Thursday, April 17, 2008

Benedict In America: "Deep Shame"

The Pope (resisting the temptation to put “Panzer” in front of his title) has been in the US, undermining our PM (hurray!) and generally being well received. He’s also started to acknowledge that Catholic Priests have been abusing children, and that child abuse is not a good thing. Yes, I know most people know this anyway, but given the standards of the previous pontiff this point needs clarification from Benedict XVI:

“The pontiff called the scandal a cause of "deep shame", and spoke of the "enormous pain" that communities have suffered from such "gravely immoral behaviour" by priests.”
This probably stops short of being the total condemnation of child abuse that most people would expect: priests using their positions of authority and responsibility to rape children of more than “gravely immoral”; it is utterly evil. Still, at least the pontiff is acknowledging paedophilia isn’t the done thing, even within the monastic orders of the Catholic Church.

But it is not just the fault of the Church, you see. Oh, no, not at all:

“However, he also brought up what he saw as problems in the wider world, saying the media were to blame for broadcasting unsuitable material.”
‘What sort of unsuitable material?’ you’d be well within your rights to be asking.

"What does it mean to speak of child protection when pornography and violence can be viewed in so many homes through media widely available today?" he asked.
So much wrong with that statement that I don’t know where to start. Turns out, in Benedict-land, it is not child pornography causing paedophile priests, which is hardly surprising as child pornography is condemned and restricted across the world. But rather pornography and violence, beamed into households all over the world via the vile media. Benedict’s paedophile priests must be very susceptible to the influence of the media, and also very imaginative about what they see, if they are going to turn the porn and violence broadcast by the media into a calling to rape children. Frankly, if they are that susceptible to the media, you’d have thought that they wouldn’t be the right calibre of individual to spread the word of Benedict’s God on earth, would you?

And even given the violence and pornography beamed around the world by the media, why does it become meaningless to talk about child protection? Probably always worth having a conversation at some point about child protection. You know, to protect children ‘n’ all.

But Benedict and the upper echelons of the Catholic Church don’t want to have a proper conversation about how they can help to protect children – which has nothing to do with porn or violence in the media. Rather it is about how their priests behave and what they do when cases of child abuse come to light. I don’t think the Panzer Pope will be admitting this, though. That would challenge the authority of his church and, as we know, the church is infallible.

Cue the sound of hollow laughter.

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At 1:28 pm , Blogger Simon Fawthrop said...

Just a thought, but didn't most of this abuse happen before the "dumbing down" of TV and the innovation of the Internet?


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