For nearly three decades I served in the Diocese of Chichester under Bishop Eric Kemp. One of the things that made him so admired among his clergy was the care and love that he showed towards a priest with a problem. The fact that he gave an errant priest - even one whose lapse had been sexual - a second chance, seemed to us, back in the 1980s, the mark of a fine pastor. In that far-off decade, forgiveness and mercy were thought very highly of. In those days, forgiveness and mercy were thought of as characteristics of our blessed Lord himself. In those days, secular critics of the Church very commonly attacked her for being "unforgiving" towards those who had fallen from her standards in sexual matters. In those days, fashionable 'libertarian' organisations defended the right of pedophile groups to campaign for the legalisation of consensual sexual activity between adults and children. In those days, as we worked our way through the progressive decriminalisation of sexual activities, there were those who believed that the process would eventually encompass all sexualities. Indeed, why, on secular principles, should this not be so? In my lifetime, we used to imprison for homosexuality and abortion. Now these activities have been elevated into secular sanctities which it is increasingly dangerous to blaspheme and which are to be inculcated even among the very young at public expense. I would have no difficulty explaining to a pedophile why his predilection contravened given Christian Dogma, and why its expression was therefore an absolute evil which no little game of situational ethics could for the tiniest moment justify. I do not know how I would even begin to persuade him of the rationality of current public morality.
We all know that those who are gunning for the Pope are hypocrites. We know that they are in many cases dirty hypocrites whose own lifestyle is unmarked by any evidence of sexual continence. We know that they are bigoted hypocrites who are only marginally, if at all, interested if a rabbi or a humanist gets 'done' for pedophilia or if an Anglican diocese is bankrupted by the compensation it has paid out to abused Inuit children. There is one organisation that they detest with a loathing curiously like Hitler's dislike of the Jews. There is one man for whose downfall they have an insatiable bloodlust.
Nil novi sub sole. Dante described (Purgatorio XX 86-88) how Christ was again made captive and mocked in the person of His Vicar.
How very, very, appropriate that this malevolent evil should be reaching its climax in Holy Week. Satan has a real sense of liturgy.
Veggio ... nel Vicario suo Cristo esser catto. Veggiolo un'altra volta esser deriso; veggio rinovellar l'aceto e'l fiele ...