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.
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.
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.
"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.
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).
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.
BBC news today -more allegations of child abuse by perverted priests.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It has 'supporters' because people are emotionally blackmailed from birth into staying 'one of the fold'.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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