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Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Thursday, May 03, 2012

A BBC program and Thinking Faith



I saw mention in the news today of a BBC program, This World: The Shame of the Catholic Church, BBC Two ,... Calls Grow For Cardinal In Ireland To Resign ....

Pressure is building on the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, to resign in the wake of damaging accusations made against him in a BBC television documentary about his role in a secret inquiry into clerical sexual abuse ...

Someone has put the BBC program on YouTube for we in the US - you can watch it at the BBC site if you're in the UK. I think it's worth a watch - it's very well narrated, the scenes of Ireland are interesting, Fr. Thomas Doyle, the canon lawyer who's helped abuse victims, is interviewed, and the stuff about Cardinal Brady is damning. Damian Thompson has a review of it. Here's just a bit of what he wrote ....

[...] In the 21st century it takes an extremely well-made programme or one containing important new information to produce the degree of shock these crimes merit. The Shame of the Catholic Church ticked both boxes. In fact, what it told us about Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, leaves us in little doubt that his position is hopelessly compromised ....

The presenter, Darragh MacIntyre, is a stocky chap with a haystack of grey hair and the truculent good humour of a pub landlord. Indeed, he has run a pub in the past, and we saw him talking to a former employee who’d been assaulted by Greene. He certainly got around, did this dog-collared monster. MacIntyre spared us theatrical outrage and let the facts speak – facts he’d uncovered himself in a distinguished career as an investigative reporter.

The documentary didn’t break much new ground, but enough, I would have said, to force the Vatican to indulge in a spot of defenestration. What MacIntyre and his team have done is take a scandal that was already in the public domain and landed it right where it belongs: on the doorstep of Cardinal Brady .....


This all reminds me of a post at Thinking Faith today about retired Episcopalian Bishop Richard Holloway, ‘Faith, Doubt and Certainty in a Secular Age’. Here's a bit of the post ...

[...] he believes that the doctrine of Hell is incompatible with the image of God offered to us in the parable of the Prodigal Son. He sees no good reason why women should not be priests or bishops; and he is vehement about the ways in which people are ill-treated because of their sexual orientation, both inside and outside the Churches .... Holloway is himself articulate, relaxed, humorous and, above all, honest. ‘Hot’ theological issues were dealt with coolly and straightforwardly ... I suppose that once one is an ex-Bishop one does not to have to mind his p’s and q’s too carefully. That being said, it seems to me that the degree to which so many current Bishops feel unable to say what they really think about such matters is surely to be regretted ...

Why is it that bishops/cardinals so often won't be honest and speak out, won't tell the truth about sex abuse/cover-ups or challenge the church's stance on women and LGBT people? Is job security really the most important thing in the whole world?


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