The sacred and the profane

The Catholic church in the UK is finding itself having to answer to the law. What an indignity! What presumption! Mere secular humans with secular training in secular law daring to meddle with sanctified Standers-in For Jesus. The church is god’s telephone line! Don’t these presumptuous mundane unholy law-botherers realize that? How dare they haul a bunch of priests to court?

A landmark hearing at the Supreme Court in London on Monday will consider who is responsible for compensating victims of child abuse by Catholic priests.

The case is being brought by 170 men who allege that they were sexually and physically abused at a Roman Catholic children’s home.

The High Court at Leeds and the Court of Appeal have already decided that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough is responsible for compensating victims of child abuse at the St William’s children’s home, Market Weighton, East Yorkshire, between 1960 and 1992.

On account of the former principal of that children’s home was found guilty of sexually assaulting 22 boys, some as young as 12. Did the church cry out in compassionate anguish and rush to do everything it could to compensate? No it did not. It did the other thing.

Compensation proceedings on behalf of claimants were started in 2004. Although two Roman Catholic organisations were involved in running the St William’s children’s home, both organisations have attempted to use legal technicalities to escape responsibility, a tactic mirrored in other Catholic child abuse cases.

Despite a series of shocking examples of Catholic priests being convicted over the past decade, the Catholic Church continues to argue that it is not responsible for abuse committed by its priests and officials. In the most recent example the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth attempted to argue that he was not responsible for compensating a victim of abuse by a priest named Father Baldwin, on the basis that he did not employ him but simply allowed him ministry in his Diocese. Unsurprisingly on 12th July 2012 the Court of Appeal decided that the Bishop was indeed responsible.

You see, this is that problem again – the fact that they constantly claim to be morally better than the rest of humanity, because of their churchness – their adherence to “church teachings” – when in fact they’re selfish self-protecting shits. They’re not compassionate, they’re not generous, they’re not other-regarding – they’re not good.

They seem to think nobody can see this. We can see it.