... in yesterday's Today programme on the Beeb explained that the Discipline of Celibacy in the Catholic Church might soon be abolished. He clearly thought that a step in this direction was likely to be taken in PF's Post Synodal Exhortation, released at noon yesterday. How pleasantly wrong he was!! (I posted about it last night.)
Martin Bashir's 'presentation' included recordings made at Allen Hall, a fine seminary which is a credit to the Catholic Church in this country (historically, it is in continuity with the great numbers of world-class academics who fled from Oxford in the 1560s, and it is sanctified by its many martyrs).
The programme told us about priests "ventilating" their sexuality ... a rather jolly, if unusual, term ... and it raised the question of a link between Celibacy and the sexual abuse of children. Quite accurately, we were told that some Catholic institutions and dioceses had been thoroughly investigated by our current Independent Inquiry into the sexual abuse of children.
What Bashir did not reveal to listeners was that the Church of England came rather worse out of that Inquiry than did the dioceses of the Catholic Church. The whole wretched tale of the paedophile clergy in the Anglican Diocese of Chichester, and the lifetime of sexual abuse, on an industrial scale, perpetrated by the creepy Anglican Bishop Peter Ball, was reviewed by the Inquiry at merciless length. Only yesterday, the General Synod of the C of E discussed how it was to find the money to 'compensate' so many wounded victims. People who think that permitting clerical marriage is a safeguard against ephebophilia might find the speech of Archbishop Welby rather interesting. He clearly is unaware that life is so simple.
Bashir may not know this, but, since 1559, the Church of England has not only permitted married men to be ordained, but has even allowed those already ordained to marry.
My own (not uninformed) view is that this liberty has made no difference whatsoever to the incidence of the sexual abuse of children or young people. Numbers of abusing priests have, indeed, been men with wives and children.
Is Bashir guilty of Suppressio veri? Or Suggestio falsi? Or both?
Martin Bashir seemed rather irritated by the fact that the only woman present during his visit to Allen Hall (whose Rector, by the way, spoke very well) was there to prevent him from getting in the way of the worship. Sounds a rather good arrangement to me.
That worship, after the end of (sic Bashir) "Evensong", consisted of Benediction ... Tantum Ergo and Adoremus very nicely sung by the lads.
Very well done, Allen Hall. Is the food still as good? Floreas ...