Sunday, November 29, 2009

Damian Thompson does not get it

Damian Thompson on the cover up of sexual abuse of children by the Irish Catholic Church:
The greatest scandal, of course, lies in the acts perpetrated by wicked clergy against the innocent. But it’s the secrecy and deceit of the Church authorities that resonates most with me. For, although I was educated by Irish brothers, I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced clerical paedophilia, or even met a priest or brother who was to my knowledge a classic paedophile. But I have encountered, many times, the arrogance of senior clergy who believe that almost anything can be kept secret from the laity if it might “damage the good name of the Church” (ie, inconvenience or embarrass them).
All well said. Except. The greatest scandal is not the individual acts, but the cover up. Without the impulse to protect the name of the church, wicked clergy would have been weeded out instead being passed on to another unsuspecting parish. Without the impulse to protect the name of the church, fewer pedophiles would have entered the priesthood. Without the impulse to present the church as unquestionable there would have been rules to protect children from situations where they could be abused.

The cover up is primary and symptomatic of the structure of the church. The individual acts are secondary.

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