A snake in the grass

This may prove an interesting week for Catholics. The new film Spotlight is being released in Britain. It is based in 2001 when the Boston Globe began to investigate the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in Massachusetts. I have not seen the film and so I rely on an articles published in The Catholic Herald (22 Jan) and The Tablet (23 Jan). Were it a poor film it could be overlooked but it has been nominated for six Academy Awards, and both magazines broadly confirm its approach.

It would seem that there was a conspiracy to manage the whole paedophile issue in this by, for instance, moving priests from one post to another – and avoiding any possibility of the situation being made public. “The film portrays the Church as a powerful, silencing organisation with superficially affable, eloquent enforcers.” One observer, close to the situation, describes it as a “culture of secrecy that tolerates and even protects paedophiles”. He estimates that half of priests are not celibate and that as many as six per cent of all priests may have been at some time involved in sexual activity with minors. It is more than a few bad apples”.

None of this comes as a surprise to us. We have read several accounts – for example, from Ireland – and have been shocked and shamed. But now perhaps we are at a perspective distance which allows us to ask ourselves some important questions.

We find it difficult to get our heads around paedophilia. Like any form of sexual irregularity we cannot understand its attraction if we are not ourselves drawn towards it. But the numbers involved suggest many possible factors: the immaturity of priests who have in some way abstracted themselves from normal life, the huge emphasis on the vileness of sexuality which might in itself be tempting, the attraction of celibacy for certain homosexuals, that strange syndrome whereby people with “virtuous” status rationalise their shortcomings as somehow owed to them to even the balance.

But we might think that the worse sin was not sexual but the abuse of power. A priest is in a position of power – particularly with regard to the young, and they have many possibilities of wheedling and threatening which not only succeed but ensure silence. It is in fact a sort of rape – and all the worse for the young person who happens to get some pleasure. His or her reward is an extra dose of guilt.

Some people will claim that the worst sinners were those in episcopal authority. Whether or not they approved, they were prepared to let it continue and spread. We might excuse them initially because they were naïve: suppose you caught out your brother in such an activity. Would you immediately walk down to the police station and turn him in? Or would you first try to sort it out strictly within the family? After all, if you accept that your brother had been depressed, was terribly repentant and ready to swear not to repeat such an offence, would you not want to believe him? It looks like a better outcome than the shame and scandal brought on him and the family.

But, by the time the bishop is aware that his optimism is unjustified, it may be difficult to reverse gear. Probably there are a number priests in the diocese who have already been moved around to avoid scandal. If it all comes to light he will be held indirectly responsible for each case. The parents will be prowling around your palace and the potential bill for damages is growing larger than the wealth of the diocese. Above all, there will be huge scandal, and you can be sure that headquarters, which has done little enough to help or guide so far, will leave you up the creek without a paddle.

I am told that paedophile situations are by no means unique to the Church. I have no figures but I understand it is as common in school systems and youth organisations. But most cases occur within the family; I could repeat stories from my time as a Catholic marriage counsellor which would make you cry. But I am still left with the question why the Church with its high values, staffed by those who surely intended to devote their life to Christ, should have harboured such vice. Of course in any organisation there will be a few bad apples. But if so many apples are bad, perhaps it’s a bad tree or, at the very least, a potentially good tree which has been cultivated by a careless and ignorant gardener.

Tell me if my analysis needs correcting, and tell us how you analyse the situation.

I drafted this piece for last week, but we were overtaken by the Zika issue. I have now seen the Spotlight film, which is indeed excellent. It is uncomfortable for Catholics to watch, but I would suggest obligatory. You could have heard a pin fall throughout the cinema. The only sound was my adult convert wife spitting blood. Almost the worst moment for me was the end when three screens were needed to list all the places around the world in which the local church had maintained a similar cover up of clergy paedophilia. I was in no doubt that there is something badly wrong in the Church which allows these things to happen. Can we nail it (or them, if there are multiple reasons) down?

Monday this week: I read in Global Pulse an article headed “Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, who is president of the Center for Child Protection at the Gregorian University, says cover-ups and denial are still too prevalent in the Church.” He concludes: “What does it signify for the Church’s self-image, for instance? What is the significance of a priest, a ‘man of God’, who administers the Sacraments but is at the same time a perpetrator?”And so the story is scarcely over…

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96 Responses to A snake in the grass

  1. Horace says:

    I was at a Jesuit boarding school from 1936 to 1946.
    At that time all the Jesuit’s rooms were in a separate wing.
    No student was ever allowed to enter the Jesuit wing.
    At the time I vaguely wondered why! Now perhaps I know?

  2. Galerimo says:

    Yes Quentin it is a harrowing film to watch. Your blog is a very good summary of how I have come to view the scandal.

    It was also interesting how the journalists came to realise how much they too had been complicit through their silence about earlier reports. That made me ask if we are not all guilty in some way or another.

    I do feel that the “system” does not help promote the sexual maturing of a certain number of men.

    Also the absence of women throughout the clerical establishment I feel is a factor in this Sin of the Church.

    For more than half of its lifetime in the West the church did not function on mandatory celibacy and I feel a return to that time of choice for the clergy would also serve as a benefit to health.

    I believe that the Body of Christ as Church remains untouched by any sin in a supernatural way but it gives me no comfort when faced with so many victims of crime, especially the young who have trusted.

    I am not one to throw stones but I would really love to use them for building a better place than what we have at the moment. I don’t believe the issue is resolved.

    Thank God for good investigative journalism.

    • John Nolan says:

      When and where did clergy (i.e. those in Holy Orders) have a choice between celibacy and matrimony? The Eastern Churches do not allow priests to marry and bishops have to be monastic and therefore celibate.

      Let’s get our terms right. Celibacy does not mean sexual continence. It means being unmarried. And paedophilia (sexual attraction towards pre-pubescent children) made up a very small proportion of clerical sexual delicts (see the John Jay report). Most of them concerned pederasty (the acting out of ephebophilia).

      The ‘gay’ lobby was keen to see all sexual activity with minors classified as ‘paedophilia’ so that it could then claim (correctly) that ‘most paedophiles are heterosexual’, and draw away attention from the fact that most abuse was homosexual and involved adolescent boys and young men.

      In a subject as serious as this is, we simply must get our facts and terminology right.

      • Quentin says:

        I agree about getting our terminology correct. Here’s the Oxford Concise: “ephebe: (Greek history) a young man of 18 – 20 undergoing military training.”. I realise that the vulgus has allowed the lower age to be 15 but you, as a classicist, would rightly spurn that. Generally, I think the best age for marking the difference is the age of consent under the relevant legal system (16 in the UK). As far as I recall, the film principally concerned children of younger ages than any of these.

  3. St.Joseph says:

    The question I would ask is ‘Why would I want to go and watch that film, on child abuse, pornography and scandal etc ?,

    • Vincent says:

      Of course there will be people who choose not to go to this film because they would prefer to avoid the stress. But it is something that happened, and is still happening, within a community of which most of us are paid-up members. We have responsibilities here. Ironically, it was the tendency not to look too closely which enabled the abuses to continue for so long.

  4. G.D. says:

    I think there are two separate issues covered.
    The abuse of minors is deplorable and should, in the first instance be dealt with, openly and completely in accordance within the law. Covering it up is against any common sense and decent moral approach. It is a rape of the person very deeply.
    As for the role of the hierarchy, and everyone else, in the cover ups – very silly & misguided people. But then forgiveness is allowed.
    Having said that I am guilty of the same. I myself was abused as a child, over a long period, and did not report the man. (I can say i have forgiven). I have no brother, if i did and he was a paedophile, apart from stopping him personally as best i could, would i report him? I really don’t know.

    The second issue is adult sexual relations. Breaking the promises of celibacy ( while causing scandal to those who can not forgive weakness’ maybe) with a consenting adult is for the celibate to come to terms with in the best possible way they can, and accept the consequences of their decision. Priest Monk or unmarried catholic.

    I have been propositioned by two priests, as an adult, and was in a sense flattered, as well as shocked. And able to give some guidance to one who i saw regularly sharing the same parish for a number of years.

    As a lay heterosexual celibate male, not being married, I believe with my head i, and all unmarried, should abstain from sex. And i do. Yet there have been times, many years ago when in love, i wouldn’t listen to my better judgement & couldn’t abstain.
    (Haven’t frequented the sacrament of Reconciliation so much since!).
    It’s the same for the ordained.

    I’m not talking about promiscuous, casual and homosexual sex all of which, i believe, are very destructive spiritually for the individuals, and for society. Plenty of proof of the social impacts.
    But forgiveness is allowed!

    If someone confesses murder is it not a requisite they are encouraged (must?) take the consequence according to social law. So all serious sin that involves serious crime should be. For the perpetrator as much as the victims.
    Not breaking the seal of the confessional. But the above cover ups are not that ilk, others know and remain silent.

    Corruption, of many kinds, not just sexual, within positions of power [or not] is an epidemic destroying the morality of the whole society; a major reason being, because it is covered up, and not dealt with.

    • St.Joseph says:

      I am glad that you posted the above comment.
      You have put a lot of situations in perspective, corruption is running haywire all over the place.
      It is not only Catholic priests who were are, I would prefer to call it. a sickness,
      We have Anglicans, other Church’s Jewish etc. who profess the ‘Word of God’ have they been mentioned in this film. as they have the same responsibility to expose this illness .
      You say you were in a sense flattered, and I believe some children would have been flattered by the attention from someone they would hold in admiration.
      Why did the parents not make complaints.
      It is not only the Church who are responsible for our young peoples innocence, if there is such a thing nowadays.
      Making a film of it can not make things better! Peoples eyes are already aware of it.
      I believe it to be sinful to watch it, then that is just my conscience, I don’t speak for anyone else.!

    • Vincent says:

      I am sure you had your reasons, St Joseph. But I got a good picture of the way this diocese worked systematically by moving offending priests to different places time after time. And how they set up little secret court cases to pay minimal compensation in order to keep things quiet. And how they used every legal means possible to hide what was happening. Overall, I had a picture of a large Church organisation which was prepared to allow this abuse (whose effects can last for a lifetime) in order to maintain their reputation. The film enabled me to see how deep evil could exist in the highest places. I will not close my eyes to it, even if many people in Boston preferred to do so. Every Catholic review I have read agrees that the film was made sensitively and fairly.

      • St.Joseph says:

        What I am saying is ‘it has already been battered to death,.
        How many times must we hear it over and over again.
        To make a film of it like so many more films, for money I believe.is in very bad taste.
        It does no one any good, and it wont make the situation any better, in fact it is as sick as the subject!

      • Alan says:

        Just a few lines that Vincent has posted here makes me think we may not have heard enough about it. A film like this could make some aware of the depth of the problem when they weren’t previously. True that I’ve never looked into the issue that closely, but I wasn’t aware until now that there were “courts” that offered compensation. There may well be more that I’ve missed. How long before people become complacent if you don’t regularly remind them?

      • St.Joseph says:

        I understand what you say, but in the mean time how many innocent priests have suffered and been accused for something they have not done,
        The answer now is for Holy Mother Church to be more attentive with a lesson learned through what I feel was protecting the church from scandal..
        It is not as if things were kept so secret, a couple of miles from where I live is a chapel
        where sick priests came for periods of time to be helped over their sickness, they came from all over the world. After a time they came to one of the parishes near by for a time when thought to be healed,
        This was not kept a private matter so how come it was not considered in those days to be a crime,
        Only when people sought for compensation did it all blow up.
        Perhaps a little more films on abortion would be more beneficial.
        Forgiveness ought to be more in line, at least no one is dead.

      • Vincent says:

        St Joseph, I think you are way too optimistic. One of the things we have learnt is that people who give way to these vices, however repentant they may be, have a high rate of repeating the offence. This is why they get put, and usually remain, on a sex offenders register — so others can always know of the risk. Secondly, the effects on the victim can last into adult life. Thank heavens that it did all blow up, or far more people would have been damaged.

      • St.Joseph says:

        I appreciate what you say, however Quentins quote of the 6% of priests ‘MAY ‘have been involved, also half the priests were not celibate (see John Nolans post on celibacy).
        Are we really surprised that it would be nominated for 6 Acadamy Awards.?
        Also BTW I was molested as a child, it hasn’t affected me!!Thank God.
        Let us pray to Saint Marie Gorettti, a 11 year old who was raped by her employers son, stabbing her numerous times. and she forgave him before she died. her relic is in the Altar of a local St Joseph’s Church. I know her rapist wasn’t a priest’ I believe that was the Churches intention, maybe not right but forgiveness..
        Father forgive them for they know not what they do! Jesus’s Words on the Cross.
        He forgave St Peter!.

  5. G.D. says:

    Sorry, Quentin – you only talk of the Child abuse issue! Where i rambled on about the other! Ignore/delete the above post.

    • Quentin says:

      Some of what you say may be strictly speaking off the point. But it usefully helps the whole picture. If we disallowed every contribution which got off the point on this blog, our discussions would be greatly impoverished,

  6. Geordie says:

    Power is the root of the abuse scandal. Worldly power attracts us for all the wrong reasons.When I was a school boy, I wanted to be a priest, because I wanted to be a big shot. Men of evil intent will always be attracted to a powerful Church. They will become priests and they will be ambitious priests with a determination to gain promotion. The higher they go the more powerful they will feel. They will be attracted by money because money ensures their power. Money impresses people, even those people with good intentions.
    Once these men achieve their aims, they will do anything to protect their institution. Any scandal threatens their power and a scandal like the Paedophilia is particularly dangerous and must be hidden.
    If the Church wishes to stop, or a least limit, these scandals, it must relinquish worldly power and its love of wealth. A poverty-stricken, frugal Church will not attract worldly men. It must also become more open and transparent, so that the checks and balances needed in all human activity are clearly visible.

  7. Brendan says:

    I’ve seen the film. Following waves of righteous anger , it left me with feelings similar to that following a close family bereavement ……. you know , the ones that persist for a day or two and refuse to go away. Then the questions : and the one of over-riding importance is, how do we as Catholics ( irrespective of the World ) see ourselves and the ‘ institutional ‘ body as members of Christ’s Church ( His kingdom ) on Earth – on that path called ‘ holiness ‘ to our eternal reward ?
    One point not made clear in the films surrounds the nature of what is meant by ‘ paedophile ‘ priests.
    ” For although the erroneous idea has been spread that those scandals [ perpetrated by homosexual priests ] were caused by ‘ paedophile ‘ priests , the vast majority of offences were molestations of male adolescents , and the perpetrators were ‘ ordinary ‘ homosexuals .” – Dr. Bernard van den Aardweg , 2010.
    Specifically, he discerned that … ” the interests of 20-40% of ‘ ordinary ‘ homosexuals are either occasionally, or predominantly, directed towards adolescents ( so called ‘ ephebophile homosexuality ‘ ) .”
    I have no reason to doubt Dr.van den Aarweg ‘s life-long research in this area , and it is clear to me that the overwhelming number of priest sex-offenders were taken from , the just below 2% of the homosexual population in any given country. In the Archdiocese of Boston this amounted to about 90 priests ( 6% of the entire priesthood ) … which is truly jaw-dropping by any scale of measurement.
    I hope to return with more thoughts on this later. ( re:-holiness.)

    • Alan says:

      “Specifically, he discerned that … ” the interests of 20-40% of ‘ ordinary ‘ homosexuals are either occasionally, or predominantly, directed towards adolescents ( so called ‘ ephebophile homosexuality ‘ ) ”

      A percentage which includes occasional interest in those who might be as old as 18 -19? I wonder what the figures are like for heterosexuals.

  8. Vincent says:

    People might like to read a review of Spotlight by the Jesuit Anthony Egan in Independent Catholic News. He talks about the wider significance for society of the story .
    http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=29396 .

  9. Ann says:

    From the CCC : 2389 Connected to incest is any sexual abuse perpetrated by adults on children or adolescents entrusted to their care. The offense is compounded by the scandalous harm done to the physical and moral integrity of the young, who will remain scarred by it all their lives; and the violation of responsibility for their upbringing.

    The church failed to live up to it’s own statement.

  10. John Candido says:

    I saw ‘Spotlight’ this afternoon and I am very glad I did. Not that I take any pleasure in attacking the church, but that it is a salient reminder to all of the importance of this issue to both society in general and for every Christian church regardless of denomination.

    My favourite quotes are,

    ‘It takes a village to raise a child: it takes a village to abuse a child.’

    How profound!

    The above is attributed in the film’s script to Armenian lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who has worked tirelessly to assist victims of clergy abuse in Boston Massachusetts. Actor Stanley Tucci plays lawyer Mitchell Garabedian in ‘Spotlight’.


    He is also attributed to saying,

    ‘The church in Boston controls everything.’

    Boston’s experience of power and control by the church is why we must have a secular society, as a check on the powerful regardless of who they are.

    My final example of a favourite quote is when Boston Globe journalist Mike Rezendes (played by Mark Ruffalo) goes to retrieve what was originally thought to be confidential ecclesiastical documents that summarized rulings privately, which were in fact public records held by a state instrumentality, and accessible by the media. He had to obtain a Judge’s ruling on whether he may legitimately have access to them, and who was working inside the same building that the very same records are held.

    The Judge looked sternly at him after examining the records. The records are a journalist’s potentially rich source of legitimate evidence that will go on to fuel the Boston Globe’s attack of the Boston Archdiocese’s handling of paedophile cases, and eventually lead to Bernard Cardinal Law’s resignation as the Archbishop of Boston for his handling of paedophile clergy.

    The Judge said to Rezendes,

    ‘Where is the editorial responsibility in publishing these records?’

    To which Rezendes replied,

    ‘Where is the editorial responsibility in not publishing these records?’

    I could not possibly disagree with Rezendes reply to the Judge. Rezendes disclosure of these important sources is of the highest responsibility to both the Catholic Church globally as well as secular society in the long term, despite the damage it has done and continues to do to the church’s public reputation.

    There is no doubt that the good name and reputation of the Christian churches generally and the Catholic Church in particular, has been severely damaged as a result of these crimes. The moral health and normal development of children are far more important and worthy of our concerns than the harm done to the Catholic Church’s or any other Christian church’s reputation.

    Wouldn’t you agree?

    • Brendan says:

      Yes John Candido, I agree with your post. Just to enlarge on one point on which we might differ regarding… ” Boston’s experience of power and control by the Church is why we must have a secular society as a check on the powerful regardless of who they are. ” This relates to my first posting which asked a rhetorical question regarding the Catholic’s understanding of ‘ holiness ‘ and the path by which it is attained.
      I would be in favour of secular ‘ government’ in a pluralistic democracy; which means of course not ‘ imposing ‘The Catholic Religion on society. While then we can live with a secular government we would always be at odds with a completely ‘ secular society’ – which unlike the Church does not proclaim universal ‘ truths ‘.Those whole propose a wholly secular society on pluralistic lines ( which can imply a full democracy ) cannot then expect to exclude the non-secular views of its people.
      In the ‘ film ‘ , in one sense it is not altogether clear how much power the Church had , if any , in this very Catholic part of Massachusetts. It would seem that many Catholics in almost all aspects of Boston civil admistrative life , judiciary , police , educationalists , even the ordinary Catholic, colluded with but were not forced to collude , in a massive deception by The Catholic Clergy. As you remind us …..” it takes a village . ” The irony ( if not surprising ) is that it took those not connected to the Church – all non-observant Catholics and therefore ‘ outside the village ‘ – the complete journalistic make-up of ‘ Spotlight ‘ and a sub- editor of The Boston Globe , to uncover the scandal. It is a measure of how much the misuse of power can corrupt ; when in one scene in the film , the Catholic lawyer ‘ brought in ‘ by the Church to help cover-up these scandals ; at a gathering of the Catholic ‘ great and the good ‘ of Boston life , ‘ pooh-poohed ‘ a journalist friends too-close-for-comfort-questions ,replying something like … ” relax, come and join the party .” At that point the imagery surrounding the word ‘ mafia ‘ came to mind !

  11. John Candido says:


    Why is the issue of paedophilia crimes by clergy or by anybody else so important?


    All children are important.


    What did Jesus say about children?


    Jesus angrily said,

    ‘If anyone should cause one of these little ones to lose his faith in me, it would be better for that person to have a large millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the deep sea.’ (Mathew 18: 6)

    He also said,

    ‘See that you don’t despise any of these little ones. Their angels in heaven, I tell you, are always in the presence of my Father in heaven.’ (Mathew 18: 10)


    Why must the church and society in general be ever vigilant on behalf of children?


    Paedophilia is here to stay unfortunately. These crimes are not peculiar to the 20th & 21st centuries, but would have been perpetrated throughout history. They are not going to go away simply because contemporary society has uncovered them via the secular press’s use of investigative journalism.

    Paedophilia is a crime that will always be an existential moral risk to children everywhere in future, including in their own families unfortunately, where they are probably at greater risk of being offended against.


    Why must responsible Catholics never tire of this issue?


    The fact that children are the innocent parties involved, and because Jesus would insist on nothing less than eternal vigilance on behalf of every child, by all members of our church.

    Paedophile priests and religious are a minority of all clergy. Estimates vary but around 5 to 6% are offenders. Two important conclusions can be immediately drawn from this.


    About 95% of clergy are not paedophiles.


    That celibacy is not causal to this crime because of ‘One’.

    While it is conceded that celibacy is not a causal factor it may be a correlative (associative) factor, due to the overwhelming number of episodes by Catholic as against non-Catholic clergy who are not required to have celibacy as part of their ministerial formation. Sadly, 75% of paedophilia cases are by Catholic clergy.

    The John Jay Report can be read here:


    The USCCB,

    ‘…concluded that there was no single cause or predictor of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. The report added that situational factors and opportunity to abuse played a significant role in the onset and continuation of abusive acts.’

    The above quote was accessed on the 13th February 2016 from the following link,



    Is it justified to view celibacy as a part of the ‘situational factors’ or risks surrounding children?

    I believe that it is and the church should have a discussion about whether or not to remove celibacy as a requirement of the priesthood, due to its historical propensity to attract paedophiles to the priesthood because it can potentially lead to ‘trusted’ access to children in an informal manner.

    I think that celibacy’s time is up even if there are contemporary policies delineating appropriate and non-appropriate access to children that has been responsibly determined by the Catholic Church today in a plethora of places. The introduction of married clergy as well as women candidates for the priesthood should be looked at as a way of limiting the risk of any child to be offended against through paedophilia.

    It will also kill two birds with one stone in the justice of women’s access to the office of priesthood in our church. Of course this will not be acceptable by conservatives who will no doubt get worked up over any suggestions that are deemed by them as ‘heretical’ or ‘heterodox’.

    • John Nolan says:

      John Candido,

      ‘Is it justified to view celibacy as part of the “situational factors” or risks surrounding children?’

      Not according to the evidence. Most children are abused by relatives in ‘family’ situations, often where a woman is living with a partner who quite often is not the child’s father.

      I am not married, in other words I am celibate. I teach children, some of them as young as seven. Would that make me a potential risk?

      There is an argument that the clerical state does attract men of homosexual tendencies, and I would not deny that. In many cases it gives them a rationale not to get involved with women; in some cases it may be a cover for deviant sexual relationships with boys and young men; it normally does not involve prolonged contact with children.

      Those who have contact with children not their own are not clergy; they are usually in the teaching or medical professions.

      For an intelligent man you do have a tendency to make illogical connections and (quite frankly) to spout nonsense.

  12. John Candido says:

    In regards to the paedophile question, all that I can say is thank God for a secular society. And thank God for the journalistic heroes at the centre of this overwhelmingly important and tragic story. The professionalism of many secular journalists who have covered this vital story of child abuse, have given both value and future benefit for our secular societies as well as benefiting the Roman Catholic Church.

    The uncovering of child abuse has been a searing lesson to all members of the church. Regardless of whether or not offenders have the moral integrity to make admissions of personal fault before a police officer or a court of law; all who are found guilty by a court of law must suffer their consequences. All institutional leaders who have been found to be liars, have moved clergy from one parish to another, or have failed to protect children by reporting any offending clergy to the police, should be sacked from their leadership positions within the church. No mercy is tolerable when it comes to children.

    All responsible members of our church must develop an absolute determination to limit this existential moral threat to children, in perpetuity.

    The reporting of any suspicions of criminality to the police concerning any person of any rank in our church is absolutely non-negotiable. There simply cannot be any tolerance for approaches that fail to protect children. Protocols around children have been developed by many dioceses in perpetuity and will be reviewed as to their effectiveness.

    The journalists as well as other professionals, who covered and worked on this sordid story of the abuse of children and the uncovering of the hypocrisy of members of the hierarchy, deserve our complete respect and admiration. The feet dragging, duplicity and ‘money-focused’, hypocritical responses of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church is now a matter of public record, thanks to the skills and plodding patience of investigative journalism. Such an uncaring attitude towards children is a complete disaster for the church’s mission of spreading the Gospel.

    The perpetrators of child abuse are approximately estimated to be around 5%. Therefore it is a counter-intuitive fact that the overwhelming majority of clergy and religious are not child abuse offenders. This rate is a conservative estimate due to under-reporting and contested by differing parties. Overwhelming numbers of laity and clergy now consider any prevailing rate of child abuse as completely unacceptable.

    We are only talking about rates of child abuse here. It is estimated that 50% of clergy are not living a celibate life at any one time. Clergy and religious are abusing adult women or engaging in homosexual acts with consenting adults. These issues cannot be overlooked and must be taken into consideration by ecclesiastical leaders grappling with child abuse. Both issues have undoubtedly gone on unabated throughout human history.

    There must be a review of the discipline of celibacy by the Roman Catholic Church, even though counter-intuitively there is no current evidence that celibacy is behind the Catholic Church’s greater propensity for higher rates of offending, compared to other Christian denominations that do not have the requirement of celibacy for their clergy. There is however a correlative (associative) risk of offending by celibate males. The church should examine celibacy as behind a lack of vocations to the priesthood and why the Eucharist cannot be delivered globally through the mass.

    We should all take heart in the fact that there are many hidden people who are doing great work towards mitigating this terrible problem, both inside and outside of the Catholic Church. God takes care of them.

  13. Iona says:

    John Candido, in your 13th February 3.07 post above, you state:
    75% of paedophilia cases are by Catholic clergy.
    You mean, of all paedophilia cases, only 25% are committed by people who are not Catholic clergy?
    Or does that 75% mean, not 75% of the general population, but of some smaller subgroup within the general population?

    • John Nolan says:

      What it means is that someone doesn’t proof-read his comments before hitting the ‘post’ button, doesn’t bother reading the articles he links to, and because he wants married priests and women priests (the former is theoretically possible, the latter is not) is using historic sex abuse allegations to advance his agenda.

      No-one seems to have come up with a satisfactory explanation as to why the alleged offences peaked in the 1970s, declined in the 1980s, declined even more dramatically in the 1990s and have flat-lined at negligible levels in the past fifteen years. The Church in the 1970s was particularly dysfunctional, but that may be coincidental.

    • Alan says:

      Iona – “Or does that 75% mean, not 75% of the general population, but of some smaller subgroup within the general population?”

      Given the context I think the 75% refers to cases exclusively committed by clergy, not all cases. Haven’t check for the source to see if that pans out, it is just my impression from what was said.

      • John Candido says:

        Thank you Allan for your help in any case, but I am afraid it was all to naught because I am afraid that I am wrong. I have relied on my memory to provide what I believed to be as true and as accurate an account of the comparison between Catholic clergy and non-Catholic clergy about the rate of offending. I am certain that I have read somewhere that Catholic clergy were 75%, or at the very least a clear majority of all clergy cases of child abuse, across all or most denominations.

        I have tried looking for corroboration and support of my point and spent hours of fruitless energy, but I can’t find a bloody thing which is most annoying. One should never rely on one’s memory when it comes to serious matters such as this and it serves me right for being so indolent about checking my own sources before I hit enter.

        There are very serious commentators who assert that one cannot with certainty make any comments about this matter as there is a paucity of data to draw any conclusions about comparisons between ministers who have the requirement of celibacy, and those whose formation excludes celibacy. As well as those who make tentative points of one sort or another based on whatever data may be available to them.

        Dr. Thomas Plante is a Professor of psychology from Santa Clara University is of the latter and has stated that,

        ‘…only about 5% of priests had been involved in sexual abuse of minors, a percentage “not inconsistent with other male clergy or with the general population”.


        You can always go looking for studies that support any proposition you fancy, if you are silly enough to allow yourself to be compromised by such a predilection. That would be completely self-defeating in the end of course.

        Therefore I completely retract my statement that approximately ‘75% of paedophilia cases are by Catholic clergy’, by which I meant compared with the rate of offending by non-Catholic clergy, which by necessity would have to be around 25% of cases if the child abuse rate of Catholic clergy is around 75%. My apologies for this oversight.

  14. St.Joseph says:

    John humble how of you to apologise for your mistake if I have read you right.
    That only shows how some people get mistaken rumours with regards this subject and how scandal starts

  15. St.Joseph says:

    My above post was.made to.John Candido.

  16. John Candido says:

    Hello St.Joseph,

    It is very easy to make errors in this subject matter. There is a lot of emotion flowing through it that needs to be held in check. It is a complex area which doesn’t help anyone trying to make any sense of it. As I have said previously, to depend on your memory is trouble in the making. Even amongst experts and authorities on child abuse, there are controversies that are not settled.

    It pays to go very carefully and cautiously lest any of us fall for a multitude of potential traps. Child abuse is a complex, contested area where members of the public are interested and revolted in equal measure. It looks to me like this issue will take many years of patient work by experts in the field before church and society are confident in ameliorating some of the damage that has been done, and truly understand how best to contain it regardless of context or contingency.

  17. Nektarios says:

    What we are talking about is not just something that is a problem for the RCC but for the whole of humanity – we are talking about moral perversion.
    What is moral perversion? – Isaiah 5:20. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light. and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.”

    Moral perversion is when there is sin without shame. It is when morality is reversed in individuals and nations. The end of which is calamity!

    We hear a lot about the new morality, but is as old as what was going on before Noah and the calamity of the flood.
    You see we are all sinners, sinful, rotten in our hearts by nature. The first calamity that came was the flood; the second was Sodom and Gomorrah which was destroyed by fire; the third was the Tower of Babel which led to the confusion of language and the tower was destroyed. The forth was the expulsion of the Jews from Israel in 70AD. to be dispersed across the face of the planet like they are today.
    When one looks at what the Bible tells us was going on at the time, we see Isaiah 5:20 not only being true, but it is what is happening in our country and around the world today.
    The so-called new morality is as old as before Noah and seeks to reverse the natural order, or as the RCC say, though it is not just theirs, the Natural Law. Essentially, what the Natural Law was or is about was what was perceived by all what was good, natural and worked for all.
    In moral perversion the order is reversed and the end of that is chaos and calamity.

    So what is this new morality, that sees the pervert as some poor soul in need of psychological help,
    where their trial is mitigated by their past, but never a word for their victim.

    We also see on the media, in the Newspapers, gays and lesbians proud of the fact they have this moral perversion.
    What are we going to say about our Government producing Laws which tries to put across that that which is a moral perversion is normal? You can see what Isaiah in 5:20 is saying don’t you?

    The Modern man says, of course we don’t need that dusty old Bible of yours or Christianity which has kept man tied down to certain Natural Law. We are modern, sophisticated, educated, free, independent,
    scientific, and we don’t want any imposition by the Church or religion with their narrow minded attitudes. We are sexually liberated.

    All this is tosh of course. In Russia during the Communist period, the people were told not to worry about getting married, but indulge themselves in ‘free love’. It took some years, but the Russian Government had to reverse this because they saw that the destruction of the family, was destroying their society.
    Yet here we are today extolling moral perversion which is bit by bit destroying society – a foreboding of a calamity to come.

    The natural order of things, is denied to the modern man, as he stifles or has his conscience stifled and silenced by others.

    The problem or trouble lies in the natural man in his heart. I say trouble, because he/she cannot change it. I am glad to say, God can. This is the answer amidst all the statistic thrown about by some, only God can change our evil wicked hearts, none other!

    Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit…
    This is what the modern man needs, the pervert priest or anyone.

    But how many will come to Him in their foulness, bolstered up by the Law of the Land and psychologists in their moral perversions? Now children are in many cases being conditioned into the acceptance of moral perversion education. They call that which is bad good?

    I will finish with this solemn note. How long is this gong to continue, will man come to his senses?
    Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us, Luke 17:26. ” As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be also in the days of the Son of Man.”

    • St.Joseph says:

      One consolation things are in place now to control abuse
      , In schools they are taught sex lessons etc. surely they ought to be able to know what is wrong They are young enough to be on computers and not so innocent nowadays to understand what is happening and also not afraid to speak out or feel they are to blame.
      When. celebrities are to blame young children will be mesmerized with the attraction
      therefore were easy bait for abusers .
      I agree a lot with John Nolan’s comments .

    • John Candido says:


      You once said that the entire world, its entire contents and its entire people were corrupted. Nothing they said or thought or did could help them because they are ‘compromised & corrupted’, and this includes any and all members of every profession as well. Sin does not spare any person and we are all equally blinded by our sinful condition. Escaping this blindness is impossible except by God’s grace.

      Any form of reasoning, rational discussion or research, was a complete waste of time. All such endeavours are a product of the ego, tainted by sin, or compromised by weakness, and therefore doomed to failure because sin has blinded all people. Sin has made them completely incapable of any normal insight into their predicament, nature or condition. Thinking, reflection, or the intellectual reasoning found in theology or any science such as medicine or psychology, is completely tainted and corrupted by sin and cannot be depended on as a form of assistance to anyone.

      Therefore, the whole of humanity is utterly incapable of ‘seeing’ the truth, even if it hit them in the face because they are completely blinded & corrupted by the sin of Adam & Eve. The only hope of humanity to remove themselves from their completely blinded & corrupted state is faith in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and His infinite mercies and graces.

      With sincere respect Nektarios, do I see ‘eye to eye’ to you now? Have I managed to get it right this time? Have I accurately summarised your point about the total corruption of humanity, the corruption of human thinking, the corruption of intellectuality, and the corruption of any and all research, which is due to our fallen and sinful nature?

      • St.Joseph says:

        Does that mean that there is no good in the.world at all.
        I Am in hospital now for two days and all I can see is goodness and kindness all around.me.
        Am I missing something?

      • Nektarios says:

        John Candido

        In a word John, no, no you do not see eye to eye with me yet, you have not managed to get it right this time with what I have said in a previous topic, nor on this.

        For example, regarding medicine, or psychologists, I am not saying all they do is useless at all, they do have proper uses and be a great help to people. I say this also to ease St. Joseph’s mind and answer her questions too.

        I say again, John, the issue is not the intellect, nor man’s reasoning powers, or indeed his scientific research, the problem lies in man’s fallen nature.
        We live in this world, but what is this world? the Bible calls it, the ‘present evil world’.

        Lastly, John, I can see from your previous postings your relativistic understanding of
        the Scriptures and of morality paying scant regard to what Scriptures teach us. Remember this is not man’s word like other writings of other religions, but God’s word to us, for our well-being and eternal safety and happiness.
        What is termed modern morality, is in fact very old,older than the flood calamity, all dressed up in a new phraseology, but it is the same old sinful, rebellious nature at work.

      • John Candido says:


        Please don’t worry about a thing as there is nothing to worry about at all. Please continue with your treatment in hospital. I am sure that all of the staff at your hospital are doing all that they can to get you well enough to return home again as quickly as they can. We all pray that you shall return to good health as soon as possible.

  18. Hock says:

    We all have to be wary of being apologists for child abuse. It is understandable to a degree for loyal and shocked Catholics to look for ways to mitigate the evils that have gone on in the Church and no doubt continue to do so although one hopes that the procedures in place reduce the incidence of it occurring.
    This is a subject that has often debated on this blog and how often do contributors write that we ‘should now move on’ when the subject comes up. We continue to worry more about priests who suffer false allegations than the child victims who suffer the true ones.
    We like to draw comparisons with other denominations and the incidence of child abuse in general society to somehow claim that compared to others the Church is not that bad.
    On here I have even read how some children are the tempters.
    My constant contribution is that all the procedures to prevent abuse whilst laudable in themselves , and effective to a degree, still will not recognise the ‘elephant in the room.’ The procedures are sticking plasters on an open wound. We are not just another section of a society but the Church founded by Jesus Christ, who had harsh words for child abusers (no mention of mercy either,) and are ordered to be above all reproach and to practice good works and not to look for ways to explain how we have failed to do so in the most appalling ways.
    The ‘elephant in the room’ that that the Church has constantly refused to see is to ask itself why the Catholic Church is seen as a home for men who would abuse children?
    The reason the Church doesn’t ask is because it is afraid of the answers. And the reason for this fear is the reduction in clergy power that would be required to deal with it. So rather than deal with it at source its sets up all sorts of procedures and trumpets how wonderful they are, but time and again we see, read and hear, how they have failed so devastatingly.
    The Synod of the Family which is tying itself in knots should be a synod as to dragging the Church into the 21st Century and in particular it should have been about child abuse which taints all Catholics and will do so for as long as the Church lasts.
    The plain fact is that the Church has scarcely moved in a thousand years.
    We still have Bishops who are popes in their Dioceses and virtually untouchable. We have pp’s who are Popes in their parishes and virtually untouchable. There are no inspection procedures in parishes other than for finance and clergy are free of interference in most areas.
    Clergy are in a job for life . Who ever heard of a Bishop or priest being sacked for incompetence?
    The whole structure of the clergy is an abusers paradise.

    • John Candido says:

      Part One of two:-

      Hock you have written a number of points that are certainly food for thought. Thank you for your interest.

      ‘The ‘elephant in the room’ that that the Church has constantly refused to see is to ask itself why the Catholic Church is seen as a home for men who would abuse children?’ (Hock)

      Most people, including most people in the church are aware of the propensity of paedophiles to view the church as something of a cul-de-sac of sorts, allowing them to have some irregular and/or private contact with children, either through the child’s family, at a church camp, or through the parish school. It has led to changes at national conferences of Catholic Bishops and at the diocesan level, through the introduction of clergy or staff protocols clearly delineating what is acceptable or not acceptable contact with children by priests, religious or any lay employee.

      What is called ‘situational factors and the opportunity to abuse’ is where society and the church must focus their complete attention, as well as wait for credible academic research that would elucidate and inform future adjustments to child protocols, seminary selection, the ongoing formation of Catholic clergy which would be critical to prophylactically contain paedophilia, and other disciplinary matters such as the attitudinal basis of clericalism and our peculiar fascination with the discipline of celibacy.

      ‘The reason the Church doesn’t ask is because it is afraid of the answers. And the reason for this fear is the reduction in clergy power that would be required to deal with it.’ (Hock)

      What you are describing Hock is the danger of an untrammelled clericalism. The church is aware of the problem of clericalism. All of us have become aware of Francis’s determination to demystify the papacy, which incidentally is indirectly related to priestly clericalism. If adjustments to any Parish Priest’s or Bishop’s power is required in order to prevent paedophiles from offending, so be it. Any reforms must be seriously considered as part of a strategy to limit offences against children as informed by social, psychiatric and psychological research.

      ‘The Synod of the Family which is tying itself in knots should be a synod as to dragging the Church into the 21st Century and in particular it should have been about child abuse which taints all Catholics and will do so for as long as the Church lasts.’ (Hock)

      I have a tremendous amount of sympathy for this view. I do think that last October’s Synod should have been about child abuse, now that you have mentioned it. There are many urgent ecclesiastical matters that the Bishops have to attend to, but the prioritisation of child abuse as an overwhelmingly important issue, should have been thought of as a highly praiseworthy issue for discussion. It would be another way that the Roman Catholic Church could demonstrate it is very serious about containing episodes of child abuse and it’s bona fide on the issue.

      ‘We still have Bishops who are popes in their Dioceses and virtually untouchable. We have pp’s who are Popes in their parishes and virtually untouchable.’ (Hock)

      I agree and this issue needs the attention of sympathetic canon lawyers as periti at a Synod of Bishops. Will enough Bishops vote for a reduction of their administrative power in their own dioceses on the advice of canon lawyers? It remains to be seen but I am doubtful.

    • John Candido says:

      Post Two:-

      ‘The Synod of the Family which is tying itself in knots should be a synod as to dragging the Church into the 21st Century and in particular it should have been about child abuse which taints all Catholics and will do so for as long as the Church lasts.’ (Hock)

      There is an initiative that the laity could exercise through the authority of convoking a diocesan level Synod, together with the advice of local clergy and periti such as canon lawyers. Using Canon 431, which is mostly an unknown provision of the Catholic Church’s canon law.


      The use of the Second Vatican Council’s 1965 document, ‘Christus Dominus’ or the ‘Decree on the Bishop’s Pastoral Office in the Church’.

      In paragraph 36,

      ‘From the very first centuries of the Church bishops, as rulers of individual churches, were deeply moved by the communion of fraternal charity and zeal for the universal mission entrusted to the Apostles. And so they pooled their abilities and their wills for the common good and for the welfare of the individual churches. Thus came into being synods, provincial councils and plenary councils in which bishops established for various churches the way to be followed in teaching the truths of faith and ordering ecclesiastical discipline.’

      ‘This sacred ecumenical synod earnestly desires that the venerable institution of synods and councils flourish with fresh vigour. In such a way faith will be deepened and discipline preserved more fittingly and efficaciously in the various churches, as the needs of the times require.’


      (Accessed 15th February 2016)

      • Quentin says:

        John, if you don’t already know it, you will be interested in Archbishop John R Quinn’s “Ever Ancient Ever New” (Paulist Press – can be downloaded to Kindle, 2013). Quinn describes the earlier tradition of governing by synod. His subtitle is “Structures of Communion in the Church”.

      • John Candido says:

        Thank you for your suggestion Quentin.

      • John Nolan says:

        JC, where in Canon 431 does it say that the laity have the authority to convoke a synod? This canon and those that follow concern the relations between particular churches and ecclesiastical provinces – no mention of synods, which are dealt with in Canon 342 and those that follow.

        In the first millennium lay rulers would convoke synods (the most famous example is Whitby in 664) but this no longer applies.

        Since a synod is by definition an assembly of bishops, a ‘diocesan level synod’ is a contradiction in terms.

        As for Christus Dominus, if you take the trouble to read it in its entirety, it hardly supports your arguments and opinions. As for the authority of the bishop in his own diocese, this is made clear in the documents of the Second Vatican Council and in the 1983 Code of Canon Law. The idea that ‘sympathetic’ canon lawyers (sympathetic to what or whom, one might well ask) can work to undermine a bishop’s Apostolic authority is one of your more fanciful constructs.

  19. John Nolan says:

    I find myself agreeing with John Candido. There is indeed a lot of emotion flowing through this which needs to be kept in check. No doubt many will see this film and have their anti-Catholic prejudices reinforced. ‘Catholic priests are child rapists’ was a common mantra and no exposure to facts will overcome prejudice.

    Allegations, particularly regarding ‘historic’ sexual abuse (which is what we are talking about here) are problematic, to say the least. The shambolic outcome of the Met’s ‘Operation Midland’ is a stark reminder that allegations do not equal proof.

    The misuse of the term ‘paedophilia’ further complicates the issue. In the USA , where it is spelt and pronounced ‘pedophilia’, it has become a catch-all term for sexual relations with a legally underage person. The age of female consent in England was raised to 16 in 1885. This should mean that a girl under 16 may consent to sex, but this consent cannot exculpate the man who has sex with her, as this consent cannot be legally given. In practice, a girl over 13 may be sexually active, may be given contraceptives without her parents’ consent, and unless she lodges a complaint herself (or if there are extenuating circumstances) the law is not enforced.

    The US allegations, and evidence of a cover-up (as in Ireland, not a good advertisement for subsidiarity) came at a time when John Paul II was ailing and so the files landed on Ratzinger’s desk. He took the trouble to read them, reached the right conclusions, and acted swiftly. For this he was excoriated by the ‘gay’ lobby (who knew full well that most of the offences were homosexual in nature), by liberal Catholics like Ed Stourton and by the London Times.

    I am not a psychologist who has studied sexual orientation, but a sexual interest in pre-pubescent children (paedophilia erotica) is undoubtedly most common in married men, who may well have children of their own. This unnatural interest probably does not exclude other orientations, most of which are heterosexual. An inclination in itself is not a crime, although it may be a sin or an occasion of sin.

  20. Brendan says:

    The phenomenon of homosexuality in the Catholic priesthood must owe its presence through the seminary system . Since I believe there to be no reliable ‘test’ to bring out this sexual orientation in the seminarian one way or the other ; it must be a great responsibility on the seminary rector to give the O.K. to the Bishop on this matter. Boston was certainly a ‘ hotspot ‘. I can only assume the seminaries feeding the Archdiocese are now more circumspect about their intake and that closet-homosexuals are more introspective about thinking of a vocation to the priesthood . So self-notification on entering or during pastoral formation, which is highly unlikely , is the only way to expose sexual deviancy.
    I found a Father Robert Johansen from Michigan who writes on these issues ( As usual the Americans seem to be ahead of the curve on this ) on CatholicCulture.org ; who claims that ..” 1% of Catholic clergy have been involved in child abuse [ overwhelmingly adolescent boys ] over a wide area of the Country .” It would seem that owing to the monolithic nature of the Catholic Church and its celibate clergy such abuse is easier to detect and zero in on by the worlds media. He points out that …” only two diocese in the country have not be affected .” – of course even one child- abuse case is too many.
    In my own diocese the calibre of young priests now ordained as being own very good quality. I see this because our parish priest for the last five years he has been with us, has invited seminarians and newly ordained priests to stay with us for a period of time . Previously , I have known in my diocese a priest leave to get married , another to Anglicanism ( because he disagreed with The Church’s view on homosexuality ) and another who was homosexual and left the priesthood ( laisized ? ). He in fact lives near me ,with a long term partner just two miles away.

  21. Brendan says:

    Collossians 3:2 – ” Let your thoughts be on things above , not on the things that are on earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in you .”
    Worldliness is the great enemy of the Christian vocation. In public life there is a temptation for The Church, particularly the hierarchy to associate themselves too closely with civil and political life . Has this happened in the case of Boston Archdiocese – conflicting loyalties?
    Catholic Bishops’ has first loyalty only .. to Christ and His Church. The ‘ Body of Christ ‘ is not bricks and mortar nor an ‘ institution ‘ in the worldly sense, but a living breathing ‘ other Christ ‘.
    Does The Church from the Princes down to ourselves need to relearn this and inculcate this by the saving grace of God into our daily lives in Christ . Isn’t that what His Earthly Church is for ?
    ” Do not model your behaviour on the contemporary world, but let the renewing of your minds transform you, so that you may discern for yourselves what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and mature .” Romans 12;2.( NJB )

  22. Quentin says:

    Here is another factor which I have recently discovered. The ‘pontifical secret’ is a severe prohibition in Canon Law which forbids any sexual abuse by a cleric to be reported to the civil authority. A dispensation to make such a report was given to the USA in 2002 and extended to the whole world in 2010, and it applies wherever the civil law requires such a report. The Italian Church has declared that it remains subject to the pontifical secret – and does not report, and Poland similarly. But it would appear that, until quite recently, virtually all bishops were forbidden to report even criminal abuse. It would seem that, in this matter, the cover ups, notwithstanding good intentions, started from the very top.

    I speak subject to correction from anyone who knows more about this than I.

  23. John Nolan says:

    The ‘pontifical secret’, like the ‘secret archives of the Inquisition’ is the sort of term that sends shivers up the spines of protestants. Actually, all it does in this case is to ensure that the proceedings of Church tribunals are confidential. In-house tribunals such as those of the Law Society, the Bar Council and the General Medical Council are likewise confidential, in the interests of natural justice.

    I don’t know where you read that this means that criminal activity cannot be reported to the civil authorities (for example, in the case of a priest who commits murder). I think you need to cite your sources. I know it goes against the grain for a journalist to do so, but it is obligatory for an historian.

    We already have a commentator on this blog who links to Canon Law and then argues the opposite. I would hope that you had more integrity. However, provide me with evidence and I am quite prepared to change my mind.

  24. John Candido says:


    In a Wikipedia article about retired Australian Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, he asserts that without first addressing every possible issue of child abuse, the Roman Catholic Church will never recover its good standing in the community.

    ‘On 4 June 2013, together with Bishop Bill Morris (Morris is the former Bishop of Toowoomba who was removed by Pope Benedict XVI in May 2011, for simply suggesting a discussion about the future possibility of married & women priests to alleviate the dearth of male vocations to the priesthood in his very large diocese in Queensland) and Bishop Pat Power, Robinson officially launched a world-wide petition drive calling for an ecumenical council inclusive of the laity to put God’s house in order. The petition, addressed to Pope Francis, says:’

    ‘We, the undersigned members of the Catholic Church, have been sickened by the continuing stories of sexual abuse within our Church, and we are appalled by the accounts of an unchristian response to those who have suffered. When so many people either offend or respond poorly, we cannot limit ourselves to blaming individuals, but must also look at systemic causes.’

    ‘The situation is so grave that we call for an Ecumenical Council to respond to the one question of doing everything possible to uproot such abuse from the Church and produce a better response to victims. An essential part of this call is that the laity of the whole world should have a major voice in the Council (for it is our children who have been abused or put at risk), and that the following subjects be included:’

    1. ‘The continuing influence of the idea of an angry God,’

    2. ‘The immaturity that arises from passive obedience in adults,’

    3. ‘The teaching of the Church on sexual morality,’

    4. ‘The part played in abuse by celibacy, especially obligatory celibacy,’

    5. ‘The lack of a strong feminine influence in every aspect of the Church,’

    6. ‘The idea that through ordination the priest is taken above other people (clericalism),’

    7. ‘The lack of professionalism in the life of priests and religious,’

    8. ‘The unhealthy situations in which many priests and religious are required to live,’

    9. ‘The constant placing of right beliefs before right actions,’

    10. ‘The passion for secrecy and the hiding of faults within the Church, especially in the Vatican,’

    11. ‘The ways in which the protection of papal authority has been put before the eradication of sexual abuse,’

    12. ‘The provision of structures to make a reality of the ‘sense of faith’ (sensus fidei) of all Catholic people,’

    13. ‘The need for each Conference of Bishops to have the authority to compel individual bishops to follow common decisions in this matter.’

    I think that a lot of people including myself have fallen asleep and underestimated or have forgotten the power of the issue of child abuse, to be a catalyst in effectively reforming the Roman Catholic Church’s doctrine, discipline and ecclesiology.

    The crimes of child abuse are an evil but serendipitous opportunity for the church; ‘evil’ in the sense of the perpetration of criminal offences against innocent children. What I mean by that is that these disgraceful and immoral crimes can be constructively & opportunistically used by the church as stepping stones towards the internal transformation or metanoia needed for the Catholic Church to become an effective presence in the twenty-first century.

    Let’s not mince words; these crimes are severe sins against children. However they can lead to a broad awareness of the dysfunctionality of the Roman Catholic Church, the admission of a corporate or structural guilt manifesting & occasioning sin by a minority of clergy & religious, which in turn can lead the Catholic Church to growth, maturity and effective functionality in future.


    • John Nolan says:

      John Candido

      Nothing that the church does now can put right what happened forty years ago. Are you suggesting that child sex abuse is still endemic amongst clergy in 2016? If you are, then please supply the evidence. If you can’t, then please shut up.

      Anyone who has read as to why ‘Bishop Bill’ was removed and is not blindly prejudiced (as you are) will see that the B XVI had good cause. The same applies to the maverick Aussie priest who was excommunicated for (among other things) giving Holy Communion to a dog.

      In addition, you might do me and other readers the courtesy of answering the questions I put to you yesterday at 6:07 pm rather than subjecting us to another rambling monologue.

  25. Quentin says:

    I had hoped, John, that I had indicated from my last paragraph that I was happy to be corrected by anyone who had fuller information. And I think you would be pleasantly surprised at the number of sources I reference when this is appropriate. I am always happy to send these to those who enquire.

    In this case you may like to look at the correspondence at http://www.globalpulsemagazine.com/news/bishops-must-report-abuse/2634. My reference to criminal activity was in the context we are currently following — child abuse. My understanding is that, apart from the relatively recent dispensations, bishops were forbidden to report paedophile clergy to the authorities. If I am wrong here, you may also be able to explain why the dispensations were necessary.

    • John Nolan says:

      Quentin, the relevant part of Secreta Continere (1974) addresses the adjudication of delicts against faith and morals and against the sacrament of Penance. The majority of these would not contravene secular law. A priest (or bishop – we had a case here not long ago) who had a consensual sexual relationship with a woman would not be acting illegally; nor would he (in England) if he had a similar relationship with a man or even a boy of 16 (although were the latter a parishioner he might be deemed to be in a position of trust). Heresy, sacrilege, pretending to ordain a woman, and a whole list of ‘graviora delicta’ would not trouble the myrmidons of the law.

      Child abuse is a rare instance of secular law and Church law coinciding, so although the principle of confidentiality certainly applies to an ecclesiastical tribunal (and rightly so), it does not apply outside this context. Yes, there were cover-ups and no doubt some bishops could attempt to justify their actions by citing Secreta Continere, but it is a weak defence. Society as a whole takes the subject of child abuse more seriously these days. This is good in itself but recent events show that it has also spawned an unhealthy climate of allegation, denunciation and presumption of guilt, and unlike the US we have no Statute of Limitations .

      • John Candido says:

        John Nolan.

        You and everyone else might be interested in the following radio interview of Australian legal scholar Kieran Tapsell and his research on canon law that exposes the secrecy provision in canon law relating to the reporting of criminal offences of priests by the church that Quentin is talking about.

        Kieran John Tapsell has written a book called ‘Potiphar’s Wife’ exposing the scandalous application of the Catholic Church’s canon law that sought to stymie any Bishop’s capacity to report any criminal offences by any priest to the authorities, i.e. make secret, that began in 1922 under the papacy of Pius XI. This is one more reason to doubt the bona fide or sincerity of the Curia and Francis himself on the issue of child abuse.

        There are creeping doubts that Francis does not get child abuse, how it is the most significant issue facing the church at this point in time, and how any feet dragging by any Vatican employee, Curial or Papal, will reignite this issue globally to the complete embarrassment of all of the laity and all of the clergy, who have done all they can to fight child abuse in the Catholic Church.

        Make no mistake about the potential damage in reigniting this issue in the mass-media will mean for the Roman Catholic Church. The damage to the public name of the church will be far worse than occurred in 2002, when the Boston Globe broke the story about the Archdiocese of Boston’s cover up of their clergy’s paedophilia, which led to the resignation of Bernard Cardinal Law on the 13th December 2002, several months after the first story was published.

        ‘Potiphar’s Wife: The Vatican’s Secret & Child Sexual Abuse’, (2014) Published by ATF Press, Adelaide. By Kieran Tapsell.

        The above title is available as an eBook on Amazon’s Kindle reader or Amazon online, and in other formats at most bookshops.

        This is an interview with Kieran Tapsell on the ABC about his book ‘Potiphar’s Wife’.


      • John Candido says:

        John Nolan

        Here are three YouTube videos that is a discussion of canon law & the ‘Pontifical Secret’ by retired barrister, author and seminarian Kieran Tapsell, along with Melbourne priest, canon lawyer & retired judicial vicar for the Catholic Tribunal for Victoria & Tasmania, Reverend Professor Ian Waters.

        The discussion is entitled, ‘The Role of Church Law in the Child Abuse Issue: Help or Hindrance?’ The setting of these discussions are public meetings of the Australian Catholic advocacy group ‘Catalyst for Renewal’, and have been organised after the publication of Kieran Tapsell’s book ‘Potiphar’s Wife’ in 2014.

        PLEASE NOTE: All of the www have been altered to ‘xxx’ so that no pictures are accidentally transmitted via my post. Simply change all of the ‘xxx’ to www in order to access the YouTube videos. Thank you.

        Part One:

        Speaker: Kieran Tapsell, Retired Lawyer and author of ‘Potiphar’s Wife’. 37 minutes & 29 seconds in length.


        Part Two:

        Responder: Canon Lawyer Rev. Professor Ian Waters (speaking in a private capacity). 23 minutes & 45 seconds long.


        Part Three:

        Q&A – Audience interaction with presenters. 59 minutes & 13 seconds long.


  26. John Candido says:

    ‘The reason the Church doesn’t ask is because it is afraid of the answers. And the reason for this fear is the reduction in clergy power that would be required to deal with it.’ (Hock)

    Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney Geoffrey Robinson is a canon lawyer who resigned his office of Bishop once he became completely frustrated at the church’s poor and inappropriate responses to child abuse.

    One of the books that Bishop Geoffrey Robinson wrote is called, ‘For Christ’s Sake, End Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church…for Good’ (2013) Garratt Publishing, Melbourne Australia.
    In his introduction he wrote,

    ‘…if the church really did confront the entire issue of sexual abuse with total honesty, ruthlessly uprooting anything and everything that may have contributed to either abuse or the poor response to abuse, this would in fact be the best possible evangelisation it could carry out, and would have far more effect than any more conventional form of evangelisation.’

    ‘All of the evidence available says that the number of offences in this field has fallen greatly, and some might be tempted to think that the problem has, therefore, gone away and no longer needs to be thought about. The sad fact, however, is that the major reason for the fall in the number of offences has been naked fear – fear of being arrested and sent to prison, fear of the walk of shame in handcuffs before the television cameras, fear of the permanent and total destruction of one’s good name before all of the people one has ever known.’

    ‘It is obviously good that the number of offences has fallen, irrespective of the motive. And yet an improvement based largely on fear is surely not good enough as a total answer to the matter. Surely we need to look more deeply at any contributing factors within the church, and eliminate them.’

    ‘The work of identifying and eradicating all of the factors that may have contributed to abuse – and to the poor response – has not been done and, indeed, there has not even been a public call from the Pope for it to be done. There is a crying need that it should be done now and with a sense of great urgency. All levels of the church must cease to simply ‘manage’ the problem and instead seek to confront it head-on, identifying and changing anything and everything that needs to be changed. Only then will the church regain some measure of credibility.’

    The following paragraph is one of the most important insights of Robinson’s book on child abuse, ‘For Christ’s Sake, End Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church…for Good’

    ‘I suggest that the major reason why the church has not yet seriously looked at causes of abuse is that it fears that any serious and objective study of the causes of abuse would lead to a demand for change in a number of practices, attitudes, laws and even teachings within the church, and it is quite unwilling to do this. In studying abuse, we must be free to follow the argument wherever it leads, and we must not impose in advance the limitation that our study cannot demand change in any teaching or law. We must admit that there might be elements deep within the ‘Catholic culture’ that have contributed either to abuse or to the poor response to abuse.’

  27. Ann says:

    I don’t think men who are gay will try to become priests as a way of staying in the closet, being gay is accepted more and more in this century, so there is no need to hide away and pretend. Of course I’m not saying most priests are gay or anything like that, but some say many gay men did become priests, and this also doesn’t mean they were the ones who abused, I could imagine them having adult relations on the quiet.

    • Brendan says:

      The main point is the ease and opportunity for the active homosexual to abuse the trust between the adolescent and the adult. That was the big draw ( hopefully diminishing now and in future ) for the deviant entering the priesthood.

  28. St.Joseph says:

    The cause of the crisis in the Church today.Goodbye! Good Men by Michael S Rose will tell the story of how ,seminary gay culture, drove away healthy young men.
    Also straight from the horses mouth from a Dominican priest Father John 0’Connor of the Chicago (USA) Province who came to England speaking and on tapes the terrible experience he had in his Monastery from homosexuals who took over and he was put out for speaking out about it. He came to my home town in 1992, I have the tapes. We had to hire a Methodist Hall as no catholic hall would allow it. My parish priest came and supported us.. Of course his thoughts were not welcome either!!

    • Brendan says:

      St. Joseph – In his writings Dr. Bernard van den Aardweg would sum what you say, as part of living with ” the homosexual tyranny..”

      • St.Joseph says:

        I will look him up, does he have a web site.
        The thought has come to me, and that is when a child reaches the age of 7 it is said by the Church to have reached the age of reason.
        I think children should be told of the dangers and report any suggestion of sexual abuse to their parents who do have the first responsibility to warn them of this
        If the abusers were made aware of this they ought to take care before they even think about it!

        John Candido thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers , out of hospital now, but no chemo this week because of infections.

      • John Candido says:


        Good to hear St.Joseph! I hope that your chemotherapy is not proving to be too arduous for you. All the best with your health.

      • St.Joseph says:

        John Candido.
        Thank you for your kind thoughts.
        It is not easy, 27 and more to go. I say this to give others’ hope’.
        I am living 19 months longer than I was told, It is all in the Lord’s hands.
        Prayer is a wonderful Gift from God and I thank you all for yours!

  29. Brendan says:

    Well, I’ve taken up Quentin’s ‘ bombshell’ and firstly tried to find out about retired Judge Kieran Tapsell and his incredible assertions. There is not much so far on his personal life, only that he entered the priesthood and left , subsequently entering the legal profession in Australia . Apart from bringing out a current book on this subject of ‘ the pontifical secret ‘ previously called ‘ the secret of the Holy Office ‘; he has written in the Australian ‘ Newcastle Herald ‘ – which I assume Quentin will cite as evidence – and I have to agree that on reading this article it seems that there has been some kind of ‘ cover-up ‘ at least in the Church’s reluctance to deal with errant priest abusers in force ( all be it modified by later papal rules ) since 1922. It may take a canon lawyer here to make things more clearer, but on the surface it looks damning for The Church.

  30. Brendan says:

    As a lay Catholic a simple question comes to mind . Where no country prohibits the reporting of child sexual abuse ; what is the point of The Church’s Canon Law , in interfering with national sovereignty it requires Church authorities seemingly to disobey the Civil Law ?

    • Quentin says:

      Brendan, the problem here, I understand, is that there are strongly anti Catholic regimes where reporting a priest would lead to quite unacceptable results. In such cases the bishops would want to use their discretion even if, in some instances, the motives might be cover up rather than protection from injustice.

  31. John Candido says:

    A French priest and psychotherapist by the name of Monsignor Tony Anatrella, is in the Vatican teaching newly ordained Bishops that they were not compelled or obliged to report any allegations of clergy sexual abuse to civil authorities. Anatrella stated this surreal comment during a speech in February 2016 that is part of an official handbook entitled, ‘Witnesses of the Risen Lord’, which is used in an annual course for newly ordained Bishops in the Catholic Church.

    Monsignor Anatrella’s speeches to the new Bishops did not mention empathy for victims of child abuse. He states that sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is much better than in the rest of society without producing any evidence corroborating his point. Mgr. Anatrella does not proffer any advice or guidance in how to remain in contact with any victims, how to protect vulnerable children and adults, advice on the formation of priests and lay workers in relation to child abuse or other related matters, and how to handle guilty priests.

    Astounding as it may seem, Anatrella has also been accused of sexually abusing some of his young male patients during therapeutic sessions. Mgr. Anatrella has never been convicted of these offences.

    I just can’t believe this! How could this state of affairs arise? Why is there a dichotomy between this shocking aberration in the Vatican and the rest of the Catholic Church throughout the world? Is this a case of the rest of the church and the secular world developing healthy attitudes about limiting child abuse, reporting offenders or suspicions about offences to the police, attention to social, psychiatric and psychological research, that better informs any policies and provisions regarding diocesan-wide child protection protocols.

    Together with zero tolerance for child abusers and the prioritisation of concerns & compassion for all victims of abuse over and above the criminal perpetrators responsible for abuse, versus the feet dragging, ethical and intellectual poverty and the inappropriate moral vacuum that is evidenced in the Vatican right now with the appointment of this person to guide new Bishops?

    I just don’t believe that this is the same church that is led by Francis who of all people is an exemplary of reform with the attendance to the needs and service of all its members uppermost in his intentions. Is this another example of the Catholic Church’s incompetence on this issue? Do we now know why Vatican office holders don’t care one iota about victims of child abuse and this is? This is a certain recipe for the continued decline of the Catholic Church.

    This is an urgent matter for Francis to directly intervene and remove this individual as quickly as possible. Nothing else will do because his hands are metaphorically tied to this course of action. Supposedly ‘teaching’ new Bishops to repeat the old and discredited culture of attitudinal errors of the past, is not a good look for the church right now or ever. There simply is no excuse if Francis were to become aware of this circumstance and do nothing at all by happily tolerating this crass individual attempting to ‘educate’ new Bishops in destructive mentalities and attitudes that will only cause more harm to innocent children.


    Why is the Vatican playing Russian roulette with the Roman Catholic Church’s public reputation?


    They are still fearful of the catalytic power of a wide-ranging, global, scientific study of the child abuse scandal that exposes its etiology, and that goes on to drive the reform of beliefs, attitudes, laws, practices and disciplines in future.

    • G.D. says:

      Has there not been a lot done to fulfil the safeguarding of innocents, and highlighting awareness of these issues? And of rendering the errors you say Mgr. Anatrella is making somewhat obsolete in the eyes of the rest of us?
      You, and others i presume, are aware of his ‘bad ethic’, let it be broadcast, tell the Pope even.
      Presumably the Bishops can see the ill advice and respond accordingly?
      .. … and if they don’t ….

      We all know (now) what to watch for and how to respond. As citizens, and church members.
      The culture that perpetuated the atrocities has been made public and deplored.
      No amount of ‘law’ that aids such depravity will be able to resist the right moral response from the majority. If the majority do respond from, and with, the right moral response.

      Is it not the case that it is a minority of abusers that exist? ( Of secular and/or religious persuasions matters not in the least ). Are not the vast majority that don’t abuse ‘policing’ the issue with determined fervour?

      Those who are hell bent on carrying out their perversions will continue in secret (as individuals or in clandestine fraternities) whatever is done.

      If as you say ‘ Vatican office holders don’t care one iota about victims of child abuse ‘ (and maybe for some that is so?) in today’s accepted understanding of child abuse, that only shows their inadequate response, and is anything but ‘ a certain recipe for the continued decline of the Catholic Church’ .
      They are not ‘The (whole) Church’ only part of it. And when Church ‘authority’ is shown to be so misguided (if it is so) only the ‘incorrect authority’ is lost.
      Which can only develop the church positively.

      Unlike self serving & corrupt secular powers ( i really can’t think of one that isn’t!) who use force of arms, social & psychological manipulation, bribery and reward ect to perpetuate themselves, the members of Church authorities if they were to(?)/continue to(?) use such means, would only have a following that were as corrupt(?)/misguided(?) as themselves.
      (In this day and age the days of plebs in the pews who just ‘pay and pray’ are over. There is no ‘we were only following orders’ left as an excuse).

      And all are still members of the Church. Followers of different types of ‘authority’ but same Church.
      Has it not always been so to a certain extent?
      It might seem like two very different ‘institutions’ within the One Church, with different ‘authorities’, but it’s not, they have always existed; and i guess always will. Peace between the two, impossible as it seems at times, will produce the real Authority.
      (Can the eye say to the foot it doesn’t belong? If it does, does it itself belong?)

      Off the point a bit but …… well i ramble!.

      • Brendan says:

        It’s all food for thought G.D.

      • John Candido says:

        ‘Has there not been a lot done to fulfill the safeguarding of innocents, and highlighting awareness of these issues?’ (G.D.)

        There have been some important initiatives introduced to counter child abuse and done with the highest of intentions. There is ongoing work that tries to address this issue through the research of social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists. There is the work of many professional people such as lawyers, doctors, the police force, academics of one sort or another, journalists, Royal Commissions, etc., which is all ongoing, and then there is the awareness and vigilance of both the laity & the clergy about the issue.

        I agree with you G.D. that there has been an awful amount of work that has been done in order to address the issue of child abuse by clergy & religious as well as by perpetrators who are outside the church. Is this enough? Is that all that needs to be done? No, unfortunately.

        I am inclined to believe Bishop Geoffrey Robinson’s book called ‘For Christ’s Sake: End Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church…for Good’ in that the church is not doing all it can and is being disingenuous by failing to immediately commission a broad, unfettered, objective study that help us determine the etiology (causes) of child abuse, why it is more prevalent in the Roman Catholic Church compared with non-Catholic denominations, and why has the Catholic Church demonstrated a very poor response to the crisis?

        Until the church can stop being fearful that such a study is most likely to lead to unwelcome changes to its beliefs, disciplines and various practices, they are not demonstrating the required integrity in order to either stop the abuse completely or keep it at its lowest possible rate of offending. I also agree with Bishop Robinson that until these measures are readily placed in motion, the entire Roman Catholic Church and all of its lay members will be forever tainted by this disgusting scandal, with the reputation and good name of the church utterly destroyed as a result. Episodes like the Anatrella affair are not doing the Catholic Church one gram of good. In fact it is damaging the church all over again.

        ‘I suggest that the major reason why the church has not yet seriously looked at causes of abuse is that it fears that any serious and objective study of the causes of abuse would lead to a demand for change in a number of practices, attitudes, laws and even teachings within the church, and it is quite unwilling to do this. In studying abuse, we must be free to follow the argument wherever it leads, and we must not impose in advance the limitation that our study cannot demand change in any teaching or law. We must admit that there might be elements deep within the ‘Catholic culture’ that have contributed either to abuse or to the poor response to abuse.’ (Introduction, page 5, Bishop Geoffrey Robinson)

        The above quote is from,

        ‘For Christ’s Sake: End Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church…for Good’, (2013), Garratt Publishing, Melbourne Australia.

        Bishop Robinson’s title is available as an eBook on Amazon’s Kindle and elsewhere.

      • John Candido says:

        ‘Unlike self-serving & corrupt secular power that use social & psychological manipulation, bribery and reward etc. to perpetuate themselves’ (G.D. – quotation was slightly edited for clarification)

        The very same set of words excluding ‘force of arms’ legitimately applies to the description of the Roman Catholic Church in this abominable saga of child abuse. The church is the definition of ‘self-serving and corrupt’ when it placed its own affairs, money and reputation above the plight of children, hid evidence of child abuse, & sent paedophile priests overseas as a way of limiting their legal liability.

        The Catholic Church informed paedophile priests that the police are making enquiries concerning them when they should not have alerted them, lied about the fact of abuse and its extent by priests and religious, some prelates perjured themselves in a court of law in the United States and have been dealt with by the law for failing their duty to be truthful in court, failed to report offences to the police, failed to cooperate with the police in their inquiries, shifted paedophile priests to multiple parishes & conceptualised child victims, their parents, supporters and lawyers, as enemies of the church. Sheer hypocrisy!

  32. Brendan says:

    Thank you Quentin for making the point about ” anti- Catholic regimes .” and the decision ( if flawed ) to protect our priests at all costs. I’m a bit of a stickler for the point summed up in … ”what doth it prophet a man ….etc.” Again in secular terms for me in history , bad things ‘ come back to bite one .’ eventually , as is the case with Christs Church today. I see no excuse at all for covering-up such foul crimes ( sins ) from society at large.
    In our sinfulness , humanity so often pays lip- service to ‘ the greater good ‘ while fatally making the decision not to enhance ‘ it ‘…. The Kingdom of God. Like world wars etc. the cost is truly terrible …..for all of us. As so many of us have said or implied on this ‘ blog ‘ , however unpalatable the truth is … ‘ they are afraid of facing the truth ‘ … as is very often the want in our fallen state.
    Thanks to John Nolan and his post of 1.34 am. for explaining some points of Canon Law vis a vis Civil Law , and the liberties some prelates took in this to ‘ cover-up ‘ errant priests…. most illuminating!

  33. Brendan says:

    All this said , I am not convinced that the ‘ celibacy ‘ rule should be completely relaxed in the Latin Church at any point before or after entry into the sacerdotal priesthood. I see no compelling evidence that links the celibate life with active homosexuality ; given my belief that one is not ‘born homosexual .’
    Further, I see the great tradition of service and self-sacrifice which was made manifest by Our Lord to be of incalculable service to The Church and the World , and to be the necessary narrative of the Story of Salvation for all. For me the problem lies in the process of selection , discernment and formation in Catholic Seminaries.
    These three things , albeit by way of another Sacrament of the Church have brought me to my present state… as it will within all of us in our differing directions in The Holy Church of Christ.

  34. Brendan says:

    St. Joseph – I have used various quotes from Dr. Gerard van den Aardweg’s book ‘ Science says NO – The Gay ‘ Marriage ‘ Deception ‘ , previously on Secondsightblog . It is published by Lumen Fidei Press , ISBN 978-1-78280-201-3. I bought it through ‘ Catholic Voice ‘ paper from their offices in Kildare , Ireland.
    I’ve been interested in the issue surrounding homosexuality since the fight to stop The Equal Marriage Bill going through in 2014; since it has dire implications concerning the Catholic ( Christian ) view of ‘ marriage.’
    I ‘m not much for ‘ linking ‘ on the computer , so I hope this information will help. Dr. Van den Aarweg is a Dutch psychologist and has worked in this field for over 40 years , with a practice currently in the Netherlands.

  35. Brendan says:

    I’ve just found out that Cardinal Vincent Nichols is being considered for a dicastery head in the Vatican, dealing with ( appropriate to today’s ‘ blog ‘ ) – Laity , Family and Life…. ….I think we should earnestly offer prayers on behalf of him and the Church !

    • St.Joseph says:

      What I have read today on Lifesitenews.com. regarding Cardinal Vincent Nicholls, I am not too sure.
      BTW my 11 year old was given the privilege of showing the Cardinal around her school last week. Where the first and only Pope -Aiden in the year 500 and something, celebrated its 50th Anniversary.

  36. Brendan says:

    If you care to go into ‘ Voice of the family ‘ website there is an article by John Smeaton (SPUC ) , who writes regularly for them . He is rather contentious about his candidature , feeling it to be not good for the Church.

  37. Brendan says:

    St. Joseph – It is good that children are able to feel relaxed in the company of their Bishop.

    • Brendan says:

      Dr. van den Aardweg prefers the term ‘ homo-averse ‘ to homo-phobic ‘ ( a media construct ) ; a better term, given the unnatural nature of active homosexuality ,and lessening being charged with ‘ paranoia ‘ , anyone using the current word.

    • St.Joseph says:

      It was lovely to see all the young people and children rushing to touch the Holy Fathers hand in Mexico and also the little girl who ran to him on his chair and sat on his knee and the Holy Father and the little girl whispering to each other.
      Satan will not succeed in his work, only if we let him!

  38. Brendan says:

    St. Joseph – I fear his work has been much neglected and ignored in academic circles ; hopefully not for long . Another straight -talker on the subject as well as on social Catholicism is Michael Coren ; although he has distanced himself of late from The Catholic Church for some reason due to its stance on homosexuality . I’ve heard that his close friends are trying to bring him back to ‘the fold ‘. I admire his writings and hope he will be reconciled to his ‘ natural ‘ home.

  39. Martha says:


    As it has not been mentioned on the Blog so far, I think it is worth posting this link to an article in the Catholic Herald, which makes a powerful accusation.

    • John Candido says:

      Thanks for posting this link Martha. It is really telling about some members of the Curia in the Vatican that still don’t get it about the sexual abuse scandal. The more I hear about exceptions to proper attitudes about the clergy scandal coming from the Vatican, as confirmed by this link & the Anatrella incident, the truer Bishop Geoffrey Robinson comes across with his book, ‘For Christ’s Sake: End Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church … for Good’

  40. Quentin says:

    This is the link to a worrying report which provides close information on paedophilia in an American diocese. http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/grand-jury-report-reveals-decades-clergy-sex-abuse-altoona-johnstown-diocese

  41. St.Joseph says:

    That does not surprise me.
    Until Our Blessed Mother is listened too and Her message of The Holy Rosary is spread through the church and the world. Satan will continue to cause corruption.
    My husband used to send books in brown paper when seminarians were not considered suitable for the priesthood if they read them or recited the Rosary. I know five of them who are now good holy priests. A mother with 2 boys were not suitable for the priesthood as they recited the rosary,a friend of mine many years ago!.
    Feminism -another hidden face in the catholic church. A book written by Donna Steichen- ‘The Ungodly Rage’ Catholic Feminism tells the story of the hidden face of catholic feminism.

    There shall be no strange god among you nor shall you worship any alien god.
    I, the Lord, am your God. who led you forth from the land of Egypt.
    But my people heard not my voice, and Israel obeyed me not;
    So I gave them up to the hardness of their hearts; they walked according to their own counsels.
    Psalm 81

    Donna Steichen came to the Uk and she came to Bristol and gave a talk at St Mary’ on The Quay.
    The priest had to spread salt on the ground with so much ‘rage’ from the feminists. before she spoke.

    So nothing surprises me.! I will stick to my faith and not be moved.!

  42. Nektarios says:

    The reading of the link you posted on 03/3/2016 is truly sad and outrageous behaviour on the part
    of those Bishops and sexual predator priests. The control and hiding of these serious sexual crimes
    by the RCC demands a complete overhaul.

    It beggars belief, that the RCC had so much control, and these cases just multiplied year on year
    and nothing was done by the RCC at the highest level, nor by the secular authorities including the police whose boss was corrupted by the RCC. It is incredible.

    There are a few other things that need to be straightened out here.

    The idea that the RCC is exempt from temptation, from sin, from sinning is obvious.
    The idea that RCC priests are automatically holy is ridiculous. this require urgent addressing.
    The RCC and its clergy all the way to up to the hierarchy are not above the law of the land.
    The RCC itself is not above the law of the land and should be seen and dealt with accordingly. The days of veneration for the Church regarding these and other matters are long gone and it is time they stopped the PR machine trying to perpetuate the myth.

    It makes me look at the Church. All churches have institutions, but the institutions are not the Church.

    Lastly, the needs for reformation within the RCC goes without saying in many areas of its life.

    If the Pope won’t do it, let him be removed and replace by one that will. The Church, that is the body of believers in Christ cannot allow such things to continue. Unrepentant clergy, unable to control their urges should be defrocked immediately.

    Without holiness, or moving in that direction in the trend of ones life, one cannot assume they are a Christian.
    If the RCC Church will not be holy as it is called to be so, but continue sinning without any sanctification process actually taking place it has ceased to be a Christian Church.

    Lastly, when the world is in the dire state that it is in; when Christians are led into confusion and abused from within, If all that the Church can think about is its own institution and Church government while souls are perishing, then it is in a poor state in reality. It has not only lost its credibility, worse it has lost sight entirely of Christ if indeed the believe or even care that they have.
    Things have to change dramatically, failing that it is just a matter of time before judgement will fall on Rome and the Vatican never to rise again.

  43. John Candido says:

    Retired Australian Bishop Geoffrey Robinson has called on Pope Francis to ask for the resignation of every Bishop who had failed children in any way.

    ‘The church has lost almost all credibility’, he said in an interview with ABC Radio. ‘It has got to be seen to be confronting anything and everything which has contributed (to the sexual abuse of children).’

    This sentiment precisely echoes what he has written in his book entitled, ‘For Christ’s Sake, End Sexual Abuse…For Good’, (2013) Garratt Publishing, Melbourne Australia.

    He also calls for the end of obligatory celibacy, the re-examination of the church’s sexual teaching, a re-examination of Papal infallibility, and for sweeping changes in the role of women in the church.

    The interview is entitled, ‘How the Church can redeem itself’, and begins approximately eleven minutes into the program.

    The interview on ABC Radio National:


    ABC News story about Bishop Geoffrey Robinson’s comments about Catholic Bishops who have failed children:


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