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When Jimmy Savile died, I reproached his obituarists for their cover-up of his faith. Now I have to ask: what was he thinking of during daily Mass?

Was he simply torn between good and evil? Or was it worse: did he do good so that evil might come of it?

By on Monday, 15 October 2012

Last November, people filed past Savile's golden coffin in Leeds to pay their respects (Photo: PA)

Last November, people filed past Savile's golden coffin in Leeds to pay their respects (Photo: PA)

I have just returned from a foreign absence blessedly out of touch with the internet. I came back to find an email from the Herald asking if I wanted to appear on Radio Leeds to talk about Sir Jimmy Savile. Why me, I thought at first: and then, sickeningly, I remembered: in November last year, at the time of Savile’s death, when everyone was lauding his apparently selfless charity work and all the good he had done, I had written a piece (long since forgotten by me) complaining that one thing everyone had kept very quiet about was his Catholic faith: my now deeply embarrassing headline was “Jimmy Savile’s obituaries mentioned his charity work: but why the conspiracy of silence about his faith?”

Just how wrong did I get it? There’s still a question to be asked about all this. Was Jimmy Savile a deeply conflicted human being, torn between his impulse to do good in the world and his compulsion towards a particularly repulsive kind of human sinfulness? We are all a mixture of good and evil instincts: what Catholics think of as their commitment (sometimes strong, at other times weak) towards sanctification of life is a continuing process of attempting to weaken their habitual sinfulness and strengthen their commitment to their love of God. Is that what was going on here? Or – a truly horrendous possibility – was all the good he did in the world simply a means of getting access to the young girls he abused? Would it really be worth all that time and trouble? Maybe to someone so obviously compulsive in his sexual instincts it really was. Think of those flats in hospitals he was provided with (and whose idea was that?), places he could take his victims: is that what it was all about?

I assumed at the time (not, under the circumstances, surely, entirely unreasonably) that the motivating force for all the good he did was his faith: so I reproached his obituarists (who were no less fulsome in their praise for him than I or anyone else was) for ignoring it: “Why not,” I asked, “mention that an important part of his life was attending daily Mass? There’s a deep dedication in the life of a man who gives away 90 per cent of everything he earns and so tirelessly does all the other things he did. You’d think that an obituarist would want to ask a simple question: where did all that come from? It’s almost as though they couldn’t bear to accept that the answer was his Catholicism: even that Catholicism itself could ever be the source of actual human goodness.” Oh dear.

What was going through his mind as he sat there, having slipped quietly into the back of Leeds cathedral, during those daily Masses? Was he praying for strength to resist his sexual compulsion? What did he tell his confessor? A psychologist, asked this question in one of the endless series of radio discussions about this horrible story last week, replied “probably he told him nothing: these people have an almost endless capacity to convince themselves that they have done nothing wrong”.

I remain confused about all this. Which was it: was he simply and damnably an evil man, who did good in order that the opportunity for evil might come from it? I pray that that was not the source of all the undoubted good he really did do; I really hope that he was a man torn between good and evil whose faith in the end brought him true penitence. I note that most of the cases now emerging date back to the 70s and earlier: does that mean that towards the end of his life he had changed his behaviour? I simply don’t know. Does anyone?

I usually go on for much longer than this: this time, though, I am simply reduced to silence. Thank God we are told not to judge others lest we ourselves come under judgment for it. This time I have no confident conclusions, I have nothing to say: only questions.

  • Rizzo the Bear

    Let’s face it, William. We all make mistakes. That’s why we have the sacrament of penance, that there are erasers at the end of pencils and why the woman who invented Liquid Paper became a multi-millionaire!

    Perhaps, with the benefit of hindsight, it was better that the obituaries didn’t mention his Catholic faith because, if they did, it would have been another huge stick to beat us with!

    As I have mentioned in other posts on this website relating to the vile, evil and heinous behaviour of Savile, the BBC must surely know by now how the Roman Catholic Church has felt and still feels. 

    The BBC MUST seek to deal with this crisis with clinical efficiency.

    Perhaps if they are serious about getting off their lardy derieres to do so, they could swallow their pride and take a leaf from our freshly printed book – because, if they don’t, they are no better than Jimmy Savile!

    The procedures for dealing with such things as sexual impropriety, bullying, intimidation and the abuse of position at the BBC leaves a hell of a lot to be desired. There have been many great, talented, principled people at the corporation who have suffered in silence because of these things – even to the point of demotion or losing their jobs. They were cruelly denied the environment to use their God-given skills in peace and the true spirit of teamwork.

    If you take a look under the BBC ‘carpets’, you’ll find the equivalent of centuries of landfil that has been swept under them.

    I sincerely hope and pray that those who committed the grave sin of omission in these matters (including the ones who’s proverbial bacon were wrongly saved by those in authority) are – to put it crudely – ‘bricking it’ right now and that they are swiftly, justly and severely dealt with.

    As for the rest of society, the vast majority of people were taken for fools by Savile – even the most savvy and intelligent among us. He was laughing up his sleeve all along.Now the Diocese of Leeds is reeling from the shock.You know, I also wondered if Savile ever mentioned his weakness in confession. Did he think that what he was doing to his poor victims was not wrong?It’s not the first time this sort of thing has happened and, if we’re not careful and don’t read the signs early, it won’t be the last.I read that Professor Anthony Clare – the Lord have mercy on him – interviewed Savile on his programme ‘In The Psychiatrist’s Chair’ and came to the conclusion that he was a man ‘without feelings’.Jimmy Savile was a psychopath. Pure and simple. 

  • Farrow Caroline

    I blogged about this, before the full extent of the revelations were revealed. I still don’t believe that it is helpful to pathologise sexual abusers, in that all of us have the capacity for great good and great evil although rarely do most of us fall on one, let alone both of the extreme ends of the spectrum.

    I am of the opinion that Savile did not genuinely believe that he was an abuser, it’s likely that his sexuality was so bent out of shape, that he simply could not perceive that his behaviour was unacceptable and constituted rape or assault. There was a story in yesterday’s press about his older brother being similarly accused, which makes one wonder about their upbringing or family dynamics.

    Although no excuse, I also firmly believe that the era played a great role, his pattern of abuse fits into the timescale of abuse that went on in the Catholic church. Sexual taboos broke down as society became ever more libertine. Women were encouraged to become sexually active and available ever-earlier and Savile was well placed to take advantage of the arrival of the teenager in the 50s, at a time when he would have been in his late 20s.

    What is clear however, is that he obviously felt that his behaviour was sanctioned and justified, someone with a crushing sense of guilt or remorse would not have openly alluded to it, as he did in his autobiography. Perhaps his boundaries were blurred, perhaps he never grew up?

    None of that is to excuse any of his alleged depravity (I say alleged because natural justice demands that the accused has a chance to defend themselves), all of us have been horrified, the accusations seem increasingly extraordinary, but if we pathologise him as a monster, then it also demeans us in turn.

    Savile was human and obviously extremely flawed, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t capable of great good. Was his altruism self-serving? He didn’t need to give 90% of his income away to be able to gain trust and access to children, his celebrity status and fund-raising was enough. When we turn people into monsters we lose the opportunity to gain vital insight into the psyche of others and we also de-humanise. Most sexual offenders are not like Jimmy Savile, they don’t have signature gimmicks, catchphrases and slightly odd taste in garish tracksuits or eccentric habits.

    By demonising him we reassure ourselves that these heinous acts are committed by one-off individuals who stand out in some way. History tells us that this is not the case. Most sexual abuse is committed by so called normal individuals, often married men, sometimes women and pillars of the community, the tragic case of April Jones is a case in point.

    As for your original piece, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

  • Veuster

    Since Sir Jimmy Savile’s death, a number of allegations have been made against him. So far, these allegations are unsubstantiated. Unless and until any of them are proved to be well founded, in a court of law or by other due legal process, Sir Jimmy must be regarded as innocent and our job as Christians is not to listen to gossip and rumour but to pray for the repose of his soul.

  • Veuster

    > Did he think that what he was doing to his poor victims was not wrong?

    We do not yet know if he had any “victims” at all. So far, there have only been unsubstantiated rumours and allegations.

  • http://www.pearshapedcomedy.com Anthony Miller

    Showy philanthropists are often doing it cynically as a distraction technique. Albert Grant for example was a famous 19th century swindler who ran numerous bubble schemes and fake companies and lost millions. of other people’s cash in fake silver mines and pyramid schemes. He covered it up by simultaniously engaging in acts of philanthropy such as buying Leicester Square and giving it to the public. What was Sir Jim thinking of at mass? Sad to say probably the alter servers. As with abuse within the RCC its self the longer it went on the more people had an interest in not exposing it because by not having the moral courage to confront him they had neglected their responsibilities to society. How many could have spoken out but didn’t want to rock the boat? It’s a test many are found wanting in. The likes of Sor Jim prey cynically on our goodwill…?

  • guest

    I too have been pondering this today. The bottom line is, he did some evil things, that seems beyond debate. However, as William points out, most of these offences took place in the 70′s and before. Are there any more recent offences?If not, does this mean he stopped? If so why? Was his charity work an attempt to atone for what he had done? Or did the change in climate in the attitude towards abuse mean he couldn’t get away with it anymore? Or was he just too old? The problem is, we will never know. What is for certain, along with his victims, he needs prayer, though I can’t imagine anyone praying aloud for him church.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Father Gerald Fitzgerald, who founded of the Congregation of the Servants of the Paraclete in 1947 in the USA, became the Church’s first modern expert on the problems of fallen priests and cared for many of them in his community. 

    He noted in the 1950′s how, when the Congregation had started his work, they had seen very few cases of child sexual molestation and of homosexuality but that five years later, by the middle ’50′s, there was an explosion of cases involving both. 

    As Catholics, we cannot simply put this down to “changes in society” or the ending of the most brutal war in history some years before. 

    We believe in Original Sin, don’t we, and in concupiscence and in the devil’s ordinary activity of temptation? (Apart from liberal so-called Catholics, even in the Hierarchy, who deny these Christian basics). 

    Savile fell, despite the workings of Grace in the Holy Communion he frequented. One has to ask whether such a man, with serial mortal sins (if all the allegations are true of course) could have shown any true repentance with its sincere intention for amendment of life in the Confessional. 

    But such talk is speculation when considering an individual soul. We cannot know. We do know, however, that God knows and has already judged. 

    This whole period is totally in line with what one would expect given the history of the Church and the world from the time of Pope Leo XIII’s great vision onwards.

  • Jonathan West

    I note that most of the cases now emerging date back to the 70s and earlier: does that mean that towards the end of his life he had changed his behaviour?

    Unfortunately not – it seems that he was at it right up to a few days before he died.

    As for whether he realised he was doing anything wrong, I’m sure he realised that what he was doing was illegal and that he would be punished for it if caught, but I agree with the assessment of the psychologist, I doubt that he thought that what he did was wrong. As such, he wouldn’t have confessed because he wouldn’t have felt he had anything to confess to.

    With such people, the only defence against them is to catch them, or to so convince them that they will be caught that they are deterred from trying anything in the first place.

    Catching them can be difficult. Child sex abusers don’t wear badges or have funny-shaped heads by which you can recognise them. The clever and prolific ones go to great lengths to burnish their outward appearance of respectability.

    “The successful paedophiles are the ones that aren’t discovered of course and there are plenty of them around. They are people who have all the social graces that you might expect in someone of normal behaviour. They’re charming, they have good conversation, they’re caring, they’re intelligent, they’re interested, they’re committed to what they’re doing, they earn respect, they appear like any other member of society quite frankly and you just can’t tell. Sorry but you can’t tell.”

    So said Alastair Rolfe towards the end of the documentary “Chosen” a few years ago. He could easily have been talking about Jimmy Savile, though of course he wasn’t.

    It is this outward appearance of respectability that deflects suspicion. As you said “There’s a deep dedication in the life of a man who gives away 90 per cent of everything he earns and so tirelessly does all the other things he did.” It doesn’t occur to you that this might all be a front, because it is indistinguishable from the appearance of people who do the same for truly altruistic reasons, including those who really are motivated by their Catholic faith to do good works.

    The only way that this can be defeated and children protected from such people is not to place anybody above suspicion. If there is a report or allegation of abuse, it has to be reported and followed up by people trained to do so, i.e. the police and social services. It is only by knowledge of their actions in abusing people that abusers can be caught.

    This is a lesson the Catholic Church has been slow to learn, that Mr X or Father Y might have every appearance of being a good upright person or even a dedicated and holy priest, except in their hidden sexual conduct. If evidence of the sexual conduct comes to light, it cannot be discounted in favour of the other aspects of their life, You can’t ever say “He is a good person, he would never do such a thing” because we now know that (a few) people who appear to be good can do such a thing.

  • Tony Abbot

    Veuster – I think 300 allegations 60 victims suggests to me this is not a mistake. Sadly this reminds of people who are in denial over the abuse crisis.

  • Neil Addison

    I was no fan of Jimmy Saville and never particularly liked him but there is something distasteful in this systematic shredding of the reputation of a man after he is dead and unable to defend himself.

     More worrying is the prospect that “victims” of Saville are now being encouraged to consider legal action against the BBC and others.  Now that the smell of money is in the air how many people who went to Top of the Pops or Jim’ll Fix It will suddenly recover a “repressed memory” especially in a situation where the number of allegations is somehow taken as evidence of their truthfulness. 

    The fact is that the possibility of compensation for alleged acts decades previously has corrupted the entire process of examining the truthfulness or otherwise of alleged Child Abuse whether in the Church, Scouts, Childrens Homes or the BBC. 

    The Limitation Act 1980 is supposed to prevent claims being brought after six years but unlike the situation in most countries which have Statutes of Limitation the English Courts have interpreted the Limitation Act in such a way as to allow sex abuse claims to be brought decades after the alleged events, this makes having a fair trial impossible and circumvents the intention of Parliament when it passed the Limitation Act.  It opens Churches, the Boy Scouts, Barnardos and State Care Homes to the danger of unjustified legal claims in which the only evidence is unsupported allegations made against persons who are dead and unable to defend themselves or their reputation

    Similarly the Government is now having to defend claims brought alleging misconduct during the Mau Mau uprising more than 50 years ago, what next is the Government of Ireland going to sue over damage to the Central Post Office in Dublin during the 1916 uprising.  There must surely be a point at which allegations become matters of History not the basis of legal claims.  Parliament needs to look at the entire issue of limitation; there has to be a point where allegations are so old that it is simply wrong to allow them to proceed to trial.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    The odd thing about Savile is that he always looked really creepy and boasted about his sexual conquests (even though portrayed as consensual) enough to make it clear that he wasn’t ‘respectable’. If anything, I always kept telling myself that, despite every appearance, he must be a good person (somehow)…

    That said -mirabile dictu!- I completely agree with you on your main point here: putting aside Savile, there are plenty of other cases where a respectable front has concealed a filthy life.

  • Jonathan West

    Savile was respectable enough for you to think that “despite every appearance, he must be a good person”. That’s respectable enough to deflect suspicion. Some abusers become respectable by following a respectable career (e.g. doctor, teacher, priest), and some by conspicuous charitable works and donations (e.g. Savile). Different people choose different approaches according to their talents and other aspects of their character.

  • Veuster

    You may be right. I don’t know. But it seems odd that all these allegations are suddenly being made about things that are said to happened two, three or even four decades ago.

  • Veuster

    Wholeheartedly agree. Thank you for posting this.

  • Jonathan West

    The situation looks a little bit different when you have been the victim of an injustice and your voice has not been heard for years and years. Should that justice be denied just because it has taken 30 years for somebody to start believing you?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    It just takes one to have the courage and the floodgates open. At the age of seven an attempt was made by a homosexual uncle to do something to me, but luckily I already had loosehead prop tendencies and he backed off. I only told my parents about it twenty years later. 

  • Neil Addison

     What is Justice ?  Is it just for an organisation to have to pay out over an allegation about what is alleged to have happened 30 years ago when it is one person word against that of a corpse.  How many people can truly accurately rmember what happened 30 years ago, they may believe sincerely what they say but that does not mean it is true

  • scary goat

    Mr. Oddie,

    Please don’t feel bad about getting it wrong.  We all get things wrong…..and you got it wrong for the “right” reasons.  Seeing the good in someone, not expecting the bad, and a love and trust for your Faith and someone who shared your faith (I think he did in spite of it all). 

    You have asked some pretty scary questions.  I will come back and make a comment on that later  after some thought. 

  • Confused of Chi

    The BBC ‘covering up’ child abuse? 

  • Veuster

    Congratulations on how you dealt with your uncle. And I don’t doubt that, when evil things have happened in secret, sometimes it *does* just take one to have the courage for the floodgates to open. But sometimes allegations prove not to be true, and sometimes people – for whatever reason – see a bandwagon and jump on it. Kathy O’Beirne’s case sticks in my mind from a few years ago. This is why I’m still waiting to see how the Jimmy Savile case develops, and praying for the repose of his soul – innocent or guilty of the crimes alleged – as I do so.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/features/3635834/Mis-lit-Is-this-the-end-for-the-misery-memoir.html

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    You’re perhaps right Veuster to wait, and I completely accept that until proven guilty, he’s an innocent man. 

    It’s also true I believe from US statistics re the priestly abuse scandal that 4% of the total number of priests have been accused with only a tiny fraction of them being found guilty, so that the number of priests guilty as charged in the US is 0.3% of the total number of US priests. So false accusations are indeed made. 

    “No smoke without fire” isn’t necessarily always true, but when there is a roaring bonfire ……

  • Denis

    Could this be the same BBC that gloated over the Church’s problems and even arguably led the charge by a self consciously judgemental liberal elite? Well yes and it finally vindicates what was said by Catholics over and again that abuse happens even in the BBC and even in that bastion of secular democracy, Islington Council.

  • David Lindsay

    Dare we hope that we are actually witnessing the beginning of
    the end of the end, at least in Britain, of the culture that began 50
    years ago this month with the first Beatles record?

    No more sex, drugs
    and rock’n’roll if they really do look into Radio One from all the way
    back at the start. If they did that, then the dominoes would start to fall
    in all directions.
     

  • Veuster

    > he needs prayer, though I can’t imagine anyone praying aloud for him church.

    I vividly remember how, after the Dunblane massacre, the priest at the next Mass I attended prayed not only for the repose of the souls of the murdered children but also for the soul of Thomas Hamilton, the murderer. There were a few gasps and murmurs, but thank God that the priest *did* pray for him – and prayed aloud.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Let’s hope.

  • Veuster

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of it, and whatever may emerge in the weeks to come, there is one useful and practical thing we can and must do now – pray for the soul of Jimmy Savile. I’ve commented in a post below about how, after the Dunblane massacre, the priest at the next Mass I attended prayed not only for the repose of the souls of the murdered children but also for the soul of Thomas Hamilton, the murderer. There were a few gasps and murmurs, but thank God that the priest *did* pray for him.

  • chiaramonti

    Remember the words of Daniel Defoe:

    “Wherever God erects a House of Prayer
    The Devil always builds a chapel there
    And ’twill be found upon examination
    The latter has the larger congregation”

    No doubt JS was as sinful as the rest of us. If he did a tenth of what he is alleged to have done then his reputation deserves to be shredded, dead or alive. But these are unproved allegations. The fact that they seem to be multiplying on a daily basis does not amount to proof. That is the stuff of witch hunts. There needs to be a careful and dispassionate examination of the facts and the presumption of innocence should not be overlooked. Some of the allegations already look unreliable, others seem to have more substance. As usual, the press is busy speculating and the BBC, for once, is in a difficult corner. One thing is certain. If this sort of activity was rife at the BBC and elsewhere in celebrity circles, JS would not have been alone. And those who now say they knew and did nothing should be hung out to dry!

  • mollysdad

    Two years ago there was a Channel 4 “mockumentary” entitled “The Execution of Gary Glitter”

    Can we expect another one called “The Exhumation of Jimmy Savile.”?

  • Jonathan West

    What would you do with those who said nothing? They have committed no crime, as it isn’t a crime to fail to report child abuse.

  • Neil Addison

    An interesting article by Brendan O’Neil at  http://www.spiked-online.com/site/article/12973/
    “Savile: the mad hunt for a conspiracy of witches”

    With each passing day – hour, in fact – the Jimmy Savile scandal
    looks more and more like a modern-day version of the hysteria that
    gripped seventeenth-century Salem, when a small town in Massachusetts
    became convinced that it had witches in its midst. Since the first
    accusations of child abuse were made against the late BBC entertainer in
    an ITV documentary on 3 October, Britain’s chattering classes have
    become consumed by a witch-hunting mentality, with almost every
    respectable institution, from the BBC to the NHS to the child-protection
    industry, finding itself dragged into a vortex of Savile-related
    suspicion and rumour, accusation and counteraccusation.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    You’re right of course. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    What happened to Glitter? Is he still in a Thai jail? Or was it Vietnam?

  • awkwardcustomer

    And here’s what Fr Gerald Fitzgerald said about abusing priests in a 1957 letter to Archbishop Byrne, his ecclesiastical sponsor and co-founder of the Paracletes:

    “May I beg your excellency to concur and approve of what I consider a very vital decision on our part – that we will not offer hospitality to men who have seduced or attempted to seduce little boys or girls. These men Your Excellency are devils and the wrath of God is upon them and if I were a bishops I would tremble when I failed to report them to Rome for involuntary laicization….It is for this class of rattlesnake I have always wished the island retreat – but even an island is too good for these vipers of whom the Gentle master said – it were better they had not been born – this is an indirect way of saying damned, is it not? When I see the Holy Father I am going to speak of this class to his Holiness.”

    ‘Devils’? ‘The wrath of God is upon them’? How different from some of the mealy-mouthed comments elsewhere on this thread. Is it not the case that the lovey-dovey, sentimentalised Church of our times has lost all sense of evil and its magnitude? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congregation_of_the_Servants_of_the_Paraclete
     
     ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congregation_of_the_Servants_of_the_Paraclete

  • awkwardcustomer

    You’re letting Saville off the hook at every turn.

  • Hermit

    “I have just returned from a foreign absence blessedly out of touch with the internet.”

     I think staying for some time without internet will do us good. We are so imbued with online flow that we need to spend some days without it.

     I’m a little amazed how some of those who go for a retreat have access to the internet as well. I wouldn’t suggest such a thing. We cannot profit abundantly when we do not detach ourselves from all that is unnecessary during a retreat.

      The devil can make use of the internet to disturb us from spending some time in close friendship with the Holy Trinity.

  • Alexander VI

    Unlike the Church the BBC does not claim to be inspired by Christ  or be a global moral authority…….

  • Caroline Farrow

    Not letting him off, if guilty as charged, his behaviour was nothing short of evil. I am in total agreement with Brendan O’Neill with regards to the institutional witch-hunt.

    “It seems everything from saying ‘nice tits’ to a female DJ to hugging a 14-year-old girl too tightly on Top of the Pops to having sex with someone under 16 can now all be packaged up as evildoing, as child abuse.”

    I think we need to be more measured and nuanced in our judgements and as other commentators have noted, pray for his soul as he will now have met his ultimate judge.

    Instead of witch-hunts what is required is an entire re-evaluation of contemporary sexual discourse and behaviour.

  • Papa Sisto

    Agreed.  Whilst I admit I rarely agree with your views, Mr Oddie, don’t kick yourself over this one.  You made a mistake, you made it because you expected someone to be a good man and you trusted your religion.  Those are not unreasonable grounds.  Above all, you didn’t hire him!  And you admitted your mistake and wrote this article to apologize and reflect on it.  Plenty of columnists would pretend it never happened.  

    As for Saville, well, did you ever do anything wrong as a child? Have you ever sinned badly and not wanted to admit it?  I did, a lot, and when I did it I convinced myself I had done nothing wrong, that my actions were justified (though I should point out now I have never done anything as truly horrible as Saville – I reached my nadir at lying to my parents about alcohol and tobacco, thank you very much).  I imagine that Saville thought that he “couldn’t help it” or “they were asking for it” or “the age of consent is far too high” and that he was doing what anyone would have done.  Like the psychiatrist said: the guilty are very good at pretending they are the innocent.  When they pretend long enough, they start to believe it too.

  • Dcollin

    Not inspired by Christ certainly, but as regards a moral authority not so sure the BBC wouldn’t lay claim to that!

  • Parasum

    STM these questions are not answerable. I don’t think it is any business of ours.

    A quotation from one of the Narnia books:

    “Child,” said the Voice, “I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.”

    - Aslan and Shasta, in “The Horse and His Boy”, Ch. 11 : The Unwelcome Fellow Traveller.

    Sinners need mercy – and if that is not “counter-cultural”, what is ? Jimmy Savile needs Masses, prayers, stuff like that. Not because his crimes, if real, as seems to be the case, don’t matter; but because they do. Which makes him no different from any of us.

  • awkwardcustomer

    You seem to have changed your argument.

  • Parasum

     “It doesn’t occur to you that this might all be a front…”

    ## Why should it have been a “front” ? STM one of the lessons of all this business – which ought not to need learning, though it does – is that one and same person can be capable of both great good & great evil. The dedication can be entirely genuine – without being the whole story. Is anyone on earth *not* a mixture of good and evil, of virtues and vices ?

    “You can’t ever say “He is a good person, he would never do such a thing” because we now know that (a few) people who appear to be good can do such a thing.”

    ## Indeed you can’t :( - and if the Church doesn’t know *that*, it ought to.

  • Hermit

    As far as I know in English law there is prescription.

  • teigitur

    Exactly.

  • Hermit

    Yes, your justice should be denied because you have a time limit to bring your case. That is the purpose of prescription. The law is not in favour of the idle. The law wants you to sue for a remedy within a limited time to get things over then. If you have sued properly your voice would surely have been heard.

  • teigitur

    The BBC rightly exposed Church failings on this. But as ever the hypocrisy of liberal establisment is breathtaking.

  • Hermit

    In the case of minors prescription starts running when they become of age. 

  • Parasum

    She’s avoiding rushing into making rash judgements. That is a  very sensible & compassionate approach.

    And this:

    “By demonising him we reassure ourselves that these heinous acts are committed by one-off individuals who stand out in some way. History tells us that this is not the case”

    - is surely right.

  • Parasum

    Well posted. The Wrath of God is not something we hear of today – it doesn’t help that the Lectionary has been censored, to take out a lot of “negative” stuff. Yet the Wrath of God is a NT theme.

    http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Saints/Saints_034.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Fitzgerald_(priest)

    http://www.votfbpt.org/T-_Doyle_June-08-1.pdf

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    He died years ago. He was I believe a Maths Master at Oundle School. God knows if his pupils suffered. I hope not.