In a series of decreasingly confident announcements, the Catholic Church has this week gradually moved towards the unprecedented admission that it should shoulder some of the blame for decades of clerical child abuse.
willing to be flexible about this", intoned Cardinal Desmond Connell yesterday,
scratching his head in honest bafflement at the enthusiasm of so many
to blame priests and only priests for the actions of priests. "If people
are so convinced that this whole affair is partly the fault of the Church,
I suppose we just have to accept that." "Other parties are not entirely
innocent, of course," he added. "There are the parents who so foolishly
entrusted their own children to people who we knew to be dangerous
paedophiles. The police who failed to intervene based on the cast-iron
evidence locked safely in our files. And let's not forget the malign influence
of society in general, which is in sore need of a return to good Catholic
values of chastity and unfailing honesty."
The Church has also issued new guidelines on behaviour to priests in reaction to the scandal. They reflect the new Church policy explained by Archbishop Sean Brady during the week. "The answer is obvious," he told reporters. "We need more and stricter celibacy among priests. In fact, no priest should at any stage allow any thought with even the mildest sexual content anywhere near his conscious mind. No, the best policy is to push such urges deep, deep down into the darkest regions of the psyche, where they'll be far happier playing with the other neuroses, psychoses and complexes." The Archbishop added that priests might want to channel such energies into more socially useful areas - "such as your work with children".
The recent resignation of the Bishop of Ferns, Brendan Comiskey, over the mishandling of child sex abuse allegations has kind of rocked the country to its fairly indifferent core. The Evil Gerald assesses the impact of the bishop's move:
Airline traffic recovers dramatically as Ireland is emptied of fleeing
clergy hoping to build a new and better life in Thailand.