Cardinal Keith O'Brien

(79 Posts)

Tomorrow's Observer is reporting that three priests are alleging inappropriate behaviour by the cardinal, the UK's most senior Catholic and Stonewall's "bigotry if the year" 2012. If the allegations are true, he's also hypocrite of the year.

CarnivorousPanda Sun 24-Feb-13 14:35:08

Just read this in the Observer.

If true-words fail me.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Sun 24-Feb-13 14:44:40
gobblegobs Sun 24-Feb-13 14:50:08

I am very disappointed... I was raised in catholic traditions and over a period of time all of this erodes all I believe... If true this is very sad.

The one who shouts loudest really isnt it, and yet no doubt will be covered up sadly.

Do you know, it just brings out a slow sad shaking of my head really and why is it not a shock, very sad.

Animation Sun 24-Feb-13 21:38:40

Always glad to hear of victims coming forward and reporting these powerful men. Must take guts.

scaevola Mon 25-Feb-13 11:05:12

He has resigned with immediate effect.

He was due to step down fairly soon anyhow (age), but not expected like this.

He has been denying the allegations and taking legal advice. There is no explanation (yet) for reasons for taking this step now.

eatyourveg Mon 25-Feb-13 11:14:03

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor said yesterday he would resign so no great surprise really

scaevola Mon 25-Feb-13 11:20:07

He said he would retire later this year when he turns 75 (ie normal age related, and after the Conclave).

Nothing about going before the Conclave and ahead of normal retirement age.

PessaryPam Mon 25-Feb-13 11:54:57

They are disgusting. I feel so sorry for all the faithful who have stuck behind them only to be let down as they lied. Maybe they should take a lesson from all of this about men in dresses.

Animation Mon 25-Feb-13 12:06:57

Well four priests reported him, so if he did it he should own up and confess particularly if he wants to go to heaven, - instead of chuntering about taking legal advice.

CarnivorousPanda Mon 25-Feb-13 12:38:01

This is the man who was awarded the title of Bigot of the year by Stonewall for his views on civil partnerships.

Reported by 4 priests, I wonder if more will now come forward?

LadyBeagleEyes Mon 25-Feb-13 12:40:17

I'm not religious in any way, but even with all the revelations about the Catholic church, I'm still shocked about this.
What a fucking hypocrite, his views on abortion already sickened me, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt because of his deep faith.
I also feel sorry for the faithful who followed him.

LBsBongers Mon 25-Feb-13 12:42:18

He has resigned and I suspect that will be the end of it as far as the Vatican is concerned, what will them being above the law and accountable to no one.

I hope we learn more about these allegations, just awful

babyboomersrock Mon 25-Feb-13 13:34:59

Any religion which encourages power at the top (ie most of them) is open to abuse by its "leaders". Gorgeous clothes, magnificent churches, uplifting music and lots of ritual may appeal to some people, but it's not what Jesus came to teach, is it? Does it inspire ordinary people to go and feed the poor? To share what they have with others?

I'm no longer a Christian but its followers would do better to live the life advocated by their real leader and abandon the earthly ones. I'm very wary of people who interpret things for us, tell us how to think, how to live our lives - while no-one monitors their own.

Jesus the man didn't go around courting adulation, waving blessings from balconies. The central messages of humility, simplicity and service have long gone.

If these allegations are true, I'll be surprised if it makes any difference in the long run. The priests are brave men indeed to take on a Cardinal with the might of the the Catholic church behind him but I don't think they'll find themselves widely supported, either by their fellow Catholics or their church superiors.

CarnivorousPanda Mon 25-Feb-13 13:43:39

I just hope that if these allegations are correct, others do come forward. This is what happened with the Jimmy Savile case.

yes babyboomer, its all about power.Lovely clothes, ancient rituals. But sickness at its heart.

StephaniePowers Mon 25-Feb-13 13:47:42

Bunch of nutters the lot of them.
How anybody follows any religious leader mystifies me.
It's repellent that nothing will be done, but at least it has been made public and he can repent at his leisure (couple of Hail Marys most likely).

Animation Mon 25-Feb-13 14:15:14

'I'm very wary of people who interpret things for us, tell us how to think, how to live our lives - while no-one monitors their own.'

So am I babyboomersrock. If you think about it it a very powerful position to be in - you can't get much more powerful than that. And I think it attracts men who will abuse that power and will not have to account.

I anticipate that such an autocratic culture will close ranks, push this under the carpet, and ostracise the priests. I'm glad it's made public at least and people will make up their own minds about what to think of such an organisation of men.

BridgetJonesPants Mon 25-Feb-13 14:28:35

What happened to innocent until proven guilty? Thank goodness the 'Hang him high brigade' are not running the country or the Catholic church. That said, I think the Cardinal has done the correct thing in resigning now so the colclave can go ahead, hopefully without this news blighting the election of the new Pope.

At this time, none of us know exactly what the Cardinal is accused of, although my interpitation of the press articles are that he made sexual advances on four young priests. It's certainly not a hanging offence, but if it does turn out to the true, then he has indeed abused his power and it makes him a hypocrite with regards to his views on homosexuality. However, that said, he's only human, and is open to the same failings as the rest of us.

As a Catholic, I'll be praying for Cardinal O'Brien, whether he's innocent or not, the accusers and lastly, that the Catholic church handle this with integrity and transparancy.

Animation Mon 25-Feb-13 14:47:25

'What happened to innocent until proven guilty?'

In a court of law - yes! What sex scandal in the Catholic church has ever reached court?

It's four priests words against one Cardinal. And if true lets not minimize the harm done to these young priests.

Cheddars Mon 25-Feb-13 15:06:10

The timing of this seems weird to my suspicious mind.

The alleged 'inappropriate behaviour' happened 20(?) years ago so why is it coming out now in the same month he was due to vote on a new pope?

Could just be coincidence I suppose. hmm

StephaniePowers Mon 25-Feb-13 15:40:41

He might not have committed a crime, so innocent until proven guilty is perhaps not relevant. A man is allowed to make advances to other men.

It's the utter hypocrisy of it all. Keep the women and the gays in their place, whilst the leaders swan around doing whatever they can get away with - because they know they will get away with it. It's rank.

FlutterClutter Mon 25-Feb-13 16:53:25

StephaniePowers - yes absolutely. Taking advantage of the blind faith and god-fearing ways of their flock to get away with their hypocrisy.

It makes me so angry that these unelected 'leaders' have power over people's lives all around the world.

babyboomersrock Mon 25-Feb-13 18:48:45

Stephanie Powers - I agree.

As for the "hang him high brigade", BridgetJonesPants - I don't see any of them on here. I thought you were telling us not to pre-judge, but you go on to say much the same as the rest of us.

If he is innocent, then let him prove it. If he is guilty of "inappropriate behaviour" then I hope he admits it and doesn't make these men out to be liars. He may be "only human and open to the same failings as the rest of us" but the rest of us are not asked to make pronouncements on major matters (gay marriage) or tell other people how they should behave. At the very least - if the priests' claims are true - his behaviour has been hugely hypocritical.

I wouldn't waste my time feeling compassion, or (were I a believer) offering prayers for him - he'll have the power of the Catholic church behind him and all the prayers he'll need. I do feel compassion for those who have been tormented by his judgemental pronouncements in recent times.

LeftWingTwat Mon 25-Feb-13 18:55:45


I was curious about that too given how things are covered up. He was the guy who a few days before said he thought priests should be able to marry, and suddenly this?

cory Mon 25-Feb-13 18:59:52

"It's certainly not a hanging offence"

It would be a sacking offence if he had been an academic making advances to a student or a doctor making advances to a patient. And it would be hard to argue that a new priest or a seminarist is not in the same vulnerable position with regard to his bishop. Can't imagine my university department covering up for this sort of behaviour.

babyboomersrock Mon 25-Feb-13 19:07:20

Cheddars, it's also more than a bit weird that the Pope has chosen to stand down just recently, don't you think? And that a few days ago, Cardinal O'Brien was thinking maybe celibacy wasn't such a good idea after all. And hoping he'd also be allowed to go and live out his days quietly somewhere.

I wonder what we don't know. I wonder what's going on behind the scenes. I read in the press (which is all we have for now) that no-one knew the Pope was going to stand down. Really?? So he just decided to spring it on his flock, and his underlings, without consultation? They had no idea what was in his head?

Naw, don't believe it. Shows how stupid they think we are, though.

LeftWingTwat Mon 25-Feb-13 19:08:03

Just to be clear, I'm not condoning it, just curious it's happening now given how expert the RC church is at cover ups.

cory Mon 25-Feb-13 19:14:36

Oh no doubt somebody is encouraging them to come forward now for political reasons. There always was a lot of manoeuvering around papal elections. Doesn't tell us whether the allegations are true or not.

babyboomersrock Mon 25-Feb-13 19:44:52

Cory,if they've been "encouraged to come forward for political reasons" and if "manoevering" already exists, that doesn't say much for the integrity of the existing system, does it? If the system is so corrupt that people can be bought and manipulated then it's hardly operating on Christian principles.

If the church is so far removed from true and honest decision-making, then the occasional accusation of "inappropriate behaviour" is the least of its problems.

kirstys23 Mon 25-Feb-13 19:54:32

My experience of Cardinal O'Brien, (through his involvement in our school when I was growing up) is that he is kind, warm and of good character. He should be afforded a chance to respond to these accusations and tell his side. Just because there are people in the same profession as him that have done wrong does not automatically mean he is guilty.

babyboomersrock Mon 25-Feb-13 20:39:21

He may be perceived as "kind, warm and of good character" in public, kirstys23, but as we've learned recently, how some men conduct themselves in public bears no relation to their private lives.

He may have been wrongly accused. If this is the case, I'm sure the church will sort it out quickly and put everyone's minds at rest.

Except that you're then left with the fact that three priests, and one former priest, have lied. Why would that be?

idiot55 Mon 25-Feb-13 20:44:54

its all a bit odd from a timing point of view. Sure there is more to this.

What I fund really disturbing was the interview I heard on the radio , all the followers of the catholic church they interviewed supportd him fully.

SucksToBeMe Mon 25-Feb-13 20:55:39

I agree idiot. Growing up, my father was a wonderful moral example of kindness. Since becoming a born again Christian at a RC church he has turned into a nasty,judgmental hypocrite. He will never believe any such allegations against any priests and believes all gays will burn in hell. I liken him to a cult member to be honest hmm

I'm not a catholic so he has no impact on my life, and I could kind of accept his views in abortion and homosexuality if he'd kept them within the Church. However, he has had, in the past, a disproportionate amount of airtime to espouse his bigoted views (linking homosexuality to bestiality, for example). And to me, the only thing worse than bigotry is hypocrisy. I don't doubt the priests' stories - four separate accounts of the same behaviour is more than a misconstrued gesture, or however he will pass it off. I do doubt the catholic church's ability to deal with this in a transparent way.

cory Mon 25-Feb-13 21:02:08

"Cory,if they've been "encouraged to come forward for political reasons" and if "manoevering" already exists, that doesn't say much for the integrity of the existing system, does it? If the system is so corrupt that people can be bought and manipulated then it's hardly operating on Christian principles."

Did I ever say that I had any faith in the integrity of the system?

babyboomersrock Mon 25-Feb-13 21:19:31

No you didn't. I was making assumptions, sorry.

edam Mon 25-Feb-13 21:24:43

The timing thing - there are suggestions at least one of the alleged victims came forward (again) now because he thought it was wrong that such a man should be involved in choosing the new Pope. It seems at least one of them left the priesthood in protest when O'Brien was made a Bishop.

Given the appalling history of this church, I wouldn't be surprised if there were people within the hierarchy who were well aware of complaints about sexual harassment or abuse long before now but who have hushed them up.

Still, the Lib Dems are busy proving it's not just the Papacy that prefers to hush up allegations rather than investigate them and protect the victims...

Cheddars Mon 25-Feb-13 22:25:21

There are some sweeping assumptions being made here. hmm

Regardless of other convicted priests and Suckstobeme's Dad hmm, Cardinal O'Brien hasn't actually done anything illegal as far as I can tell. There is no police involvement mentioned yet. He's also not been given any chance by the Vatican to refute the claims.

Cardinal O'Brien was due to resign this year and these (30yr old!) allegations have bought this forward by a couple of months. It just all seems very convenient to me.

FlutterClutter Mon 25-Feb-13 22:27:16

An appropriate comment from the Daily Mash

Platitude of the Day also worth a read on the subject.

edam Mon 25-Feb-13 22:45:19

grin @ the Mash

Cheddars, how are you so sure nothing illegal occurred? There are a range of sexual offences on the statute book. And whether or not his behaviour falls within the criminal code, he took a vow of celibacy. (And had a duty of care to his priests - I agree with the poster who said priests should be, like teachers and doctors, held to a higher standard than mere Joe Bloggs, as they are in a position of authority.)

I am aware he denies the allegations, btw. I am also aware he resigned PDQ - someone from the Tablet on the radio just said the timing of his supposed original resignation (that has been brought forward) is deeply suspicious as it fell into the period when the Pope is standing down, so was impossible for O'Brien to resign then anyway.

What's really depressing is seeing all the comments on news sites where loads of people are cropping up saying, I don't believe it, why didn't they say anything at the time, they are all a bunch of liars. And they wonder why victims are too scared to come forward! Usually in these cases you eventually find people DID raise the alarm at the time, only they were silenced/harassed/threatened. Look at the current investigations into Cheetham's School of Music...

Cheddars Mon 25-Feb-13 22:59:40

Edam I don't know. That's the point-no one does.

I'm not trying to defend him, nor do I doubt the veracity of those 4 priests' allegations.

I'm just questioning the timing of all this. I suppose I'm questioning the Vatican's speedy acceptance of his resignation.

I'd be interested to know whether he had made any enemies in Rome. Or whether he was about to vote for a particular pope....

edam Mon 25-Feb-13 23:12:11

Goodness knows, Cheddars, Vatican politics is extremely murky - look at the butler case, and the alleged group of gay priests and the Vatican bank... Whatever, if O'Brien has abused his position he had to go anyway.

reliablemillipede Mon 25-Feb-13 23:23:33

Was there any chance that he could of actually been voted in as Pope ?

"What's really depressing is seeing all the comments on news sites where loads of people are cropping up saying, I don't believe it, why didn't they say anything at the time, they are all a bunch of liars. "

Sounds familiar doesn't it? People just don't learn

I am such a conspiracy theorist these days.

My first thought was 'wasn't that the guy on the news a few days ago saying he thought priests should be able to marry?' I'm sure there's quite a bit of resistance to that, so it could be said that some in the hierarchy would want to discredit him and his priests-marrying ideas. What could be easier than to tar him with the, by now, completely-believed-and-almost-taken-for-granted brush of the sexual predator priest? Could be fabricated or could be one of the many cover-ups the churches have carried out, just kept in reserve to be dusted down when it would be useful to expose. Add in the first papal resignation in 600 years, of a pope who has in the past been responsible for covering-up priestly paedophilia and it all just looks too murky for words.

StephaniePowers Tue 26-Feb-13 15:18:39

It could be as simple as: he was due to retire in a couple of months, better that he retire now so the papal election isn't indirectly besmirched by the allegations.

Even if it is that simple, I am glad nobody believes it is, shows we are all a bit more awake, and unwilling to let hypocrites fade away.

Animation Tue 26-Feb-13 16:51:11

'I'm just questioning the timing of all this. I suppose I'm questioning the Vatican's speedy acceptance of his resignation.'

I should imagine the Vatican had been made aware of the 4 priests' complaints some time ago and had been conducting their own investigations.

And who knows maybe it was that last straw that broke the Pope's back - and he was thoroughly pissed off and disillusioned when he himself resigned.

extraterrestrial Tue 26-Feb-13 17:21:27


And you are not judgemental at all? Calling your dad a " nasty judgemental hypocrite.".... And judging as such not only your father but all catholics, because this of course was your primary objective...

And isn't it nasty to slag off your own dad on a public forum ?

So much for self assumed moral supremacy.

Sorry, but I dislike hypocrisy.

Animation Wed 27-Feb-13 09:04:59

A bit harsh there extraterrestral. I didn't read her post to be judging all catholics. There are bad/not so nice Christians in all denominations and she sounds exasperated to me that her dad is one of them. She writes anonymously - he can't be identified.

musickeepsmesane Wed 27-Feb-13 09:20:25

Either way this is not right. He may be the victim of those behind the scenes - how dare he say priests should marry, who will he vote for?? Independant thinking is not allowed. OR it is true that he made inappropriate advances to priests in his charge. The timing of the allegations are a bit suspicious OR it is difficult to come forward and say these things when you are younger. Personally I am not a fan of the press or the church. Always impossible to know when they are telling the truth. sad

elizabethaaliyah Wed 27-Feb-13 13:39:39

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Writehand Wed 27-Feb-13 14:35:31

BridgetJonesPants says "What happened to innocent until proven guilty? Thank goodness the 'Hang him high brigade' are not running the country or the Catholic church."

Actually, I think you'll find that the scandal wasn't caused by outside forces but by the "Hang em high" attitudes of the Cardinal himself. Cardinal O'Brien has repeatedly made very strong and offensive statements about homosexuality and gay marriage, so if it turns out that he (as an avowed celibate) has made unwanted advances to other men -- celibate men in a hugely subordinate position to himself -- then this (while it may or may not develop into a criminal case) is a very grave offence against his role, his integrity and his mission in the Church. Although the Cardinal denies the allegations, it seems very clear that his resignation is intended to slow things down and put a halt, even a temporary one, to the scandal. The complaints appear to be detailed, occurred at different times, have passed initial police investigation, and suggest a pattern of predatory offending. I wouldn't put any odds on the Cardinal being without guilt in this case.

As a Catholic, Bridget, you would know far more than the rest of us, just how influential not only in terms of their career but also in spiritual and religious terms. a Cardinal is in relation to the clergy he leads. To exploit this as the 4 men claim he did is a massive deal. Saying "He's only human, and is open to the same failings as the rest of us" ignores the fact that the rest of us do not -- as he did -- have a platform from which to promote what appears to be the most extra-ordinary hypocrisy.

I find myself wondering how anyone could say the deeply bigoted things he did about gay men if he himself is not only a gay man but one who, over decades, has pressed his attentions on his subordinates. It is, sad;ly, a ppattern we've seen so often that now, when I hear a religious opinion leader spouting vicious condemnation of gay men I sit back and wait for the inevitable rent boy or abuse scandal.

SucksToBeMe Wed 27-Feb-13 22:26:47

Sorry if I offended you Extra,

Oh wait, no I'm not


He's just released a statement admitting that there were times when his "sexual conduct fell below standard". So, I refer back to my first post on this thread and nominate him Hypocrite of the Year to go with Stonewall's Bigot of the Year.

babyboomersrock Sun 03-Mar-13 19:28:21

And I'd second your nomination, AgentProvocateur. The utter arrogance of the man is astounding.

He'll mosey off to a nice quiet retirement now, I assume, leaving his supporters to mutter about those bad wee priests raking up stuff from the past.

gwenniebee Sun 03-Mar-13 19:51:34

When I was at uni in St Andrews, he came to preach in our university chapel (which is non-denominational) and, as a Scottish Episcopalian, I was quite offended by his message, which basically denounced all those who weren't Catholic. Even more offensive to me was his decrying of all of us students for having loose sexual morals, which he asserted as pretty much fact.

It has made me really, really angry to read of his "revelations" today. The man is a liar and a hypocrite. What a disgrace.

StrugglingBadly Sun 03-Mar-13 20:07:59

I have it on 'good authority' that he was a very close friend of the former arch bishop Roddy wright (the one who ran away with a divorcee, and who also had a secret teenage son) who was yet another who was prone to moralising to others while not quite 'hitting the mark' himself. He allegedly told a family member 40 yrs ago that O'Brien was allegedly gay. Which again makes all his bigoted spoutings all the more incredulous - the ultimate hypocrite. Allegedly.

BonfireOfKleenex Sun 03-Mar-13 23:40:24

It's about time that the Catholic church acknowledged that it's not homosexuality that's unnatural and immoral.

What's unnatural and immoral is 'celibate' idiots in fancy garb masquerading as superior beings because they have an imaginary hotline to god.

carbalanche Sun 03-Mar-13 23:55:18

I am appalled at the phrasing "his sexual conduct fell below standard". Is a Catholic priest allowed to "conduct" himself "sexually" at all?? Is there a "standard" of sexual behaviour that a Catholic priest is allowed to adhere to - this doesn't make sense? But then a church that doesn't allow its own priests to marry or have sexual relations of any kind but will accept married C of E priests who flee from their own church because of it's acceptance of women priests??!

The new Pope has a HUGE job on his hands to restore faith in this institution.

Animation Mon 04-Mar-13 08:43:07

Yes, first class hypocrite and knobhead. hmm

Nancy66 Mon 04-Mar-13 10:00:19

Another priest turns out to be a perverted liar. Surprise sur-fuckingprise.

It's at times like this I'm so glad I'm an atheist.

there is so much evil in the catholic church it's an absolute mystery to me that it still has any supporters.

BonfireOfKleenex Mon 04-Mar-13 10:20:50

It has 'supporters' because people are emotionally blackmailed from birth into staying 'one of the fold'.

EmmelineGoulden Mon 04-Mar-13 18:10:39

One of the things that continually annoys me about "sex" scandals like this (and this doesn't just apply to the Catholic Church) is that the emphasis is on sexual control and desires. But appears to miss the abuse of position and use of power to attempt to safely get their own way.

It's not that he couldn't stick to his celibacy that's so horrendous. It's that when struggling with that he thought abusing those he should care for was the way to sate his desires. And having done it once he didn't remove himself from a place where he could abuse - he continued to climb the ladder and gain more authority and power - even though he had evidence he wasn't suitable.

Animation Tue 05-Mar-13 08:10:07

Exactly - Emmeline.

The harm and damage done to his victims is completely minimised. The abuse and sexual harrassment of others was the MAIN problem behaviour here.

TheCraicDealer Tue 05-Mar-13 12:06:23

Writehand, if anything I can see why he might be able to say such hypocritical things about gay people- jealously.

He's of a generation that had to hide their orientation. When he was young it was not just frowned upon by the church, but illegal to fall for another man and act upon it. Now you have all these uppity queens raving for "equal rights" and "marriage", all of which he was denied. This jealousy and envy of the freedoms "people like him" enjoy today could manifest itself in his previous derogatory remarks and outspoken opposition to the extension of these rights. Maybe.

babyboomersrock Tue 05-Mar-13 12:16:31

I agree with both of you - I hate how it's being turned into a minor "gay flirtation" - it isn't. It's abuse by a powerful older man against vulnerable young men who eventually found the courage to report him.

I assume they won't press charges, though, so he won't need to defend himself in a law court - like so many of his kind, he's done as he wished and got away with it.

babyboomersrock Tue 05-Mar-13 12:26:44

When I said I agree, I meant with Emmeline and Animation, by the way.

I'm not quite sure what you mean about "uppity queens raving for 'equal rights'", TheCraicDealer. You mean gay people wanting (quite rightly) equal rights?

In any case, if he did what he's accused of it was abuse. His sexual orientation is of no consequence.

TheCraicDealer Tue 05-Mar-13 12:38:57

Yes,babyboomers - I was trying to channel O'Brien's quite obvious (and well documented) views on the issue of gay marriage/rights, hence the quotation marks. Certainly do not agree with anything he has previously said on the subject, sorry if I didn't make it clear.

babyboomersrock Tue 05-Mar-13 18:17:10

Thanks for explaining, TheCraicDealer. I'm getting so angry about his supporters excusing him that I'm probably misreading things.

I've just heard on STV news that Helena Kennedy has expressed compassion for him. I find it hard to believe that she said only that, with no qualification, so I'd better go and check what she actually said before I explode.

babyboomersrock Tue 05-Mar-13 18:32:38

Well, in today's Herald we read :

"Lady Kennedy, who was brought up in Glasgow as a Roman Catholic, said it was "torture" for the Church to force priests who wanted to have a sex life to be celibate as she spoke at a news conference calling for reform of the Catholic Church.

"I feel very sad for Cardinal O'Brien because here was a man who quite clearly had wanted to have a sexual life and felt that it was a failing for him to want to have a sexual life and that he was going against his commitment to celibacy," she said.

"It is terrible to torture people by expecting that of them and I just feel huge compassion for him. I do not like the idea that there might be an issue of being predatory but I do not want to make a judgment on that.

"But he himself has said that he was involved in sexual activity and I feel very sad that that was something that he had to in some way bury, then give expression to - then feel shame and guilt and presumably is absolutely covered with guilt now."

Er...she doesn't like the idea that there might be an issue of being predatory?? But she doesn't want to make a judgment on that? That - the predatory bit - is the only issue for me. If this had been consensual sexual activity between two adults, then it would be a non-issue for me and most non-Catholics, but it wasn't.

These young lads complained because the man who should have been guiding and protecting them was in fact intending to use them sexually.

babyboomersrock Tue 05-Mar-13 18:45:05

Except it still wouldn't be a non-issue for me (ignore what I said above!) in this case.

I was overlooking the minor matter of the huge hypocrisy and cruelty displayed by the cardinal towards gay people and the fact that he and his chums have the audacity to criticise other people's "morality".

BonfireOfKleenex Tue 05-Mar-13 19:47:14

Actually I can kind of see her point about the fact that he was effectively abused by the system too - when he was a young man there was no option to lead any kind of a normal life if you were gay. It's possible he, along with many others, bowed to societal and religious pressure and decided celibacy was his best option.

But of course celibacy IS a cruel and unnatural option if you have any kind of a need for intimate relationships or sex. Add onto that a huge lashing of Catholic guilt and it's not a recipe for good mental health.

Yes of course he should have resigned as a priest rather than succumb to his desires, but he shares his guilt with the dysfunctional and abusive system of belief he was raised in.

CarnivorousPanda Fri 08-Mar-13 18:04:39

BBC news today -more allegations of child abuse by perverted priests.

babyboomersrock Sat 09-Mar-13 01:29:39

BonfireOfKleenex, I completely agree that the church makes it impossible for any priest to lead what we'd call a normal life.

However, what worries me is this association of gay men with abusive behaviour. His being gay - if that is what he is - is just fine. What is not fine is his abuse of young priests - and he did abuse them, by taking advantage of their vulnerability. If he'd wanted a gay relationship, why didn't he seek out one of his peers - another priest of his own standing, let's say, who might have understood the need for discretion (and hypocrisy, but that's another issue). I feel sure he'd have found someone.

He chose, instead, to force his attentions upon young men who were in no position to reject them. He made moves on them which were unwanted. In my book that's abuse; not the action of a man who happens to be gay - and it's pretty insulting to gay men to suggest that if they're sexually frustrated, they will simply start pestering men who show no interest in them.

No, I fear it's more to do with power and control - the motives behind most sexually abusive behaviour.

babyboomersrock Sat 09-Mar-13 01:47:57

Have just read that too, CarnivorousPanda.

How on earth do they get away with it? So many cases where the police have been involved but the case never comes to court. Instead, the church is allowed to spirit the priest away and it's all dropped.

This isn't an anti-catholic rant on my part; I'm only too aware of other denominations where similar crimes have been committed, though the RC church seems to have a disproportionate number of perpetrators. I don't blame the celibacy rule - far from it - as I've said before, priests who abuse children or other men aren't doing it because they aren't allowed to marry or have gay relationships. They do it because they're abusers.

It may be that we have to look at why such organisations attract abusers (clue - lots of pomp and ceremony to make weak "leaders" feel strong, lots of rules to keep the masses in their place, lots of places to hide, lots of opportunities to target the vulnerable).

Animation Sat 09-Mar-13 16:59:25

"It may be that we have to look at why such organisations attract abusers (clue - lots of pomp and ceremony to make weak "leaders" feel strong, lots of rules to keep the masses in their place, lots of places to hide, lots of opportunities to target the vulnerable)."

Exactly. Abusers are attracted to positions of power.

fancyanother Sun 10-Mar-13 09:34:01

Abusers are attracted to the Catholic church as far as I can see, and in my experience as a Catholic (my parish priest when I was younger was revealed to be a child abuser) because they had a double attraction of easy access to children and if they were caught, almost no chance of sanction. In the '80s certainly, priests who were accused of 'innapropriate behaviour' whether that was child abuse or sex with parishioners were told to go on a retreat, confess their sins and move to another parish. It must have been like paradise for them. Many of them must still be hanging around. The are still not excommunicated.

edam Sun 10-Mar-13 23:11:50

I wonder how people like BridgetJonesPants are feeling now? All those who, despite the horrendous scale of child abuse by the RC church, were so ready to rush to the Cardinal's defence and to scorn his victims...

And I wonder why some parents are still prepared to send their children to Catholic schools. That one really does puzzle me.

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