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Socialist Party of Great Britain

Sins of the Fathers

First there were the black and white smoke signals from the Vatican; then a bloke in a posh frock on the balcony announced in Latin (because these things have to be communicated in ways otherwise unused in the modern world) ‘Habemus papam’ which, roughly translated, means ‘We’ve got a new one.’ And out stepped the new Pope and asked the crowd of nuns and tourists, all weeping with joy because they’d got a new one, to pray for him.

He’ll need more than prayers to deal with all the stories of abuse, blackmail, bullying, gay rent boys and other dirty deeds in the Vatican, and in the Catholic Church generally, that beset the previous Pope’s last days in the job.

After deflecting the world’s attention from the widespread abuse of children in the Church, his job will be to deliberate on God’s latest thoughts on such things as abortion, celibacy, sin, sex, sodomy and contraception (or, when involving the priesthood, any combination of these).

But while the cardinals were still weighing each other up for the job, an organisation named SNAP (Survivors Network of Abuse by Priests) had come up with a list of a ‘Dirty Dozen’ candidates who, they say, because of their failure to deal with the problem, should not become Pope, or even be involved in the selection process. Their website (www.snapnetwork.org) makes interesting reading.

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