Opinion Letters

Friday 6 December 2019

What exactly is church for today?

SUPPOSE you sign up for a seminar at which some supposed entrepreneur takes to the podium to advise you on how to succeed in business. If you were then to discover that his own business ventures had ended in failure and that he had lost hundreds of thousands of euro in investors' money, you would probably walk out and ask for your money back.

In light of recent and ongoing revelations of abuse and corruption in the Catholic Church, how can the clergy expect us to take them seriously as moral or spiritual leaders in our communities?

Cardinal Sean Brady may well be a decent man. But by his own admission, when he was made aware of the sexual abuse of young children by a pervert priest he knowingly covered it up, leading to similar abuse and suffering for other children. How can Brady call himself a Christian, let alone hold one of the highest offices in the largest Christian organisation in this country?

The role of the Catholic Church surely is to espouse Christian values of compassion, charity and human solidarity and provide people with an ethical framework for making decisions within their own lives. But when individuals in an organisation cover up incidents of child abuse and lie to protect the perpetrators, and when those actions lead to a continuation of that abuse, they surrender any and all right to preach to others on moral matters.

And what is most damaging of all is this offensive inability or unwillingness of the church to accept the heinous nature of these abuses. The Catholic Church is conspicuously filled with all the wickedness, cruelty and immorality that constitute the darker side of the human species.

That our so-called spiritual leaders are no better, and are in fact in many cases sickeningly worse, than the rest of us is not entirely unexpected but does beg the question – in a modern, technology-based scientifically informed society, what exactly is the church for?

Robert Browne
Skerries, Co Dublin

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