Sunday 30 August 2009

No, No, No, No

The sexual abuse of children in the Roman Catholic church is not something that just arose because of Vatican 2. This always seems to be the excuse that people want to fall back on. The most recent example is the interview with Linden MacIntyre this morning on the CBC's Sunday Edition. The blurb reads:

Earlier this month, word came out that Catholic priest, Bernard Prince had been defrocked on orders of the Vatican. Prince was a former Monsignor in the Diocese of Pembroke, Ontario. He's currently serving a 4-year sentence after being convicted of molesting 13 young boys, over a period of 20 years. And Bernard Prince was no ordinary priest. He was reportedly a friend of Pope John Paul ll. And he was appointed as the General Secretary of the Pontifical Work for the Propagation of the Faith.....a very prestigious position within the Catholic Church. It is alleged that he received this appointment after the church became aware of the allegations of abuse, allegations the church denies. There is a multi-million dollar lawsuit in the works, now, on behalf of several of Bernard Prince's victims. That's awaiting mediation. Nothing has rocked the Catholic Church in North America like the sexual abuse scandals perpetrated by Prince and so many others like him. Scandals which emerged during the 1980's and 1990's, and continue to unravel even now. There've been books, and documentaries, and magazine articles about all this. And yet, while they mostly document what happened, there is still a sense, they haven't quite explain how. That's at the heart of Linden MacIntyre's new novel "The Bishop's Man" . ...

At one point he sounds almost befuddled at trying to explain how the sexual abuse could have happened. I wonder how a journalist - for years on the Fifth Estate, an investigative news program on the CBC - can not actually look at some of the basic facts - most of the accused priests were pre-Vatican 2 - pre the 60s "sexual" revolution trained. This is not a problem of the church needing to keep its priests. This is a problem that has been going on for centuries and is only finally being treated differently because it is out in the open and can't be hidden anymore. The church wants to believe that this is a "western" problem and most people seem to buy into it. As I have commented in earlier posts, this is not going to be solved by just letting priests marry, or women be priests, - although both of them would be a good idea. And it isn't going to help to get rid of homosexuals, either.

However, it sounds like the book is going to be a good read. I'll get it shortly and then do a book review. I will at some point (soon?) fix the link to my article, “It Can't Be True and If It Is, It's Not Our Fault: An Examination of Roman Catholic Institutional Response to Priestly Paedophilia In The Ottawa Valley” in HISTORICAL PAPERS 1993: Canadian Society of Church History, Annual Conference, Carleton University, June 8-9, 1993, pp. 229-45.

I think it is time to write a book. I keep meaning to but life gets in the way (as good an excuse as any!!) And this weekend it has been the FanFest in Toronto!

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