how does this happen?

“After a three-year investigation, a grand jury in Philadelphia reported yesterday that two leading figures in the U.S. Roman Catholic hierarchy, Cardinals John Krol and Anthony Bevilacqua, deliberately concealed the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by at least 63 priests in that city from 1967 to 2002.”

Have a read of the rest of the article. How can anyone, of any faith or no faith, feel that there is anything worth protecting over and above the kids that were being abused? Was it just an old boys network of fellow abusers? A misplaced faith in the church to sort out its own problems? Pressure from church heirarchy to not blacken the name of the church? All of those are so insignificantly tiny when compared with the irrepairable damage that the abuse these 63 (63??????) priests inflicted on so many children.

It is so far beyond me that anyone would ever go out of their way to protect a paedophile that part of me believes there must be more to the story – were the Cardinals being threatened? Did they really not know? Surely no-one is that rancid, least of all those who preach in the name of the ‘prince of peace’.

I guess the ones I feel most sorry for (after the abused kids, of course) are ordinary Catholics, who must be torn between turning their back on a church institution that has allowed this to go on, and sticking with the church that has nurtured their faith thus far. thinking about it, there are certainly things that go on in the Anglican church that sicken me (the rabid homophobia of some of the bishops in the international synod – and I don’t just mean the opposition of the ordination of Gay clergy, I mean the vile hatred that is preached by some of the more extreme characters), and other things that I just disagree with. Maybe it’s just that as a late joinee of the C of E, I don’t feel that much of a bond with the worldwide Anglican communion. I certainly don’t feel any affinity with those who preach homophobia, mysoginy and racism in the name of God!

It’s an eternal struggle for people of any faith, I guess – do you stick with the institution with all its faults, aware that you may be tarnished by your association with those unsavoury types, or do you form your own little cuddly club of likeminded people… Having spent many many years in a cuddly club of likeminded people, I’ll give that one a miss. Surrounding yourself with people who all believe the same thing is really really hazardous to one’s critical faculties. I know too many fundementalists of all stripes – be they religious fundies, athiestic fundies, football fundies or musical zealots – who constantly seek the company of those who serve to uncritically affirm their beliefs, which just leads to ever more entrenched levels of unchallengeable belief. I once spent almost two years surrounded by people who thought roughly the same things as me – towards the end it started to feel like some sort of benign cult.

Since then I’ve tried to vary my circles of influence, to bring my beliefs under question when possible, and to work on the assumption in what I believe that ‘I might be wrong’ – seems really obvious when you say it, but I went for a very long time being closed to the idea that someone might prove me wrong about any of my deeply held convictions about the life the universe and bass playing.

I still have a support network – when you’re feeling down, the last thing you want is some muppet tearing at the things you hold dear – but I try to broaden things out where I can.

SoundtrackTrip Wamsley, ‘It’s Better This Way’.

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