It is some months old now, but I would like to mention this very interesting article from Brendan O’Neill.
Brendan O’Neill is an atheist. As such, the “press consensus” fed us by the BBC would want him outraged at the paedophile priest scandal and – as he has been raised as a Catholic – probably to consider himself a victim of some mild form of abuse in the form of Catholic brainswashing.
But if you read his article you’ll discover that an atheist can still maintain a rational attitude in front of a scandal (grave in itself, no doubt!) concerning a religious institution.
He doesn’t try to minimise any crime. He doesn’t whine. He doesn’t predict the end of the Catholic Church or try to say that Pope Benedict’s Papacy is in tatters. He doesn’t tell the Catholic Church how She should change to comply with his own standards.
Instead, you find that he mentions his sources; that he reads them; that he looks at actual numbers and sets them in the broader context of society and societal changes; that his analysis goes beyond the easy barking and shouted sensationalism so typical of those only bent to exploit the “theme du jour”; that his refusal of emotional language and easy headlines is – admirably – as total as his opposition to atheist anti-Christian fanaticism.
Of course, we as Catholics cannot agree with everything he writes and our analysis would be different from his. Still, the honesty of his approach is to be commended.
Please read the (longish) article in its entirety. It is certainly worth the time. I will here only mention its conclusion:
“Whatever you think of the Catholic Church, you should be concerned about today’s abuse-obsession. Events of the (sometimes distant) past which nobody can change are being used to justify dangerous trends in the present. A new kind of society is being solidified on the back of exposing abusive priests, one in which scaremongering supersedes facts, where people redefine themselves as permanently damaged victims, where freedom of thought is problematised, and where parents are considered suspect for not adhering to the superior values of the atheistic elite”.