Archive for September 27th, 2010

I realise this is a week late….but hey, it’s my blog ūüôā

Last week, Britain saw and complained and complained, about the visit of¬†the head of the Catholic Church to our shores, (how boring¬†life would be if there was nothing to complain about!)¬† Initially when this news first hit our papers, I was like well… so what?!¬† What’s all the fuss about?¬†¬†It was splashed across the papers, some folk were way excited about it, others were complaining about that we had to pay for it (I would rather pay for that than for some greedy politician to go buy a duck-house for his pond!), about how he, the Pope,¬†had swept the paedophile issues under the carpet and not dealt with them properly and about why did he have to come here anyway and blah, blah blah!¬† It’s sells papers!

Initially I just took a passing interest, then watching the news,¬†I saw about how the Duke of Edinburgh broke with tradition and greeted him at the airport, saw how this man with the lovely smile descended the stairs, and how tiny he is,¬†and suddenly my interest was piqued.¬†¬†Here is this man, a short little guy, well into his 80’s who should be at home with his feet up in his parlour, relaxing and enjoying his old age….who in reality commands a massive institution, a man who has a¬†profound influence on the world and whose word sways millions of people……¬† And that sudden realisation¬†amazed me.¬†¬†¬†Plus he has a bank balance greater than my mind could possibly conceive (they have a point about us paying for it!)

I guess when it is nearer to home it makes a difference.¬† In Rome he is hundreds of miles away…a figure in a robe on¬†the box, and he doesn’t seem real.¬† But now that he was on home shores;¬†I found myself getting caught up in all the excitement and bemoaned the fact that I was unable to attend any of the events in London –¬†mmmhhh.¬† ¬†But, I was glued to the TV when they showed the various events around the country and I found myself totally caught up in the excitement of it all.¬†¬†I was particularly enchanted that he was¬†coming to¬†London (how absurd).¬† It was particularly fantastic to me when he visited Westminster Abbey…¬† it represented reconciliation, acceptance of another’s beliefs and how they conduct that belief, it represented humility… he the Pope, head of the Catholic Church, a far more powerful and influential¬†institution than the Church of England, was humble enough to step into the Abbey and worship on the grounds of a different, albeit similar faith.¬† I also mused at the time that Henry VIII was probably spinning in his grave at the temerity of it all.

I found myself loving the traditions, and the flamboyance of it all. I¬†got all emotional watching¬†the ceremony of ‘beatification’ of someone who was significant in his, the Pope,¬†and others¬†lives, and yet most people had probably never heard of John Henry Newman. I loved that he drove around in a ‘Pope mobile’… how modern ūüôā¬† I loved when he stopped to kiss and bless the babies along the way.¬†This was especially wonderful to witness, coz of what it meant to their parents, how overjoyed they must have been that he stopped to bless their child.¬† Not every kid gets to be kissed and¬†blessed by the Pope. ¬† The kid’s life will most likely be defined by that one moment in time…’the day the Pope kissed me’.¬† I would love to fast-forward 20 years and see what has become of that child…how has it affected their lives.¬† If their parents are particularly religious, what responsibility will they now place on the child.¬† It could be a blessing or a curse.¬†¬† I found myself getting all tearful for the parents (yeah, go figure), how must they feel…. it¬†was obviously important to them or they would not have held the child up.¬† There was one moment too on the day of the beatification – along the way¬†he stopped the car twice to bless and kiss babies, and yet just a few yards further along, there all dressed up in a beautiful white dress was another baby…. held up in the hope of……. and he didn’t stop!!!¬†¬†¬† I cried (daft I know) for those parents, at their dismay, their¬†disappointment, and probably their hurt and maybe even anger.¬† The child had obviously been dressed up especially….the outfit was of the christening kind, a lovely white, frilly dress¬†and he didn’t even stop! I was shouting at the TV…¬† “No! go back, you missed that baby!”¬†¬†¬†He stopped for the other babies, why not theirs? ¬†How did that make them feel?¬† How will it affect their future beliefs?¬†¬† Will they carry that with them forever or will they just shrug it off and it becomes the ‘day the Pope didn’t stop to kiss you’.¬† Will it be talked about for generations (as these things are) and how will it then define the life of that child.

It also begs the question…..if as they say; the church is hiding paedophiles and brushes their misdemeanors under the carpet…why then allow the man who is supposedly responsible for that¬†all¬†to kiss your baby?¬†¬†

Paedophiles are a rotten curse on society…. they should be incarcerated and never see the light of day ever again.¬† But, families hide these things, they hush them up, unable to face the horror that in their midst could be someone who is so vile.¬† It is easier to shut their eyes and deny it…they brush it under the carpet.¬† The church, no matter which one it is, is no different.¬† They are a family, he is the ‘Papa’ and they have done what most families do, they try to hide it and hide from it.¬† It is too horrible to face.¬† There are also people and families who brave the onslaught that knowledge of these things bring, and face it head on.

My question is this….. why when after all, he is just a mere mortal, ok one who is more esteemed and apparently the conduit between heaven and earth, with the ear of God on his side….why is he expected to do any differently than anyone else.¬†¬† Many Priests ‘find’ their vocation and become caring, loving representatives of the church, they are good men, they teach and worship and tend to their flock.¬† And then there are others who use this as a means to prey on vulnerable children, there are also those who are forced through their parents and families’ wishes and desires to ‘become a Priest’.¬† What then makes them different to any other on earth?¬† How, when we as mere mortals live on a daily basis with people in our families who go on to do dreadful things to others, and we never would have guessed, how¬†can we expect this man to know?¬† And how on earth can anyone expect one man to ‘know’ the mind and character¬†of every Priest in his church.

Why are we so surprised when it is discovered that a ‘Priest’ has been found out of abusing children?¬†¬†What makes them different? Is it the supposition of ‘faith’, the supposition that coz they are Priests they should be good and pure? Is it the clothes they wear, the traditions they are meant to uphold and then desecrate that makes it all the more shocking!¬† Or is it that they have abused their position in society?¬† We live on a daily basis with our friends and our families…..and we never really ‘know’ them.¬†¬† It is impossible to know.¬†¬†

I¬†totally¬†believe that paedophiles¬†should be hung, drawn and quartered for what they do, but why do people pin all the blame on one man.¬† Yes he is the head of the catholic faith, yes he carries the burden of that position….but why make him the scapegoat.¬† The law doesn’t really take it seriously and unless a child has died as a consequence, they get a jail term and are¬†then allowed out early for good behaviour!¬† Yes, they have been good….they are stuck in jail and unable to get their hands on little kiddies.¬† Let them out and hey ho…off they go!

So now that all the hoolabah¬†has died down, the crazies have gone back into their cages and the Pope has gone home…what now?¬†¬†What are the people who demonstrated and made such a fuss about the visit doing now?¬† What are the people who flocked to the events doing now?¬† According to statistics the number of church attendees has dropped dramatically and churches are half empty, unless you have a really charismatic Priest/Vicar or¬†whatever.¬†¬† Have these people now started attending their church again and for how long before the novelty wears off?¬† Have they found their faith again? Or is it just the celebrity aspect and the excitement of an outing that drew the crowds?

And what about the most contentious issue of the whole visit….paedophilia?¬† What are the people who demonstrated doing about it now?¬† What are we as a society doing about it now?¬†¬† Is it up to just one man to sort it out, or is it our responsibility as a whole?

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