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SEX ABUSE WILL PLAGUE THE VATICAN UNTIL PRIESTS ARE FREE TO MARRY.

Sarah baxter Sunday Times

Papal penitence alone will not rid the Catholic Church of its predatory culture

My cousin Bernard was a priest. He was close to my father and one of my nephews is named after him. He was charming and urbane, and I have no reason to suppose that he was either a closet homosexual or secret paedophile. Would I let him babysit my children? Today, no way. So many sex abuse scandals have been covered up by the Roman Catholic Church that the presumption has to be that no child is safe in the care of a priest.
Bernard died in his mid-seventies and blamed the job for making him ill. As new recruits dried up, old warhorses like him had to cover ever-larger parishes. The only answer, he believed, was for the church to accept women and married priests. He used to launch tirades against the Pope for standing in the way. Perhaps I could trust him with my children,
but never a priest who preaches celibacy.

No amount of penitence from Pope Francis will persuade me the church is serious about ending its predatory culture until priests are allowed to marry and gay ones can be open about their sexuality. We’ve watched scandals ripple across the globe: nearly 20 years ago I reported on the horrendous scale of paedophilia in Boston, where thousands of youngsters were abused. The story was turned into the Oscar-winning film Spotlight.
Talk about a wake-up call. Yet some of these “ravenous wolves”, as Pope Francis called child abusers in the church, continue to parade in their scarlet silk cassocks and caps like Little Red Riding Hood. Last week it was publicly revealed that Cardinal George Pell, the former Vatican treasurer and most senior Catholic in Australia, had been found guilty in December of forcing one choirboy to perform oral sex on him and indecently assaulting another. He still hasn’t been defrocked, pending an appeal.
“We have the utmost respect for the Australian judicial authorities,” the Holy See press office said, spinning like a top to spare the church’s blushes. It is impossible not to conclude the church is still in denial. The guilty verdict was made public just days after a Vatican conference on child abuse at which the Pope heard men and women tell how they had been raped by priests.

Pell’s defence counsel argued at the trial, “Only a madman would attempt to rape two boys in the priests’ sacristy immediately after Sunday solemn mass.” In that case the church is riddled with madmen as well as bad men. For serial abusers, it was a favourite method of hiding in plain sight.
Andrew Sullivan, formerly of this parish, wrote in New York magazine two weeks ago about another wolf in cardinal’s robes, Theodore McCarrick, who had just been defrocked in America for sexually abusing an altar boy, among other offences. Sullivan attends mass at his old Washington cathedral.
“I naively thought someone in authority — say, the rector who gave homily — might finally address the intense betrayal and pain everyone in that parish was feeling. Instead, the homily was a pitch — I kid you not — for the cardinal’s appeal.”
Sullivan’s article addressed the sensational book by Frédéric Martel, In the Closet of the Vatican, about the “50 shades of gay” within its walls. “As a secular gay journalist, not hostile to the church, [Martel] walked into the Vatican and was simply staggered by its obvious gayness,” Sullivan wrote. “He sees the cruising all around him. He notices simple things that some might call innuendo, but any gay man will instantly recognise, like the fabulous interiors of the gay cardinals’ palaces, always with their ‘assistants’ or young ‘relative’ on hand.”
Martel uncovered a secret world of chem-sex parties, promiscuity and prostitution. “Welcome to Sodoma,” a priest told him on entering the Vatican. One insider claimed 80% of its population was gay; Martel settles for more than 50%, a figure backed up by scores of interviews. The Vatican, he concluded, “is one huge closet”.
Gay priests are not synonymous with child abusers. But as the Pope himself has said: “Behind rigidity, something always lies hidden; in many cases a double life.” Potential whistleblowers felt vulnerable to being outed as homosexuals — still an “objective disorder”, according to Catholic teaching.
The historian of the Reformation Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch tells me: “The trouble is that if you have a blanket ban on all sexual activity, you have no moral rules at all. A paedophile can see that space and enter it . . . You’d have to be a real hero to be a heterosexual entering the priesthood now.”
Martel believes the most conservative, anti-gay clerics often lead secretly gay double lives. But the most vocal conservative priests also blame liberal attitudes to homosexuality among priests for the child abuse scandal. The Pope is caught between the two factions, limiting his power to tackle the problem.
The answer, as my cousin Bernard knew full well, is to allow married priests. Only the Roman Catholic Church insists across the board on the celibacy of priests. It doesn’t work any more, if it ever did.
Bernard had a sister, Colette. She was a sweet nun who spent half her life in a closed order before becoming a teacher. In the past year the #MeToo movement has revealed priests’ sexual abuse of nuns, themselves no angels towards “fallen women”.
I wish I had the chance to ask them about the unfolding scandals. I don’t know if Colette would have been surprised. Bernard, not at all.

PAT SAYS

The causes behind the widespread sexual abuse by bishops. priests and religious are very complex.

But I do think that there are two definite things feeding into it.

  1. Obligatory celibacy imposed on 400,000 men – most of whom do not have the charism for celibacy.
  2. The RC church’s medieval approach to human sexuality which leaves many clerics with a non-integrated and non-developed human sexuality.

The human sex drive is a mightily strong drive and it is not “normal” to try and sublimate it for a lifetime. And when you are forced to sublimate it  you prepare a breeding ground where many non-healthy sexual  activity happens a great deal.

It contributes not only to child sexual abuse but to other things like addictive masturbation, pornography addiction, promiscuous sex hunting, taking risks with personal safety and reputational damage etc.

The answer to this is to allow heterosexual priests to marry and allow homosexual priests to have love partners and have their relationship not only accepted but celebrated.

In the RCC human sexuality needs to be taken out of the dark closet and brought into the full light of day. And then let us have open discussion about all the issues and to stop seeing the human body and sexuality as “dirty”.

Celibacy has played a big part in the RC Sexuality Crisis – and so has the belief that our souls are the good part of us and our bodies the evil and dirty part.

 

Sex is not dirty. Sex is wonderful and beautiful – both as a source of great pleasure and indeed as the source of new life.

Sex is God’s gift. But the RCC has spoken and acted as if  sex is always from Satan.

Many of us were psychologically and sexually damaged by our Catholic upbringing and brainwashing.

I personally freed myself from this Catholic imprisonment by engaging in extensive counselling and psychotherapy.

The RCC over the centuries has made sex into the world’s biggest and worst monster.

We are now realising that this monster does not exist – and never did.

And now the RCC is being destroyed by the monster they themselves created! 

 

97 replies on “SEX ABUSE WILL PLAGUE THE VATICAN UNTIL PRIESTS ARE FREE TO MARRY.”

+Pat: Your ‘Pat says’ section here is just so blindingly sensible.
Notwithstanding, the RC hiearchical dinosaurs reared on rigid Thomistic dogma will undoubtedly cling to their “No surrender ” certitudes.
MMM

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The imposition of celibacy by the RCC is not in line with the scriptures ( quite the opposite if you read the pastoral chapters of the bible).It is more to do with money and control by an evil institution. The RCC does not want to have to pay for the upkeep of a cleric’s spouse. It is also their way of controlling their clergy. The reasons for abusive behaviour are indeed complex but the RCC is a fertile breeding ground for wannabe abusers. Clericalism,once again, plays its part. This sense of being an elite amongst clerics gives them a sense of superiority and a misguided sense of being beyond reproach. What I don’t understand is the hypocrisy of the RCC. There are already married priests within its ranks in the Ordinariate. The RCC makes its own laws which are not in keeping with the word of God. In fact not allowing clerics to marry is just another form of abuse by this institution. Would it minimise the amount of abuse within its ranks? The simple answer is I do not know if it would make a difference at all, especially when clericalism is alive and well

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Excellent article and also thoughtful commentary from Pat. I was particularly struck by Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch‘s penetrating observation that, if you have a blanket ban on all sexual activity, you have no moral rules at all. I think this has been disastrous for the Catholic Church, which holds that masturbation is a mortal sin, and rape of a minor is also a mortal sin. It is plain how such a bonkers lack of proportion let alone common sense has enabled the culture of denial and absence of remorse amongst clerical offenders which has finally been shown up for what it is – morally repellent and intellectually bankrupt. Two men responsible above all for maintaining this culture, and blocking all attempts at reasonable dialogue are John Paul II and Benedict XIV.

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Despite his Irish name, Diarmaid MacCulloch is in fact a Protestant so it’s none of his business. That applies also to the likes of MMMelter and any other outsiders.

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11:38

Paul the Apostle was grounded enough to know intuitively that not all people are suited (I hate that supercillious, hierarchical, clerical convenience ‘called’) to celibacy. Thus, even though Paul (wrongly) believed in the imminence of the Second Coming and himself preferred celibacy (in the circumstance, he saw marriage, at best, as a distraction from Jesus’ coming in to land on that any-day-now proverbial cloud), he nevertheless urged marriage for those consumed with sexual passion. (Marriage to legitimise sex morally. Where have I heard this before?)

The institutional RCC, for all its self-conscious flannel about observing the Word of God, has, in its morally crooked history, made some surprising, even shocking, departures from the Written Word, landing itself in all sorts of moral gutter as a consequence, some far more salacious, and more recent, than others.

Why the Church should have thought in the 11th century, and still thinks by the way, celibacy ‘do-able’ as an institutional universal observance, especially given Paul’s instructive concession to human nature (but also because of its own knowledge of widespread non-observance by priests down the centuries) belittles the mind and stupifies the senses.😕

Supidity is said not to be inability to understand, but to persist in behaviour of which the outcome is already known and which, therefore, is entirely predictable, each and every time. And boy! Doesn’t the Roman Catholic Church demonstrate this truism, over and over? (And how!)

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The only call you get, MC, is when you are called to the signing on booth at your local dole office. There’s no way you have a job if you are on here all the time.

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Hey Mr. . Anonymous, @ 10:54pm
Do you work? If so doing what ? What’s it got to do with you? For all we know you might be on here morning, noon and night, Mr. Anonymous.

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It’s interesting that there is always a very strong insulting comment about the wearing of the cassock, it seems to really anger people and is used as evidence that priests are sinister it’s a very old fashioned, English anti-Catholic slur. The article could easily stand without the one line about the cassock and zucchetto looking like red riding hood, why should the exterior be so important when dealing with serious issues, it’s as if ” you need to change your disciplines, moral rules oh and your appearance just in case there’s anything left that looks different” If the Bishops and priests all wore their cassocks everyday then they might take their responsiblities to serve others better.

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As + Elsie keeps saying, child sexual abuse happens everywhere, not just in the RC Church ! For his purposes, it’s about minimisation and transference of responsibility and guilt. So, yes, you will get cases as reported above by 6:09 am.

Aside from the matter of child sexual abuse, which has many causes and origins – although we know clearly that clericalism, exceptionalism, entitlement, lack of accountability, immunity, coverup, abuse of power and authority are the major factors which affects the Church and its clerics in this matter – the issue of mandatory clerical celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church is a phenomenon that goes beyond child sexual abuse. It may have some connection in bringing about child sexual abuse because of the damage it does to the clerical class, in addition to all the other damage it does that I have mentioned.

However, by far as significant is the general wholesale nonsense of forcing men in to embracing celibacy in order to be a priest, with consequent damage to their psycho-emotional-sexual well being, and the sublimation of normal and healthy energies, with damaging results such as lack of integration, lack of emotional maturity, lack of appropriate and healthy outlets for affection, warmth and love. Those human needs, when denied, will out in other ways, and we have seen how this occurs with the clerical class in abuse of power, authority, alcohol, addiction, money etc. etc, and yes, in abusive sexual behaviour, including towards children and the vulnerable.

For some, a minority, of priests celibacy may be a calling that they have. For the vast majority it is a harmful bolt on which does not just damage them but damages the Church general, and sadly the vulnerable in some instances. The time has come for the Church to move away from their spiritual justification for mandatory celibacy, and recognise the damage it has and continues to do. Optional celibacy is the way forward for the minority who are called to it, and other forms of relationship and being for the majority of priests who do not have a natural calling to celibacy. Marriage and family would be the obvious choice for many. But, I would want the Church to think more widely about its understanding of sexuality and relationship, and develop a much more nuanced and subtle, but realistic, understanding of how people exist, live and love, and be able to see that as something that is blessed and God given, rather than condemning anything that does not conform to their rigid understanding of sexuality and relationship and does not express itself outside of the missionary position !

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Utterly abhorrent, but also interesting that the C of E took action while the CPS thought there was insufficient evidence to prosecute. Compare with the Pell case.

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Don’t forget the Southern Baptists in the US. Very iffy and invariably married. Even the recent Royal Commission in Australia found Anglican abuse to be at levels higher than the True Church.

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One thing is obvious , no one , not Pope Francis , not Cardinal Nichols not anyone actually supports celibacy for priests, maybe chastity for nuns, male religious have served their purpose and they are doomed, if they could change the rule tomorrow they would be only for one reason to make the bad PR go away not because the Holy Spirit is guiding them or anything supernatural or even Vatican Two ‘inspired’. The present leadership is still in the wait and see 1970s outlook but they are not going to be writing books, pastoral letters anything defending celibacy, it would be admirable if they did but they are all so compromised , no bishop in England can defend celibacy after Bishop Conry , not a bad man but everyone knew what he was up to he was promoted and honoured but nothing was said

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The former Bishop Conry was very careful not to make sexual morality a priority in his sermons, unlike some of the plonkers you read about on here.
For example, Madam Armagh vows a religious single life of celibacy but thinks she can decide who else can get married by the state.

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There is no guarantee that a married clergy will be the solution to all the problems if this crisis. Where is the clinical research to prove this thesis? I do believe a married priesthood would greatly help and make a different and worthwhile change. Considering the overwhelming evidence that most abuse takes place within families, isn’t it probable that we would eventually begin to hear of such abuse from married clergy families? Married clergy is not the panacea for all our ills. We need s whole new vision of ministry and service: we need greater accountability and openness about creating the forum at parish level where priests and people create their own framework to institute the relevant “community” that sustains them thriugh Eucharist, prayer, outreach, welcoming all, irrespective of their life’s situation: a community of the Early Christian church outlined in the Acts of the Apostles. Yes, we’ll be a smaller church/people of God but open to all. Out of this creative community will flow true charity, a spirit of sharing, a caring for the poor and the needy, a concern for all the people within the community and have imaginative celebrations of Christ-love. All of this is possible. Can we make a new way of being Gid’s people any simpler without comprimising the essence of the gospel by which we should live.

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Yes it’s called being a Quaker not to denigrate them at all but they are not claiming anything sacramental, supernatural or Apostolic so the Church would need to explicitly drop core teachings not just revise some disciplines and practices

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10:06

What an utterly cynical and crass response!

Having an apostolic pedigree is useless without a Christo-centric one, and the apostles were hardly a model of Christo-centricity post-Ascension. (Have you studied Acts and its apostolic disagreements and friction?)

I can’t avoid the rather obvious conclusion here that Roman Catholics are supreme in their smug, snobbish arrogance about apostolic doctrinal heritage as some stamp of sole doctrinal orthodoxy, and orthopraxis.

As for dropping core teachings, what would it have to drop that ‘Quakers’ didn’t already accept?

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JS @ 9:27 & Anon @ 9:37;
Great refreshing contributions.
Child Sexual Abuse, and the complexities of child sexual abuse, are, fundamentally part of ‘fallen humanity’s nature’, so there will always be a problem, to some, hopefully, very limited extent, in the church.(all church’s- religions etc).The challenge is to ensure safeguards to minimize potential child abuse, particularly potential child abusers into ministry, especially at the entry point to church service /ministry, i.e. seminary. It seems to me, seminary structures need radical transformation.
Married Priesthood is not likely to be a panacea or guaranteed solution to the current crisis and I’d doubt if there’s clinical research to prove otherwise. It would create a ‘crop’ of new issues within the Church; but, maybe the benefits of optional celibacy/married priesthood, would far out-weigh potential problems, which there will be. Marriage is no picnic, however, a picnic alone is no fun! To my mind, optional celibacy/ married priesthood will bring a ‘ dose of reality’ to ministry in the catholic church and facilitate the vision of church outlined by 9:37.
It’s time for change!

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Very Tabletista. The Anglicans have been there, done that. Their churches are empty. Why would we go down the same dead end?

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And RCC churches would be less patronised were it not for the childish, canonical terror of ‘grave obligation’ to attend liturgical services, which now the old, or controllably young, feared to disregard.
Which are you?😆

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Incisive comment @9:31am. Conry, though not a bad man at all, was indeed a litmus test of the bishops‘ probity, and they failed utterly having known for years. From this blog, I infer there is no Irish or Scottish bishop with any integrity. In E and W, I would still like to think Longley of Birmingham, Peter Smith of Southwark and Peter Doyle of Northampton are decent men, but what do I know? Longley is worth watching as he is likely to succeed Nicholls at Westminster. I’d say good riddance to Elsie, who has been the typical company man. He lost it for me when he closed down the Soho Masses. I never attended and frankly no skin off my nose, but indicative of so much which is wrong in the Church, and the whole rotten core has finally blown. ( I don‘t, by the way, think the Anglicans have anything to teach us, so where now?)

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Nicholls wanted that position so much it was always said and he did nothing to dissuade this view, then he becomes Cardinal and says and does absolutely nothing , this seems to prove that he was only interested in the idea not in a supernatural call to leadership,his recent conduct over the abuse investigations etc is a sign of dereliction of duty in every level “we are all broken, we are all victims, it’s an evil in society etc” isn’t that the same script the Irish bishops used years ago, Original Sin is a dogma of faith not an excuse, it doesn’t cripple an intelligent persons judgement.All of the English Bishops are exactly the same, there are no enclaves of sanctity it’s just the same, Longley does nothing, he’s nice to his priests but that’s as far as it goes, don’t rock the boat, live off the money that Birmingham has invested back when everyone was Irish Catholic, he’s charming, thoughtful,sensitive and let’s face it as camp as they come.Birmingham was once a great Catholic city, do I need to state the obvious? How will they have an vocations when the population is now going in only one direction? An example, English Martyrs parish Sparkhill, the largest Mass going population in England, the first place children received communion at 7,1950s Mass every hour on Sunday and in the two primary school halls and a local hotel,now no resident priest, one Mass on a Sunday, both Primary Schools students non Catholic English not first language, the houses facing the church were featured in the papers because of the number of extremists potential or actual living in them.Of course Oscott College is the pride of Birmingham too.
,

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Thank you @12:11. You clearly speak from great insight and experience, and, as Birmingham is also my home diocese, I recognize the truth of what you say. I’d like to like Longley, but he’s a bit too comfortable singing High Mass, and we need a lot more than that. Dare I ask whether you know anything about recent departures from the Oxford Oratory?

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Elsie has never demonstrated any spiritual qualities. Even Hume was able to pretend. CMOC always looked as if he’d be happier on the golf course. Heenan was the last good man, and the real thing RIP.

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Vincent Nichols had a vocation to be a cardinal from the moment of conception. Being humble he is content with that and has no desire to be the Pope unless asked on a majority vote of his brother cardinals.

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Just thinking of the irony of France‘s proposed ambassador to the Holy See having been rejected on the grounds of his being in an open honest gay relationship, and the Papal Nuncio copping a feel. Says it all.

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Being an ambassador to the Holy See must now rate at the at the very bottom in the self-esteem and prestige categories.

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Current trends:
1 Celibacy is the root cause of child and adult abuse, married clergy ends the frustration and warping of human sexuality, a new version of arguments from the reformation, it’s a shallow gloss doesn’t address specific issues.
2 It’s caused by ‘clericalism’ the latest buzz word, priests are behaving like a separate cleric caste, autocratic, unaccountable, this creates a toxic atmosphere where abuse is rampant, this certainly is a popular one in 2019, at a time when society has lots of figures of authority the priest was only one amongst them, now those structures have disappeared, the reality is most priests and bishops behave and function like polite agnostics anyway, they say their office in private in English , they enjoy their day off , their phones, their cars, holidays, bottle of red wine every night , sermons about nothing then straight into a brisk Eucharistic Prayer two , some handshaking and smiles then back to the big TV and the tablet, so no they are not behaving like Archbishop McQuaid actually so that argument makes no sense.
The truth is this, historical there were abuses in the Church , perhaps the majority were physical or heterosexual but the perpetuators were not given promotion or favour, then we have the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, he created a form of ‘ Orthodox ‘ Catholicism out of the mess following the Council, not traditional not Latin Mass, all the old ways and beliefs, also not something creative , liberal bordering on either Protestantism or Communism depending on where you lived in the world, it’s a loyalty to the person of the Pope, the new mass, altar girls, communion in the hand liturgical, against abortion but not in a political way, silent on gay issues, silent on contraception, silent on divorce but not sure on remarriage, social justice and fair trade are good PR, a little old fashioned Marian devotion is okay but nothing heavy, that was the culture which has lead to the present situation

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A sad reflection on the opening paragraphs is that Fr. Bernard, even as a good priest could not allow himself be alone with his niece/nephew let alone babysit. Obligatory celibacy is dysfunctional and effects many relationships, not just the marital one.
The benefit of keeping it is that current persons coming from Maynooth cannot pass on their gene pool (in theory).
Get rid of celibacy and better men will apply for priesthood.

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Is celibacy the problem or is it chastity? Celibacy is a discipline, not to be married it’s clearly apostolic in character and fits with Christ’s words in the Gospels, what about Chastity? What does it actually mean ? You put your sex drive and romantic feelings into the service of others , is that what it means and how do you actually do that? How do you do it when you are in a situation where there isn’t anyone to serve at that point? Is masturbation permitted? Is it okay to masturbate but not ejaculate etc??

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Chastity is one of those points where catholic teaching divides the academic teaching from real life and then applies the academic standard to everyday life knowing that people will “fail”. The purpose is to get inside your head and take control through creation of an unnecessary guilt which can be applied universally.

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Actually, technically, chastity is the virtue of ordering your sexuality according to your state in life. That’s what they told us in Maynooth. So it’s for everyone to live up to.

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Jesus was celibate. He urged his followers to leave everything to follow Him and not to look back when they put their hand on the plough.

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Pat, I just read a very grovelling apology to you in the Irish Catholic page 3. It was sorry this Bishop and sorry that bishop. They even had a nice photograph of you included. They said they were sorry to give the impression your marriages were not validly recognised by the Irish State. They apologised and rightly so. How can the Irish Catholic cause such distress to couples whom you have married by indicating to them that their marriages were neither valid or recognised by the State? I find this deeply irresponsible of the Editor and owners of The Irish Catholic. Heads should roll. What newspaper editor does not check and re check simple truthful facts? Very sloppy inexperienced journalism.

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What edition was the apology printed please? The Irish Catholic is a total disgrace for allowing this to be printed in the first place. Sorry I didn’t see or know about this until just now.

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Bishop Pat, if the reporter is young and inexperienced, and was not acting maliciously against you, then try to show mercy here and good example.
Don’t needlessly destroy a career, but insist that lessons be drawn from it.

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Remember, Bp Pat, they didn’t show you much mercy when you were making ‘mockery’ of marriage laws for financial reward. LOL.

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Rendering celibacy optional is not likely to alter, significantly, either the incidence or the degree of child-sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clerics. The pursuit of optional celibacy may be worthwhile, even morally necessary, for other reasons, but where such abuse is concerned it is an intellectual will-o’-the -wisp, the kind of hasty preoccupation driven by knee-jerk reaction.
What truly is needed is change of the worldly appeal of Roman Catholic priesthood itself. I have argued consistently on this blog that while theologly of priesty ministry continues to lionise ordained men philosophically and spirituallly and intellectually (thereby enhancing the worldly status and appeal of ministry), it will continue to atrract the wrong calibre of men: those not truly spiritual, who ‘say’ rather than pray; men who envision priesthood funamentally as a career and a profession. But this seachange will never happen, because a preponderance of those who currently are priests are contaminated by the misconception of priesthood itself, far removed from the model envisioned, and expressed, by Christ. What IS required, more than anything ( but especially more than distracting distracting calls for an end to celibacy) is relentless public pressure on clerics to change and (here comes a to-hand cliché) ‘get back to (gospel) basics’. As I’ve already stated on this blog, NONE of the reforms so far enacted by the institutional Church would have occurred without sustained public pressure and exposure, especially by the media.
If change truly is wanted, then we need to be in this for the long haul. Clerics themselves have no incentive to change anything but to continue wallowing in talk of change; they must be driven to this institutional and personal juncture by the power of the Spirit acting through the laity.
Make no mistake: this is what is currently happening, because it is currently needed, with a spititually apathetic clergy. And this need will continue, in order to effect the kind of universal metanoia necessary for cleansing the institutional Church.

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H Pat Mullaney told me today at tea time that Vama are planning a protest outside Cafe bum bum to get it reopened. Also they will be doing a big novena for david diskey.

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If we are reliably informed this idiotic, imbecilic, jejune Pat Mullaney idiot is someone with the initials BM. Bloody Maniac!

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4.07: Magna, I too have argued along similar lines as you espouse but your response – and not just to me as a priest – but to all priests, is one of dismissal, contempt and scorn. There are many, many priests who are renewing and changing parish communities precisely in the radical way required and resonant with the spirit of the early Christian church. There are many of us who give our loyalty to Christ and to what the gospel expects of us, despite “priesthood”! The radical changes to create a more relevant, meaningful Christian Community at Parish level is a priority for me and always has been. This is a huge challenge What I’ve noticed in recent years is the difficulty in getting
people involved. Despite the crisis which impacts on people’s faith, I also believe and have experienced a general drifting away from a religious/faith approach to life and a lessening of a desire to be part of the local christian community. There is a deep goodness in the lives of all whom I encounter and they rally around in times of difficulty and suffering: they also support sporadic good social and liturgical celebrations but I believe, as a Church, we are disconnected from the real lives of people. Thus, while I am disillusioned with, and outraged at the Church I belong to, my focus for as long as I’m a priest is to make the parishes I am in as caring, kind, compassionate, welcoming to all and Christ-like as is possible. There are many priests who seek to do likewise. There is only so far you can go with criticism: a time comes when each of us must act differently, imaginatively and decisively. That time is well up in us!

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Most people are at work, when they get home in the week they are tired and probably have work to do as well, so no point having services or meetings thinking anyone can go, Saturday is probably another day for practical things or family , children being driven and picked up, Sunday exactly the same, Mass is not going to win over sport, so people are drifting away, they are not going to turn into the fervent martyrs of the first century so why both thinking that’s a model to emulate ? Most people are not anti the religion they were baptised into but if tomorrow there was a new form of priesthood etc nothing will change.

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5:27

You’ve made some thoughtful and interesting points, and they deserve to be taken seriously, even by such arch-cynics as I.

However, I should be capable of taking both you, and your colleagues, much more seriously were you all, publicly, to qualify your episcopal vows of obedience, making unequivocal your intention to obey institutional hierarchy as long as this resonates with personal conscience. A fulminating Pope JP II would turn in his grave at such Lutheran courage (he, of course, would call it ‘rebellion’), and Pope Emeritus Benedict would turn teutonically aggressive, and depressingly verbose, in opposition.

But I suspect that none of you has the courage to move that far. Thus you remain morally hamstrung by that evil vow.

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Magna at 6.50: The only courage I need now is the courage of my conscience: as I’ve always done, I ow my own wrong and sinfulness and try to renew myself daily in Christ: the courage to stay focused on the gospel: the courage of my dedication to ministry. I don’t have to disown everything in irderbto guve witnesscto the gospel of Christ. This is a personal journey for me irrespective of priesthood but I make the journey in solidarity with others of the same belief and conviction. It is a huge challenge but I will not be deterred by any judgment of others. Somehow Magna, if I was to offer myself on a cross in atonement for all the sins of the church, it wouldn’t be sufficient for you – not that I’d have that kind of courage, not yet!!

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4.11: A good point Magna. I would likewise counsel Pat to do likewise but then there’s fame, money flashing before his eyes and opportunities to ‘get at’ the Church he despises. Pity, but let’s hope charity prevails.

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5:44
Thanks for your agreement.
But didn’t you think before posting that my suggestion might have stood greater chance of prevailing without your express cynicism about Pat?

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6.34: Magna, many posters have reason to be cynical about Pat, laity and clerics. Don’t you get it….?

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9:22
‘How long must I bear with you?’ (Those words, or their like, sound familiar.😕)
Listen. Please. Asking a favour of someone while denigrating their character is, to be polite, poor diplomacy. Didn’t your mum teach you this, at least in a proverbial way? You know: ‘Don’t bite the hand that feeds you?’ (Or, following tailored editing here: ‘Don’t bite the hand you ask to feed you.)
Well?

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Where is Conry these days ? Anybody know ? He’s gone very quiet and off grid. He’s either being looked after by the Church (at our expense, no doubt) in a genteel life of prayer and penance, or he’s hiked off by himself and is shacked up with one ( or several, because he seems to often had more than one on the go at once !) of his many female liaisons ? I suspect the former. Clergy that get caught out usually roll over and get all holy and prayerful and compliant. I suppose they have no option but to play the game and become keener than the gamekeeper, otherwise they would be out on their ear with very little support and money to live on. I remember one priest in my diocese who crashed him car when drunk with a rent boy accompanying him. Became very holy. Lourdes. Rosary. Eucharistic Devotion. The lot. Maybe it was his moment of redemption, brought low, and then raised up. Yeah ?! I don’t want to be too mean, but I would prefer a bit more honesty and recognition that these men are acting out deep seated needs and frustrations that come about because they live their lives being channelled in to dysfunctional ways by the enforced single, celibate and essentially damaging life style that they are required, supposedly, to live as priest. Mandatory celibacy is a nonsense. We all know that. So, why don’t they do something about it ?

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For sure he is being looked after – by us essentially – as he has been in the system all his life, even schooled at Cotton, Birmingham‘s onetime junior seminary. How many priests are there like him, rattling around in suburban houses having wasted their lives? Now Conry is not even to be acknowledged, having blown the gaff as it were, but I don‘t see why he shouldn‘t still do something useful rather than dodging people in Sainsbury‘s. Had it not been for that spot of bother he would probably have been ready to translate to Birmingham or Southwark. Pity, as despite everything he is a good man.

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YES! The Vatican IS the problem.👍
But, forgive me, how can a problem become its own solution, because the means of correction cannot, logically, lie within it?
(Just bein’ gettin’-on-your-nerves smart, like.😆)

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Hahaha you’re not getting on my nerves at all.
I meant that once there is a full and frank admission that you are the problem you can then admit the things you are doing to cause it and change your behaviour.
How this is seen publicly would present more problems for the church and I suppose I could rephrase the headline to say ‘The Catholic Church will be associated in the public minf with paedophilia until it is publicly seen to have put its own house in order about all the things which have ever made it seem shady or protective of vice.’
… but I don’t think that will happen, and I don’t think you do either! I suppose my real point was actually that the church has made its own problem and could change it if it had the will to.

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Well, I don‘t think we want to go down that road. They are all clericalised and remind me of those pain in the butt parish sisters who were once everywhere. Let‘s break free.

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Sexism of the utmost kind. Half of humanity written off just because you are reminded of someone you don’t like. Grow up.

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Be another 250 years until the Roman Catholic Church catches themselves on and gives parity and equality to its faithful women!!! Within relationships and marriages women carry much influence, didn’t it actually occur to any of these men that maybe just maybe women in homes up and down the country are choosing not to go to Chirch and not to encourage their families to go to Church because of the abysmal track record of the Church.
Does the Church not realise that Catholic women are reaching the end of their tether with the male dominated, Patriarchial Chirch.
It’s all getting a bit tiresome really, by the time they move anywhere close to respect and equity for women they won’t have to do anything because any sane, sensible or sensitive woman will have cleared of to some other denomination (where their Charism’s and gifts are appreciated) !!!!

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11:56
They don’t necessarily respect men either, useless the man is wearing a clerical shirt.(Even then, don’t rock the boat).
We’re all reaching the end of our tether, particularly survivors of the corrupt Church cover-up culture, rooted in power.It will be generations before women are given what you seek, dignity, respect and parity, and an appreciation of the Charisms particular to women.

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Zanchetta is a protoge of Francis and is therefore off-limits. Going after Cardinal Pell gets more likes.

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I don’t agree that celibacy is the issue. Actually child abusers are the issue and they’re drawn to respected positions with sccess to children. Teaching for example. The problem with the church and paedophiles is that frankly if my children are in an under-resourced school run by the council I expect corners to be cut. I expect the divinely founded ark of salvation to be better. I don’t think this is unreasonable lol.
The difference is in the institution to me.

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Pat, Paul Prior when he was as a seminarian suffered from night terrors. Prior would wake up screaming in a cold sweat. The abuse gave him nightmares. It’s very sad, Prior was groomed and molested for years by you know who.

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Re @9:55 pm, the point you complain about concerns clericalism, which is no more attractive in the female than in the male. This hardly writes off half the human race, most of whom, whether male or female, have scant interest in copes and cassocks. And which of us should grow up?

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You are a liar at 11:00. You have absolutely zero proof of that allegations. Put your money whete you mouthis. Go public with your scurrilous lies. In fact, if you have evidence that a crime was committed you are obliged to report it.

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At 3.04. I don’t believe that allegation came from the person himself. Rather that that claim was made by a third party. Which substantially reduces its veracity.

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