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The Taoiseach has just got it wrong. The Pope isn’t the problem: he is a major part of the solution

Both at the CDF and as Pope he has clearly directed that crimes must be reported to the civil authorities

By on Friday, 22 July 2011

Enda Kenny pins blame for the mishandling of abuse allegations on the Vatican (PA photo)

Enda Kenny pins blame for the mishandling of abuse allegations on the Vatican (PA photo)

As the Belfast Telegraph comments today: “The blistering attack by Taoiseach Enda Kenny on the Vatican in the wake of the disturbing Cloyne report on clerical child abuse was a seismic moment in the relationship between the state and the Catholic Church in the Republic. He pulled no punches in his comments which would have been unthinkable in an earlier era. But, even more worryingly for the Church, one of its most senior clerics, Dr Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, weighed in with more allegations of continuing cover-ups by elements in both the Vatican and Irish hierarchy.”

It should be noted, however, that Archbishop Martin indirectly confronts one of the most potentially damaging accusations in the Taioseach’s “blistering” speech, one to which Mr Kenny gave additional prominence by climactically ending on it: the accusation that as Cardinal Ratzinger he denied that the civil authorities had any part in dealing with crimes committed within the Church:

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said: ‘Standards of conduct appropriate to civil society or the workings of a democracy cannot be purely and simply applied to the Church.’

As the Holy See prepares its considered response to the Cloyne report, as Taoiseach, I am making it absolutely clear, that when it comes to the protection of the children of this state, the standards of conduct which the Church deems appropriate to itself, cannot and will not be applied to the workings of democracy and civil society in this republic.

Not purely, or simply or otherwise.

Now, Mr Kenny’s anger is understandable. But he will get nowhere by characterising the gross failures exposed in the Cloyne report (which found that Bishop John Magee had paid “little or no attention” to child safeguarding as recently as 2008 and that he falsely told the government that his diocese was reporting all allegations of clerical child sexual abuse to the civil authorities) as being a direct reflection of Vatican policy. The Cloyne report also found, according to the Herald’s report, that “the bishop deliberately misled another inquiry and his own advisers by creating two different accounts – one for the Vatican and the other for diocesan files – of a meeting with a priest-suspect”. So, he deliberately kept the Vatican in the dark. The point is that as Archbishop Martin pointed out in his own remarks, “Those in Cloyne ignored the 2001 norms of the Pope, of the present Pope.”

It is important to understand what those norms are, since the Taioseach is now accusing the present Pope (by quoting wholly out of context remarks on the nature of truth made in 1990, in a document entitled “Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian”, and published of course well before the present child abuse furore) of seeking to exclude the civil authorities from cases of clerical child abuse. This is how the relevant CDF document “Guide to Understanding Basic CDF Procedures concerning Sexual Abuse Allegations”, actually begins:

A: Preliminary Procedures

The local diocese investigates every allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by a cleric.

If the allegation has a semblance of truth the case is referred to the CDF. The local bishop transmits all the necessary information to the CDF and expresses his opinion on the procedures to be followed and the measures to be adopted in the short and long term.

CIVIL LAW CONCERNING REPORTING OF CRIMES TO THE APPROPRIATE AUTHORITIES SHOULD ALWAYS BE FOLLOWED [my emphasis].

And that is what he reiterated to the Bishops of Ireland in March last year:

It cannot be denied that some of you and your predecessors failed, at times grievously, to apply the long-established norms of canon law to the crime of child abuse. Serious mistakes were made in responding to allegations. I recognise how difficult it was to grasp the extent and complexity of the problem, to obtain reliable information and to make the right decisions in the light of conflicting expert advice. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that grave errors of judgment were made and failures of leadership occurred. All this has seriously undermined your credibility and effectiveness. I appreciate the efforts you have made to remedy past mistakes and to guarantee that they do not happen again. Besides fully implementing the norms of canon law in addressing cases of child abuse, CONTINUE TO COOPERATE WITH THE CIVIL AUTHORITIES IN THEIR AREA OF COMPETENCE.

Incidentally, on the accusation that in 1997 the then nuncio to Ireland gave bishops an excuse for ignoring Irish law on reporting such cases to the civil authority, see Rory Fitzgerald’s recent Herald blog, in which he quotes Fr Lombardi as saying that the letter in fact did not contravene “any civil law to that effect, because it did not exist in Ireland at that time…”

“This is true,” comments Fitzgerald: “there was no such law at the time. Therefore the accusations that the Vatican’s 1997 letter broke the law in Ireland are probably false.” So, it wasn’t just the Church that needed at the time to catch up: it was the civil law, too.

Finally, here is the full context of that 1990 quotation from a document called “Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian”, which the Taioseach quoted in his speech attacking the Pope:

The Church, which has her origin in the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is a mystery of communion. In accordance with the will of her founder, she is organised around a hierarchy established for the service of the Gospel and the People of God who live by it. After the pattern of the members of the first community, all the baptised with their own proper charisms are to strive with sincere hearts for a harmonious unity in doctrine, life, and worship (cf. Acts 2:42). This is a rule which flows from the very being of the Church. For this reason, standards of conduct, appropriate to civil society or the workings of a democracy, cannot be purely and simply applied to the Church.

The passage in bold type is the quotation produced by Enda Kenny with such a flourish to demonstrate (conclusively, he thought) the present Pope’s alleged belief that clerical child abuse cases were no business of the civil authorities: actually, what it refers to (he omits, notice, the words “for that reason”) is the imperative for all the baptised to “strive with sincere hearts for a harmonious unity in doctrine, life, and worship”. That can hardly be used to prove the Taoiseach’s accusation of “the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism and the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day”.

But that doesn’t make it irrelevant to the Cloyne report. For, what it does draw attention to, with tragic irony, is how very far were so many priests in the Diocese of Cloyne, and how far also were the Cloyne diocesan authorities themselves, from the “harmonious unity in doctrine, life, and worship” that Cardinal Ratzinger called for 20 years ago, and still calls for as Pope. What we need to understand, and what Mr Kenny ought to (but won’t) acknowledge, is that Pope Benedict isn’t the problem; he is a major part of the solution.

  • Michael Daly

    You say above that Bishop Magee ‘kept the vatican in the dark’ when he kept two accounts of meetings with priests accused of abuse. You obviously havent read the Cloyne report for it clearly states that the Vatican was informed that one priest clearly admitted the abuse. It was the Diocese that was kept in the dark. In that account Magee stated (falsely) that the priest stongly denied any wrongdoing. The Vatican was aware of the facts and nothing. So please try to get your facts right.

  • VivinUK

    A predictable reply from Mr Oddie, as Saul Bellow once said “A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep”

  • mrpants

    The Church quite rightly operates operates on the principle of subsidiarity: decisions taken at the lowest appropriate level.
    The Irish church and maybe the nation needs to grow up and accept responsibility for its own wrongdoing. How many more attempts are there going to be to exonerate the wrongdoing of some Irish clerics

  • http://twitter.com/oceanclub Paul Moloney

    Like his Irish counterpart David Quinn, of the ultra-Catholic “think tank” the Iona Institute, who is pretty much the only person to go out on media here Ireland to attack Kenny (even bishops and priests agree with him), Oddie appears to think is all some college debate, where he can pick at one sentence in a historic speech – indeed the same sentence as Quinn – and proclaim that he’s “won”. Of course, inconvenient letters from 2001 and 1997 are glossed over, as are _facts_ such as the current Cardinal of Ireland taking part in the silencing of child abuse victims, something for which he will not resign. Even devout Catholics have had their fill of apologists for the Holy See.

  • W Oddie

    You have ignored my argument.

  • W Oddie

    I’m absolutely not doing that.

  • W Oddie

    You have ignored my argument.

  • W Oddie

    You have ignored my argument.

  • mrpants

    Sorry I meant to continue by saying:
    Exonerate the wrongdoing of some Irish clerics by seeking to place the blame elsewhere. Enda Kenny is shamefully trying to gain populist votes by playing blame the Vatican

  • http://twitter.com/oceanclub Paul Moloney

    Your argument ignores the history of Vatican interference in the Irish state and its _active_ participation in the silencing of abuse victims, and is completely fatuous. By all means keep barking the same one-liner over and over again, but Quinn is impressing noone in Ireland with that act.

  • http://twitter.com/oceanclub Paul Moloney

    Your argument ignores the history of Vatican interference in the Irish state and its _active_ participation in the silencing of abuse victims, and is completely fatuous. By all means keep barking the same one-liner over and over again, but Quinn is impressing noone in Ireland with that act.

  • John Shuster

    Lack of dialogue and all people having a deliberative opinion is one small aspect of clericalism.  In fact, I think it is the least damaging aspect of this sex, money and power based attitude towards others.  The presumption of superiority because of religious status that translates into the basest forms of physical, spiritual and emotional damage against our most vulnerable, coupled with a sense of immunity from justice, is much higher on the list.  I have walked with Native American survivors of clergy sex abuse who have endured the most brutal combination of raw beatings, serial rape and sodomy in parishes and residential schools.  Similar barbarities were committed by Roman Catholic clergy against children in Ireland, and likely elsewhere.  While all of this happened, the “good priests and bishops” stood silent and did nothing significant to stop the atrocities.  Civil authorities stave off organized crime by going after a criminal enterprise’s middle management and leadership.  Clericalism is no longer an academic description of a religious class system.  It is a clear and present lethal force that must be confronted by good and decent people.

  • Michaelmcmanus

    If the pope is a major part of the solution, Why does he ask children to support people who allowed and covered the rape and abuse of children, Who live in the vatican

  • Paul Flynn

    The root cause of the Church’s inability to deal with problems such as loss of self control among clerics is the root cause identified in Scripture.  Ever since the publication in 1965 of Nostra Aetate (sections 2 & 3), we have been honouring other gods, so diluting our reliance on the true one.  When you do this you court disaster.
       Take a look at 1 John 4:1-4  and compare with sections 2 & 3 of Nostra Aetate.  Do the two texts fit?  No, they are diametrically opposed.  The Assissi meeting in October, if it goes ahead, will deepen the Church’s inability to deal with its problems, including this one.
       Sorry William.  I am ignoring your argument because you have missed the mark.

  • Michaelmcmanus

    You have to ask this question why did it take kenny 36 years to say some thing , And why no attack on former Irish prime minister ahern, Who set up the redress board which further abused victims of clerical abuse

  • Anonymous

    To the dismay of many of the Irish Catholic faithful, some
    Irish Catholic clerics have behaved so grossly irresponsibly to allow Mr Kenny
    and some of his socialist friends in this new Government the opportunity to
    play havoc with Christian values at some time in the future.

    There seems to be a new paganism in Ireland
    [or is it just a return to the old druid past?].

    By their arrogant actions in these countless cover-ups, some
    stupid clerics have aided and abetted this new anti Christian development.

    They do a disservice to the gospel of Our Lord.

    I can’t be sure where the Vatican
    stands in all of this. From this labyrinth there are so many ambivalent or
    conflicting statements to make the sharpest mind confused.

    Into the mix throw Marciel, Archbishop Marcinkus and the Vatican
    bank scandal, Rupert Murdoch papal knighthood [do we recognize people by the
    company they keep?]

    Also given the betrayed trust that so many of the faithful
    have had to endure as in the Fr Kit episode and one closer to home where the
    cleric went to jail, the victim lost his faith and a loving Catholic family
    were left in immense distress at the clerical hardness they had to endure.

    It is vital the Catholic faithful are able to trust all
    their servants in the clergy.

    If the there is less than complete disclosure then all
    clergy are tainted and the good priests do not deserve this.

     

    The faithful are not all gullible fools. They want to see
    more of the humility of Christ in the clergy.

     

    Canon law must not trump natural justice.

     

    And if Benedict is part of the solution, a clear signal would
     be the removal of many of the unsuitable
    bishops in Ireland
    for starters.

     

  • Alan

    I don’t think Kenny was attacking the Pope, he was attacking the Vatican, a rather different thing.  In recent times (and probably earlier) Popes have been, to some extent, prisoners of the Vatican machine, which is run by bureaucrats with little experience of the outside world.

  • Anonymous

    Not  to diminish the high crimes of the RCC but please examine the Jehovah’s Witnesses who go door to door and come on our property. 
    Jehovah’s Witnesses pedophiles.

    Many court documents and news events prove that Jehovah’s Witnesses require two witnesses when a child comes forward with allegations of molestation within the congregation. Such allegations have customarily been treated as sins instead of crimes and are only reported to authorities when it is required to do so by law, (which varies by state). It has also been shown that child molesters within the organization usually have not been identified to the congregation members or the public at large. These people engage in a door to door ministry, possibly exposing children to pedophiles.
    Although the Watchtower Bible Tract Society claims that known pedophiles are accompanied by a non-pedophile in such work, there is no law stating that such a practice must be followed.
    The Watchtower corporation has paid out millions in settlement money already. –Danny Haszard abuse victim 
    dannyhaszard(dot)com

  • Anonymous

    Not  to diminish the high crimes of the RCC but please examine the Jehovah’s Witnesses who go door to door and come on our property. 
    Jehovah’s Witnesses pedophiles.

    Many court documents and news events prove that Jehovah’s Witnesses require two witnesses when a child comes forward with allegations of molestation within the congregation. Such allegations have customarily been treated as sins instead of crimes and are only reported to authorities when it is required to do so by law, (which varies by state). It has also been shown that child molesters within the organization usually have not been identified to the congregation members or the public at large. These people engage in a door to door ministry, possibly exposing children to pedophiles.
    Although the Watchtower Bible Tract Society claims that known pedophiles are accompanied by a non-pedophile in such work, there is no law stating that such a practice must be followed.
    The Watchtower corporation has paid out millions in settlement money already. –Danny Haszard abuse victim 
    dannyhaszard(dot)com

  • poverello

    I understand the Taoiseach’s anger at the situation in the Irish Church…he and all those victimized should be angry.  However, Mr. Oddie’s point is well taken.  Benedict XVI does not tolerate the horrendous abuse committed by priests nor does he the actions of Bishops who denied and covered up abuses.  And for Kenny to cherry-pick clauses from past writings of Cardinal Ratzinger, bundle them up to build an anti-Vatican expose, and then to portray it all as clerical “narcissism” and “disconnection” is disingenous at best and may rather be described as scurrilous.  No, in this case the Taoiseach merely appears to be the typical politician, recognizing the popular frenzy, whipping his audience up, and looking for all the world as a people’s champion.  I see it all the time here in the States.  Wind bag. 

  • Paul

    What do you mean “Benedict XVI does not tolerate the horrendous abuse committed by priests nor does he the actions of Bishops who denied and covered up abuses”??? Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, one of the most egregious enablers of child molester-priests, was moved out of the U.S. and put in charge of the third most important church in Christendom, St. Mary Major, where he remains to this day collecting a hefty stipend. Until Ratzinger removes Law from that position and somehow disciplines him for his gross negligence, all of the Pope’s words about protecting children are blather!

  • brencel

    Well said and apparently Bishop Magee is being sheltered in Rome as well. If Law and Magee had suggested an open discusssion on womens’ ordination to the priesthood they would have probably been asked to resign; but child abuse does not rank so high in the Vatican.

  • Tim

    A view from a Catholic of Irish ancestry living in the States:

    It was on the recommendation of “Cardinal” Mahoney of Los Angeles, CA that Murdoch received Papal Knighthood. When I first learned he was a knight I was very confused as to what possible reason the Pope would have had to grant knighthood to someone like Murdoch. But after seeing that Mahoney was involved, no further explanation needed.

    The Church’s principle of Subsidiarity absolutely applies to this situation. Don’t allow the politicians, priests and local Bishops shift the blame to rulers of a foreign country. That’s ridiculous! It seems to me, typing here from the States, that the local bishops are more than happy to shift the blame to the Vatican. This seems humorous to me because what they are saying is this. ‘We’re more than happy to ignore instructions from Rome on traditional Catholic teaching about moral, social and doctrinal issues, but when it came to preventing sexual misconduct and child abuse on the part of the clergy, those “Meanies” in Rome tied our hands with their instructions, and we followed them all to the letter because we are obedient Catholics!’  What a load of malarkey, or whatever you guys say across the pond there. 

    And the Taoiseach is a demagogue who is trying to shift attention away from the fact that the Irish economy is a disaster. We in the States know a demagogue when we see one. Take my word for it. We send one to the White House every 4 to 8 years.
    Anyway, don’t let them get away with shifting the blame for Ireland’s problems to other countries and to other men thousands of miles away. Make them own it!

    –Tim

  • Tim

    The global statistics for sex abuse–both of children, adolescents, and adults–are astonishingly high in all institutions all over the world, not just religious ones.

  • Anonymous

    before another word is written here, please read the following prophecy of Our Lady of Sorrows from the XVI century concerning these present times.

    http://www.miraclehunter.com/marian_apparitions/messages/quito_messages.html

  • http://jamiemacnab.wordpress.com/ Jamiemacnab

    We all know that the price of justice is constant vigilance ; but we also know that all institutions, however pious their hopes for themselves, become corrupt by small degrees over time.  It is the old problem of deciding, not when there is a problem, but when a problem is beginning.  Perhaps that is where our reform discussions ought to find their focus.

    Also, I do have sympathy with the Vatican on deciding a general policy on referring allegations of wrongdoing to the civil authorities.  It is all very well to say that every allegation must be so reported ; but justice requires that we take notice of the civil authority in question.  It would be dangerous, I think, to instruct the Church authorities of Country X to report all allegations to the police, when Country X happens to be a vicious dictatorship barely under the rule of law.

  • Tim

    What do you suggest the Pope do with Law and Magee? It seems some people (not necessarily you) want a pound of flesh. In Law’s case, his mistake was that he acted on the advice of psychiatrists. (They told him that these offenders could be treated and healed from their sickness.) He also acted according to the norms of society at that time with regards to sex abuse and sex abusers. He behaved very similar to the heads of other major institutions when they were faced with similar issues. Today, we know more about the issue, and discussion of sex abuse is more open that it was in decades past. I’m not saying that what Law and Magee did is excusable (it’s not), or that I would have done the same thing (I wouldn’t have heeded the advice of psychiatrists). What they did was wrong, and both men resigned in disgrace. I don’t know what happened with Magee after he resigned, but Law went from being the head of a huge diocese in the U.S. to being a simple parish priest in Rome. I wouldn’t call St. Mary Major the third most important church in Christendom. It is a basilica for sure, but I don’t think its importance and influence are as you stated. Also, if Law or Magee violated the law, why didn’t the authorities take them into custody? Here in the U.S., even when a sexual abuser is found guilty, he or she receives a light sentence. To be sure, the ones most responsible are the ones who commited the crime, but this entire issue isn’t just a failure of the Church, it’s a failure of society in general. Both the clergy, the laity and the state have to learn from this and MOVE ON…..But it is important not to abandon the Successor of St. Peter and Jesus’ Church because of the actions of Judas.

  • Tim

    And what if the victim and the victim’s family don’t want it reported because they don’t want the attention that public charges would bring? That happened many times too, I’m sure. Rape victims make that decision a lot.

  • GFFM

    Many of the writers here in their high dudgeon over Oddie defending the Pope suffer from thinking that the Pope, any Pope, is a CEO, a PM, a President which he is not. Any bishop, any archbishop in Ireland had the power to punish, laicize, hand over the priest  to the authorities for trial and then punishment without appealing to the Vatican. It is called episcopal leadership.There is a Gospel imperative for protecting children and young adults. Mathew 18:6: “But whoso shall offend one
    of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a
    millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the
    depth of the sea.”  It is because bishops could govern, and properly use their authority that Benedict, then Ratzinger, called for some kind of universal and normative response. And many of them still didn’t do what they were asked or directed to do. No one is saying that there hasn’t been a massive failure of leadership especially at the local level. That is clear. And Catholics who believe in the Church have a right be angry.That said the high dudgeon displayed by many here on this page has a much more insidious agenda: the abuse crisis is further reason to hate  the Church and her teaching, to bring her down. The hysteria in many of these posts and on the part of the Irish government to make priests break the seal of confession is not about justice for  victims, but about destroying the Church’s religious freedom. This is the ultimate goal of what I would deem Catholic haters. And with such people there is not hope of dialogue or rationale discussion.

  • Paul

    I don’t know what Law’s punishment should be, but I certainly don’t think he deserves any gold medals, which is what his assignment to St. Mary Major is. Here’s how Wikipedia describes St. Mary Major:  “It is one of the four major or four papal basilicas,[5] which, together with St. Lawrence outside the Walls, were formerly referred to as the five ‘patriarchal basilicas’ of Rome,[6] associated with the five ancient patriarchal sees of Christendom (see Pentarchy). . .According to the 1929 Lateran Treaty, the basilica, located in Italian territory, enjoys extraterritorial status similar to that of foreign embassies.”  It’s very convenient that he was assigned to a church with the status of a foreign embassy, just in case there are any pesky demands for extradition. A “simple parish priest.” Right. His claim that he consulted psychiatrists before shuffling around molesters is pathetic. Two monsters, Paul Shanley and John Geoghan, were accused repeatedly of molestation, Geoghan, in fact, advocated for the Man-Boy Love Association and Law knew about it, yet he still moved these creeps around to different parishes and even dioceses without informing anyone about their past. Of course, they then victimized other children once they were in their new parishes. I’d love to know who these psychiatrists were that Law consulted. I guess we’ll never know now that he’s safely ensconced in an extraterritorial basilica.

  • Parasum

    “What do you suggest the Pope do with Law and Magee?”

    In 1927, Pius XI demoted a French Cardinal from the cardinalate for disagreeing with the Pope about Action Francaise. This business is hardly trivial – and bishops are busted if they marry (e.g. Abp.Milingo). In a Church in which a nine-year old girl can be made pregnant by her rapist, who suffers no ecclesiastical penalty at all, & in which priests are sometimes laicised as a penalty, why should a Cardinal or other bishops get off scot-free ?

    If anything, the higher the rank, the heavier should be the punishment. The Church ought to bring back the kind of excommunication which made excommunicates social pariahs, *vitandi*. Such people should be anathematised, and – in keeping with practice in the early Church – deprived of the sacraments even on their death-beds. They should not be honoured in life or death, or saved from having to answer for their crimes & neglect. No-one else is.

    The Pope *is* Judas – so too are all the other “incarnate devils” (to quote St. Catherine) who have made the Church a splendid approximation of the Great Whore of Revelation 17. The laity did not recycle anointed perverts – the bishops did. The laity has not been moving Heaven and earth to avoid responsibility for crucifying Christ in his weakest & most vulnerable members – the bishops have. Why should the morally blind lead us ? What foolishness is that ?

  • Anonymous

    But religious institutions claim to be on a higher moral plane than the average institution do they not.  In fact some claim direct connections with god. 

  • Anonymous

    Maybe he should return them to the countries they fled from and while he is at it he should deny them any diplomatic immunity from the sovereign state of the Vatican.  They may find that there are grand juries in their respective home countries that wish to talk to them. 

  • Anonymous

    BUT the pope is the Chairman of the board of the Vatican, so to speak.  He is ultimately responsible for the decisions and the actions of the Vatican.  In the old days some popes were deposed or worse when the went against the Vatican machine but that is part of the job. 

  • David Lindsay

    Like Blessed John Paul the Great, the then Cardinal Ratzinger unreservedly condemned the war in Iraq. Iran has had an arrangement in place for several years whereby the Vatican would mediate in any dispute with the United States should, as is now mercifully most unlikely, that matter ever really come to a head. Benedict XVI is, as John Paul II was, a great admirer of Pius XII, under whom the Holy See had quite warm relations with the State of Israel, which was not at that time imposing military law on the Catholics of the West Bank, nor occupying that part of the viable Palestinian State created on both sides of the Jordan at the end of the British Mandate, nor bombarding the Catholics of Lebanon.

    Well, we cannot have any of that, can we? So the Pope’s moral authority must be destroyed by absolutely any means whatever. Lest, having been right on Iraq, he prevent a war against Iran, and possibly even bring about the reunification of Palestine on both sides of the Jordan while securing the sovereignty and integrity of Lebanon. All that, and he does not agree that the world has too many proles and darkies in it. Nor that femaleness itself is a medicable condition requiring powerful chemical or surgical intervention. Nor that the preborn child is simultaneously insentient and a part of the mother’s body. He might even dare to ask whether it is the whole of a woman’s body that is insentient, or only the parts most directly connected with reproduction?

    From The Times of London to The New York Times, we cannot be having any of that. Instead, we must all join in protest behind Peter Tatchell, who would lower the age of consent of 14 and thus legalise almost every act of which any Catholic priest has ever been so much as accused, but who is reliably signed up to female reproductive (if not total) insentience, to XX Syndrome and the drastic measures required to counter it, to ridding the world of proles and darkies, and specifically to ridding the world of Levantine proles and darkies. So, that’s all right, then. Isn’t it? It must be, since last year David Cameron offered Tatchell a peerage.

    There is no call whatever for any sort of apology from Tatchell, who wrote in The Guardian (26th June 1997) that: “The positive nature of some child-adult relations is not confined to non-Western cultures. Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of 9 to 13. None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy. While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that no all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful.”

    Nor is there any call for any sort of apology from Harriet Harman and Patricia Hewitt, who ran the National Council for Civil Liberties when it was passing resolutions in support of the Paedophile Information Exchange and Paedophile Action for Liberation, and when it was publishing calls to legalise and destigmatise sex between adults and children. Nor from Stephen Fry, author of The Liar and The Hippopotamus, both of which glorify sex between men and teenage boys, exactly the acts that have brought scandal on the Catholic Church. Nor from successive Chairmen and Controllers of Channel Four, in its dramatic output a relentless, publicly owned campaigner in favour of such acts.

    Nor from Germaine Greer, author of The Boy, a book-length celebration of the sexual fetishisation of the adolescent male both by men and by women. Nor from Richard Dawkins, who in The God Delusion describes having been sexually abused as a child as “an embarrassing but otherwise harmless experience”. Nor from Philip Pullman, whose famous trilogy concludes with sexual intercourse between two children aged about 12, and who has repeatedly denounced the absence of sexual content in the Narnia novels. Nor from Geoffrey Robertson QC, who made his name defending the Schoolkids’ Edition of Oz and whose wife made hers writing explicit depictions of teenage sex. Nor from everyone, or even from anyone, who has rushed to defend and to laud Roman Polanski.

    Nor from those in any way involved in Internet pornography, the principal, and highly commercial, sexual abuse of teenage boys in the world today. Nor from those who have taken us to war in Afghanistan, in defence of the endemic abuse of such boys, an abuse to which, whatever else may be said of the Taliban, they were very actively opposed and not without success in seeking to eradicate, whereas the regime that we have installed in their place actively colludes in it as surely as in the heroin trade.

    Nor from the numerous Social Services Departments that ran homes in which, at the same time as the Church was hushing up sex between men and teenage boys on the part of a small number of priests – and thus, however imperfectly, indicating disapproval of it – such behaviour was absolutely endemic, with major figures in that world publishing academic studies, used for many years in the training of social workers, which presented it as positively beneficial to both parties and therefore actively to be encouraged. Nor from the Police, who long ago stopped enforcing the age of consent from 13 upwards; as with their non-enforcement of the drugs laws, one really does have to ask for whose benefit that is. Among many, many, many others.

    What’s that you say? They do not purport to be moral authorities? Really?

  • Anonymous

    Most of these Country X’s that have been in the news for the past XX years include such vicious dictatorships as the US, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Austria, Austrailia etc… I think your argument is nothing more than an apoligist attitude quoted from the Vatican machine. 

  • Anonymous

    I think that is also a line straight out of the Catholic apoligist guidelines. 

  • Anonymous

    The RCC heirarchy has weilded much power over the people of the world for years using a fear of god as their ultimate weapon.  In addition, in Ireland they have weilded tremendous civil powers. 

  • Anonymous

    Huh? I don’t understand what you are saying.

  • Anonymous

    I think the heirarchy of the church wields their power with a heavy hand.  They are also quick to hang out their underlings to swing in the wind. 

  • Anonymous

    Enda KIenny has shown much courage in addressing the long standing problem that originates within the RCC and has been covereed up by the RCC for decades.

  • http://jamiemacnab.wordpress.com/ Jamiemacnab

    You are not following the argument, CER.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t agree with you if that is what you mean. 

  • Honeybadger

    Oh, pur-lease!

  • Honeybadger

    What ARE you doing here in the first place?

  • Honeybadger

    Spot. On. Thank you.

  • Honeybadger

    It gets better…NOT!

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t know that this was your private domain.

  • Josephsoleary

    Cardinal Brady’s role in an incident 35 or so years ago is irrelevant to this discussion. Kenny’s speech was over the top.

  • Josephsoleary

    Quinn is not the only critic of the speech; 7 of 12 letters in today’s Irish TImes are critical, and rightly.