Tuesday 1 June 2010


Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Emeritus Archbishop of Westminster, is going to head up a team of Catholics chosen by Pope Benedict, to investigate, yet again, how the Church in Ireland was able to cover up decades of sexual abuse by priests.

There have already been two inquiries and basically what they found was that in Ireland the Church was above the law, or indeed a law unto itself. I’m not sure that another inquiry, specially led by a priest who has himself been implicated in the cover ups, will be helpful or will in fact uncover anything that the previous inquiries by the Irish authorities has not.

Cardinal Murphy-O’Conner, when a bishop, was involved in appointing a paedophile priest to a job at Gatwick Airport, in which he would have contact with children. When the priest, Michael Hill, was jailed in 2002, victims sought Murphy-O’Conner’s resignation. He of course refused to go and instead issued an apology.

It seems that when senior people get it all wrong, and in this case seriously wrong, they issue apologies. When junior people make a mistake, they pay with their jobs, and sometimes their freedom.

In any case, I wonder if inaction on the part of the Vatican all these years will be seen to have been somehow mitigated by the amount of weeping, praying (instead of preying) and gnashing of teeth that has been seen to come from Rome in the recent past, since the horrors of what went on all over the world, and the complicity of senior clergy in hiding it, has become public knowledge.

Frankly I wonder that any senior clergy in, it seems, any country in the world, can walk about the streets with their heads held high.

Photographs: Cardinal Murphy-O'Conner; Pope Benedict


  1. down with sky fairy worshippers !June 01, 2010 1:13 am

    I was always a bit worried when all of our politicians believed in sky fairies and miracles but I notice Clegg is an atheist so it's not all bad now. Brown used his moral compass to hit the economic rocks and Bliar used God to give him fortitiude to help him flatten Baghdad and send thousands to an early grave.
    The new inquiry is a typical move by the catholic church. It gives the pope cover for his imminent visit to the UK.

  2. Ah wis gaunnae say sumthin' along the lines o' 'this aw feels like it did durin' the Reformation' but ah lost ma threed. Ah think yer photie o' Benedict wearin' ma hat put me aff. When are folk gaunnae wake up tae this deception? The Church is riddled, an' they're gaunnae suffer years o' enquiries an' exposes. It's worse than when we found oot that Hughie Green wis Paula Yates' faither. Some stains'll never wash oot. The Church cannae get awa' wi' investigatin' itsel' fur ever. Someday soon an' awfy bright light's got tae get shone intae Benedict an' his organisation's darker reaches.

    Until such time he's no welcome in ma toun. Ah'm gettin' oot ma marchin' bitts. Ah want ma hat back.

  3. Does anyone else sense the parallelity in the actions, attitudes and general mindset of the RC Church and Westminster.

    They have both existed so long within their own bubble of sovereignty and dissociation from the reality of the great unwashed that they do not know what is happening at the foundations of their powerbase.

    It is crumbling and, buoyed overweaning arrogance, their insulation from reality, feelings of separateness from the rule of law, self indulgence, they know not that their ultimate downfall rushes on them.

    Feck em.

  4. What I will say is that while I agree with your broad thrust Tris, it is worth saying that the CoR isn't a nest of paedophiles and child abusers. There is much good works, it is just sad that they seem to have an institutional problem with the organisation of authority here.

  5. Sky: I think that politicians use their (and I emphasise their) religion to woo voters. It seems traditional that the prime minister in London be a Christian. Some of their acts in office are pretty far from anything that Jesus of Nazareth would have been approving of.

    But yes, it's true that the Deputy Prime Minister has "come out" as an atheist. The last DPM, Peter Mandleson, and the one before that John Prescott (aristocrats both now) have, as far as I know never talked about religion.

    As far as I am aware Mr Salmond is not a Christian either, but again it’s not something I’ve heard him talk about.

    Apart from them some leaders have undoubtedly hijacked religion. I was amazed that Blair joined the Catholic Church just shortly after standing down. It was as if being a Protestant was better for the image while he was PM... Best be C of E.... Mad.

    I doubt if the bulk of the population gives a scoobie either way, although I'm not sure that Brits would be open for a Muslim yet a while.

    I know that the Christian religion is kind weird because it appears to be put somewhere on top of the Jewish religion, what with the Old Testament (The Torah) being a part of it. So, it is rather difficult in some ways, to argue what the overall philosophy is. Is it the New Testament’s message of love and forgiveness or is it the Old Testament’s message of vengeance and war?

  6. OK Sophia. I knew that the hat would cause trouble.

    But you have to admit it does suit the fella. Although it’s getting a wee bit tatty round the brim don’t you think?

    I think that in the spirit of Christian charity you should maybe just let the old fella keep it. I’ll see if I can find another one in the Oxfam shop this afternoon and get it for you...OK?

    There will, I agree, one day, be a bright light shone round the corridors of the Vatican. I’m surprised that it didn’t happen some time ago, but it seems that The Vatican is more durable than I thought.

    I’m not really sure about Hughie Green and Paul Yates though. If he’s her father why doesn’t he have the same name....?

  7. Navel gazing seems to be a way of life for all churches. The COE worry about women and homosexuals being bishops and the catholic church worries about paedophile priests (well no danger of letting women in). It’s all hypocrisy as far as I can see.

  8. C'mere tris, let me whisper in yer ear... (ye mind Jess Yates that played his organ oan 'Stars oan Sunday'? He wisnae awfy good at playin' if ye ask me, but he looked the pairt, sittin' there in front o' his stained glas windae. He wid hae oan aw the big stars like Mr Norman Wisdom, Miss Gracie Fields an' Miss Violet Carson, aw singin' their herts oot fer God, it wis unmissable telly oan a Sunday. Well Mr Yates wis Paula Yates faither, till he wis deid an' the truth came oot, that Hughie Green wis the real faither. So much fer them bein' upstandin' Men o' God. Puir Paula never recovered fae the shock)

  9. Aye Bugger that's not a bad summation of the situation.

  10. Oh Yes, Dean. I'm aware of a lot of good men in the Churches. I've met a few, and whilst I've no idea about what harm they may have done in their lives, I'm well aware of a lot of good that they have done.

    However, whatever good the individuals in the Church do, to my mind, is overshadowed by so many bad things that Jesus would never have recognised as Christian.

    It's the main reason that, although I live a life based loosely on what I imagine to be Christian principles, I would never have anything whatsoever to do with organised religion.

  11. I repeat Munguin. I'd never have anything to do with organised religion. It all seems to become big business, and teh bigger the Church, the bigger the business. El Vaticano manages to make a whole state out of it... what's that about then?

  12. Hum Sophia... I like it when you whisper in my ear.

    I'm getting the general drift of what you're saying, although the names are not meaning a lot to me.

    I like stain glass windows though.... lovely on a warm sunny day to sit in a beautiful building and enjoy the sun streaming through the windows.... ahhhh

    Oh yeah sorry, so, what you're saying is these holier than thou lot are all at it, just like they were normal people.

    Got it....