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.