Monday, November 17, 2008

Being a man, being a priest, missing the point.

I read this article with one raised eyebrow and tried to consider his viewpoint without the usual reaching for the pitchfork rabid foaming at the mouth carry on I'm inclined to succumb to whenever any form of religiosity raises its head.
And yet I cannot understand anyone who suggests not being affectionate with children is nearly as bad as sexually abusing them, for that is what this article boils down to. That and the suggestion that his very maleness makes him suspect in other's eyes.
Well maybe it does. But when it comes to children and their welfare people ought to be slightly more wary than less. And when it comes to a catholic priest people have a very recent history to study on whether their suspicious worries have grounds or not.
Yes it must be hard to feel suspected, to sense hostility or doubt merely because of your gender or ethos, but in this case it's understandable. The catholic church has a lot to answer for and a lot of grief on its hands. Decrying people as practically hysterical because they are wary is not good enough.

"This imbalance in our reaction is brought about by a naivete in modern Irish life, and particularly the media presentation of it,"
When in doubt blame the media. Doubtless there was a lot of amping in certain quarters when the sex scandal began to surface, but that does not lessen the enormity of what occurred. And his use of the word 'naivete' perplexes me. It was naivete that allowed priests to have so much power in the first place, and naivete that allowed so much to go on for so long behind closed doors.
Recalling things through a haze of rose is not going to alter entrenched views, and things that are done cannot be undone, no matter how much Fr Tony Flannery might wish it.

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22 Comments:

Blogger morgor said...

He says "Irish society has overreacted to the child sex abuse problem".

Yeah Father, sure those priests were only messin' , and sure kids are just being kids right?

He can fuck right off.

11:00 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I'm really puzzled by that too Morgor. I man can he seriously think that there has been an over reaction? Where? People still go to mass, get children baptized, marry in church and so on. What over reaction is he referring to?

11:02 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

A Redmptorist, is it? A member of the order of priests that made a career for themselves for decades preaching hell and damnation at 'retreats' and 'missions' the length and breadth of the country?

They hectored us from pulpits that we were sinners, that we were vessels for the works of satan, that we were weak and susceptible to sins of the flesh.

They specialised in a form of mind control that had you thinking you'd done or thought something sinful merely because you were human. They ensured you woke up feeling guilty in the morning and went to bed feeling guilty at night.

Tony Flannery can fuck right off. How dare he say things have gone too far the other way. When there's a well-established, married priesthood in the catholic church I'll be marginally interested in what any of them have to say about being a man and having children. Until then he can shut up.

11:06 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

"They specialised in a form of mind control that had you thinking you'd done or thought something sinful merely because you were human. They ensured you woke up feeling guilty in the morning and went to bed feeling guilty at night."
Power you see.
I've read it again, and as I'm really trying to be fair minded, but he's essentially cribbing about not having as much power as he used to, that people don't automatically trust him as a man of the cloth. His comments on abuse and child abusers are really really odd.

11:16 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

He's on RE1 with Pot Kinny, right now.

11:30 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

That was interesting, on the radio he sounds far more balanced. But again, super naive. Regardless of whether Christ would be a socialist or not, scowling at shopping centres or people's desires to have what they previously could not is a bit rich coming from a man shilling a book on national radio.

11:45 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Hmm, with a double topping of hmm. His flippery-floppery pleadings that JC was anti-establishment is a mite rich coming from a Redemptorist.

11:59 a.m.  
Anonymous Green Ink said...

I'll grant that these are selective quotes but the way he's conflating the female teacher's job requirements and his own sadness at not being able to have contact with children is pretty chilling. The teacher needs to do that every day: priests have no need to be touching children at all. Want is another matter.
There's a few rhetorical devices being flourished here that suggest he's trying to rehabilitate the image of the priest by removing the child abuse slur from priest to man. That can't be allowed to happen: the Church cannot be allowed to rehabilate itself in the eyes for society, the gaze of suspicion needs to be kept on the cloth.
And what's this "our" children he's referring to? How many does he have?
I'd like some casual contact between my fist and his face.

12:24 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I get the impression GI, that he seriously underestimates the level of revulsion felt by the public over the sex abuse. On the Pat Kenny show he twice used the expression 'stunted' to describe priests leaving the seminary, and sort of suggested that they were teenage in their attitudes towards sex, almost- although he did not exactly- absolving them of blame.

1:08 p.m.  
Anonymous Green Ink said...

Didn't hear it but that's another fallacious argument: teenage attitudes to sex do not lead to lead to raping children. He's arguing that the institution of the Church conditioned men to become paedophiles? So what's changed?
I think the truth of the Church's propensity for child molestation is somewhere in the middle between unnatural attitudes to sex and an institution deliberately infiltrated, populated and governed by paedophiles who are still there.
They don't deserve forgiveness, and we need to be vigilant where they try the pitter patter, a little at a time approach to distancing themselves from their heinous past, so they can start abusing all over again.
The atheist part of me is always a little disappointed that there isn't a hell for these fuckers to burn in when they die; the agnostic part of me is always a little hopeful.

1:21 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

You might be able to listen to it on the RTE radio 1 archive, it was on Pat Kenny's show around 11:30. If you're interested.

"The atheist part of me is always a little disappointed that there isn't a hell for these fuckers to burn in when they die; the agnostic part of me is always a little hopeful."
That made me laugh.

1:39 p.m.  
Anonymous Beady said...

Yes - I read the report and regarded most of what he had to say as claptrap of the usual order...

I did a double take when he stated that he "...knew someone who knew a number of sex offenders..." and that according to this " someone " they were all really nice human beings...

I don't doubt that Adolf Hitler and Joe Lenin were probably great guys over a pint or two but, that does not redemm them from the fact that, like Daniel O'Donnell, they murdered great numbers...

2:34 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Yeah, I wondered where on earth he was going with that. People who commit acts of evil are not unpleasant the rest of the time. Er, okay. So what?

2:39 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Priests are in no position to comment really the majority being "childless" just like yourself.
Do the maths.

2:50 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Stupid comments are stupid.

2:57 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

He's a spokesman for patriarchy.
Fuck him.

4:03 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

It's a conundrum though Medbh, he even spoke up for ordaining women on the radio today, and he speaks kindly and with compassion about homosexuality. It's a shame that some one who has the capacity to think outside his sphere can be so 'wishy washy' when it comes to sex abuse.

4:13 p.m.  
Anonymous problemchildbride said...

The Catholic Church has not fully absorbed what it has done. It is in damage control mode, but it has not examined itself and the remorse that has come forth so far has been wrung from them.

This man's comments are an illustration of that. He just does not get it. The damage that was done to so many children whose parents trusted their priest. It isn't about a man, it IS about being a priest and the wholesale undermining of trust - through denials and cover-ups - that the church has propagated for itself. They need to look inwards. They are not the victims here.

And if anyone touches my children inappropriately, you can bet I'm going to judge them by that standard, and not by how much they give to Oxfam or how nice they are to the old folks at the coffee mornings.

They still, in so many ways, just do not get it.

5:15 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Aye Sam, more than a little removed from reality.

5:31 p.m.  
Blogger laughykate said...

How on earth can there be an 'overreaction' to child sex abuse?

8:35 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

FMC, going back to your second comment here, his statement is all about how sad he is to have lost the prestige alloted to the clergy in the past. When people have power, they generally don't like losing it. Even if he's more enlightened than some, he still longs for the days of unchecked authority.

8:55 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

No arguments there Medbh, his rosy glasses are Dame Edna sized in scope.
LK, I know. How can those two words even be in the same sentence? I think Sam has it right, they just don't get it.

9:49 p.m.  

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