Saturday, 20 March 2010

The World's Blindness is Frightening

"Outside of the Church, there is no salvation," is a phrase that was once used by Popes, Bishops and Priests. It is used less so nowadays, since we are encouraged to entrust all to the Mercy of God. One thing that is for sure, however, as one reads pieces like this in The Independent is that "Outside of the Church, there is no mercy."

The public media-fuelled backlash against the Holy Father and the Catholic Church is frightening, not just in its ferocity, but in its blindness. The World outside of the Church has no sense of sin. It has a sense of right and wrong, but nothing we can call Conscience. Therefore, here in the UK, the sense of injustice and hatred towards the Church for having among its clergy, a small minority who have committed gross abuse against the child is not measured, or restrained by a sense of personal sin.

A largely atheistic country, media, government and society, in the light of the revelations concerning priestly abuse, rightly condemns the crimes committed and is shocked by stories of cover-ups at the time, yet the people now hurling rocks at the Vatican, the Pope and the Church do not have the humility to keep their own sins and Death before their eyes. That is why their anger is so frightening. Their justice is not tempered by mercy.

This society condems child abuse and injury to the child committed by a small minority of Priests, as the great evil that it is. Yet, it is a different story when it comes to the sins of the World. Abortion is the biggest killer of children the World has ever seen. A crime once outlawed in every Western nation is now something perfectly acceptable. Every year in the UK, abortion kills over 200,000 babies in their mother's wombs, yet the World turns a 'blind eye'. It is sanctioned by law and even promoted in schools.

This society condems the sexual perversion of a small minority of Priests, as the great evil that it is. Yet, it is a different story when it comes to the sins of the World. The practise of homosexuality is widespread. A sexual sub-culture once outlawed as being a danger to society and the family has now become something perfectly acceptable. The widespread practise of homosexuality has damaged the institution of the family and society. The homosexual culture is hedonistic, unrestrained by the stability and security of married, spousal love, leaving individuals psychologically damaged, physically injured, even fatally so by HIV/AIDS and emotionally and spiritually bereft, immersed as they often are in a culture which worships sexual pleasure, alcohol and drugs.

This society condems the disloyalty and betrayal of a small minority of Priests, as the great evil that it is. Yet, it is a different story when it comes to the sins of the World. The practise of adultery and divorce is widespread. A sin against Marriage and Chastity once seen as being a danger to society and the family has now become something perfectly acceptable. The widespread practise of adultery and divorce has damaged the institution of the family and society. The adultery and divorce rife in the the World leaves families shattered, children's lives fragmented and leaves scars which become open wounds once these children grow up and try to engage in a relationship of their own.

And yet, even though these three scourges upon not just society, by the bloodied back of Our Lord Jesus Christ at the Pillar are all overlooked by a society with no Conscience. In their rage, the enemies of the Church, blinded by their own sins, take their fury out on the Holy Father, the remaining Priests and Bishops innocent of reproach in the matter of clerical abuse of minors and condemn the Church as filthy and corrupt. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, "It is mercy I desire, not sacrifice." As Catholics we practise mercy. We even pray for those who are guilty of abuse, as well as the victims of clerical abuse whose faith was destroyed by the evil committed by those who were entrusted to them. Because of our knowledge of our sins, we practise mercy with all. The Church is the Hospital of sinners. The Church is the Fount of Mercy, but outside of the Church, there is no mercy. Perhaps that is why, outside of the Church, there is no salvation.


Joyful Catholic said...

Well said. Nothing to add. God bless you!

Jane said...

Laurence. Excellent! Thank you.

Patricius said...

Spot on!

Big Fan said...

Thank you; a well-stated, insightful message.

Concerned Parent said...

Laurence, I don't think the anger is really directed toward the 'small minority' of child abusers within the Church. Of course, individuals who abuse children are widely condemned, but I think the anger, or fury, or incomprehension amongst parents is directed to the Church hierarchy itself. It was, after all, the Church hierarchy that decided to keep these acts of abuse secret, to 'deal with them in thier own way' (i.e. not to do anything), and, once they knew full well that there was a widespread institutional problem with child abuse, to continue to allow priests unscreened access to children. If it were a nursery that did this, it would be shut down. The staff and senior leaders would be arrested, and the victims would be compensated. Why should the Church be any different? It does not have a special license to commit acts of evil, it should be punished as every other institution is punished - that, at least, will give the victims and their families a sense that justice is being done, that this is not merely a closed world where governments allow an organisation (and a business too mind) with a track record of child abuse AND failure to prevent it to operate beyond the law.
Secondly, you say we have a "largely atheistic country" - then you lament that the media does not persecute those who practise acts which are only sinful from a Catholic perspective! If we live in a secular society then why should we have a secular press condemning pre-marital sex or homosexuality? I think you will find most people in this country see pre-marital sex as a norm, and homosexuality as a disposition that some people simply have and which causes no harm. Child abuse, in contrast, is the greatest evil we can imagine. That is why we wish to see the Church brought to justice for its wicked neglect of all standards of care and duty.
So, I close - this is NOT a debate about human failings (yes, you're right, no human is perfect). It is a debate about the permissibility of a large and wealthy organisation sweeping repeated sex scandals under the rug.Imagine if you found out that McD's had known for 30 years that their senior staff were in the habit of abusing children at birthday parties organised ont heir premises. And did not report them to the police. And decided to 'deal witht he matter internally'. And kept the staff on the pay-roll. And kep allowing the access to children. And refused to even consider chaning its structure to prevent the crimes happening again. And it wasn't just your local branch - it was happening all over the country, all over Europe, all over the world even. I'd say that would constitute pretty solid grounds for a media backlash against the management. Hence, the clown who runs the place is being brought to account. Nuff said

Anonymous said...

I corroborate the above by citing a passage from today's Observer. Note how the attack is not directed against 'a minority of priests', but rather the institutional failings of Catholicism:

"Benedict XVI acknowledged that victims had "suffered grievously". He also accepted that the church had made "serious mistakes". He did not mention that the same grievous suffering has been inflicted in Catholic communities in many other countries, nor did he spell out what he considered the "serious mistakes" to have been. Was it the failure to punish the perpetrators of abuse? Or was it the decision to quickly rehabilitate paedophile priests and despatch them to new parishes? Was it the failure to involve police? Perhaps it was the conspiracy of silence, or the cynical exploitation of victims' faith to make them complicit in the cover-up, turning their ordeal into shame and guilt, as if being attacked by a priest was itself a sin. Or could it have been the plain fact that the church conferred the moral authority on men to know and guide their parishioners' most intimate thoughts – a power they then used to prey on children for sexual gratification?"

I really think this is a case of what the Germans call Aneinandervorbeisprechen - talking past one another. When the secular world condemns Catholicism, I think you are, on some level, simply unable to see what it is talking about. You have such a reverence for the Church that you really cannot understand how disgusting and hideous Catholicism has become to those outside of it. I would say you are, as a group, more despised even than 'Islam UK' or some other fringe lunatic organisation. Sorry to say it, but it looks like your clown cult won't be based on these shores much longer, and the sooner you're gone, the better for all

The Bones said...


Told you.

No mercy.

The Bones said...

Concerned Parent

You do not seem such a 'concerned parent' that you condemn abortion, as well as child abuse, since the children who suffered at the hands of Priests are still alive, emotionally scarred, yes, but alive.

The children that suffer at the hands of abortionists are dead.

Concerned Parent said...

I didn't mention abortion. I made a point of not mentioning it since I am as opposed to it as you are. But you really do yourself no favours. Why does every discussion have to end in a ridiculous reduction to equivalence with you lot. Since abortion is also bad then no one should complain about decades of institutionalised rape of children being covered up by Rome, is that right? It's a crap argument; if the newspapers put a story in condemning a child abuser (e.g. the story about Roy Whiting in today's paper) then you wouldn't expect someone to say "the newspapers are talking about Roy Whiting today, but then again, there are still people having abortions". Yes, that's because newspapers report news, and news tends to cover discreet events happening around the time of publication. Like the seismic shock to world religion which has been the Catholic church's collapse of dignity, authority, and the right to ever speak again as an institution about right and wrong. Even you must agree this situation is one that calls on all Catholics to seriously reassess the tenability of their commitment to an elite cadre of proven liars

The Bones said...

I was only pointing out society's blindness and hypocrisy, rather than defending the Priests who committed those abuses against children. I thought that was quite clear.

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