Absolve This: Put The Catholic Church Out Of Its Misery

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Bless you Father for you have sinned…

I’ve made no secrets of my feelings towards the Catholic Church, in particular when it comes to its dealings with child abuse. Thus, it was with a certain amount of resignation that I awaited the release last week of a report detailing the Church’s efforts to cover up incidents of clerical sexual child abuse in the dioceses of Dublin over a 30 year period (media coverage here and here).The Commission of Investigation into Dublin’s Catholic Archdiocese examined complaints against 46 priests in relation to over 320 children.

The report found that rather than actually deal with the allegations of abuse, or show concern for the welfare of the children brutally molested, the Church:

focus[ed] on the avoidance of scandal and the preservation of the good name, status and assets of the institution and of what the institution regarded as its most important members – the priests.

This self-serving protectionism lives on strong to this day, with the Vatican refusing to engage with the Commission because of cowardly complaints that the Commission didn’t go through the proper “diplomatic channels“. The levels of corruption and deceit have even extended to State authorities, including the police, highlighting the deplorable level of malevolent influence the Catholic Church has in Ireland.

I think people outside of Ireland don’t truly grasp how much a part of the fabric of day-to-day society the Catholic Church was, and still is today. The majority of schools are Church run, the Angelus is played on our national television and radio stations, and pubs are closed on Good Friday. So despite seeing report after report detailing a litany of emotional, physical and sexual abuse carried out upon thousands of children over a period of decades, and despite that fact that this abuse has been actively covered up at the highest levels, the Church survives. The Irish people shake their heads and mutter their disgust before heading back to mass on Sundays – like good Catholics.

Will the Church ride out this latest scandal? Certainly the uproar it has created is considerable. I want to believe that people will see the Church for the self-serving hierarchy that it is and remove themselves from it’s diseased shadow. I’m led to believe that Christianity is a way of life, not a building you go to every week. The cynic in me isn’t so hopeful.

However those of us who were brought up in a Catholic environment and were baptised before we had a chance to develop our own views on the world can register our disgust with the Church by hitting them where it hurts: their membership. As a “lapsed” (to put it mildly) Catholic I still gets counted as a member of the Church. To make the separation official, one has to defect. The genius’s at Count Me Out have compiled all the information you’ll need to complete this easy process on one website. Not Irish but still want to defect? No problem, the form is universal, so just fill this out and send it to the parochial house or bishop’s office of the diocese in which you were baptised. If you haven’t defected yet, then the church is using your membership to show that they have support. Not a Catholic? Then do what you can to spread this campaign.  Don’t let the Catholic church get away with this any longer. Check out the Intelligence Squared debate over at Atheist Media if you are somehow still unsure.

Any other organisation would have been torn down after the first evidence of child abuse came to light. How many more horror stories do we need before the Church is put out of its evil misery?

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