Abuse in the Catholic Church

Today I want to think about the thoroughly unpleasant subject of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. I just take a paragraph from a 2020 study: The 162-page report said, in summary, “the church’s neglect of the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of children and young people in favour of protecting its reputation was in conflict with its mission of love and care for the innocent and vulnerable.” (A), see below; fuller, international, details are provided  by (B). And a search will bring up other reports on different countries.

Frankly, I was naive. I went through my early years as a born Catholic — including 10 years at a Jesuit school. I assumed that priests were holy men, and I admired their authority and their virtues. And there was no moment when I was tempted in the slighted sexual way. Perhaps I was simply a revolting child, but I never heard accounts of clerical sexuality from any of my schoolmates.

But I am very aware that, had I been seduced into sexuality with a priest, I would have remembered that throughout my life. It would have been a black spot on my sexual self — throughout my lengthy, and, as it happened, happy marriage.

This takes my back to the old question of married priests. Of course we have some married priests — married before they joined the Church. But how about the others? I must not over generalize, but I am aware that my marriage helped me to be a broader and fuller man. And that included my ability to recognize the values and understanding of the feminine. I am certain that, had I become a priest, I would have been a better one through what I had learnt through the life and love of a woman.

Another factor springs into my mind. Is it possible that some men who happen to be drawn towards homosexuality are attracted by the priesthood? A lack of heterosexuality might feel more comfortable if it was expressed as a call from the Almighty. But I have never found a study which examines the sexual feelings of those who have chosen roles which exclude close feminine connection. I just guess so.

If you would like to comment positively or negatively, please avoid any anecdotes which could identify any individual. The law is rightly demanding.

(A) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/10/child-sexual-abuse-in-catholic-church-swept-under-the-carpet-inquiry-finds

(B) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_sexual_abuse_cases_by_country

(C) French study: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-58801183  

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38 Responses to Abuse in the Catholic Church

  1. Hock says:

    I am surprised that the ;French Study is only referenced here as a point of study when it was only published last week and is truly horrifying in its findings.
    Indeed the horrifying statistics ( in the hundreds of thousands ) are described as being mini mist and therefore the true figure is much higher than those published.
    I have come to the conclusion that the Church authorities have settled for these kind of investigations to go on being reported without meaningful remedial action, each showing a complete lack of determination to put into place procedures and have instead a preference for just waiting for each disclosure to be identified , wait for it to die down, and then express horror when the next one arrives. The advantage being that nothing needs to be done but to continue in the same old way.
    The whole structure of the Church needs a radical shake up. For a start we need Women Priests. We need to a married priesthood. The whole idea of a career structure in the Priesthood of Priest, Bishop, etc needs dismembering. Bishops completely faded out and replaced by Lay Managers;
    with the ordained priesthood there for the Mass and the Sacraments whilst parishes are run by the Managers.

    • milliganp says:

      The instant premise that everything in the Catholic Church will be solved by having woment priests, married priests and lay management is so simplistic as to be beyond absurd.
      The verb which Paul uses to describe his ministry is “tradere” to pass-on, the basis if the English word tradition. Any reform in the church needs to respect tradition, which means we give equal respect to the church of past centuries as we do to modern thinking.

  2. Hock says:

    I forgot to add that being a priest should not be a ‘job for life’ but a more temporary situation.

    • John Nolan says:

      Hock, would your Lay Managers have Apostolic succession? Would they ordain your new-fangled fixed-term contract priestesses? Would they be qualified to uphold orthodoxy as bishops had to do in the early Church? Just asking.

  3. galerimo says:

    Thanks, Quentin, for your reference to the recent report on child abuse in the French Church as I had not seen anything about it.

    It is just horrible.

    And thank you, Hock for your post. I agree with you.

    We are in the first process of a three-part Plenary Council of the Australian Catholic Church at present.

    https://plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au

    And this week, the session on child abuse was held privately with no on line access due to the harrowing nature of the content.

    In light of the opinion, I share with Hock I’m really struggling to maintain confidence in the process (we’ve had 5 such plenary councils in our history, since invasion).

    But I have put forward all of the opinions I share here, and am nervous about the implementation stage of the council which will be next year. Will any of it make a difference?

    Of the 278 delegates we seem to have a preponderance of clergy which is part of the problem in my view – the excuse being “it’s a canonical requirement “- as if we can’t change canons!

    But a Plenary Council is the highest form of gathering of a local church and has legislative and governance authority. The decisions that are made at the Council become binding for the Catholic Church in Australia.

    A Synod does not have this legislative and governance authority.

    Sadly, the only addition I can make to the opinion shared here is what I heard from a local police commissioner and another woman whose experience of the same problem of abuse in her national community is extensive and professional.

    Both agreed that in their experiences there is no “recovery” for perpetrators of child sexual abuse.

  4. John Nolan says:

    Regarding the French report, it came out on 5 October and contains 2500 pages. Reactions (including a statement from the Pope) came within 24 hours and were based on headline figures. Statistics are only meaningful if one knows how they are arrived at, and ‘estimated’ statistics need to be approached with extreme caution.

    I’ve no intention of wading through two-and-a-half thousand pages (in French) to get answers to fairly basic questions such as how the evidence was obtained, how sexual abuse is defined (the John Jay report, which was based on actual allegations, listed a number of degrees ranging from inappropriate speech to buggery), what constitutes a minor (for a lot of this timescale the age of majority was 21), whether or not the 3000 perpetrators, who must have abused on average 110 persons each if the headline figures are to be believed, represent a cumulative total over 70 years, and so on.

    So I am not qualified to comment, and neither is anyone else who has not studied the document.

  5. ignatius says:

    John Nolan writes:
    “I’ve no intention of wading through two-and-a-half thousand pages (in French) to get answers to fairly basic questions such as how the evidence was obtained, how sexual abuse is defined (the John Jay report, which was based on actual allegations, listed a number of degrees ranging from inappropriate speech to buggery), what constitutes a minor (for a lot of this timescale the age of majority was 21), whether or not the 3000 perpetrators, who must have abused on average 110 persons each if the headline figures are to be believed, represent a cumulative total over 70 years, and so on.”

    It is remarkably difficult to find anywhere a coherent statement on how sexual abuse is defined so I was grateful for John mentioning the John Jay report with its categories. These show, as I had hypothesised that the great majority of reported abuse incidents were (and probably still are) that of fondling over or underneath clothing. I’m pleased to come across this list because I’ve spent six years as part time chaplain in a sex offenders prison (till December 2021) and have not managed to come up with much in the way of accurate numeric analysis. This is in spite of wading through Phd’s on the subject and attending talks for Clergy from diocesan safeguarding officers on the problem of sexual abuse.

    I have met, befriended and spent time with several laicised priests/ deacons, of differing denominations, who were convicted and serving time for sexual abuse of minors; all of them bar one protested their innocence. Each had their own story to tell and each character was different.

    When the news about the French church broke a couple of weeks ago I was personally shocked, stunned and ashamed to wear my clerical collar. The presentation, as John Nolan, indicate will need much working through and representation before we can absorb it. The victims were, according to the report, mainly boys between the ages of 10-13 and the main period of offence seems to have been 1950-1969.

    A good friend of mine is a retired psychiatric nurse and, as such she, like myself, had close dealings with child sex offenders from many different occupations. The last time I checked it seemed that the incidence of abuse within the Catholic (and Anglican) churches was about on par with the professions generally and in line with the incidence of abuse in organisations such a early years sports coaching, gymnastics, scouts, etc. My friend and I came to the conclusion that the manipulative ability of sex offenders to gravitate into such professions (and the church) was a phenomenon that the caring/sports/education/ religious establishments seemed pretty much incapable of grappling with. We really need to bear in mind that sex offenders are often either in complete self denial regarding their actions or otherwise so full of self loathing that they will go to almost any lengths to hide. Having sat with such persons in their throes of suicidal despair and remorse I am fairly certain of this.
    I have no answers except to say that anyone found complicit with covering up the crimes of their peers/subordinates, in this very unpleasant arena, should be made liable to terms of imprisonment. Also that, despite my own despondency over these shameful findings in France, I will still be putting on my collar and braving the streets.

  6. ignatius says:

    Sorry, I forgot to address the extra issue that Quentin raises, of married priests. Quentin writes:
    “I must not over generalize, but I am aware that my marriage helped me to be a broader and fuller man. And that included my ability to recognize the values and understanding of the feminine. I am certain that, had I become a priest, I would have been a better one through what I had learnt through the life and love of a woman.”
    Yes, it’s best not to over generalise. The apostle Pau was certainly correct when he talked about the unmarried man being free to give his full attention to the Church while the married man had in his heart the concerns of occupation alongside the care of his wife and family. Deacons inn the Catholic Church are I think uniquely placed to have a view on these things having, as they do, a foot in both camps and a closely observed understanding of the demands that are placed upon a parish priest.
    For myself I would probably take the view that the likeness of Christ and his Church is most fully expressed in the life of the family. This means that the blessing of the sacrament of marriage is easily equal and akin to that of the sacrament of Holy orders. Both confer wisdom, dignity and charity. It is also to be remembered that to be salt and light within the secular environment is, par excellence, the ministry of Catholic marriage and family When I first expressed my desire for service in the church, some 35 years ago now, to a Free Church elder, the wise reply was:
    ‘.if you want to know about service, get married ‘
    He was right too. But the sacraments of marriage and Holy orders in my opinion bear different fruit as well. I think as Paul did that both states are good. Celibate priesthood is potentially a winner for those who can handle it, but otherwise it is best to marry. I think celibacy of priests within the Catholic Church should be celebrated but not made compulsory. It is probably the case that there are some character types who would make good priests but lousy husbands…and others who would make good husbands but be inadequate for the concomitantly demanding role of parish priest.

  7. John Nolan says:

    Ignatius

    For good ecumenical reasons the Latin Church is not going to leap-frog the Greeks and make celibacy optional (that is, allowing those in Holy Orders to marry, as opposed to allowing the ordination of already married men). There are also practical problems. If a young man wants to have the best of both worlds he would have to marry before taking deacon’s orders and we all know the pitfalls of marrying in haste. He will rule himself out of consideration for a bishopric. If he has a family he will expect the fixity of tenure enjoyed by his Anglican counterpart. In effect you would be creating a two-tier priesthood.

    Regarding sexual continence (which isn’t the same as celibacy) some canonists have argued that Canon 277 requires this of married priests and deacons. Why should a prospective permanent deacon’s wife be required to consent to his ordination were it not for the fact that she is giving up her rights to sex? Although for most women this might be an added bonus …

  8. ignatius says:

    John Nolan says: ” If he has a family he will expect the fixity of tenure enjoyed by his Anglican counterpart. In effect you would be creating a two-tier priesthood.”

    Couldn’t agree with you more about this. Certainly the practical arrangement would be completely different. I can’t see why celibate priests would necessarily lose out though since ‘poverty’ goes with the turf as it were. But yes, definitely you would end up with celibate clergy providing more ‘oversight’ of several parishes or some such, and getting promoted I expect – with local presbyteries becoming tied housing as you say. For myself I see no practical reason why this kind of dual compromise couldn’t possibly work…Personally speaking I’d much rather have a wife and kids than a bishopric any old day! But equally it must be lots easier, cheaper and possibly more effective to keep the priesthood celibate.
    As to the ‘continence’ bit, I’m not sure that’s what my wife agreed to by giving permission for my ordination, John! The general understanding is that the wife needs to give permission because of the broader impact on a marriage due to the focus of the Man on the church as well as his marriage.

  9. Geordie says:

    There is no need to follow the rules of the Greek church. In the first one thousand years of Christianity the clergy married when they wished and there was no barrier to becoming a bishop. Bishops had children and some caused scandal by ordaining their sons and appointing them to positions of authority in the diocese.
    Then came celibacy but it didn’t stop the bishops from abusing their position. They still placed their sons in lucrative positions. That is why the Church eventually banned illegitimate children being ordained.
    Whatever we do, the devil will find ways of helping us to make a mess of it. We have got to be vigilant at all times and change the system when it is required.

  10. John Thomas says:

    I write as a cradle Anglican, and am not/never have been RC.

    :Marriage/abuse/celibacy. Those critical of RC enforced celibacy often see this as a cause of abuse. That this is NOT so is shown by the equally-high (I read) insance of abuse in the Episcopal Church USA (Anglican) where the clergy can marry, and many abusers are married.
    :I suspect (I’ll be very unpopular, here, I guess) that the rise and respectability of homosexual practice is a factor here. I fancy those ECUSA abusers were NOT abusing females. Apparently, decades ago, there was a notorious RC seminary in the US that was locally known as The Pink Palace because so many of its students, and teachers, were (practising) gays. The RCC (seemingly) going soft on homosexuality (the Anglican church certainly is) will not help, and I suspect, as Quentin suggests, that not enough vetting is done of prospective seminarians/ ordinands.
    Please understand I am not confusing/equating same-sex attraction with the practices of anal intercourse, rimmimng, felching, water-showering, etc.
    :Admission, not cover-up – of course! Truth comes first and foremost. Without admission it is not possible to find true confession, remission, repentance, cleansing (of Churches, I mean, not people).

    • milliganp says:

      My understanding, from a conference about trying to eliminate sexual abuse, was that sexual immaturity linked with the repression of sexual desire is the common factor in Catholic priests who abused rather than homsexuality.
      This might tie in with a variation on the question in Quentin’s last paragraph ” Is it possible that some men who happen to be drawn towards homosexuality are attracted by the priesthood?” I think it s definitely the case that “men uncomfortable with their own sexuality” could see in celibacy a way of avoiding confronting that difficulty. However, certainly in Jungian psychology, that which is repressed eventually surfaces.
      Finally, the rise of homosexual groups in seminaries occurs significantly later than the cohort of priests most involved in child sexual abuse.

      • ignatius says:

        MilliganP:
        I’ve mentioned this below but would like to amplify the subject a little. I’ve made something of an enquiry into Catholic spirituality over the past 15 years, mainly out of personal interest in my own interior life – but also so that I have some idea when speaking with the broad range of persons I deal with..from ordinary adults with sciatica in the day job all the way through to long term prisoners. Also for parishioners in discussions and for preaching purposes. As far as I can see, self mastery and asceticism remain as the root protocols in formation, though a certain level of self acceptance and mercy on one’s weakness finds its way into the mix. I would think both of these approaches are vulnerable to excess or abuse, particularly if pathologically conceived by an unbalanced personality within a seminary leadership team.

      • milliganp says:

        Ignatius: “particularly if pathologically conceived by an unbalanced personality within a seminary leadership team.”
        I heard the sound of a nail being firmly struck on the head!
        Back in 1962, aged 11, I went to the Junior seminary of my diocese. Imagine being formed to be celibate at 11! It involved being formed to have few emotions and NO affections. Being a Victoria building the showers were naturally cold and a priest patrolled the dormitory at night to ensure nothing ‘unatural’ might be occuring.
        At a recent reunion a now elderly priest recalled the Rector’s speech before summer holidays “Girls!, they are not for you!”. There was a scandal when a few boys were collectively expelled for “inapropriate affections”; I remember wishing I was one of them.
        The cohort of priests most involved in abuse allegations were from the era when boys and young men entered the seminaries with no experience of any relationship with girls or women and were then formed with a view of sex as, at best, a necessary evil and at worst an utter aberation.
        I remember a joke where the question was “What’s the worst thing you could inscribe on a gravestone” to which the reply was “He meant well” – thus I remember so many of the priests at the seminary. Following on from an earler comment, I wasn’t sexually abused, but I will never recover.

    • FZM says:

      There is some more background context to the general attitude to what we would now recognise as child abuse in France during part of the period covered by this report; I am thinking of the famous campaign to abolish the age of consent and normalise adult/child sexual relations that was undertaken in the late 70s by many of the big names on the secular/progressive left; Michel Foucault was a leading light of this campaign and wrote a fair amount in defence of man/boy relations, and why the social prohibitions on this had to be dismantled. This would be more or less the exact opposite of how we would think of these issues now, perhaps this climate had some influence on how the Church reacted to allegations of abuse?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_petition_against_age_of_consent_laws

      • ignatius says:

        Yes, I remember that. According to Wikipedia Foucault, perhaps unsurprisingly, wanted to legitimise choice for 12-13 year olds. According to the review of the report on France the majority of abused by the church were boys between the ages of 10-13. Though I wouldn’t have thought that Foucault was a major influence on the Clergy of the time!

  11. milliganp says:

    Quentin – can you do something about Ignatius’ post of October 10, 2021 at 6:39 pm as it has messed up the website.

    • Quentin says:

      I have removed Ignatius’ comment. And new ones from other contributors have automatically appeared. I think the problem may have been Ignatius’ reference to another site. If we want to indicate a site, just use its internet name.

  12. ignatius says:

    Sorry but I have no idea what you are both talking about, what has happened?

    • milliganp says:

      Ignatius: your post of the report (Child sex abuse within the Catholic and Anglican churches: A rapid evidence assesment) was embeded in such a way that, on a windows PC, it caused a download to occur each time the web page was loaded or refreshed. On my iPad it just presented as a large graphic of the front cover. WordPress is inconsistent in how embedded links are presented.

    • milliganp says:

      Ignatius, I’m currenly reading the report (after it downloaded 7 times!) and a cynical summary seems to be “we have no meaningful evidence from the UK, so we’ll have to make do with America”. However, as they say, it’s almost all they have to work on because our churches have failed to produce anything meaningful.

      • ignatius says:

        Yes, its nervous and a bit sketchy but has the odd nugget here and there. It comes to the very tentative conclusion that abuse in the Anglican church rates at under 1% for clergy and ,perhaps, a little higher for us The paper does emphasise the point about a therapeutic model being adopted rather than a criminal one in both churches. This is changing now I think, in line with a shift in approach more broadly speaking. Interestingly, re offending rates among sex abusers are actually a lot lower than is currently believed by the wider public. This is partly because much abuse takes place in the home or within a web of relationships that have gradually become toxic. We can see why ‘moving them on’ interspersed with psycho therapy/ spiritual direction/ counselling/medication and a spell in a religious community somewhere might have been a model of practice that was hoped to work

        I would be quite interested to see how spiritual direction/ formation comes out in terms of its ability to get to the root of things and to cleave between the spiritual and the pathological.

        Sorry about the link.

  13. Quentin says:

    Ignatius, your earlier contribution (which I have deleted now) included a reference to another site. Instead of simply showing its address you added the command for this site to open up. As far as I can make out (I am not an expert) it prevented any further comments. Once I had deleted your contribution the missing comments came up immediately.

  14. ignatius says:

    Ooops..sorry Quentin. As MilliganP notes it wasn’t much of a report anyway. The John Jay report is much better in terms of clarity.

  15. David Smith says:

    The Great Roman Catholic Sexual Abuse Scandal is largely just another media scandal. Media scandals always greatly oversimplify and distort whatever reality lies behind them. They set the hornets nest of public opinion buzzing frantically and menacingly but the hornets eventually settle down into their accustomed routine and the scandals fade away. From the point of view of the media that set them off, scandals are merely entertainment for the mass mind, oil to fuel and lubricate and perpetuate the media machine. Unfortunately, scandals also serve to inflame human biases and hatreds. Thoughtful people need *always* to think of them at arm’s length, detached as much as possible from a sense of emotional urgency. Scandals are *never* as they appear on the surface.

    Sure, some priests buggered some boys, and bishops dealt with it as they thought best, and the Vatican knew and looked away and probably counseled lawyers. That was before the Western world became feverishly obsessed with “sexual abuse”. Some day, the bien pensant will call our killing animals and eating their flesh barbaric. Some day the sun will burn out. Same old.

    Allowing priests to marry would be to plant a new garden of scandals. Consider it if you must, but do not do it to appease the buzzing hornets of scandal. That would be very wrong. This scandal, too, will pass.

  16. Geordie says:

    Allowing priests to marry is not really about sexual abuse. It should be considered for the well-being of the men who become priests. Many priests would have greatly benefited from the love and caring of a good wife. It’s not true that the concerns of family life would detract from their vocation to the priesthood; it would in fact enhance their vocation. It is not true that celibates have more time to devote to God; we are all called to devote all of our time to God.

  17. John Nolan says:

    Clerical marriage and concubinage, along with simony and lay investiture, may have been prevalent at the end of the first millennium, but were seen as abuses and were targets for reform. Celibacy was not imposed de novo in the eleventh century; abusus non tollit usum.

  18. galerimo says:

    The problem of sexual abuse of minors by some members of catholic clergy and the inability or unwillingness of the organisation of the Catholic church to stop it, is similar to our current experience of failures too in our democracy.

    Both the hierarchical and the democratic governance methods have fallen victim to themselves.

    Our current democracy in the West is now hostage to the political class it has spawned.

    Those at the top, now appear to be there purely to perpetuate their own power and status, with little regard for the idea of public service or the common good.

    Akin to this we have a Church organisation that has created a clerical class very separate from the wider community they serve, in terms of their privileges and self serving regulation.

    And the real victim at the heart of this current state of both these affairs is truth.

    I mean the lack of it!

    Our politicians should be no more a separate class in our society than the clergy in our Church community.

    The truth of the matter is that we are all equal and a have basic human rights as women and children and men.

    And just as our politicians should be accountable in their leadership roles and their dealings be always transparent, our Church management too, should take account of basic human rights of equality, freedom and decency and be accountable to God, AS WELL AS, to God’s people.

    A woman could very well be the political leader of a democracy and a homosexual woman or man or even those married could very well be a recipient of God’s grace of leadership in the Catholic Church, either as celibates or married people.

    That’s equality. These are basic human rights.

    The problem of abuse in the Catholic church, like the current level of corruption in our democracies
    requires us to return to being who we truly are as servants of God and each other and stop creating separate classes among ourselves in order to carry out functions like leadership.

    In this sense our Church appears to be still trying to live in the middle ages and our democracies in the pre enlightenment era. And we are stuck.

    • milliganp says:

      You cannot have equality and basic human rights without a source for those rights. These come from natural law and revelation – and thus ultimately from God. You can’t then progress human right by throwing God out of the equation.
      Over 2000 years the message of Jesus has been reflected on by minds greater than any posting on this blog and their certainties are not mere cultural or societal norms that we can discard like flared trousers and platform shoes.

      • galerimo says:

        It’s hard to say anything in the contemporary declaration of human rights such as the UNO declaration that is not comparable with God’s law.

        Maybe a good way to think of it is, as the work of intelligent human beings created in His own image and likeness, taking personal responsibility for the welfare of their fellow humans.

        Pope Francis is a good model here as one who respects this work of our age, one that we can make us proud.

    • ignatius says:

      Galerimo writes:
      “The problem of abuse in the Catholic church, like the current level of corruption in our democracies
      requires us to return to being who we truly are as servants of God and each other and stop creating separate classes among ourselves in order to carry out functions like leadership.”

      It’s a shame when topics of interest are turned into meaningless polemic, bring out the tumbrils why not?

    • FZM says:

      I think the meaning and content of the idea of the common good, as well as the appropriate means of realising it, is quite a controversial topic. If we want to look at it through the lens of the moral and political philosophy of the Enlightenment, many different perspectives are evident, Lockean liberals, Kantian liberals, Marxian liberationists, Hegelians, Rousseaueans and Hobbesians…

      Various contemporary states can be seen to be the direct progeny of these Enlightenment political projects, the USA, the CANZUK countries, Russia, China, the states of the European Union and so on. The Enlightenment movement was created and its influence propagated by political and social elites of various kinds, it still depends for its influence and development on these.

      AFAIK the distinctive feature of most Enlightenment perspectives is the dependence on human reason and experience, human goals and aspirations. God appears in a more tangential way, if he serves to support and further the attainment of these.

      In the Catholic tradition on the other hand, God is the ultimate source of the common good, and God is the ultimate good or end to which society should be orientated. God established the Church to provide a guide to help us understand the content of the good, and the means to attain it; this would be via Revelation, the Holy Tradition directly passed on by Christ and the apostles, the spiritual life of the Church, as well as by human reasoning from experience. The Church is supposed to remain at one remove from the temporal political order, present within it but not an extension of it.

      This is probably why Enlightenment derived political philosophy is not recognised as a guide to Church organisation or the character of its worship. Hegelian historicism in its various manifestations (the belief that the state actually is God incarnate evolving and perfecting itself though time) is one thing to be aware of. This is because the all encompassing ‘secular spirituality of the state’ it gives rise to is semi-religious in itself.

      I think this is all basically similar to what milliganp was saying in the post above, just in more words.

  19. David Smith says:

    FZM writes ( https://secondsightblog.net/2021/10/08/abuse-in-the-catholic-church/#comment-64930 ) :

    // This would be more or less the exact opposite of how we would think of these issues now //

    The last year and a half has taught me that the beliefs of men are as fragile and changeable as clouds. The human mind is born rudderless and amoral and yet it grips new beliefs with desperate tenacity. Imagine a sky filled with clouds that change their shapes constantly but in sudden jerks, not gradually, like a gas, but jerkily, like images in a kaleidoscope.

  20. Geordie says:

    Ignatius, I don’t know what your last post means. Can you explain?

  21. ignatius says:

    Sorry, the ‘tumbrils’ refer to the carting off of prisoners to the guillotine. The point being that broad but vacuous, content free assertions regarding human behaviour are pretty vapid. Praxis is the main aim rather than empty ideologising. The human race has been trying to organise itself for millennia now but has never managed anything close to its egalitarian aims..which, generally speaking, end with the tumbrils rattling down the streets in one form or another..

  22. David Smith says:

    ignatius writes ( https://secondsightblog.net/2021/10/08/abuse-in-the-catholic-church/#comment-64938 ) :

    // Yes, I remember that. According to Wikipedia Foucault, perhaps unsurprisingly, wanted to legitimise choice for 12-13 year olds. //

    They’re making up the rules as they go along. That calling sex (whatever that may mean) with twelve year old children “child abuse” may well look laughable in a near future. We’re living in unusually insane times. Perhaps this is what happens to humans when they’ve gone too long without a major existential challenge like a world war: the anger builds up and has nowhere to go but into fantasy.

    Hmm, that wasn’t exactly where I thought I was going. More later.

  23. Geordie says:

    Still don’t understand, Ignatius. How did your post have anything to do with Galerimo’s comments?

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