Monday, 26 April 2010

French Catholic Church launches campaign to attract young believers - Telegraph

"France's Catholic Church has launched a vast poster campaign whose English slogan is "Jesus is my Boss" in a bid to convince young believers that becoming a priest can be hip.
The poster, featuring a cheery young man's face superimposed onto a wacky yellow and green collage, also bears the question in English: "Why Not?"
This at the same time as Catholic leaders in England and Wales issue an apology and express their “deep sorrow for decades of child abuse.” Read more here

“Decades?” More like centuries, a millennium! This scandal goes back a thousand years and involves some of the greatest names in Catholic history. One leading historian says that during the Middle Ages, “in some areas the mere fact of having taken Orders seems to have rendered one liable top the suspicion of being a sodomite.”  (John Boswell)

In 1651 in Florence an Apologia for schoolmasters falling for their children recommended boys between nine and eighteen, “although there is no fixed rule, since some retain their boyishness longer, and others fade early, just as some full round, little boys excite you from infancy.” (L’Alcibiade fanciullo a scuolo, in Michael Rocke, Forbidden Friendships p.95)

In her excellent book Fallen Order Karen Liebreich draws comparisons across the centuries with her account of paedophile priests in 17th-century Italy. Implicated is Fr. Jose’ de Calasanz, founder of the Piarist Order to house and educate the poor children of Rome. He was created patron saint of all Christian schools in 1948. His Order was so rife with abuse that in 1646 was abolished by the pope. Every aspect of abuse and how the church deals with it that so disturbs us today has a long and shameful history going back centuries.

The British Foreign Office has apologised for a leaked internal memo suggesting ways to make the Pope’s impending visit successful. These included having him blessing a gay marriage, opening an abortion clinic and launching his own brand of condoms. Richard Dawkins has put his name to a campaign to have the Pope arrested for crimes against humanity for the alleged cover-up of abuse in the Catholic Church.

Apologies have been issued for the leaked memo and, of course, Dawkins’ love of the limelight is well know so this latest stunt shouldn’t be taken seriously. However, after protests, crippling law suits and worldwide condemnation following the most damning publicity they still don’t seem to get it. It is not a local difficulty, neither is it one or two generations that have suffered the abuse.

They can’t stand outside of this and look on with disapproval alongside the rest of us. Abuse is historic and endemic in the Catholic Church and the church can no longer be a law to itself, hiding behind the conceit of being a state with its own legislative system. Their system doesn’t work, their laws protect the criminals, their tradition puts perpetrators before victims and brings shame and distress to honest Catholics, priesthood and laity, around the world. The church needs to offer what it demands of its members, full confession and heartfelt repentance.

French Catholic Church launches campaign to attract young believers - Telegraph

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