Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Vatican Strikes Back

It is unsurprising that the priests, bishops, archbishops and cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church are vigorously defending the Pope against the global deluge of allegations of child-rape and torture. They are, after all, simply sanctified MPs, private secretaries, junior ministers and cabinet ministers whose pledge of loyalty to their prime minister is absolute. The Pope is a head of state, an absolute monarch, unaccountable and unanswerable to any civil authority. It is no surprise, at a time of grave political crisis, when the polls are grim, approval ratings plummeting and the relio-political strategy in tatters, that the Vatican should wheel out its Peter Mandelson, its Ed Balls and its Alastair Campbell to spin and rebut in order that nothing might touch the Lord's anointed.

And Roman Catholic journalists are spouting predictable verbiage, insisting that they know what the Pope critics do not not know, and reassuring us that their supportive knowledge is true while those who profess critical knowledge are false.

Yet they cannot know what they do not know: they can only choose to believe.

And we are supposed to be persuaded by the sincerity of their faith.

So the Archbishop of Westminster assures us that his church is not trying to cover anything up: Pope Benedict XVI is beyond reproach.

But he cannot know this: it is his belief.

And Cristina Odone assures us that Pope Benedict is not the problem, and that these sporadic reports of child molestation are 'sensationalist' (an absolutely appalling word to use in these circumstances).

But she cannot know this: it is her belief.

The political strategy is now to make us know what they think they know and to forget the things we do not know because we cannot know.

While the mob is baying for blood, there must be a sacrificial lamb; a political scapegoat. And Cardinal Brady is it: his days are clearly numbered.

Just as successive home and foreign secretaries have fallen loyally on their swords in order that their prime ministers might live; in exactly the same way as the puss-filled boil of parliamentary expenses had to be lanced with a deep cleansing of the temple, so it is hoped that the imminent execution of Cardinal Brady will be sufficient to assuage the wrath of the laity gods.

But it will not be.

While Roman Catholic journalists dismiss reports of child rape as 'sensationalist', and while the bishops and archbishops protest too much the innocence of their king, suspicions will only be aroused, and the quest for more lurid and salacious stories will continue. There may not be a paedophile road that leads to Rome, but that will not stop a yellow-brick one being created.

In a political crisis such as this, the dismissal of one junior cabinet minister is woefully inadequate. If Pope Benedict XVI is to avoid his papacy being forever corrupted with the stench of pederast priests, he must have the boldness to carry out a series of religio-political purgations (dare one call for 'reformation'?): he needs a Vatican Night of Long Knives.

And Cardinal Law must be the first to go.

The wonder is that he has not already seen fit to sacrifice himself for his king.


Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Catholics love their church Your Grace. It must be terribly difficult for them to read about all this in the media - and I can truly understand that the first natural instinct is denial. By denial I mean the Freudian term where the mind goes into trauma and refuses to face the facts by diverting into all kinds of coping behaviour.

Whatever the ordinary Catholic might do in these sad times, it has to be understood that there is a greta deal at stake, and sensitivity is something that needs to be observed all round. The nature of the media is that of a ravenous wolf, and I think a lot of damage is going to be done as more gets revealed.

The cold truth is that children have been hurt and somebody needs to make ammends, and a new order needs to surface so that these terrible things can not take place so easily ever again. But His Grace needs to show some grace here please. The total destructon of the Catholic church and its credibility for thre future will surely not benfit any of us, even the rampantly debased Anglican church, surely not?

27 March 2010 at 11:37  
Anonymous len said...

Ther is undoubtedly much wrong with the Catholic Church.
I also don`t doubt that there are also many born-again believers within the Catholic system, not because of Catholic doctrine but in spite of it.
It is Jesus Christ`s( as the shepherd of HIS flock)job to judge them,to separate sheep from goats.They are HIS sheep and the danger is when condemning Catholicism we may be actually siding with the enemy and fighting against Jesus Christ.This is a prospect which has prompted me to preach Christ alone and leave the sorting and separating as a sovereign work of the Lord alone!

27 March 2010 at 11:51  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Jared Gaites,

His Grace, though he says it himself, is the epitome of grace: he is not a 'ravenous wolf', and does not seek the 'total destruction' of the Roman Catholic Church: the inference cannot be construed from any of His Grace's writings: indeed, it is offensive.

And yet you freely talk of the 'rampantly debased Anglican church'.

One wonders if His Grace had spoken in such terms of Rome, you might not have accused him of (at best) lacking grace or (at worst) being a 'bigot'.

The demise of the Church of England is also in no-one's interest, least of all Rome's.

This post is sensitive both to the Roman Catholic Church and its victims (rather moreso, at least, than Cristina Odone manages). It offers humble advice to His Holiness, even though His Grace is not worthy. As long as Cardinal Law remains in the Vatican, shielded from the civil law of Boston, Pope Benedict is profoundly compromised.

27 March 2010 at 11:58  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Just for the record, I am not a Catholic - I was brought up in a CofE family, although my father later became born again and joined the local Baptist Church. He died convinced. My mother is disillusioned beyond hope.

I find myself to be stuck between many things, and laced with doubts. I love the Christian Churches and it ails me to read about these terrible things in the media. It may just be worth the pain if something good comes out of it all in the end (I don't mean 'The End').

I do indeed freely talk about the debased Anglican Church, but with sad tones Your Grace. I too am the epitome of grace, it is something we need to work on. Have a nice day.

27 March 2010 at 12:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can assure Ms. Odone that it is not 'sporadic' when you are on the receiving end of it. I assume the man who molested me did to others too.

I would imagine that the hundreds of boys molested at St William's home Holm upon Spaildong Moor) would contest Ms. Odone's assertion too.

But that's Middlesbrough Diocese for you, where a former Youth Chapain was caught with a carbootload of child porn. Which I assume he used 'sporadically'.

27 March 2010 at 12:35  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

I agree with your conclusion in principle Y.G. but I'm not too sure about the rest of the post. I personally feel that if the reporting of these cases leads the public to believe that most if not all Catholic priests are pederasts (this is an actual claim I've heard rather than an exaggeration), and that the entire church is full of scandal, then the reporting is sensationalist. The actual articles may not be the problem, but the tactics behind the reporting.

The State has allowed the Catholic Church to take most of the blame for Children's Homes abuse. The media have been complicit. The real cover up (now) is that the public now believe that it is Catholicism or Celibacy that is to blame, rather than the way we deal with people who work with vulnerable children. It's not that the abuse in the Catholic institutions is over-reported, but that abuse in the rest of the country is under-reported. In that way, I agree that it is sensationalist.

From what I have read, the Pope really is relatively innocent in this, and I believe that it is possible that he knew nothing of these cases; so in this case I also agree with his defence in Catholic papers.
Where I tend to agree with Y.G. is that he needs a purge in the Church. A reformation is unnecessary and I presume that such a statement was inserted to bait Catholics (not to mention to give a sense of Anglican superiority). I'm not sure, whether an Earthly punishment will help Cardinal Law's soul seek repentance. Such a move would be more of a PR stunt, seeking to scapegoat a Cardinal to take our minds off the greater problem. I'm sure you'd be the first to see through and comment on such an action. My suggestion would be for the Church to attempt to redeem the problem priests before they're handed over to the authorities. I'm sure they have a much better chance of rehabilitation from a spiritual source, rather than a secular one.

27 March 2010 at 16:04  
Blogger The Heresiarch said...

Your headline reminded me of my all-time favourite YouTube video, "A New Pope". You may have seen it, but for anyone who hasn't, it's here.

27 March 2010 at 16:24  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Stab me vitals if I don't agree with Jared Gates! (wonders if I'm sickening for something?)

27 March 2010 at 16:31  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

I do not know that saying the entire church is full of scandal should necessarily be regarded as sensationalist. When Jesus said of religious leaders of the day: "for ye are like whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones and of all uncleanness... full of hypocracy and iniquity" was he being sensationalist or was he simply speaking the truth?

27 March 2010 at 16:47  
Anonymous Simon said...

My suggestion would be for the Church to attempt to redeem the problem priests before they're handed over to the authorities. I'm sure they have a much better chance of rehabilitation from a spiritual source, rather than a secular one.

Eh? Might I remind you this is a criminal matter and as such should be dealt with by the relevant secular authorities. It is the Church trying to "redeem" these individuals without resort to the Law that has got it in such an almighty mess in the first place.

The Catholic Church should not get to decide what happens to these individuals, as it has shown itself, repeatedly, to fail the victims and protect the guilty.

Also, I'm not sure that what qualifies as being "redeemed" - that you are sorry? - is any better than being swiftly punished on being found guilty and hopefully treated under the secular system whilst incarcerated. The Catholic parents of the children involved seem unlikely to accept any assertion from the Church that a Priest has been "redeemed"; less still Atheist parents who probably don't believe in it anyway.

27 March 2010 at 17:09  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Your Grace is too, too gracious by far towards these bad men. Fancy hats and frocks should be no defence from acts of criminal responsibility.

I have no axe to grind with any of you Christians but these are gross offences against any society, not in one country but more than likely all over the world. Ratzinger was the the Inquisitor in Chief before taking the top job. He above anyone would have known but he put defending the RCC before protecting young children. He should be the first to fall and then all the other bastards brought to trial and face the consequences.

27 March 2010 at 17:10  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

I considered that myself. Though in Jesus's case the problem was self-righteousness in the religious leaders and their inability to accept that they too were sinners (rather than their actual sins, which he would forgive if they'd asked). What he said was sensationalist, but more importantly it was true. To claim or imply that the Church is intrinsically corrupt is sensationalist, but is untrue. That is the difference.

Appeal to law is a common logical fallacy that states that crime and punishment are the moral authority. That the law states what is moral, and that all punishments are just. In this case, though the law is just, the punishment rarely works. Were we to consider that the law is always just, then there would be no reason why the Pope should give up Cardinal Law, as there is no extradition treaty compelling him to; yet I still think that he should eventually be handed over to the authorities.

Seeing this from a religious aspect, God's judgement is far greater than any secular law. If we wish to help these men, rather than simply take retribution, then we need to help redeem their souls. The route to this is repentance (this is not simply saying sorry, that is an infantile reductionism).

A repentant criminal is far less likely to repeat offend. Surely this is more important than a blunt imprisonment punishment. What does it matter what the victim wants to do with the criminal? Do we put robbers to death because the victim is angry? If I committed some sin against a person, then it matters not whether he believes that I've truly changed. I can only repent and ask for his and God's forgiveness. The victim's opinion on whether I've changed is irrelevant to whether it's true or not.

The idea that secular prisons reform is a joke by the way. There is no proper psychological treatment of sexual offenders (who are considered as any other criminal), for whom prison is little deterrent.

It may seem shocking to the secular world, but I feel that the power of Christ can reform even pederasts. Though the secular world has done a fantastic job of it in recent years of course.

27 March 2010 at 18:04  
Anonymous ArtCo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

27 March 2010 at 19:16  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

L91 said:
A repentant criminal is far less likely to repeat offend

These men are serial offenders. If they were desirous of repentance they would have done so after the first offence and handed themselves in. Prison is the only place they can't get at the kids: they can repent there to their hearts content.

27 March 2010 at 19:55  
Anonymous not a machine said...

Any sign of marriage being allowed yet ?.

The ferocity of the attack as the EU forms makes me not so sure ,however I can only hope that the church finds a way of handling its problems without any sacfrifices to the love and support of the family unit, which is what I presume Bishop Vince was trying to do .

It has been a theological time for the church as cultures have become more communicative , time will tell if the inward discourse will open up another door to salvation and recommitement to the faith .

27 March 2010 at 20:04  
Blogger Viator Catholicus said...

Catholics are not Donatists. A priests, bishops, or even a pope's personal faults cannot change the fact that Christ instituted a visible Church with the successor of St. Peter as its visible head, nor that the Church's sacraments still bestow grace to the properly disposed.
While the world attacks for it own pagan purposes, and certain Heretics join in gleefully, Catholics are right to defend their pope. As pope he has done nothing wrong publically. And there is the ancient principle that the "Pope is judged by no man."
Moreover, anyone who cares about truth will notice that at the worst, Archbishop/Cardinal Ratzinger was guilty of believing too much that a sick man could be reformed. Nevertheless, Nichols rightly points out Ratzinger's canonical ammendments to deal with homosexual boy abusers.
Perhaps in time, any remaining ordained homosexual boy abusers among the Catholic clergy will join the Anglican communion where alternative lifestyles are quite the rage. There they can be open about it and even join the chorus against the pope!

27 March 2010 at 20:05  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I am a bit confused. There are TV reports about Catholic priests and sexual molestation of young boys.

I hear these reports so much I wonder what kind of priests might have such a predisposition to pederasty....are there any adjectives or nouns missing.

What kind of man wants sexual activity with other males ? Is this behaviour normal, acceptable, or even compatible with Christian doctrine or even with the law ?

I thought perhaps Rowan Williams might guide us in this with some worthy speech; or perhaps Richard Harries or Tom Butler.....I have not heard much from General Synod or Bishop Packer at Ripon on such matters and am concerned they do not fully appreciate public concern at men molesting young boys inside the seems too frequent, too common to be statistically random......a really high R2.

Maybe ECUSA has some research on these matters, or even experience. It is so confusing that the media has not found an adjective nor a noun to describe male priests engaging in sexual activity with other this based on ignorance ? They are not usually so coy in other contexts.

27 March 2010 at 20:14  
Anonymous Simon said...

Appeal to law is a common logical fallacy that states that crime and punishment are the moral authority

What rubbish. I cannot believe you are seriously suggesting that these priests are better off in an organisation that protected paedophiles Crime and punishment are a form of moral authority - they have that invested in them by virtue of the nature of liberal democracy.

What does it matter what the victim wants to do with the criminals

Er, it matters that justice is done and seen to be done. That is how it works. We managed to throw off the shackles of the Church unilaterally deciding the fates of individuals they didn't approve of - it's why we don't burn witches anymore.

The problem with the idea of seeking redemption within the Church, well, who knows if it's true - whether an individual is redeemed? You cannot. The Pope cannot. I hardly think you would take the word of a Paedophile... manipulation and deceit are part of the stock-in-trade.

Seeing this from a religious aspect, God's judgement is far greater than any secular law.

This God, remind me again where he was in every single instance of the institutional rape and torture of children that was being carried out on a daily basis by people who act in his name? Presumably he saw it happen - since he "knows" everything - and yet he did nothing. A tiny child being sodomised by a Priest and what, he just looked the other way did he - with all those powers? The idea that the Church could bring redemption is laughable and frankly insulting to those who have had such grievous injuries committed against their person.

...and Voyager I see what you're driving at. Some Paedophiles commit homosexual acts against children. Yes. But in the vast majority of cases they are cannot properly be classed as homosexual themselves since the are not capable of adult consenting relationships. They are paedophiles, not "gay".

27 March 2010 at 20:35  
Blogger English Viking said...

He's doing his Nazi salute again, at the start of the vid. I guess old habits die hard.

Deutschland, Deutschland, über alles?

27 March 2010 at 21:06  
Anonymous Mikec said...

Hiding Crime and criminals is usually known 'aiding and abetting' and is a crime in its own rite.

I Suggest that a criminal investigation and contingent prosecutions is the only realistic answer.

27 March 2010 at 21:16  
Blogger Frugal Dougal said...


27 March 2010 at 22:12  
Anonymous Catholic Conspiracy theorist said...

This is a plot to destroy the catholic church? Didn't his grace know this? As many of the apologists for the Catholic church keep telling us, poor church, stuff the victims of these crimes.

27 March 2010 at 22:38  

The Pope and the Murphy case: what the New York Times story didn't tell you

27 March 2010 at 22:54  
Anonymous len said...

One fact to come out of this sorry state of affairs is the necessity of being born again.
To attend church, to observe religious rituals cannot change a person,in fact it makes matters worse.
Jesus Christ said we must be born again , Therefore if any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature:
old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new."
- 2 Corinthians 5:17.
The disciples were told not to preach but to wait wait until they were filled with the Holy Spirit until they did anything.

" I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."

There appear to be too many carnal, unconverted priests allowed access to vulnerable children.
I agree with His Grace this abuse matter needs to be dealt with in a manner which eradicates it.

28 March 2010 at 00:17  
Anonymous Stop Common Purpose said...

Christians discriminated against, senior bishops warn

28 March 2010 at 08:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK RC's, It is now time to appoint someone to look after the needs of the VICTIMS. They were/are YOUR children.

The 'RC Church' is too self-obsessed
to do so.

Stop giving them money until they Listen....

28 March 2010 at 09:33  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

I find it quite amusing that you follow up an Appeal to Law with a Straw Man. If you had read my post, I never stated that these people should be protected from the law. I specifically stated that they should be handed over. I also never stated or even implied that they should be harboured by an organisation that protects paedophiles.
In fact the law is not a form of moral authority; the Appeal to Law fallacy states exactly that. Law should reflect morality, not induce it. I think you'll find that the law never came from 'Liberal Democracy' but from the Christian morality that this country has adhered to for over 1000 years.

'What does it matter what the victim wants to do with the criminals'

'Er, it matters that justice is done and seen to be done. That is how it works. We managed to throw off the shackles of the Church unilaterally deciding the fates of individuals they didn't approve of - it's why we don't burn witches anymore.'

Another Straw Man: you're doing well here. To claim that the victim's wishes should not be the decider of the punishment is not to claim that justice shouldn't be done. I've already stated that the criminals should be handed over to the secular authorities.

This one makes me laugh. Throwing off the shackles of the Church? How emotive! When did they ever unilaterally decide the fates of individuals? Whatever happened to the feudal system, the aristocracy and absolute monarchs? I suppose they were secretly run by the Church. The idea of the Church burning witches is also quite an interesting point, especially as they never did. Such a punishment was instilled by each separate country, not condoned by the Church. Even so, England never did burn witches, they were garotted.

'The problem with the idea of seeking redemption within the Church, well, who knows if it's true - whether an individual is redeemed? You cannot. The Pope cannot. I hardly think you would take the word of a Paedophile... manipulation and deceit are part of the stock-in-trade.'

God knows, and so does the pederast himself. What makes you think that a custodial sentence will rehabilitate a person any more than spiritual and psychological treatment? We can only trust the person himself that he has changed, and stop him from working with children in the future. If, as a society, we refuse to trust criminals who want to reform, then there is no point in the justice system.

28 March 2010 at 14:39  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Sometimes the desire for repentance has to be catalysed from without, even though it must come from within. Now that they have been caught, it will be far easier to begin their process of repentance and rehabilitation. I don't think that they should avoid custodial sentences, but I do think that unless they receive spiritual and psychological aid, then they will find it very difficult to reform. Perhaps time in prison could give them time to dwell on such matters, but it doesn't seem to work on most at Her Majesty's pleasure.

28 March 2010 at 14:51  
Anonymous GTGTWG said...

I'm wondering why only the Catholic church? They're not the only ones guilty. I don't condone what these so called men of god have done, but a lot of this is the pot calling the kettle black arse to me. Paedophilia is rife today; more so I'd say.

28 March 2010 at 16:56  
Anonymous Harsh Agrawal said...

TV reports about Catholic priests and sexual molestation of young boys..I don't know how true and authenticated that news is, but what kind of human will ever indulge into such kind of activities. :0

30 March 2010 at 10:54  
Blogger Jeff said...

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3 April 2010 at 07:00  

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