Thursday, April 8, 2010
Sadists, Paedophiles and Dissemblers: All the Pope’s Men…
Imagine a grand palace where officials wear gold and purple, where the decor is splendid beyond even the capacity of a billionaire to reproduce, where there is a hushed silence everywhere and where the central figure, a man among men, is treated as though the Divine emanates from his every molecule. Meanwhile imagine a grim barracks-like detention centre where there is nothing playful to lighten the day and where children are beaten, sexually abused and have their childhoods systematically robbed from them. The latter may have taken place over hundreds of years, there is no way of knowing. The former has been the staple diet and centre-piece of the Catholic Churchâ€™s control over millions of people through time.
My knowledge of the history of religion is somewhat piecemeal, mainly because the doings of the various churches that have Christianity at their core, leave me cold and sometimes furious. In fact a key source is a book called Q by Luther Blissett which traces, fictionally, the Reformation. For those of you who know the name Luther Blissett, he was a footballer who went to one of the Milan clubs and played outrageously primitively but created a cult of adoration. A few fans turned out to be good historians and wrote Q, under the pseudonym of their heroâ€™s name! Anyway, back to my thoughts: maybe it is not the place of an agnostic such as I to be critical of religion but even so I expect someone called The Holy Father to eschew riches, be pure of heart and demonstrate in his every act, the teachings of his purported Son of God.
Instead, the abysmal gap between the Pontiffâ€™s Vatican and the Catholic care homes, schools and seminaries around Europe over the last few decades, seems as wide as is conceivable. Although his lieutenants obligingly apologised to their flocks on Easter Sunday, at the same time another of the Popeâ€™s â€˜mouthsâ€™ was saying that scurrilous rumours regarding the Popeâ€™s previous role as a bishop and condoner of his priestsâ€™ unforgiveable crimes was akin to the treatment of Jews in the holocaust. Hyperbole is not dead. A further senior mouthpiece for the Papal tongue, said that rumours regarding the Popeâ€™s behaviour were trivial gossip. Meanwhile, the Pope said nothing.
I donâ€™t know about you, but it seems to me that an organisation that purports to uphold Christian values, that believes in one God, his Son and the Holy Spirit, would, as a matter of course, be able to tease out those who do not demonstrate the much needed piety and purity. But there have been no such tests of the quality of these servants of God. Whether they entered the Catholic Church in order to perpetrate crimes against the very young, or whether the culture of the seminaries is such that their desires were fed by their brethren, I have no idea but these men (and some Nuns in Eire and elsewhere) were able to stand in front of their congregations, issuing homilies about how to live a good life and meanwhile make demands on the rich and poor to give generously to the Church. And all the while, their horrific acts were concealed by their superiors, to protect the reputation of the Vatican or to protect their own criminal pasts.