In an odd way, I feel bad for Cardinal Sean Brady & other members of the Irish Catholic clergy (such as the clueless Bishop Brennan – who hilariously chose to ask parishioners for cash in helping deal with abuse victim payouts by stating that ” ‘I did not cause the problem’ is not the response of the Christian” – gosh, if only these people had applied the same logic when they decided whether or not to close ranks and stand in solidarity with child rapists).
I don’t feel bad for them because they are poor dears, caught up in circumstances beyond their control. I doubt that most of them are especially remorseful about the crimes perpetrated within and by their institution. As Pam Spaulding points out, Brady is in full-on defensive mode. He had done nothing wrong, you see! Nothing that wasn’t in accordance with the times! This entire thing reminds me of how Emmanuelle Seigner went to bat for her husband, Roman Polanski, by pointing out that what he did to that teenage girl was not rape! It was just 70’s sex! The 70’s were a wild and crazy time! Sodomizing children was no more unusual than listening to Foghat!
I think Brady and Seigner should hurry up and have an affair. She’ll ditch Roman, he’ll bail on the Roman Catholic Church (see? this whole “Roman” thing means that it’s practically fate), and together they can raise sheep in a particularly remote corner of New Zealand, sparing global society their apologist nonsense.
But yeah, I do feel bad for people who are so completely invested in their power and privilege that they, on one level, are willing to make a total break with reality. It’s a shitty bargain, in the end. It catches up with you in this world or the next, and deservedly so.
What we’re seeing today, really, is yet another confirmation of how little churches have anything to do with God, or even something as relatively concrete as holy texts. In a way, I believe that any religious institution straddles a great paradox – it plays a certain role, but it’s very status as an institution has a tendency to negate the role even as it is being played. Still, sometimes the mistakes that church officials make are so crude, so blatant, SO despicable, that sadness sets in in spite of logic.
Now, if only these powerful men of the cloth had any sadness reserved for all those children they failed so profoundly. Spare a little sadness for Paul Dwyer, maybe? He killed himself after the police failed to bring his rapist, former priest Bill Carney, to justice. Carney was paid off to leave the Church. He has a nice little life in Scotland. He’s married. And Paul Dwyer is dead. Of course, you’re not supposed to have sympathy for suicides, Cardinal Brady. You just set your mouth in an even thinner line, and take care of business, right?
How many Paul Dwyers is that cardinal’s seat worth, anyway?
P.S. Great comment on Pandagon, by RickMassimo:
“Dr Brady claimed that wider society handled child abuse cases differently in the 1970s. ’There was a culture of silence about this, a culture of secrecy, that’s the way society dealt with it.’”
Yes, and the Catholic Church has always been proud about how in step it is with society at large.
P.P.S. You know, something that has always struck me is the irony of it all, really. Even violent criminals look down on child rapists. You have to let this sink in. These Roman Catholic officials are worse off than some prick doing 10 to 15 for robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.
7 thoughts on “Cardinal Sean Brady saw no evil. Right.”
natalia – i find it interesting that you defend rielle hunter (something that few of your fellow feminist bloggers appear to do), and then go on to vent such amounts of moral outrage against the roman catholic church.
You’ve really put me on the spot.
I don’t quite know what to say.
Oh, wait, I think I do.
Rielle Hunter is not a child rapist.
Rielle Hunter is not an enabler and defender of child rapists.
Cranky liberal, I have to side with Nat on the RH issue. What she did was only slightly “icky”, not criminal, and NOT a vicious act of physical aggression against a child. As a descendant of a woman who was disowned by her Belfast relatives for marrying a protestant, I agree that “Nuremberg”-type defenses in cases like this ARE inexcusable. “just following orders” or “that’s just what we do” or “I could lose my job” is bullsh*t. My gran’s refusal to perpetuate that horrible cycle of sectarian violence turned into a pretty nice Canadian emigre story. Fortunately, gran didn’t see being half of a double-income couple as “shameful” in a time that most others did. We’re talking about giving up social approval in the name of speaking out against atrocities, here, not niceties like marital fidelity and feminine hygiene products!
Nat, please back me up on this “Nuremburg defense” is no defense line of reasoning by justifying your previously stated pride in that “cardboard”(?!?) grandfather of yours. “Oskar Schindler”-type stories are always timeless and inspiring.
In the meantime, I’m going to try to bring a happier note to this St. Patty’s Day. I’m going to check out some re-makes of Sting’s old classic “Waves of Gold”.
Oops! That was supposed to be “Fields of Gold”.
Extrapolating from the usual ad hominem attack patterns that often turn up on this site, I should probably cover one more possible objection before somebody tries to drag the Sinn Fein into this discussion. When my gran was disowned for refusing to take part in all of her family’s religious hypocrisy, she stayed a Catholic and my grandad stayed a protestant. My mom lived with–but never married–an anarchist (I mean like Gandhi, not Sid Vicious). My parents encouraged me to choose my own religion. The best I could do was agnosticism with a value system that’s more or less rooted in Bentham and Mill. And the whole fam-damily is ok with the whole fam-damily.
When I side with somebody who’s attacking a member of the Catholic church for committing/protecting people who commit atrocities on children, it’s because the person has committed that atrocity and abused his position to do so. Religious or ideological affiliation is irrelevant. While there are few cross cultural universal “oughts”, members of the UN have fought for years and finally succeeded in making rape a war crime. We can’t call ourselves intelligent beings if we call a given act an atrocity in a time of war and “just something we do” in a time of peace. Just try to apply that type of reasoning to other acts of physical torture with racism or antisemitism as a motive. You’d have to go pretty far back in history to be able to use the excuse “It was just something we all did”.
As deep as my contempt for people who commit hate crimes is, my respect for people who risk persecution or death to prevent them is deeper. So is my contempt for anybody who thinks that losing his job over “a complicated situation” is any kind of an excuse for protecting a rapist. A greedy bugger can always get another job.
I just thought I should further clarify how Nat and I are comparing atrocities to atrocities, while Cranky “Liberal”(?!?) is comparing atrocities to forgotten feminine hygiene products.
My search on the Sting song was interesting. I always thought it was some kind of Irish Romeo and Juliet thing. Apparently, there is no epic symbolism in the words. It’s just a song about how Sting got jiggy with his wife in a field of barley for no reason except that they were both horny, I should be so lucky as to end this St. Patty’s Day on THAT note 😉 The song’s still pretty, though.
Rielle Hunter is an adult she made a choice to engage in actions others do not approve of with another adult. That is called life – people dare I say even women are allowed to make choices others do not agree with and then deal with the consequences of those choices.
These priests aided, supported and protected by the Church which is supposed to be a ‘moral authority’ and demonstrate leadership engaged in actions against children – there was no consent there was no choice for these children and no protection or support. If outrage is not called for in this case then when.
CARDINAL SEAN BRADY AND THE CHILD SEX ABUSE SCANDAL THE BIGGEST COVER UP IN THE WESTERN WORLD READ IT EXCLUSIVLEY HERE: