Clerical Celibacy


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    Since desire was imputed as a crime and marriage was tolerated as a defect, it was consistent with the same principles to consider a state of celibacy as the nearest approach to divine perfection.
    Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire


    The Jewish priesthood was (and is) based on an hereditary principle, but since the Church Fathers imagined virginity to be such a holy state, they abandoned this model, believing it desirable that the Christian priesthood should be chaste. The taint of sex necessarily brought with it the taint of sin.

    Chastity (no sex) was rather a high ideal, so celibacy (no wife) was advocated as a more practical alternative, but even this was not acceptable to the priesthood. One problem was that the New Testament states plainly and unambiguously that a bishop (presbyter) should have a wife*. Another problem was that there was ample evidence that Jesus" disciples had been married — for example, St Paul asserted his right to take his wife with him on his travels like the other apostles (1 Corinthians 9:5). Most critically for the Western Church the gospels indicated quite clearly that St Peter was married*, and the Pope, as Bishop of Rome, claimed apostolic succession from him. In other words the first pope, as Roman Catholics believe, appointed by Jesus himself, is known to have been married. St Jerome said that Peter had washed away the dirt of marriage by the blood of martyrdom , but the uncomfortable fact remained that the first supposed pope, like many popes after him, was married. Many other early bishops were also married. Eusebius, the first Church historian, refers to a number of them by name. For centuries it was perfectly normal for priests and bishops to be married and have families. Pope Felix III, for example, was buried along with his family in St Paul's basilica in the fifth century.

    Marriage was one thing, but sex was another. Canon 33 of the Synod of Elvira (c.306) stated that all clergy celebrating Mass should refrain from sexual intercourse with their wives. In a decree of 386, Pope Siricius attempted to prohibit married deacons and presbyters from engaging in sexual intercourse. This was rather unwelcome in many quarters, especially where religion was the family business, as it was to be for centuries to come. In his Confession, St Patrick mentions that his father had been a deacon, his grandfather a priest, and his great-grandfather also a deacon. Attempts to stop priests having sexual intercourse with their wives were not always successful. The lack of success was attributable partly to the lack of biblical authority, partly to natural inclinations, and partly to the example set by a succession of popes and other Church dignitaries with families and mistresses.

    Eventually the papacy grew powerful enough to impose its requirements on the priesthood, and in the latter part of the eleventh century, Pope Gregory VII attempted to enforce clerical celibacy in Western Christendom. This caused an outcry, not least because many men in Holy Orders had taken them simply because it was the only practical way to pursue a career in law, scholarship or administration. A council of Italian bishops met at Parvia in 1076 and excommunicated the Pope for trying to separate priests and their wives. Their protest was in vain. Apart from sex per se, a major problem seems to have been that married priests left their property to their wives and children when they died. Worse, they left not only their own property but also Church property. Celibate priests were much better: not only would they dedicate more time to their duties, but when they died the Church could expect a bequest — not a widow who would need housing, or orphans who would have to be taken care of.

    Married priests had been forbidden to celebrate Mass in December 1074. By the next century the Church was prohibiting priests from attending the weddings or funerals of their own children and denying clerical wives a Christian burial. From time to time it tried sending clerical wives into slavery, but more often accepted a sort of sex tax (cullagium) in exchange for turning a blind eye. The Eastern Churches regarded the Western Church as heretical because of its views over clerical celibacy, yet in practice the traditional arrangements continued as before. Many Western clerics married and in some places livings continued to be passed on from father to son, as they had been previously. In Brittany, the practice of clerical marriage was so well accepted that as a matter of custom the wives of bishops were accorded the courtesy title of Countess. The mistress of the twelfth century Patriarch of Jerusalem, Heraclius of Caesarea, was known to Jerusalemites as "Madame la Patriarchesse". The Church was less concerned with wives than with their children. The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 declared that the son of a canon must not receive a benefice in his father's church. Church law contained special provisions for the daughters of clerics. For example, their seems to have been a problem with clerics' daughters marrying after becoming nuns.

    Let a cleric's daughter be compelled to penance if she takes a husband after becoming a sister.
    The daughter of a bishop, priest, or deacon is excluded from Communion if she takes a husband after becoming a sister, unless she does penance after the man dies. If her father or mother receives her with affection, the father must be arraigned before the council, and her mother is not permitted Communion.
    (Decretum gratiani, Case 27, q I, C26)

    Another provision concerned clerics who married off their daughters to men who already lived with concubines:

    So, if any cleric gives his daughter in marriage to a man with a concubine, this is not the same as if he had given her to a married man, unless the concubine had been freed, lawfully endowed, and made an honest woman by public nuptials.
    (Decretum gratiani, Case 32, q II, C12 §2)

    Monks who married could not expect to become a bishop or other preferrement:

    A monk who takes a wife can never be selected for an office of sacred rank.
    (Decretum gratiani, Case 27, q I, C32 citing the [First] Council of Arles, [cc. 22-23)

    There were even provision for priests' wives who stray, alowing priests to imprison and half-starve them:

    if the wife of any cleric sins, lest she have liberty to sin further, her husband have power to confine her for her crime, and to secure her at home. He should compel her to a salutary, but not life-threatening, fast.
    (Decretum gratiani, Case 23, q II, C10

    The Temptation of St. Thomas Aquinas by Diego Rodriguez de Silva Velázquez, 1632,
    Orihuela Cathedral Museum, Spain.

    Thomas Aquinas was supposedly saved from the woman in the background by a pair of angels. One of of them holds a band which the angels will use to bind up Thomas's genitals, so relieving him of sexual temptation. On Catholic websites this band is described as a mystical girdle, but this is a euphemism - the many modern devotees who copy St Thomas find it more effective to bind the gentitals with bands like the one the angel is carrying.

    Saint Kevin won his sainthood supposedly by tolerating the nagging of the ghost of a woman he had murdered at Glendalough in Ireland. He killed her by thrashing her with nettles and then pushing her into a lake and drowning her, because she was attracted to him. In the traditional telling, Kevin hurled her from a high rock into the lake. The poet Gerald Griffin has Kevin “Hurl the maiden from the rock into the black lake shrieking” and Thomas Moore has a similar version. A sanitised version of the the story is commemorated in an Irish folk song.*

    The Eastern Church was rather more relaxed about sexuality and had never attempted to enforce clerical celibacy amongst the lower clergy*. This attitude influenced dissenting churches during the Reformation. After breaking away from the Roman Church, the Church of England considered the matter and, deciding to follow the primitive church as far as possible, accepted clerical marriages, as did other Protestant Churches. The dispute about the ban on clerical marriages still rumbles on in the Roman Catholic Church, and there is an increasingly strong movement within it to allow priests to marry. The Roman Church has admitted married deacons since the 1960s. Even today not all priests in the Roman Catholic Church are necessarily celibate. The rule is that priests may not marry, but this does not debar married men from becoming priests, as St Peter supposedly did. In practice a steady stream of married high church Anglican clergymen transfer to orders in the Roman Catholic Church. Uniate priests are also permitted to marry, although the Uniate Church has owed its allegiance to Rome since 1596.

    Detail from MS. Douce 374 roll 119A(1) frame 6
    A celibate Medieval nun prays, attempting to take her mind off a sexually-charged demon visitor

    Celibacy was hard enough, but monks and nuns were comitted not merely to celibacy, but chastity. Girls of good family but without good marriage prospects were often packed off to nunneries in the Middle Ages, where their natural sexual desires manifested themselves in a variety of ways. some nunnery's were little more than brothels, but in others the rules of chastity were strictly enforced. In these places nuns experienced fantasies which often blossomed into visions or hallucinations with very obvious sexual overtones, the mirror images of the sexual visions of male hermits. Nun's visions often involved sadomasochistic and humiliation fantasies - they were stripped naked, they were publically tortured or crucified, they punished themselves mercilessly, they licked Jesus's bleeding wounds or the supurating sores of lepers. You can see some spectacular examples under Sadomasochism. Here we will mention just one extraordinary theme - marriage fantasies.

    St Catherine of Alexandria (who never existed) was probably invented as part of a half-successful campaign to convert a pagan martyr Hypatia of Alexandria into a Christian martyr. A true story about Christians murdering an innocent pagan virgin, miraculously transmuted into a made-up story about wicked pagans murdering an innocent Christian virgin.

    By 1337 Catherine's legend included a story about Jesus appearing to her and marrying her, over a thousand years earlier. Since medieval Christians were familiar and comfortable with infant marriages, artists often represent the marriage as being between the infant Jesus and Catherine.

    Nuns also regarded themselves as being married to Jesus and were often referred to as "Brides of Christ". Their induction to their Orders imitated a wedding ceremony and their fathers were invariably expected to pay a dowery. Some nuns, deprived of a real husbands, suffered extreme fantasies about their imaginary husband. Several saints won their sainthood be having relatively acceptable fantasies were Jesus appeared to them and placed a wedding ring on their finger, as he had with the imaginary Catherine of Alexandria.

    This idea apealled to a number of nuns, most of whom starved themselves, flogged themselves or tortured themselves in other imaginative ways - wearing crowns of thorns, half-strangling themselves, rolling in broken glass, jumping into ovens, hanging from a gibbet, and praying upside down, thrusting needles into their breasts, or standing around barefoot in winter. Eventually their privations paid off. Jesus appeared to them and married them, sometimes as a baby, sometimes as a fully grown man. Over seventy such examples are known, and the "best" of them won their sainthood through these mystical marriages, for example St. Faustina, St Rose of Lima, and St Margaret Mary Alacoque.

    Jesus supposedly appeared to another Catherine, for another Mystical Marriage. Saint Catherine of Siena would have been familiar with thie story of her imaginary namesake ( the Barna da Siena panel was painted in Siena a few years before she was born), and she is recorded as praying as a child that she would have a similar experience. She never learned to read, and was "a devout woman whose imagination was stimulated unconsciously by religious images she had seen previously". She also experienced stigmata, copied from images she had seen. She was canonized in 1461. The interesting thing about Saint Catherine of Siena is that her wedding ring was not an ordinary gold ring, but a ring made of flesh - specifically is was, she claimed, Jesus's foreskin.* Today, Catherine is not only a Saint but a "Doctor of the Church".

    But this was not Jesus's only foreskin. At least 18 possed possessing miracle-working foreskins from Jesus's penis. He (or according to some sources his mother) also kept a collection of them in heaven, for use as wedding rings. The Austrian nun Agnes Blannbekin (1244-1315) saw obscene visions including monks, women, and Jesus naked. She became obsessed by the holy foreskin, dwelling on the loss of blood and pain Christ must have suffered during his circumcision. While celebrating the Feast of the Circumcision on the 1st of January, Agnes experienced a vision::

    Crying and with compassion, she began to think about the foreskin of Christ, where it may be located. And behold, soon she felt with the greatest sweetness on her tongue a little piece of skin alike the skin in an egg, which she swallowed. After she had swallowed it, she again felt the little skin on her tongue with sweetness as before, and again she swallowed it. And this happened to her about a hundred times. And when she felt it so frequently, she was tempted to touch it with her finger. And when she wanted to do so, that little skin went down her throat on its own. And it was told to her that the foreskin was resurrected with the Lord on the day of resurrection. And so great was the sweetness of tasting that little skin that she felt in all [her] limbs and parts of the limbs a sweet transformation.
    Wiethaus, Ulrike (2002). Agnes Blannbekin, Viennese Beguine: Life and Revelations. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer. ISBN 0-85991-634-0.

    She described drinking a "refreshing spiritual drink" from the spear wound of Jesus] Supposed visitations from Jesus himself caused an orgasmic reaction: "Agnes herself was filled with an excitement in her chest every time that God visited her that was so intense that it went through her body and that it burned as a result, not in a painful but in a most pleasurable manner.". This was a step too far for the Church and Agnes never got her Sainthood, but her supporters still refer to her as St Agnes Blannbekin. Saint Brigit of Sweden was luckier: she received bits of Christ's foreskin on her tongue from an angel and noted that it tasted sweet, surpassing all other sweetness, a fact that is increasingly omitted from her hagiographies.

    Other female saints also experienced visions that look suspiciously like sexual hallucinations - and stories of fictitious saints also feature visions that look like the sexual fantasies of their inventors. Saint Cecilia (or Celia) for example seems never to have existed, and her story matches the story of thousands of fictitious martyrs - including a range of contradictory details about her place of origin and details of her death. Her persecutors tried to kill her, but failed to do so causing her days of the most dreadful torture, until they eventually used the approved method of execution for Christian martyrs and dispatched her with a sword. The naked bodies of imaginary virgin martyrs like Cecilia exercise a special fascination for Christian artists.

    Sainte Cécile [Saint Cecilia] by Adolphe Lalire (1848-1933)

    Like most virgin martyrs Cecilia had been promised in marriage, but managed to put-off her would-be husband, Valerian, before their marriage was consummated. Her distinguishing feature is that according to her legend, she put him off on their wedding night by showing him her angel lover. Numerous Catholic websites quote her very words: “There is a secret, Valerian, I wish to tell you. I have as a lover an angel of God who jealously guards my body.” Valerian could not see the jealous supernatural lover until he underwent Christian baptism, and then, miraculously, he could.

    Santa cecilia e l'angelo Roma, by Carlo Saracen in the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome
    The imaginary Saint Celia with her imaginary lover - they are shown with musical instruments because of an error in translation in one of her legends.

    The traditional emphasis on celibacy and chastity has had a number of other unfortunate effects. One was the prevalence among priests of the crime of solicitation. Obliged to confess their sexual desires and deeds to their priest while sitting next to him, or kneeling at his feet, many women fell easy pray to their sexually frustrated confessors. Confessional boxes, introduced in the sixteenth century, helped to reduce the incidence of solicitation, although it still continues. The problem seems to have been exacerbated by the requirement to enquire in detail into sexual sins. Since 1611, when it was confirmed that sins of the flesh could never be trivial, priests have been obliged to enquire into the nature, frequency and circumstances of such sins — with predictable consequences.

    In the past steps had to be taken to reduce the amount of incest among the clergy*. However, this seems to have been a relatively minor problem compared to the general sexual abuse of children, which for centuries went unpunished. Only in the late twentieth century was the issue of child abuse by clergy taken seriously, and the scale of the problem revealed by secular authorities.

    In 1990 the amount of child abuse practised by Roman Catholic priests in Newfoundland became too great a scandal to contain any longer. An official report disclosed that over a period of about two and half years more than twenty priests, former priests, and others associated with the Church had been charged with sexually abusing boys. The head of the Newfoundland Church, Archbishop Alphonsus Penney, having failed to tackle the problem for at least 15 years, made the observation that "we are a sinful Church" and offered his resignation*. The report estimated that as many as a third of the priests in Newfoundland harboured unnatural sexual tendencies, and suggested a link with enforced celibacy. There is no reason to suppose that the figure of one third is not representative of the whole Church, although other estimates are as low as 3 per cent. Richard Snipe, a former Benedictine monk who has studied the subject, estimates that in the USA roughly half of the priests break their vows of celibacy, and 6 per cent of those pursue children or adolescents*. A single centre in New Mexico treats 80 priests each year for "psychosexual problems"*, but it is likely that most cases are neither treated nor publicised.

    In any case, the phenomenon of widespread child abuse in the Catholic Church turned out to be widespread - massive abuse and concealment has been discovered everywhere that secular authorities have carried out investigations. Typically, abusing priests are each able to abuse dozens, sometimes hundreds, of children over a period of years and are only rarely caught. An investigation shown on British television in 1992* exposed a number of cases from which the following pattern emerged: the priest had typically been reported to his Church several times over a period of years but no action had been taken either to help him, punish him, or prevent him repeating his crimes. If the victims" families threatened to publicise the affair, then a cash settlement was offered and the priest was moved on to another parish. Typically no effort was made to keep him away from children, and he would abuse more children in his new parish. One priest had been moved on four times. If prosecution threatened, then the Church would hide the alleged offender, and in at least one case send him abroad and enable him to stay out of the jurisdiction of the authorities. The Church had on numerous occasions gone out of its way to protect from justice men who had abused dozens of children over more than 10 or 20 years. In Ireland the position was if anything worse*. In 1994, Albert Reynolds' government collapsed amid allegations that it had blocked the extradition to Northern Ireland of a priest who had sexually abused children for decades at a Belfast Catholic school. (The priest later was convicted of dozens of abuse charges)*. In the decade up to 2008 thousands of cases were exposed — following the same pattern as in the UK. Abuse was so prevalent that it was common for numerous teachers and religious Brothers from the same school (typically Christian Brothers or Marist Brothers) to be prosecuted*. Two government reports

    In 2009 the Irish Government's Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (The Ryan Report) revealed widespread abuse of children in schools run by Catholic religious orders - denied and covered up over decades. A few months later the Murphy Report publicised the result of public inquiries conducted by into the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic archdiocese of Dublin. The report concluded that

    the Dublin Archdiocese's pre-occupations in dealing with cases of child sexual abuse, at least until the mid 1990s, were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the Church, and the preservation of its assets. All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities. The Archdiocese did not implement its own canon law rules and did its best to avoid any application of the law of the State.

    The 720-page report said that there was "no doubt that clerical child sexual abuse was covered up" from January 1975 to May 2004. The complaints of parents and their children were ignored and other families placed in immediate danger as prelates suppressed scandals and used canon law to protect offenders at the expense of innocent children. Uninvolved priests turned a blind eye to their allegations.

    Both reports confirmed the conventional patern: endemic abuse over many decades, a conspiracy of silence among the clergy and bishops, failure to report crimes, pay-offs in exchange for undertakings to stay silent, movements to new parishes for known offenders, and new opprtunities to abuse, and finally attempts to conceal evidence when investigated by the civil authorities. The Murphy report said that the Church had "obsessively" hidden allegations of child abuse in the Dublin archdiocese between 1975 and 2004, protecting itself rather than vulnerable victims.

    Another country where widespread abuse has been exposed is Australia. The Christian Brothers admitted to abusing children both physically and sexually over many years in their orphanages. Children taken from Britain and Ireland without their parents consent were entrusted to Roman Catholic orphanages at places like Bindoon Boy's Town, Clontarf, Casteldare and Tardun under the care of the Brothers*. Sexual abuse seems to have been particularly rife at Bindoon. The system was such that there was no adult to whom the children could turn for help. All contact with the families of these boys had been broken, and they grew up believing themselves to be orphans (see page 356). They had no contact with women. One boy tried telling a priest during confession about being abused by one of the Christian Brothers. The result was that the Brother found out and gave the boy a beating*.

    When public accusations were made in the 1980s they were denied*. When the number became too great to deny, an independent inquiry was forestalled by setting up an internal one, which seems to have been less than thorough and not entirely impartial*. The man in charge of it tried suggesting that children from Britain had been responsible for homosexual activity at Boy's Town*. Later he acknowledged that there was some evidence against some Brothers there*. By now victims were talking openly about what had happened to them years earlier when they had been children at Boy's Town and other orphanages in Western Australia. One Brother, Gerald Faulkner, confirmed that there had probably been nine or ten Brothers abusing boys*. Meanwhile, independent academic research revealed that sexual abuse had been common at Clontarf — up to 50 boys had been abused each year*. A total of 16 Brothers were named by victims of sexual abuse. It also emerged that one Brother had been moved from state to state when repeated complaints had been made against him*. Although this had happened more than once, no independent investigation had been made into the allegations, and in each case he was sent to another orphanage. By now it was no longer possible to maintain the denials. On 3 rd July 1993, an apology was printed in Western Australian newspapers on behalf of the Christian Brothers. It covered both physical and sexual abuse inflicted between 1901 and 1983 at four orphanages*. No help or compensation was offered.

    No one now doubts that hundreds of children in Australia were abused by dozens of Brothers over many decades. Similar patterns of abuse and cover-up were exposed in Britain, the Republic of Ireland, Canada, the USA, Austria and France — wherever investigations were undertaken. In 2007, two days before being required to appear in court in July 2007, Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop of los Angeles, agreed to a $660,000,000 pay off to 508 victims of sexual abuse in his diocese*. The pattern was identical to all other dioceses in the US and abroad where abuse had been exposed, refusal to act on repeated accusations over many years, concealment, denial, protecting known paedophiles, refusing to accept fault, dragging out court proceedings up until the last minute, then settling out of court with minimal apologies and no acceptance of personal accountability. In some states the Catholic diocese has had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation and have gone into Chapter 11, in order to limit their liability.

    In many other countries, where the Church is still powerful, no investigation has been carried out. In many of them there has still not been a single case of clerical child sex abuse exposed. There are only two serious possible explanations for this. Either extensive abuse has been taking place only in selected countries, or else it is universal and is still being concealed in other countries. There is no reason to suppose that rates of abuse are different in different countries, nor that they have changed over the last millennium. Furthermore, in all countries where extensive abuse has come to light, the truth has emerged despite the Church's best efforts to conceal it. There must therefore be a suspicion that extensive abuse is quietly going on within the Church in dozens of other countries just as it always has. No one within the Church seems to have thought this possibility worth investigating. The same applies to the Anglican Church, where exactly the same pattern of systematic long-term abuse and concealment has been repeatedly played out.*

    The Vatican gives every appearance of continuing to protect alleged paedophile priests. In 2006 an alleged victim in the US won the right to mount a lawsuit against the Vatican. As the judge, Michael Mosman, said, the Vatican appeared to be involved in an "international conspiracy" to spirit Father Andrew Ronan out of Ireland and between parishes in America. The judge went on to point out that Ronan, a known child-molester, had been given private access to children, after twice being exposed for paedophile behaviour.* The Vatican compounded its record by stretching the case out and maximising the plaintiff's costs, for example by insisting that all documents be translated into Latin, the official language of the Holy See. The story was much the same in other cases. The Vatican had denied requests to cooperate Ireland's Murphy Report on the grounds that the requests had not been made through the correct diplomatic channels.

    Here is Christopher Hitchens's summary of the Roman Church's culpability:

    The Vatican, and its vast network of dioceses, has in the past decade alone been forced to admit complicity in a huge racket of child rape and child torture, mainly but by no means exclusively homosexual, in which known pederasts and sadists were shielded from the law and reassigned to parishes where the pickings of the innocent and defenceless were often richer. In Ireland alone — once an unquestioning disciple of Holy Mother Church — it is now estimated that the unmolested children of religious schools were very probably in the minority.*

    Voltaire may have been understating his case when he said that it is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue. Over the centuries many thousands of men have been denied normal pleasures and a family life, not because of any scriptural requirement, but because of the dubious views of the men who influenced the Western Church in its formative years, combined with the need to safeguard Church assets. The consequences are plain for all to see, although a similar pattern of systematic abuse and institutional concealment, on a smaller scale, has also been exposed in the Anglican Church, which does allow its clergy to marry*.




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    §. 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6. Bibles belonging to Churches that do not accept clerical marriage find various ways to explain away these injunctions.

    §. Peter's mother-in-law is mentioned in Mark 1:30, Matthew 8:14 and Luke 4:38.

    §. Dialog of Divine Providence. In the Middle Ages there was no doubt about Catherine's wedding ring being Jesus's foreskin, but in recent times the Catholic Church has become wary of even mentioning it, and references to it are ever harder to find. Catherine was herself inconsistent about the claim. She wrote in one of her letters (Letter 221, to Sister Bartolomea della Seta): "Ben vedi tu che tu sei sposa, e che egli t'ha sposata, e te e ogni creatura; e non con anello d' argento, ma con anello della carne sua" (Well seest thou that thou art a bride, and that He has wedded thee and every creature, not with a ring of silver, but with the ring of His flesh), and she mentions in another letter that "Christ in His circumcision showed that He would wed the whole human race."

    §. The Irish folk song commemorating part of Saint Kevin's story, The Glendalough Saint, as recorded by the Dubliners goes:

    In Glendalough lived an auld saint
    Renowned for his learning and piety.
    His manners was curious and quaint,
    And he looked upon girls with disparity.

    Fol-la-de-la-la-de-la-lay, fol-la-de-la-la-de-la-laddy
    Fol-la-de-la-la-de-la-laaay ... fol-la-de-la-la-de-la-laddy

    He was fond of reading a book
    When he could get one to his wishes.
    He was fond of casting his hook
    In among all the young fishes.
    Fol-la, etc.

    Well one evening he landed a trout,
    He landed a fine big trout, sir,
    When Cathleen from over the way
    Came to see what the auld monk was about, sir.

    Fol-la, etc.

    "Well, get out of me way," said the saint,
    "For I am a man of great piety,
    And me good manners I wouldn't taint
    Not by mixing with female society."

    Fol-la, etc.

    Ah, but Kitty she wouldn't give in,
    And when he got home to his rockery,
    He found she was seated therein
    A-polishing up his auld crockery.

    Fol-la, etc.

    Well, he gave the poor craythur a shake,
    And I wish that a garda had caught him,
    For he threw her right into the lake,
    And she sank right down to the bottom.

    Fol-la, etc.

    §. Orthodox priests belong to one of two groups, the white and the black clergy. Ordinands choose which group they wish to belong to. White clergy may marry before ordination, black clergy are monks and may not. Bishops are invariably drawn from the black clergy. See Ware, The Orthodox Church, pp 297-300.

    §. Uta Ranke-Heinemann, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, p 105.

    §. "Archbishop in Sex Scandal", The Independent, 20 th July 1990.

    §. Richard Sipe, Sex, Priests and Power: Anatomy of a Crisis, Brunnel/Mazel (1995).

    §. "Sins of the Fathers", The Economist, 18 th July 1992.

    §. "Sins of the Fathers" World in Action programme shown on British television (ITV) on 20 th July 1992.

    §. Clerical abuse in Ireland — along with a number of other clerical crimes — is comprehensively documented at

    §. Boston Herald, “Abuse revelations roil Ireland” by Jim Dee (Irish Times), Sunday, April 14, 2002.see also the Boston Globe “Irish bishop quits over priest case”. By Kevin Cullen, Globe Staff, 4/2/2002

    §. The most recent case in Ireland of multiple abusers at the same school at the time of writing involved five teachers and three Marist brothers. The Irish Times, p3, Saturday, 19 th January 2008. The following extracts concerning Bishop John Magee, a former private secretary to three popes, comes from The Sunday Times of 11 th January 2009 (Irish Edition “In the Name Of God, Just Go” by Brenda Power), but is representative of numerous articles over the previous ten years concerning cover ups: “Bishop John Magee was reckless and dangerous when it came to the protection of children. He didn"t give a perceptible hoot for vulnerable young people at risk from alleged rapists and sexual predators ... He lied the Health service Executive (HSE) to conceal a child-abuse allegation. He lied again when he claimed his diocese complied with all child-protection guidelines. And he did his level best, including legal sabre-rattling, to impede a report exposing this behaviour be a body set up by his own church .... His demonstrable concern, at all times, was for the alleged abusers and, by extension, the status and coffers of the Catholic church. He has said that he will not resign unless his boss, Pope Benedict, instructs him to do so.”

    §. Humphreys, Empty Cradles, p 115.

    §. Humphreys, Empty Cradles, p 178.

    §. Humphreys, Empty Cradles, p 198.

    §. The investigation was undertaken by a Christian Brother, Dr Barry Coldrey. See Humphreys, Empty Cradles, pp 198, 242-243.

    §. Humphreys, Empty Cradles, p 285.

    §. Humphreys, Empty Cradles, p 303.

    §. Humphreys, Empty Cradles, p 326.

    §. This research was undertaken for a doctoral thesis by Juanita Miller. See Humphreys, Empty Cradles, p 303.

    §. This was revealed in a Sixty Minutes documentary on Australian television in 1989. See Humphreys, Empty Cradles, p 325.

    §. Humphreys, Empty Cradles, p 340.

    §. “After Abuse Settlement, an apology to victims”, National Report, New York Times, Monday 16 th July 2007.

    §. See “the Church Sins Again”, News Review, Sunday Times, May 6 th May 2007.

    § Sean O"Driscoll, “Abuse Victim Can Sue Vatican”, The Sunday Times, (p5), 11 th June, 2006.

    §. Hitchens, God Is Not Great, p 51

    §. See for example “The Church Sins Again”, The Sunday Times, News Review, 6 th May 2007, p4.


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