27 March 2010

Pervert Priests

For nearly three decades I served in the Diocese of Chichester under Bishop Eric Kemp. One of the things that made him so admired among his clergy was the care and love that he showed towards a priest with a problem. The fact that he gave an errant priest - even one whose lapse had been sexual - a second chance, seemed to us, back in the 1980s, the mark of a fine pastor. In that far-off decade, forgiveness and mercy were thought very highly of. In those days, forgiveness and mercy were thought of as characteristics of our blessed Lord himself. In those days, secular critics of the Church very commonly attacked her for being "unforgiving" towards those who had fallen from her standards in sexual matters. In those days, fashionable 'libertarian' organisations defended the right of pedophile groups to campaign for the legalisation of consensual sexual activity between adults and children. In those days, as we worked our way through the progressive decriminalisation of sexual activities, there were those who believed that the process would eventually encompass all sexualities. Indeed, why, on secular principles, should this not be so? In my lifetime, we used to imprison for homosexuality and abortion. Now these activities have been elevated into secular sanctities which it is increasingly dangerous to blaspheme and which are to be inculcated even among the very young at public expense. I would have no difficulty explaining to a pedophile why his predilection contravened given Christian Dogma, and why its expression was therefore an absolute evil which no little game of situational ethics could for the tiniest moment justify. I do not know how I would even begin to persuade him of the rationality of current public morality.

We all know that those who are gunning for the Pope are hypocrites. We know that they are in many cases dirty hypocrites whose own lifestyle is unmarked by any evidence of sexual continence. We know that they are bigoted hypocrites who are only marginally, if at all, interested if a rabbi or a humanist gets 'done' for pedophilia or if an Anglican diocese is bankrupted by the compensation it has paid out to abused Inuit children. There is one organisation that they detest with a loathing curiously like Hitler's dislike of the Jews. There is one man for whose downfall they have an insatiable bloodlust.

Nil novi sub sole. Dante described (Purgatorio XX 86-88) how Christ was again made captive and mocked in the person of His Vicar.

How very, very, appropriate that this malevolent evil should be reaching its climax in Holy Week. Satan has a real sense of liturgy.


Veggio ... nel Vicario suo Cristo esser catto. Veggiolo un'altra volta esser deriso; veggio rinovellar l'aceto e'l fiele ...


Unknown said...

Here here Father!

Unknown said...

You can tell I'm excited because I misspelled hear.


John said...

I've been reading your blog for some time, but I felt compelled to comment this time:

Thank-you for this wonderful entry!

There's nothing like the Gale of Orthodoxy blowing on our faces! The less we worry about the Spirit of the World, the more we cling to Him, Crucified and Risen, the happier we are.

I ache for you to come into full and final communion with the Successor of Peter, Prime Minister of the King.

Andrew said...


GOR said...

Thank you Father! Well said and very true. Difficult times for everyone in the Church and especially for our Holy Father.

But as Our Lord pointed out "the servant is not greater than his master" and given how He was treated, we should not feel too downcast. The Church has weathered worse, survived and prospered. She will again - and always.

Unknown said...

Well written, father, but: We should not suggest we are unfair treated, because we are not. Our beloved church has failed thousand of children. We are now saved by the press and given the opportunity to clean up. Let’s do that and frankly, stop whining

Anonymous said...

GerardH : Thanks for undercutting all the pompous & errant tripe that have been left as comments on this poisonous post.

Father H: Good luck in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. As a former victim of sexual abuse & the father 2 young sons, (one of whom is disabled,) I don't think Christ will be present in a sect that rates liturgy & the Vatican's public image over the pursuit of justice.(Over Holy Week I'll pray for the abused, the abusers & all Christians.) God heal the victims & forgive the abusers & the instruments of Satan who have helped them evade justice.

Ó Rothláin said...

"How very, very, appropriate that this malevolent evil should be reaching its climax in Holy Week. Satan has a real sense of liturgy."
Very well said.

Ó Rothláin said...

...and I've actually quoted you on my blog.

umblepie said...

Thank you for your support of our Holy Father. The blatant bigotry and hypocrisy of so many that calumniate him and the Church, is reminiscent of those who ensnared and crucified Christ on spurious charges. After Christ's death on the cross, He nevertheless rose again from the tomb, in triumphant and all-powerful Majesty. Thus will it always be. Good will always triumph over evil; let us not be downcast, but rejoice and be glad, and keep fighting the good fight.

Scelata said...

Thank you, Fr Hunwicke, and God bless you.
"God heal the victims & forgive the abusers & the instruments of Satan who have helped them evade justice."
Grumpy, I join you in your prayers.
But I think you misunderstand the essence Liturgy -- it is not a pretty adjunct to ones Faith, it is the very Source and Summit of that Faith.
It provides food for the journey, and the state of the world and of the Church makes it apparent that there are many who suffer from malnutrition.

(Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

Transalpine Redemptorists said...

Thank you Fr Hunwicke!
I have quoted your brilliant post and given the link to it.
Fr. Michael Mary, F.SS.R.
Papa Stronsay

Fr John Hunwicke said...

I feel honoured to have been quoted by the Papa Stronsay Redemptorists, for whom I have long had a great - though practised at a distance! - admiration.

Unknown said...

Many thanks, Fr. Hunwicke for an excellent post. You express well what many are thinking. P.S. Greetings from Italy also to the Orkneys!

frd said...

Grumpy Cleric - you need some remedial ecclesiology/moral theology. Personal Sin (even the vilest moral lapse) does not constitute the establishing of a "sect". I'm sure we are all sorry to hear of your personal troubles - but please, try not to argue from the particular to the general. Most of us learned that in 2nd year philosophy class.

Fr. John, S.S.A. said...

Thank you, Father, for your insightful clarity and defense of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict. May this Holy Week be for you, and your people, a time of intense Grace and holiness.

Ken said...

Undoubtedly, the Church's accusers are hypocrites, but considering that actual sins were committed, we should probably be saying, "Lord, have mercy on us sinners" rather than, "look at how we are not like them."

Unknown said...

David, what you didn't seem to pick up in any of your classes was a sense of common humanity and the grace to refrain from point scoring.

Whilst I too deeply regret the current offence to Christ and the Mystical Body surely it is caused by Christians who fail to believe that the Truth will set them free?

We need to recognise that philosophical systems, growing from paganism, that supported the Gospel over the previous two millennia are not the Gospel itself. This has, and does, flourish whatever the background culture. The mixed expression of community, care and mutual responsibility that Western Europe now experiences is a direct result of its Christian Heritage (growing specifically out of its experience of the total engagement of society in war).

Much as I regret the loss of some of the beauty that Europe stored up for the world in its extra-liturgical devotions I don't regret the loss of a spirituality that believed beating children freed them from evil nor that imprisoning failed suicides in solitary confinement for their failed crime was 'just'.

Human sexuality, the healthy practise of which is founded upon freely given consent, is something that we are fortunate indeed to be able to speak with such insight.

Giving people a choice, within a relationship with Divine Love, seems to be what Jesus was about. He was trenchant in his criticisms of professional holiness and recommended millstones for those who caused little one to stumble. Hardly texts which allow us any space to feel 'sorry' for the Pope or engage in maundering sentimentality about a fortress spirituality.

frd said...

I bet you're a 1970's sort of ecclesiastical free-thinker. Maybe a bit short on intellectual rigor in the moral theology dept...but more than made up for with bags of holier-than-thou protestant hubris.

And, of course, as we all know, it's not "point scoring" at all as long as you call it "spirituality".

Fr. Michael said...

GIVE ME A BREAK!!! You people are living in dam make believe world!

Have sexual desires for little children, is hardly classified as being anything as the natural struggle with our flesh!! It is in a completely different category. EVEN those in prison understand there is some idea of a hiearchy of sins! It will eventually end up destroying western culture. BECAUSE OF NO REPENTENCE! Tic Tock Tic Tock!!!!!!

Unknown said...

I'm sorry if I have been unclear - my post about Truth was not intended to support a Situationlist position, I find 70's ethical debates as helpful as some of the 'Blimp-ish' knee jerk responses above.

Condemning paedophilic behaviour as a sin and a crime is straightforward and uncontentious. However a question that seems not to resonate with those posting above and who want, like me, to support public Christian ministry is why has it, ie paedophilia, found the clerical culture of the RCC in some places an environment in which to flourish seemingly unchecked?

Part of the current scandal (skandalon = stumbling block) to those we seek to commend the Gospel is that the RCC has set its own law and culture above that of the surrounding society. That is now seen to be wrong by all except those who hark to some Ultramontanist dream in which the Church is the perfect civil as well as theological society. Fortunately Cardinal Ratzinger did take steps to bring Curial culture into line with contemporary understandings of accountability and process. This should, in my opinion, go further.

David, I don't know if your last statement was meant to be facetious? I don't post here to score points but to engage in loving dialogue with fellow Christians in mutual respect... perhaps your confessor will set you right!

Unknown said...

I only now encountered this fagther and it really raises a lot of good points.

Was it not a now prominent member of the Labour Party in Great Britain who, at a Labour Party convention in 1980, put forth a motion calling for an end to disrimination again

We are seldom so anachronistic as when we judge what was done in previousl times.

Unknown said...

Excuse me! In the second lst paragraph of my post, above, it should read: "put forth a motion calling for an end to disrimination against pedophile societies?"

John Cowan said...

It should not be forgotten, though, that in his work Dante consigns several Popes (Nicholas III, Celestine V, Boniface VIII, Clement V) to Hell. This does not at all mean that he denied the doctrine of repentance in articulo mortis; it is still possible that any man, however sinful, might die confessed and absolved.

But on the principle that "by their fruits shall ye know them", it was and is entirely appropriate for Dante in his allegory to use Popes as well as others to illustrate various sins, and most particularly the sin of simony. In his day, it was still understood that one could be a fervent denunciator of sin, even the sins of Popes, and still a loyal and faithful son of the Church, a principle more observed in the breach than in the observance nowadays, it seems.