13 March 2016

Censorship speaks louder than words

Not surprisingly, the Judicial Enquiry into the Jimmy Savile scandal turned up no evidence whatsoever that Senior Management ever heard an inkling of what lesser employees of the BBC knew Sir Jimmy was up to. We have just heard that an enquiry has been set up by the Church of England to find out who knew what when about Bishop Peter Ball. (Incidentally, who knew what when about Bishop Kieran Conry?)

There were curious parallels between the two cases. Both Savile and Ball claimed to be intimate friends of Prince Charles and to have tried to save his marriage (!!). Both cosied up to cabinet ministers. Each was so secure in his self-confidence that he played with fire: I remember Ball preaching to 600 students in Lancing Chapel, and explaining to them that, if a bishop told them to take their clothes off, they should do so. Savile, asked at the end of his Desert Island Discs what he would like to have on his desert island as a luxury, replied "A twelve-year old girl".

At least, that is my recollection. Because I never like to risk misleading readers, I have just tried to check it, only to find that the particular edition of Desert Island Discs appears to have been carefully excised from anywhere on the Internet.

I wonder why. Whose reputation is the Beeb trying to protect by this act of censorship?

(Incidentally, on whose recommendation was Savile given a papal knighthood?)


Fr Ray Blake said...

Having known one of those mentioned in this post I think that for the most part it is not that one knows, simply that one feels there is something that is not quite right.

The problem with sexual sins is that they happen in secret and one doesn't want to believe the worst or even imagine it, nor does one want to damage a reputation by sharing one's, possibly baseless, suspicions.

In the case of the person I knew, the best I could do was ensure that for fourteen years he was not invited into my parish.

Liam Ronan said...

I would offer that, notwithstanding lower level employees 'never' apprised the higher ups, there is a strong suggestion of breach in a relevant duty of care by the entire corporation.

With a view to the Crown Prosecution's elements and rationale for establishing 'corporate manslaughter' CMCHA 2007), it seems not much of a leap to conform those very same elements to 'child sexual abuse'.


Just a thought.

Deacon Augustine said...

In the case of one of those persons you mention, it was known that he took a woman with him on his pre-ordination retreat in Rome as he was spotted tete-a-tete with her by students of the English College resulting in at least one report in the Catholic press.

Concerned people wrote to the Congregation of Bishops requesting that the ordination be cancelled, only to be told that the Holy Father (S. JPII) had made up his mind and would not change it. Unfortunately he believed that his ability to identify the right man for the job was inspired by the Holy Ghost and thus was seldom open to counsel on personnel decisions. This resulted in a number of unwise choices for which the Church has been paying ever since, not least a founder of a religious order from Mexico with a penchant for young men, and the resurrection of an Argentinian Jesuit whom his confreres believed to be a divisive destroyer.

Thanks be to God that saints do not have to be perfect.

Victor said...

It is said that as long as someone showed a devotion to the Virgin Mary, he could basically do no wrong in the eyes of the Holy Father (JP2) - hence catastrophes like Cardinal Groer of Vienna...
However, in his defense, he knew the Polish secret service's tactics well to ruin someone's (often a clergyman's) reputation by spreading unsubstantiated rumours of a sexual nature.

Lepanto said...

'Sir Jimmy Savile can face eternal life with confidence", said the priest officiating at his funeral. Before any misdeeds came to light, I thought, 'How on earth can a Catholic priest say that about anyone, what presumption?' The implication being - no need to pray for this man who did so much good that he is probably already in heaven. At Cilla Black's funeral a well known homosexual who gave a eulogy was told by a finger wagging bishop, at one point to 'say three Hail Mary's' - an excellent piece of advice had it not been said in an unmistakeably jocular tone (presumably for the TV cameras). Don't these clergy know what I knew when I was seven years old - don't presume that anyone is in heaven, pray for them and if they are in heaven your prayers will go to that soul who most needs them. All Catholic celebrities are saints apparently.

I am so glad that Sir Terry Wogan (who stated that he hadn't been to Mass in years and didn't believe in original sin) spared us a public funeral Mass at which gross presumption by the celebrant would have been necessary to avoid death threats. What wasted opportunities to teach the unchurched about what happens after death and especially about purgatory, which might be a comfort to many.

Unknown said...

@Deacon Augustine: the resurrection of an Argentinian Jesuit whom his confreres believed to be a divisive destroyer

One dismissed such accounts earlier. Now one reconsiders.

Lepanto said...

In answer to your last question, Father, Cardinal Hume induced the Athenaeum to admit Savile as a member, I understand (to the consternation of not a few members).