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The Pope

April 6, 2010

I do have to briefly return to “bashing” religion briefly, this is a tad too annoying to ignore.

With all the fuss surrounding the seemingly never-ending stream of reports of child abuse in Catholic institutions, it’s not surprising that people have been commenting on it. A couple of the comments, and the reactions to them, are very disappointing.

A week ago the Pope dismissed stories of his involvement in covering up the child abuse scandals as “petty gossip”. This was repeated on Easter Sunday by Cardinal Sodano, who said to the Pope “The people of God are with you and will not let themselves be influenced by the petty gossip of the moment…”. This is a disgusting lack of acceptance of the responsibility that the Pope and those around him have for what has happened (and presumably still is). Why do we not see people all over the media decrying this behaviour?

Religious groups seem to be the first port of call by the media for any story that requires a “moral” insight. So Archbishop Rowan Williams gave an interview to the BBC, in which he said that for an institution “so deeply bound into the life of a society, suddenly becoming, suddenly losing all credibility – that’s not just a problem for the Church, it is a problem for everybody in Ireland.” True. I don’t see anything to argue about there.

The reply to this comment was quick. It was described by various Catholics as “intemperate”, “extreme”, “thoughtless” and “unhelpful”. Williams was forced to apologise, say he had “no intention of criticising or attacking”. Really? He should have had that intention. So should everybody who cares about the story. What are we supposed to do except criticise an institution that covers up child abuse for so long then refuses to accept responsibility for it’s actions?

This is an awful example of the respect that religion is given by the media and by society in general. By treating religion as something not to be criticised in the public arena we risk allowing it to escape responsibility that in a modern world should be allocated to it. By using religion as the “go to guy” for moral commentary we risk perpetuating this system where religions give each other (and expect from everyone) undue respect. Rowan Williams was right to criticise and attack the Catholic Church, and everyone should join him.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2010 4:07 PM

    If you want an even worse picture of the Catholic church, read this article.

  2. Nicky permalink
    April 21, 2010 6:52 AM

    Child abuse is now the fault of the internet…apparently…

    http://freethinker.co.uk/2010/04/19/mexican-bishop-blames-eroticism-and-internet-porn-for-clerical-child-abuse/

  3. April 21, 2010 11:42 AM

    They’re a dangerously misguided group of people…

    One thing I would like to know is the explanation that the Mexican bishop has as to why those priests guilty of abuses were watching porn in the first place.

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