Monday, June 01, 2009

‘So Catholic it forgot to be Christian’

These words from a priest in Ireland, in relation to the industrial home abuses carried out on children by Roman Catholic orders in the 20th Century are very solemn. Yet even more haunting are the words of one of the victims Michael O'Brien: "They raped me on a Saturday, gave me an unmerciful beating afterwards, and then gave me Communion on Sunday." One amongst thousands.

How much have the orders learned from this? They haven't fully paid their paltry 10% of the compensation package. They are failing to acknowledge their full responsibility and appear to be in such open conflict with the Roman hierarchy about the Church's response that the Pope will have to be brought in. This situation looks set to be overtaken by the publication of other reports this summer into sexual abuse committed by priests and the efforts by church authorities to cover it up.

The Tablet newspaper comments in its editorial: "It is clear the problem was not just "a few bad apples" or even a whole barrel of them, but the arrogance of an almighty Church too powerful for its own good. It is useless to blame the state or society for allowing it to happen. The blame lies within the Church itself. The power and the glory that were so badly misused had a theological, even ideological, basis. This told the Church that it was "a true and perfect society" (in the words of Pius IX): whatever it did was right, and whatever might contradict that impression had to be suppressed. Only "bad Catholics" would dare whisper it." Is not the ideological and theological basis, the Roman Catholic elevation of the Church above Scripture? While this is the case the law of God will never be adhered to as it ought. As the papal historian put it, absolute power corrupts absolutely.