The other day I was reading an account of a child, in
, who was systematically subjected to acts of sexual abuse, over a 7 year period, by his parish priest. What that poor child endured is beyond comprehension. What is particularly sickening is the Catholic hierarchies’ response when the horror came to light. The boy in question was sent for 'Religious Counselling' during which he was told by the presiding nun, "that god would forgive him, eventually." The priest concerned continued to 'serve' with impunity and without retribution. When the priest died it became apparent that he had abused at least 12 children under his power. This remains a conservative number. Others no doubt exist but out of a misplaced sense of guilt and shame will never come forward. Ireland
During the abuse the child was repeatedly told by the priest that if he revealed what was going on he would be ruined- this referred not to the wicked priest but to the boy. The abuse became known when the boy confided in the family doctor, who rightly informed the authorities. Appallingly nothing was done. This was a time, not so long ago, when the Catholic Church held immense influence and power in
and their reach into rural areas was particularly pernicious and complete. How times have changed in Ireland , in part due to the revelations of sexual abuse perpetrated on their young flock. The revulsion of the population and the loss of prestige of the Catholic Church has been swift resulting in a backlash which has shaken even the Ireland to the core. Even the ultimate intermediary between god and man, the Pope, has become reviled in what was once a staunch and wholly Catholic country. Vatican
As for our pious servant of god, the priest of our story, I wonder how he managed to salve his conscious and clean away the mark of sin before meeting his god. A god, reputably unable to endure the presence of the impure and those tainted by the enduring stain of iniquity. But here is the rub, our turbulent priest need not have tossed and turned at night because his enlightened belief system allowed for total redemption and removal of taint as long as he appealed for total forgiveness that only a god can give. This gift to mankind originated 2,000 years ago when god in one of his guises came to earth and allowed himself to be sacrificed by being nailed to a piece of wood. Thus all of our sins can be forgiven because man/god died in the most horrendous manner conceivable. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? The same god that would cast a good man into the fiery pit of hell, for eternity, for the mortal sin of non-belief. Apart from the blatant ridiculousness of sacrifice and suffering as a means of universal atonement, how can we square the judgement of god with the concept of a just and beneficent deity?
I am no fan of religious systems. Catholicism is particularly wretched in my eyes. A religion stuck with an ancient Greek belief system layered over Judaic thought thickly rendered, afterward encrusted with a dense layer of impenetrable liturgy and a philosophy derived from the Middle Ages- I’m looking at you, Thomas Aquinas. A philosophy discredited by modern and even late medieval savants. A primitive religion adorned with a threadbare cloak of intellectual respectability. At least some of the Protestant sects have changed to suit modern times and have discarded much of the arcane philosophy and silly ceremonies. Although it is also true that many, especially in the Southern States of America, have regressed and mutated to a state barely above the literate. This applies to the fundamentalist variety where talking in tongues and rolling about the floor in the ‘Spirit’ is de rigueur.
I think I may have digressed.
Child abuse is not restricted to the Catholic Church, any organisation which holds sway over the minds of children such as schools, youth groups and scout camps are not immune from this abhorrent abuse. Those men with a proclivity for this sort of thing (and it is always men) will always be drawn to situations which involve access to children. What makes the Catholic variety peculiarly loathsome is the hypocrisy dripping from a theocracy supposedly obsessed with sin and moral rectitude. An organisation so protective of its power that it is willing to tolerate vile predators within its midst, at all levels, and indeed allow them to prosper. Some of the shit sticks to the secular authorities who failed to prosecute errant priests and were therefore complicit in these heinous crimes. Thus the depraved priest was rarely brought forth for secular justice and as we can see there is no celestial punishment awaiting the repentant sinner at death. What justice then for the fragile children broken upon the sadistic wheel of lust and depravity? I’ll leave my readers to ponder on this obtuse and gravest of conundrums.