Catholic Church Child Abuse Scandal Outweighs the Good

Shropshire Star
September 20, 2010

Former Archbishop of Westminster Cormac Murphy O'Connor (left) and current Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols (second left) watch as Pope Benedict XVI leads a Prayer Vigil at Hyde Park in London, on the third day of his State Visit.

Well I know there are many out there looking for employment right now, but just thank your lucky stars it's not your job to sort out the Pope's PR, that's one vacancy that could remain unfilled for some time, writes Shropshire Star blogger Emma Suddaby.

Three mass vigils planned for last week to mark the Pope's visit to Britain did not sell out, with thousands of Catholics snubbing the events over the child abuse scandals which have rocked the church.

I am not a Catholic, although I did attend a Catholic Convent for my schooling. Unfortunately, the experience was enough to put me off organised religion for life, though that's not to say I don't have a faith.

My school was, of course, largely run by nuns and priests. Like most things in life, there were good ones and there were bad ones and we learnt pretty quickly, to tell one from the other.

But the very fact that I went through a highly religious educational environment and came out the other end saying I've kept my faith despite attending a convent, indicates a problem somewhere along the line.

I heard a priest telling of his training at the Vatican. He said he had gone into the city one night wearing his priestly robes and some kids, playing in the street had called "paedophile!"' at him as he passed.

He was terribly upset but the truth is that we have been hearing the horrible details of child abuse within the church for such a long time now that the negative aspects of religion have started to outweigh the positive.

In an age where we are allowed, even encouraged to ask questions the church's refusal to hear them, let alone answer them, is the reason so many are turning away from organised religion.

We live in an age of transparency, where ordinary people expect access to all areas of life. We want to be given the facts, not told to look the other way while they are swept under the carpet.

And if the Pope himself is guilty of wielding the biggest broom of all, what belief can we possibly have in the integrity of the rest of the church?

So I am glad the Pope's visit went fairly well and I hope he makes the most of it because with public feelings running high I don't expect he'll be rushing to come back any time soon.

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