Talk about kicking someone when he's down...
The Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has taken inter-religious rivalry, and even prejudice, to a new low, attacking the Irish Catholic Church as it (and the entire Church) struggles to deal with a terrible and longstanding child sex-abuse scandal.
"I was speaking to an Irish friend recently," Williams told the BBC of a conversation with a likely non-existent person, "who was saying that it's quite difficult in some parts of Ireland to go down the street wearing a clerical collar now.
Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin was so infuriated — and proper;y so — by Williams' outburst the he was compelled to release a statement about how Williams' "unequivocal and unqualified comment... has stunned me. Those working for renewal in the Catholic Church in Ireland did not need this comment on this Easter weekend and do not deserve it."
Well said. Perhaps the golden-throned Anglican leader should have consulted his own church's records before throwing the first stone from the glass house of his faith.
An Internet search of the words "Anglican" and pedophile" hardly comes up empty.
Here's just one story of many, and from this year in which a judge was "astonished" the Anglican Church allowed a priest jailed for sexually abusing three altar boys to re-enter the ministry and commit "strikingly similar" offenses.
"Judge Sydney Tilmouth today said he found it remarkable that Wilfred Edwin Dennis was left in a position by the Anglican Church to commit the abuse, after being found guilty of molesting three altar boys in the early 1970s.
"Outside court, Dennis' sister said the Anglican Church had allowed Dennis back into the ministry because they had trusted him."
Yet another case, this one involving an Anglican priest's "indecent assault" on a young girl, "caused a furor when it was learned that senior Anglicans knew of the allegations years earlier."
Then there's last year's case of the remorseless Anglican Church pedophile and Church of England Boys Society youth leader Andrew William Dawson-Ryan, who systematically abused boys "hundreds of times."
Between 1972 and 1988, he abused a number of boys entrusted into his care, and plied them with cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana and pornography.
There's a lot more, but you get the idea.
None of the much-smaller Anglican Church's shame excuses, in any way, shape or form, the criminal behavior of Catholic pedophile clergy or child-abusing priests, and certainly not the equally criminal cover-ups of those cases, which have both gone on in Ireland and other countries for decades. Like a small leak, the mounting charges have burst the dam, and it certainly can seem to the layman that "Catholic priest" and "pedophile" are one and the same.
But the Archbishop of Canterbury is not a layman, and should know better. His vicious comments amid the holy Easter season are so bizarre, ill-considered and horribly timed that they could only have come from the mouth of an anti-Catholic bigot.
As they did.
The Catholic Church, because of its size and far-reaching ministries, may well be the unfortunate flag-bearer of religions with the highest number of sex-abuse crimes and cover-ups in its closet. It's not any "honor," to be sure, and my readers are well-aware of my own thoughts on the sheer evil behind it all.
But there is nothing to be gained by self-righteous bigotry. A man of faith like Williams should be shoulder-to-shoulder with the MANY Catholics who are working for justice for God's Innocent Children, and for those who betrayed them.
God bless you all, and may you have a glorious Easter!
— Father Tim