13 February 2020

Martin Bashir ...

 ... 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 ...


Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

The better comparison would be the eastern-rite churches, where there was not so great a problem, and there were married clergy.


tradgardmastare said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
neilmac said...

Yes, I should also be interested to find reading material on worship in the Old Testament and worship at the time of Christ.

armyarty said...

I wonder why one of the commentators says that the eastern Christians had less of a problem with sexual abuse than the western ones? I can assure him that it is not true.

I have always been annoyed to hear people- police, criminal lawyers, court personnel- people who should know better- single out the Catholic church as having an abuse problem. Day in and day out the police are faced with a procession of Pentecostal ministers, rabbis, mainline protestant clergy, you name it, who have been accused of sexual misconduct. I remember one case near Troy New York some years ago where the offender- a married Orthodox priest- was caught- in flagrante delicto - with a young lady, in the WOODS (it never pays to be too cheap!) A Transyvanian immigrant whose husband was a member of the parish told me in outraged tones that "she was young enough to be his own daughter!"

There is enough sin to go around, I am afraid, and it seems that the Catholics are just a bit better than most. We could do better if we had better seminary formation, and more diligence in rooting out corruption in the chanceries and hierarchy, but we do not deserve our reputation as a haven for perverts.

william arthurs said...

I bought but haven't yet got round to reading Paul Bradshaw's Daily Prayer in the Early Church: A Study of the Origin and Early Development of the Divine Office (2008) --- the blurb says it discusses the Jewish background.

Atticus said...

When we were Anglo-Papalists (and not yet Papists proper) we were wont to say of the two tribes: "The Anglicans have the better halves, but the Romans have the better quarters." Whilst the first half of that adage was certainly true, I was never convinced of the universal veracity of the latter.

frjustin said...

@tradgardmastare and @neilmac: the most helpful book that I have found on this topic is "Jewish Prayer : The Origins of Christian Liturgy" by an Italian Catholic with the wonderfully liturgical name of Carmine Di Sante, published (in the US) by Paulist Press in 1991.

The preface was written by an Italian Jew who states that the book makes clear "the original relationship between the contents of the Jewish liturgical universe and those of the Christian, as seen in the persons of Jesus and the apostles".

Et Expecto said...

I also listened to the item on the Today Programme. My impression was very similar to Fr Hunwicke's in almost every respect.

I was most impressed to hear Tantum Ergo and Adoremus sung with gusto by the seminarians.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Armyarty, it is true. The occasional eastern priest committing adultery or monk engaging in homosexuul acts doesn't add up to the much greatet problems in the Latin church, which, as many have observed, are themselves a drop in the ocean compared to the sexual wrongdoings of our enemies.