Cardinal Keith O’Brien resigns
So, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, head of the Catholic church in Scotland, a man who has repeatedly spoken out against LGBT equality on the basis of the outdated (and factually incorrect) dogma of his church (as commented on by Atheism UK on a number of occasions) and winner of Stonewall’s “Bigot of the Year” award last year has been accused of “acting inappropriately”, and now resigned. Full story in the Guardian Online.
Three priests have come forward to accuse O’Brien of the behaviour which stretches back 33 years. Looking at what has been said the language used appears very guarded. There are no explicit accusations of “sexual abuse”, but there appears to be a case of abuse of his position of power over the three men who were subordinate to him.
I would like to say I’m surprised, but given Hitchens’ Law – that a religious individual making bigoted pronouncements about gay people then one can set one’s watch before it is revealed that they have been engaging in such behaviour themselves – this was almost too predictable.
Sadly also more predictable is the fact that the priests that have made the complaint to the Vatican (it is not clear at this point if any illegal actions have been committed) do not seem to expect the Vatican to actually act on this matter. What with a new Pope due for election after the last one resigned in slightly mysterious circumstances (with accusations of a gay cabal in the Vatican or issues regarding the systematic cover up of child rape, not that I want to get all “conspiracy theory” on people) and Cardinal O’Brien being one of the electors and all. An expected response for an organisation whose reputation as a result of its dogma based on faith is more important than the welfare of people.
One of the complainants said:
“It tends to cover up and protect the system at all costs,” said one of the complainants. “The church is beautiful, but it has a dark side and that has to do with accountability. If the system is to be improved, maybe it needs to be dismantled a bit.”
Whilst I beg to differ on the beautiful aspect of the church (the “God Virus” in action I suspect) the rest I can only agree with wholeheartedly, just substitute the words “a bit” with “completely”!
As an aside the wishy-washy language employed by the priests is a wonderful example of how religious faith distorts human sexuality and their inability to speak openly, and explicitly about what went on. I refer readers to Dr. Darrel Ray’s excellent books “The God Virus” and “Sex and God” for a fascinating exploration of this phenomenon (available from our bookshop!).