This makes me so angry I barely have the words; so sad I can’t stay silent.

20 May

After nine years and tons of bitterness and accusations flying every which way, the final report on Catholic schools for children in Ireland has been published. Apparently it details decades of abuse of thousands of children by the very people who should have cared for them, protected them, eased their (already heavy) burdens.

What is truly sad is that I am not surprised, not the teensiest bit surprised.

I’m sure a number of people are going to get up in arms over this post, so let me explain a couple of things:

I was raised Catholic in a mainly Catholic country by a rather devout family. Up until it was physically impossible for the parental units to do so, all the siblings were dragged to mass every. single. Sunday (and every church holiday to boot). Despite personal hardship, my stepfather remained a devout Catholic until his death, and my mother still is. I entertained the idea of becoming a nun (Stop laughing, it’s true. Of course, I was like nine, but still!) and I sang in my local church’s choir for a couple of years.

I grew apart from the church because many of its mandates didn’t make a lick of sense to me, celibacy for the clergy being a biggie. As far as I could tell, keeping people from the other sex through such artificial means created more problems that it was worth (and I’m not sure it ever was worth jack, for the record).

I studied in a nun-run Catholic school for six years, and out of all the nuns I came across during that time (a truck load, as the convent was a door away), only two seemed to me to be genuinely happy people. Mind, I’m sure many if not most among them were devoted to the church and faithful to their vows, but happy? Not so much.

And then there’s the abuse.

Because of Mexico’s political makeup (separation of church and state has been something of a mania for politicians there pretty much since shortly after the war of Independence), abuse at the hands of an all-powerful clergy was never possible there. And yet, I was still in high school when scandal after scandal broke in the press, about this or that Catholic, priest-run school, where sexual abuse of students had been going–sometimes for decades. (See a pattern here?)

So, back to the beginning, I’m not surprised that abuse–physical, emotional, sexual–was the norm in a system where a group of people were given absolute authority over another. The fact that the people on top were (metaphorically or literally) wearing habits/robes does not change the effect that unfettered power has on human beings.

Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

No shit.

 

image: Sadness 8 by ~scarabuss
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