Saturday 3 April 2010

Joyeuses Pâques....Happy Easter

The message of Easter somehow got buried today in several rows over the Catholic Church and paedophilia.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams, criticised the Catholic Church in Ireland saying that it had lost all credibility stunning the Archbishop of Dublin. Rowan Williams also made it clear that he was angry about the Pope’s plans for a new ‘ordinariate’ to take Anglicans, dissatisfied with the idea of women bishops and gay bishops, over to the Roman Church. He refused absolutely to give his blessing to Anglicans who seek to take up the Pope’s offer to help them convert.

He was speaking in a recording for an Easter Monday broadcast of the Andrew Marr show on Radio 4 “Start the Week”. He talked about an Irish friend who told him that it was difficult to walk down the street in Ireland now wearing a clerical collar. He said that, “an institution so deeply bound into the life of a society suddenly becoming, suddenly losing all credibility — that’s not just a problem for the Church, it is a problem for everybody in Ireland.”

This comes on the same weekend as Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the Pope, said that the outrage over the child sex scandals in the Catholic Church could be compared with anti-Semitism, which has caused uproar within certain sections of the Jewish community.

It seems that although child abuse in the Church has been making headlines across the world for many years, with some diocese in America being bankrupted by the claims against them, the recent revelations that the Pope, as Cardinal in charge of discipline of the clergy, was aware of individual cases (including one where the priest abused over 200 children) and yet did nothing, has blown the whole thing sky high. This time it will not go away.

In what is supposedly the most holy weekend of the Christian calendar, this story is dominating the news. I think that the question on everyone’s mind in Scotland and the wider UK, is how this will affect the visit of Pope Benedict planned for September? What kind of reception will he get? Will it even be able to go ahead, or will there be a new Pope by then?

Oh well.... It's a question for another day. In the meantime.....Happy Easter everyone. Don’t overdo the eggs!

Pictured: Pope Benedict washes 12 pairs of feet following the example of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.



  1. The Archbishop of Canterbury told the truth....the Irish Catholics are stunned.....and now Dr. Williams is apologizing for his remarks to all concerned. What a joke.

    As a group, the only class of people more hypocritical than politicians are the clergy. They commit despicable acts.....cover up their sins and crimes......finally apologize when they are forced to.....and when someone tells the truth about them, they are "stunned." There is now much crying and hand wringing that people may quit going to church as much. And the one sitting on the throne in Rome claims infallibility through it all....the head of an organization that is the repository of all truth. These clowns really do this. And the flock buys it hook line and sinker.

    That said, I find it hard to believe that this was all as pervasive as is being reported. There is almost no limit to human hysteria about this issue, and I'm sure that the situation has been magnified out of all proportion. I have no doubt that people are "remembering" all sorts of things that may (or may not) have happened many years ago. Nevertheless, I also have no doubt that crimes were committed. And there was a big coverup. And the Pope will never be personally touched by the scandal. The church will see to that.

    As for the Pope washing the feet at Easter. Even that's a joke. Those feet don't need washing. Don't you know that the feet which are presented to the Pope have already been scrubbed until the skin is raw?

  2. I completely agree with you on almost all counts Danny.

    I would say, however, that Canterbury might have chosen another weekend to make that statement. Oh, it is right that it be talked about it within the Easter period and I noted from the world service news that several senior archbishops (not not the Pope) have used their Easter sermons to do that, but, considering that the two churches are in “competition” with each other, and the statement that Williams made was bound to cause a new controversy between them, it might have been sensible not to overshadow the message of Easter and leave the Catholic bishops to do the talking for now. Next week Canterbury could have made his point with equal impact, but without overshadowing what Easter is about to millions of believers. I might add, as the Archbishop of Dublin pointed out, that he might have found a more substantial basis for his argument than that ‘one friend’ had suggested it to him.

    His own Church doesn’t have problems to seek, obsessed as it is with women and gay bishops and whether or not they are appropriate to the point of disintegration. And it is almost blind, at management level, to the myriad of problems which surround it in the “real world”. For some Christians, unemployment and homelessness are more important issues than the ones that the navel gazers of the House of Bishops seem to occupy themselves with.

    I’m not certain that the Pope will be unaffected by the controversy. His image is tarnished. Of that there is no doubt. The fact that he gave a three hour long sermon in the Vatican last night without mentioning it once suggests to me that his head is in the sand. I agree that now that we have (apart from in the Churches) taken the sting out of many things in life which even 50 years ago would be unspeakable, the one thing that still excites massive feeling is abuse of children. I am sure you are right and that there are people now in middle and later life are “remembering” stuff that never really actually happened. But exaggerated in numbers though it is, it did happen and it was horrific. Especially given the absolute power in so many areas that the Church had or still has.

    I agree completely with you about the washing of the feet.

    I thought as I looked at the picture that Jesus would have managed it without a bloke in a frilly lacy frock handing him the sponges. Nor would his water have been in what looks like a gold plate dish. But then the distance between the Church(es) and Jesus never ceases to amaze, and appal, me.

    And that is why I wonder at the concessions we offer these organisations to break our laws. It would be different if they followed the word of God as laid down in the bible and that alone. It seems though that it is just a big money making organisation, as I thing Scunnert pointed out in a recent post.

  3. I agree Tris. From what I gather, Dr. Williams made the comments in a BBC interview to be broadcast on Monday. Poorly timed to be sure and rather offhand when referring to an "Irish friend."

    Your comment about offering concessions to these organizations to break our laws is right on. This is treated as a horrendous crime for non-clerical offenders. But the church continues to blather on about "mistakes," and human frailty, and God's forgiveness, and not casting the first stone, etc. But the clergy from priest to (apparently) pope were involved in the commission and coverup of criminal acts. It's well and good to seek God's forgiveness, but when the offense rises to the level of criminality, there also needs to be prison time served, even for the clergy.

  4. Yes Danny, by the time the progamme is broadcast on Monday morning (if it is) I fear we'll all be sick beyong measure of the story.

    In Scotland, and I imagine in most of the rest of the world, the crimes that have been perpetrated by some of these priests are considered to be among the worst that anyone can commit. That the Church would think that it should be above the law as far as that is concerned is incredible (litterally). I think too that it's high time that we looked at the some of the other things that the Church is allowed to do.

    I hear a lot on blogs about people protesting that as Christians they are prevented from carrying out their religious obligations by the law of the land whereas Muslims are given concessions. It seems to me that the Catholic Church in particular gets a way with a great deal that breaks civil law, and thinks that it can get away with even more.