had to abandon this primitive guidance system and adopt a new form of guidance. That of human expertise, so they travelled to Herod’s palace and consulted the wisdom of elites. They turned to academia which confirmed suspicions- ancient prophecy did speak of a Messiah born in Bethelehem…and the star shone for them once more.

This time it led them to Jesus. And on encountering him an amazing thing occurs. These important men, important enough to be granted audience with Herod, fell to their knees in homage before a peasant babe. Only a sincere Epiphany can have led to such humility! They saw with eyes of faith. Their hearts were changed. Their lives transformed to the point of offering lavish gifts; gold, frankincense and myrrh.

As they knelt before Christ they found what they were looking for- a grace from above! And it enlightened and transformed not only them but their guidance system in life. So abandoning superstition and worldly expertise they ‘returned home another way’ …thereby avoiding the plot of Herod. The magi were now authentic believers-  living in relationship with God and guided by Him.

Today the church contains all three modes of spiritual guidance. But only one is authentically Christian and will bring you salvation and grace.

First are those stunted by superstition and ignorance; who claim the name Christian but whose faith is not formed. They might trot to church for the lucky bread or out of habit and a sense of tribal identity. They might seek intercession of saints for sentimental reason. But they are very much of this world, living daily lives no different from unbelievers. Ignorance stops them from living a life of grace. Faith seeks understanding – you cannot love what you do not know. And because they do not know their faith, or have not experienced Jesus Christ in a manner of authentic conversion, they remain lost. Like sheep without a shepherd.

Next are the modern day occupants of Herod’s court. The elites who claim to love the church…but only on their terms. Many clergy are in this rank. The compromised who are wedded to ‘the institution’ not Christ. Like the superstitious but more dangerous because they are better informed. Often these sort once had faith but lost it because hunger for power, or a hidden sinful life, corrupted. So they give themselves over to justifying the sham they have become; watering down the Gospel and appeasing the world and the devil.

They are the modernists dominating the hierarchy in recent time whose faith is blatantly political not supernatural. Silent on the horrors of divorce but vehemently outspoken on trendy issues like the environment. Ever desiring secular approval they endorse the faith, and benefit from it, but only to the point  it conflicts with the world…then they back the world every time. Like Herod they are wicked for they do not serve Jesus Christ but desire to tame and control him and make him dance to the tune of our fallen culture. They are, very much, the Herod and Judas of today. And I fear they are legion in the upper echelons of modern ecclesial power. Consider the abuse crisis and tales of deep corruption in the Vatican.

Finally are the saintly few who have genuinely encountered Jesus Christ and live by grace. They are not closed to the mystical realm nor dismissive of the insights of worldly thinking but their first love is always Jesus Christ and to him they belong! So they follow this world but only to the point it contradicts the wisdom of the divinely revealed faith.. and at that point, in contrast to the modern Herods, they opt for Christ and speak out for him and do not count the cost.

You will therefore often find them hated by the world and elites who also hated Christ from the moment Herod drove him into exile in Egypt. Expect them to be run down in the press and never presented, as modernist clerics are, as merciful and kind. But they do tend to speak for the church in all ages not watering down faith but upholding it. Yes, despite often speaking from the margins, I believe they must be the wise men and women of our day. Oh that we would join them!

I write as one prone to stand up for the last group but far too foolish to actually join them in terms of sanctified living. For that I must overcome a daily battle against self and overthrow the wiles of the devil. Must work harder.

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28 Comments

  1. Patrick fahey

    Hello Fr Ed,

    Well said and only were it so other clergy would stand up and say the truth which now manifests itself throughout the Church that it can be no longer covered over by the hierarchy.
    The Bishops have much to answer for and will be required to do so in due course as we all must.

    God help them for the number of lost souls that their politicking has caused.

    God Bless,

    Patrick.

  2. David Knowles

    Until I reached the last paragraph I was thinking that your thoughts were just a tad judgemental. However since you have not actually joined the third group, to which of the other groups do you belong.
    Do tell Father!

    • Admin

      I belong somewhere between group one and three I suspect. Like many.
      And do tell me what is bad about being judgemental. You say it as though it would be awful. I regularly judge – what my children should watch on TV, who is suitable to babysit, who to trust with friendship. Who to avoid in terms of behaviour. Isnt that healthy normal human behaviour?

  3. Steve G

    Ah, those pesky “modernists” again. I am sure there has never been a day in the history of the Vatican when one, some or many of its denizens have been political, corrupt, perverted or would-be agents of change – if only in the eyes of those who considered themselves “none of the above”.

    There are always “tales” – but the widespread abuse of children and young people – from the grassroots of the Church upwards -.is fact.

    To suggest, even obliquely, that “the abuse crisis” is somehow the fault of these “modernists” is to defy both fact and common sense.

    Yes, the Vatican may have skeletons in its own closet but Boston, Australia, Ireland and Great Britain (to name but a few) are, geographically and hierarchically, a long way away from the Vatican.

    Is it not time for all Catholics to acknowledge a degree of collective guilt – as the present Pope has done – and to stop looking for someone else to blame? At the very least, please stop using this ever-unfolding horror as a cheap debating point. If it is truly your Church, have the courage to own it.

    • David Knowles

      Steve,

      I have no feelings of guilt about the abuse that has taken place because I have never abused anyone. However , what I do feel is anger and shame. I am angry not only with the priests and religious who committed this abuse, but especially so with members of the hierarchy and religious orders who so very hypocritically covered it up. They lied and behaved both sinfully and illegally in order to protect the reputation of the church at the expense of the innocent victims.
      The perpetrators and enablers of this abuse cynically took advantage of the immense and unquestioning respect and love which the laity have (had?) for their clergy.
      It is not only the abused who have suffered.The heartbreak and despair of parents who confidently entrusted their children to the Church and its institutions, and who took pride in their sons serving at the altar only to discover that their trust had been cruelly betrayed, is unimaginable.
      It is imperative that the procedures which have been set in place to protect children and vulnerable adults within parishes, schools and other catholic institutions be rigidly enforced with absolutely no exceptions and that we all remain vigilant and report anything which suggests abuse. Never again must the reputation of any organisation be considered more important than the safety of even one victim.
      Even today one still hears Catholics talking about ‘witch hunts ‘and people ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ to falsely obtain compensation and no doubt this may have happened, but at the end of the day blind loyalty to the institution of the church at the expense of the real victims is inexcusably prejudiced and indeed sinful.
      I still get the feeling that there is a reluctance in parts of the hierarchy to get to grips with this issue and that never ending inquiries and committees are still infected with procrastination and that too many people are remain in denial.

      • Steve G

        David,
        “Collective responsibility” does not imply individual guilt. If I have given that impression please accept my sincerest apologies. What it does mean is the necessary acceptance of precisely what you have so clearly outlined yourself: that widespread abuse; the covering up of (and thereby enabling) of abuse; and the refusal to accept or acknowledge that the abuse occurred has for many years been endemic at every level of the Catholic Church. Restoring its reputation is a task that will take generations.
        Cleaning this Augean stable will not be the work of a single Hercules. Pope Francis can – and to my mind does – provide leadership but everyone of good will needs to pick up a broom, a bucket or a shovel. It is not enough to say that we now have safeguarding procedures it is not still happening or that it can’t happen again. If the same mindset prevails they will count for nothing. The first step is to admit that the piles of ordure exist and to be honest about both their volume and their origins.
        In this context a paragraph that starts with “modernists” and ends with “abuse scandal” is less than edifying. Would that it really was all down to some evil cabal of homosexual modernists lurking in the Vatican cellars. Everyone could go about their business secure in the knowledge it was nothing to do with them and cross to the other side of the street with a clear conscience whenever they are unfortunate enough to detect the approach of one of the legion of surviving victims.
        This particular paragraph exposes Father Ed’s tendency to reach for conspiracy theory when striving for rhetorical effect. “Muscular Christianity” is sometimes both desirable and necessary but overuse can lead to a permanent predisposition to war. If one is reduced to inventing fictitious enemies – or using genuine victims for spurious propaganda purposes – it is probably time to wipe the testosterone from one’s collar and to lay down arms.

        • Admin

          Have you read ‘the dictator pope’ – if only a fraction is true it suggests there is an evil cabal lurking in the Vatican. Not the cause of the entire problem but a HUGE part of it. Almost all crimes committed were on boys not girls. And ponder the orgy at the vatican just this year- organised by a priest who was being put forward to be an archbishop – and yet who was running drugs and has not been disciplined. Or the Cardinal who had a gay mural painted in a church containing a depiction of himself semi naked cuddling a man. One could go on.. there is a significant and powerful homosexual lobby at work in the church and it absolutely is connected to the abuse crisis and also to the divisions currently causing havoc…

          • Steve G

            No, I have not read the volume you refer to. I will try to bolster my response with information that is factual. Definitions given are those currently accepted by the many professions – medical, police, social services, education etc. – and relevant charities working in the field of what is described as “child abuse”. Until the late ‘90’s, I was one such professional.

            The most comprehensive investigation into widespread child abuse is the one recently completed by the Australian government:

            • The inquiry ran for five years and held 444 days of public hearings
            • It heard evidence related to 3,489 institutions, and heard from almost 8,000 witnesses in private sessions
            • Most survivors (63.6%) were male
            • 93.8% were abused by a male
            • The average age of victims when first abused was 10.4 years
            • Of those abused in a religious institution, 61.4% were in a Catholic institution, 14.8% Anglican, 7.2% Salvation Army and the rest in various denominations

            The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that, in 2006, 29.3% of affiliated Australian Christians were Anglican and 40.4% were Catholic. The ratio of Catholics to Anglicans was, therefore, approximately 4:3. The ratio of those abused in Catholic institutions to those abused in Anglican institutions is a little over 4:1.

            The NSPCC defines child abuse thus: “any action by another person – adult or child – that causes significant harm to a child. It can be physical, sexual or emotional, but can just as often be about a lack of love, care and attention.”

            Child abuse is not exclusively sexual. Testimony to the Australian commission recounts appalling instances of prolonged, savage physical and mental abuse.

            Merriam-Webster defines paedophilia as “a sexual perversion in which children are the preferred sexual object; specifically: a psychological disorder in which an adult has sexual fantasies about or engages in sexual acts with a prepubescent child”.

            “Rarely does a paedophile experience sexual desire for adults of either gender. They usually don’t identify as homosexual; the majority identify as heterosexual, even those who abuse children of the same gender. They are sexually aroused by extreme youth, not by gender.” (Joe Kort, Ph.D.)

            Paedophiles are not homosexuals. Paedophiles are paedophiles. Availability not gender is the main determinant. There have always been more altar boys or boy choristers than girls. This may, at least partially, account for the gender imbalance in the victims. Kort quotes a homosexual as saying: “If a man molests a little girl he’s a pervert. If he molests a little boy he’s a dirty homo.” By continuing to peddle this entirely spurious conflation of paedophilia and homosexuality you are simply bolstering one prejudice with another in much the same way as Jews in the Middle Ages were widely believed to drink the blood of Christian babies. Some would argue that this is homophobia squared.

            I have no doubt that there are homosexuals in the Vatican (shock horror)! I also have no doubt that some them may be modernists. How did so many of them sneak out and abuse children all over the globe and then get back to Rome in time for Matins? And how did they manage to fundamentally alter their sexuality en route? You are trespassing upon the rightful territory of Dan Brown.

          • Steve G

            I have just read “The Dictator State”. Leaving aside all considerations of “liberals” v “traditionalists”, the picture it paints of the Vatican and the Vatican State is of an environment so mired in corruption that one wonders by what human agency it could be significantly improved. Two “modest proposals”:

            Tear up the Lateran Treaty and relocate the HQ of the Church to Copenhagen. This would ensure that malefactors – be they sexual, financial or otherwise criminal – would be dealt with by the police and justice system of one of the two least corrupt nations on earth (according to a recent league table). Italy, languishing in sixtieth place, may not be ideal.

            Admit a huge number of women to the priesthood as a matter of urgency. As women are much less likely to sexually abuse children, at least the faithful could feel a little safer before sending their offspring to Sunday school. Have the theological arguments if and when the kids are safe.

    • Pat

      The really horrific trouble is that the abuse was and is widespread in all walks of life. The churches, at least, are admitting it, bringing it into the open and trying to deal with it. But, as I noted earlier, instructions were provided giving advice for abusers on how to behave in order to pass selection procedures to gain access to the vulnerable (and it was not just children). The problem gained traction because those in ‘management roles’ simply could not believe that such horrors could be widespread and highly organized. I wish I could remember the name of the journal which contained the article that highlighted the risks but it was over 40 years ago and my need and interest at the time was in computer systems development. It was probably an American scientific magazine but I can’t be certain.

      • Steve G

        Three observations, Patrick:

        (i) Father Ed’s post referenced the Catholic Church – as did mine.

        (ii) Churches, including the Catholic Church, were amongst the last institutions and organisations to adopt child protection policies and procedures – possibly because they were too busy denying they had a problem or pointing their collective fingers elsewhere.

        (iii) For most of the forty or so years since you read your article the abuse continued unabated.

        • David Knowles

          I think that the church itself has indirectly fostered the ‘vocations’ of gay men. By this I mean that young gay men from devout catholic families who were brought up to believe that the expression of their sexuality is sinful, and who were encouraged to seek and pray for’purity’ were made to focus their whole prayer life on this one issue. The church’s obsession with sex and its refusal to accept homosexuality has led to a great many young men, most of them sincere and devout, seeing the priesthood as a neat way of dealing with their problem.
          Some of these men have had genuine vocations and have provided the church with good and holy priests, but many more, often encouraged by their mothers, have seen the priesthood, consciously or subconsciouasly as the answer to their predidicament.
          The seminary then becomes a place where these young men, in a hothouse of close proximity, continue to fight successfully or unsuccessfully with their sexuality. No doubt some did win the battle and go on to become good priests.
          However we know that many of these men did not find a solution to their problems in the priesthood. Instead they naturally gravitate towards ‘the youth’, they are often in daily contact with handsome young altar servers and face severe temptations and trials because they were so very trusted in all these situations.
          Consider a church and catholic families where these young men are accepted and loved for who they are. They would grow up without feelings of self-loathing and would not have to focus the whole of their spiritual lives on denying who and what they are. Most importantly they would not seek to convince themselves that they had a vocation to the priesthood often to the detriment of themselves and more importantly the victims of their failure to come to terms with their sexuality.

          • Admin

            I agree with much of what you say here. Deeply unhealthy and partly caused by the terrible way we treated people with same sex attraction in yesteryear. And the situation will change because people are no longer in a closet and hiding. Thus I imagine the church will appeal less to those who dont need to hide from family who they are, etc..

          • Mary B

            David, I understand that what you say and have no doubts about your sincerity. Aren’t we however in danger, not just you but throughout this thread of mixing up homosexuality with paedophilia. if you and indeed others have not read “The New Anti-Catholicism; The Last Acceptable
            Prejudice” by Philip Jenkins, I commend it to you. the rationality and dispassionate analysis of statistics and actual terminology (for e.g. what “paedophilia” actually means) which he applies to the sometimes quite hysterical allegations levelled against the Church are quite eye opening.

        • Pat

          I’m Pat not Patrick
          There’s a lot more than 40 years involved. The mere fact that a research paper found that the stuff was ‘in the public domain’ and internationally available says that the abuser groups were already deeply embedded in all the caring areas of western culture and had very high level support. In fact, I think that, in history, there are pointers that it has been around for many thousand years. A Scots colleague once said that up to the early 1900s it was accepted custom in some parts of Scotland that the oldest daughter should take over the marital duties of an incapacitated wife. I don’t know how true that might be.
          I’m not trying to make any excuses for the situation but we do need a grasp of the depth of the problem. It should never be tolerated in any church. And, Christ had harsh words to say about those responisble.

  4. Steve G

    First paragraph, second sentence should read: “,,, denizens have not been …”

  5. Mary B

    As of course Steve has pointed out..

  6. David Knowles

    Mary,

    I too consider sexual attraction to children as completely different from sexual attraction to adults, whether heterosexual or homosexual.
    Whilst I agree that both legally and technically that a person under sixteen is a child and requires protection as such, I do believe that there is a big difference between being attracted to children and being attracted to sexually mature young people.
    When I make this point I am not making excuses for the abuse of teenagers. What I am saying is that, particularly in the case of priests, where the vast majority of abuse relates to teenagers, and that whilst legally this is paedophilia, I take the view that the attraction here is fundamentally homosexual.

    • Hi David,
      I think actually that is exactly the point that Philip Jenkins makes and not just re same sex “abuse”. It s a good and interesting book, well worth a read and available on Kindle.
      Mary

    • Steve G

      David and Mary, your comments certainly resonate with me but I have a couple of lingering caveats:
      Since the accepted definitions of “paedophilia” all place emphasis on sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children, the Australian Commission’s finding that “the average age of victims when first abused was 10.4 years” would indicate that significantly more children were abused before adolescence than during or after it. The category of the “abuse” i.e. physical, emotional or sexual is not apparent in this summary but sadism is also a form of paraphilia (i.e. what used to be called “sexual perversion”) so boundaries may always remain blurred..
      I am, I think, not alone in finding the notion of “sexual maturity” troublesome. Fifty years ago, as a teenager in Yorkshire, I heard the expression “If she’s big enough, she’s old enough” more times than I care to remember. This was long before notions of “emotional intelligence” or the “power balance” in relationships were acknowledged, yet alone openly discussed.
      I imagine that most readers would agree that there is far more to “sexual maturity” than mere biological development. In my first week at university a fellow fresher remarked “You went to grammar school. Man how I envy you. You know how to talk to girls.” I asked where he had been at school. “Prep school then Eton,” he replied. Experiences and opportunities, even for social intercourse, vary widely during childhood and adolescence.
      If I seem to place undue emphasis on the Australian Commission’s findings, it is simply because it is the most exhaustive and detailed study to date. Additionally, it would, I suspect, take a conspiracy theorist of tinfoil hat proportions to maintain that it is not objective. I find I cannot take Catholic “scholars” too seriously on this particular topic. To misquote the immortal Mandy Rice Davies – “Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?”
      When and (a big) if our own government completes its inquiry and at length (don’t hold your breath) publishes its findings we will discover the state of our own nation. I doubt we will like what we see and hear.

  7. Mary B

    Steve,
    Thanks for this. I think there are two points I would make.
    The first is that Philip Jenkins is, as he makes clear in his foreword, not a Catholic apologist.
    The second is that, by not separating out allegations of sexual as opposed to emotional as opposed to physical abuse, I don’t see how the Australian commission can possibly be said to be authoritative about average age in specific reference to sexual abuse. All of these types of abuse are horrible, of course they are, but lumping in physical and emotional abuse with sexual is completely unhelpful when it comes to considering average age because it would include all the kids in Catholic orphanages and children’s homes who were treated abominably but not sexually abused . Their average age would be much lower than for e.g. the altar boys precision because of where they were and why they were there. I don’t imagine you got many strapping fourteen, fifteen or sixteen year old still in orphanages etc.

    • Steve G

      Thanks Mary, I will download Jenkins’s book to my Kindle.

      I agree that it is difficult to infer too much about specific forms of abuse from a very brief summary but, by the same token it does show how easily speculation becomes “fact” in the absence of hard data.

      As a lawyer, you may be familiar with the quote attributed to prolific, lifelong US bank robber Willy Sutton. When asked why he kept robbing banks he replied “Because that’s where they keep the money.” There is no shortage of evidence – as Pat has already flagged up – that predatory paedophiles gravitate to settings where trusting young people are in good supply and outside scrutiny is at a minimum. There is no way we can tell how many priests were predators and how many – for lack of a better phrase – “fell into temptation”. I doubt it made much difference to the victims.

      Re: “all the kids in Catholic orphanages and children’s homes who were treated abominably but not sexually abused”. Would that were so. Testimony that I have read says that it wasn’t. Also, sadly, we cannot ignore the link between physical beating and sexual sadism. Between the ages of nine and eleven I attended a school (not Catholic) where canings occurred on a more than daily basis. From the unique vantage point afforded by being bent double we knew full well that a number of our teachers experienced heightened states of sexual arousal whilst engaging in what the French term “le vice Anglais”. Apologies if I am over graphic.

      I wonder if over-emphasis on the many instances of sexual abuse does not in some way blind us to the full enormity of the scandal. It is above all about callous cruelty, the twin abuses of trust and power and depraved indifference that underpinned the cover-ups that enabled the abuse to flourish. In a Christian setting, it is a monstrous blasphemy.

      Peace.

      • Do Steve . I think you will find it interesting. I don’t of course dismiss the link between sadism and sexual arousal but I understand that the things that also constitute physical abuse for these purposes are not limited to beatings so not such a clear link perhaps? Either or any way it’s all horrible but not necessarily sexual? What Jenkins does very clearly show is how statistics have been mangled to paint the Catholic Church as being uniquely depraved when, in fact, it is no worse than other denominations and institutions and, actuallly, better than many.

        • David Knowles

          One thing we need to remember is that what was almost universally considered discipline in all schools and institutions and indeed in most homes in the fifties and sixties would nowadays constitute abuse. Most of my male friends in both catholic and state schools had been targets for wooden blackboard (sorry chalkboard !) dusters , rulers on our fingers descending with great force (not the flat side but the edge), the slipper, the cane, the heavy clip round the ear, the slap across the face were all daily occurrences in all i educational institutions. Just ask ‘baby boomer’.
          I won’t even begin with the emotional abuse. All this was seen as responsible teaching an d parenting. The idea was ‘to toughen us up’, ‘make a man of you’etc. Remember our fathers and male teachers were all ex – service men who had fought in the war. They thought they were toughening us up for life.
          Ironically when arrived home covered in bruises we would probably get another slap off mum or dad for having ‘shown them up’.
          When we look back in hindsight and with today’s mores this all seems quite cruel, but the thing is our parents and teachers did actually care for us. This scenario, which was the norm for most of us, is the lens through which the fifties and sixties must be viewed. None of this was at that time considered abuse.
          Of course that does not mean that a great deal of far more serious, criminal things did not take place.

          • Admin

            looking at historic cases with modern lenses can make for a distorted picture. Take for example the abuse situation -often the church did consult the authorities…. who directed them to psychiatrists who advised them to give counselling and move the person on. Eg… the entire handling by society was flawed and sweeping under the carpet was simply what happened. Most public schools had teachers boys knew to avoid etc…

            Now that is appalling. It is rightly condemned and called out today. But it is harsh on those who simply followed established protocol to be condemned as if they were complicit when often they simply did what experts advised.

            Finally I have heard that the majority of clerical crimes globally are homosexual in nature and involving post pubescent lads. So clerical pedophile abuse is lower than others professions (though one instance is too many) except where the church was involved in running children’s homes. That is a particular hell hole no matter who runs them. I have further heard that the church homes were actually better, if you can imagine, than the secular run homes of that era. Abuse was rife in both but that also tends to get downplayed and forgotten.These wicked perverts tend to head to impoverished areas where children are vulnerable and have no body to protect them.

            I sincerely trust a special place in hell is reserved for such people. The damage they do is enormous. The crime demonic. How anyone can abuse a child and then climb the sanctuary steps is beyond me. It is a despicable crime that makes my skin crawl and blood boil and I personally think anyone involved- no matter the era – does need holding to account. So to conclude we need to hammer the filthy perpetrators hard but then be more understanding where cases were handled badly by naive souls of a different era. The crucial question is this- were they knowingly protecting an abuser or silencing a victim? If so hang out to dry. Or were they just weak and following advice. If so challenge and understand .

  8. Steve G

    It seems I have misread and, therefore, unintentionally misled.

    Because of the nature of some of the testimony I had heard – together with the tendency of the media to shorten full titles – I had missed the fact that the Australian findings come from a national investigation not into generalised child abuse but, specifically, into child sexual abuse: the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The clue is in the full name.

    It is hard to conceive of any sexual abuse of a minor that does not also involve physical and emotional harm to the victim. But we are, to a degree I find shocking, firmly in the realms of sexual abuse.

    “The largest proportion of these survivors spoke to us about child sexual abuse in Catholic institutions. We heard from 2,489 survivors about child sexual abuse in Catholic institutions, representing almost two-thirds (61.8 per cent) of survivors who told us about child sexual abuse in religious institutions. … … we heard about child sexual abuse occurring in 964 different Catholic institutions.”

    As I stated previously, affiliated Australian Catholics outnumber affiliated Anglicans by a factor of roughly four to three. Catholic Institutions in which children claim to have been abused outnumber their Anglican counterparts by more than four to one. Does anyone still wish to peddle the old excuse that “the others were just as bad, or worse”?

    Similarly, the suggestion that prepubescent children were less likely to be abused than “strapping teenagers” just does not hold water. In the case of Australia, the exact opposite is demonstrably true.

    Father Ed, jn recycling the “we were misled by psychiatrists” canard (Boston?) you beg a simple question. Are we to believe that the collective leadership of the Church in Boston were so ignorant of the law and so lacking in moral compass that no one thought simply to pick up a phone and call the police?

    You are clearly a man of principle and find the whole topic as traumatic as any of your readers. Why then do you continue to hedge and equivocate about the scope and magnitude of the issue? A sea of moral relativism is not your normal habitat. Would it not be simpler – and more honest – to stop defending the very people who chucked you in?

    • Admin

      I have defended nobody. I merely point out that there was an entire generation who failed in this regard. As it happens I agree there was a leadership who failed spectacularly and have said so. When I point out the link to the homosexual lobby however, suddenly that is apparently wrong. Despite clear links.

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