Thursday, July 28, 2011


There is no place for institutionalised pedophilia. There should never be. I will offend some people, no doubt. I trust that right-thinking people will not be offended and will support my view and that of countless others. I highly applaud Enda Kenny the Irish prime Minister for his straight-speaking to the Catholic hierarchy on the subject of the systematic... "abuse and torture of children" by the Catholic Church. The abuse of children in all kinds of disgusting ways has gone on too long under the long black cloak of tacit support of the Papacy and its representatives. It has been further compounded in the guise of the sanctity of the priestly confessional. When will that element be un-knitted? Until this weak area is dealt with, there will be continuing protection for abusers. There is no clear leadership from the Vatican nor its senior clergy on preventing the abuse of children by its own ministry. They provide a continuing defence for their structural inadequacies and criminality.

There have been too many cover-ups of unacceptable institutionalised structures and behaviours. The media has been the latest institution, where we have witnessed the media taking freely unto itself the right to hack victims phones, be the victims dead or alive, be they celebrities, or, you and me and our families. The media barons have always had power without responsibility. The present unpacking of it, shows a broader and deeper corruption of power than some suspected, few appreciated and the majority had no knowledge of.

Notwithstanding the fresh outcries of current gross abuses of trust and power, there is still the outstanding, currently unresolved, Steven Lawrence case and the institutionalised racism demonstrated by the British Police in the handling of his murder. This matter still rumbles on.

What kind of society have we mired ourselves in, allowed ourselves to be manipulated into? The Police at the highest levels, have shown at best lack of judgement, at worst, institutionalised racism and corruption. Our Parliamentarians have not performed any better and it has suited them to let things ride. Do we get the Press that we want and deserve, or have we got a media that has manipulative, controlling, corrupt structures, to suit their needs? If that is so, they have taken power we did not give them that they did not have any right to take. Can we say did not notice? If we did notice, I would say, as small cogs in the machine, we were disempowered and therefore, individually, rendered powerless

Now the The Catholic Church is being confronted with its sexual criminality in the strongest terms. We are witnessing some fracturing of the power of the media. British politicians are cautiously tip-toeing around a media circus 'crime-scene' from one which some of them have derived great benefit. In a few cases politicians have been victims of media telephone hacking and blagging. Senior police officers are also in a very uncomfortable place.

As quoted on the 30th April 2011 by lawyer David Pascoe "JUSTICE HAS NO TIME LIMIT", (source: Birmingham N. Post & Courier 1st May 2011). And neither should it.


Vincent said...

As for the sanctity of the priestly confessional, I can offer a view about that from my own experience. I have never been a Catholic priest, I hasten to add, nor even a Catholic.

But I did train for a different kind of priesthood: a counsellor / psychotherapist. I'm not sure of the difference, except that counsellor sounds less trained, committed or likely to mess with your head than psychotherapist. I never did get to practise and am glad of that, in retrospect.

They taught us on a training course that by law you must tell the police if your client reveals a crime already committed (in these days of terrorist fears, perhaps even a crime contemplated, which is tricky in the free-speech confidentiality of the consulting-room).

The same law applies to Catholic priests in the confessional. In addition, if the police suspect someone of a crime, they may approach the confessor, GP or other therapist and demand to see all written notes on that person.

As a student I conducted a number of introductory sessions with pretend clients (actually other students). We had to tell them about confidentiality and what it meant, including the limitations I've described above.

From there on, if a client were to say he had murdered or otherwise abused someone, I would have certainly told the police. As far as my duty to the client extended, I would tell myself that the client had been warned and in telling me despite that he was at least subconsciously wanting to be caught.

But still, it would have put me in a very awkward position, in relation to our professional relationship. Should I wait until he has told me everything, then read back to him from my notes what I will tell the police? That might be dangerous for my own safety. If I say nothing about it but tell the cops straight after, the client relationship is ruined beyond redemption.

What do you think?

ZACL said...

It is interesting you did not pursue the work of counselling, Vincent. Unlike you, I spent a lot of time involved in it. I have, and had, no problem with confronting uncomfortable issues and doing what was necessary, whatever that was.

What the Civil law says a priest should do, is not the same as the varied interpretations of what Church Law might say. Earlier this week, an Irish Priest, interviewed on Radio 4, when pressed, both by the interviewer and a victim, admitted he would not break the sanctity, as he saw it, (and presumably the Church as well) of the the confessional.

We have witnessed so many forms of abuse of trust in society's 'upper echelons', which has included a notable proportion of those who now clamour for change- isn't human behaviour devious; it's a great anthropological study resource - I am dubious just how much will truly be changed. I am sure definitions of what being 'clean' means, will abound. What will truly come out of it may be rather fuzzier.