Is Cardinal Brady coming or going?

The Times’s Ireland correspondent adopts the general line that Cardinal Brady has refused to resign.

But the paper’s commentator on religion says this is subtle way of saying he’s probably going. Which is it?

Ruth Gledhill in full

The clever canon lawyer who heads the Catholic Church in Ireland has passed the most holy ghost of a dilemma to Rome.

Cardinal Seán Brady, the Irish Primate, has not said he will resign over the terrible scandal of clerical child abuse. But nor has he said he is staying.

In his statement, Cardinal Brady said: “To assist me in addressing the vital work of healing, repentance and renewal, including engagement with survivors of abuse, as well as the many other challenges and opportunities which confront the Diocese of Armagh and the Church in Ireland at this time, I have asked Pope Benedict XVI for additional support for my work, at episcopal level.”

This means that in effect the Holy See is being asked to take responsibility for the entire sex abuse crisis.

Rome must now decide whether to give him an assistant bishop, in which case he will stay on as Primate.

The alternative is to appoint a co-adjutor, which will in effect mean he is resigning in all but name.

The word on the inside track is that he has asked privately for the latter, and requested that it should be the brilliant theologian Father Tim Bartlett, currently his adviser.

As a pastor, Cardinal Brady is popular with the laity and priests in Ireland. The appointment of a co-adjutor would allow him to go with dignity. But still he would go, a move that would help victims who understandably want a top head on a plate.

It would also help the Church in Ireland to begin anew on the road to healing, before it is too late.

  • Brian MacAodh

    Munsterview

    Many in the colonies did not like having to quarter troops from time to time, like the 7 years war, but I think you are exaggerating the instance of rape in the America’s as well as Europe. I’m sure they did happen, but how is it a good third of the 13 colonies were loyalists and another third reamined nuetral/indifferent? Surely if rape was so common they would also be disgusted. As you say, the victors get to write the record…so why wouldn’t American historians (at least in the early years of Republic)emphasize the behavior of the British troops if they were so absolutely outrageous? I find it hard to believe there are no historians or doctoral students who would have satisfactorily tackled the subject if the evidence was there. I could be wrong, I’m just surprised I haven’t come across it in my readings of the period.

    As for 98, it is well known how the rebels were treated. The Hessian mercenaries were, in particulr, barbarous and prone to gangrape (based on the statements of British officers).

  • Munsterview

    Brian

    Briefly; The Hessians record in Ireland, as I am glad you note, have had their propensity for rape well documented in the records and letters of their British Commanders. However there were two types of ‘Ravishing’ as it was sometimes quaintly described, that which was authorized by the Officers and which was so commonplace as to be a ‘perk of the job’

    That is not generally commented on as it was considered a punishment of war to be inflicted on the mothers, sisters and daughters of the combatants.

    I think that you find on closer study that the Ravishing complained of by the British Officers was unauthorized activity that took place around encampments where women were kidnapped and gang raped. Occasionally a parsons wife, daughter or some other ‘ woman of standing’ in society was the victim and then all hell broke loose for the Troop Commanders.

    As to the American experience, the gang rape activities of the Hessian mercenaries was part of their culture all through the 18th cen., they were in North America, it was that regiment that Washington defeated at Valley Forge. Their predatory sexual behavior was no different in 1776 to what it was in Ireland two decades later, so why should it be any surprise to anyone knowing the Irish record, the Hessians reputation and the way Armies were allowed to prey off hostile communities, to think that their American record would be any different.

    As to the colonies attitude to the British it was not uniform, just like Ulster two decades later, American Colonists of all ranks fought against Independence and their own people for various reasons and most left for Canada with the retreating British forces rather than stay behind, not that given the record of the British Army by the end of that war, they had too much choice.

    As to American studies on the subject; all countries have taboo subjects, we had over ten thousand Blueshirts marching around Ireland during the thirties spouting the very same language of Hiller and Mussolini. Well over fifty thousand men, women and children ( there are photos of boarding school girls parading in Kinsale with the cute little darlings giving the Right Arm Nazi salute complete in their blue shirts and bonnets led by their uniformed teachers) yet I have only ever see and held one Blue Shirt.

    In the early seventies I was passing City Hall in Cork during the Fine Gael convention and went into the back of the hall for Liam Cosgrave’s main conference address. This was his infamous mongrel fox tirade against Garret, Costello and the other liberals in the party. All along the back of the hall and through out the crowd there were men ( and some women) on their feet braying Up The Blue Shirts and throwing Nazi salutes.

    They had not gone away you know!

  • abucs

    Pippakin, please see the Jewish led sight called Pave the Way Foundation to clear up the misunderstandings.

    http://barhama.com/PAVETHEWAY/

    http://www.barhama.com/PAVETHEWAY/5.html

    http://ptwf.org/Projects/Education/PPXII%20Articles%20and%20Interveiws.htm

    We’ve had over a hundred years now of the philosophy of materialism which has sought to misrepresent Christianity as intellectually inferior and morally deficient and represent itself as scientific.

    That materialist philosophy is scientifically untenable and either the next young generation or the one after, through their education, will understand the error of many ‘ahem’ self described enlightened posters who currently believe in it.

  • Jean Meslier

    The XV Internationa Brigade

    “… The word came from Maynooth support the nazi’s.
    The men of cloth failed again,
    When the bishops blessed the blueshirts in Dun Laoghaire,
    As they sailed beneath the swastika to Spain…”

  • Munsterview

    Head the ball & Green flag

    Part (1)

    Irish Christian Churches and failure of Reformation as promised ( slightly off message but central to these discussions)

    Any appreciation of the foundations of Christianity in Ireland must of necessity have regard to the pre Christian Culture and geographical location of Ireland, its old trading sea routes and the proven capacity of the Irish for extensive travel in the this ancient period.

    The second matter to have regard to is the character of the Native Irish and the Christian Church in Ireland from it’s foundations to the 1600’s when the Elizabethan Wars and subsequent plantations deprived the Native Irish Catholics of all their Churches and other religious buildings as well as most of it’s organizational structure which left it in a situation where it could only give spiritual solace and little else.

    Christianity came to Ireland prior to St Patrick, the latter was warranted by the Pope to preach to not alone the Irish not yet converted but also ‘ to those of his brethren already believing in Christ’. Patrick had lived here as a slave, he knew the people and he knew the Culture, his creed did not come at the end of a sword and so was able to peacefully adapt and adopt much of the existing spiritual order from the Druidic Class,

    Ireland was then a patchwork of tribal kingdoms, over one hundred and fifty, presided over what Professor O’Corrain is fond of referring to as ‘Kings in Wellingtons’. each petty kingdom was complete in it self with the Clan collectively owning its particular territory. Individual parts of these were only temporary allocated qualifying individuals, every so often all went back into the common pool for re allocation. Part of the lands were set aside for the elected king, another Judges, Poets etc and some for those in Sacral service.

    As each tribe was converted, by in large either the existing Sacral Practitioners of the tribe or the New Christian Converts got a portion of the lands for Church use and these like the kings lands etc were exempt from the regular hand back and division. The clan leaders were not about to let valuable assets go out of clan control so very quickly most Royal Families developed a sacral branch to oversee the church portion of their lands.

    Some of the Church Leaders were nominal just there for control, others were the genuine article but all were of Royal blood of the ruling tribal elites, such as Colmcille was, with a high standard of learning etc irrespective of their degree of Church sacral activity participation.

    A hundred years after Patrick the country was mainly converted but the main religious were Monks and Nuns,the structures monastic. The monks also provided most priests and the Abbots and Abbess had more authority than the Rome Appointed Bishops had.

    It was a very decentralized, democratic set up, a cluster of Independent churches, self governing and self regulating and it simply drove Rome up the walls trying to impose a ‘Top Down’ system with a straight line from the Pope, to the local Bishop and Priests. These Priests, Abbots and Abbesses acknowledged Rome in a general way but as for Rome getting it’s hands on any Irish Church lands or property, it could take a running jump for itself. Anyway the Religious of the tribe could not do it, the clan as a whole remained the ‘ground landlord’ of most lands under religious control.

    It also had remarkable differences of rules and regulations; for example, one monastery in the outskirts of Dublin absolutely banned alcohol and regarded it’s use as the very gravest of crimes; the next Abbot down the road held that if Jesus see nothing wrong in creating wine from water, who was he to prevent his monks from drinking it and they all had a daily mug ( and no doubt a happier monastery for it!) The same with beliefs, while the gospels, scriptures and commandments provided the core inspiration, how these were mediated and lived led to a wide diversity of practices and a lively ongoing debate.

    This system despite several Rome attempts to reform it lasted down to 1111 AD when at the Senate of Rath Brazil in ( where else would they hold something of such vital International importance ? ) Munster, most doctrinal differences between the Celtic Church, the other Refugee ( over a dozen in all, each trying to preserve their own Traditional beliefs and practices from Rome interference ) Churches sheltering here such as the Saxon one, each reached a working agreement with The Roman Christian belief of the day, but were only still subject the nominal authority of Rome rather than the actual.. They were also authorized officially to preach in the Continent.

    Most of the reChristianisation of the Continent following the fall of Rome and the Dark Ages followed the Irish pattern as they had Irish Foundation houses who looked home to Ireland mother houses rather than Rome.

    1246 brought the first Normans, the first landings did not trouble anyone too much, only the near by viking mainly viking town was threatened and they were still sims-detached from the Clan political system as a whole in their areas. The Viking town send out a large party of Burgers with a good ransom to get the Normans to go away and annoy somebody else. They took the money and jewels etc. then broke the arms and legs of the delegate party, threw them into the freshly dug trench around the camp and left the unfortunate victims to die slowly and painfully pleading for water and calling out for help over the next few days in the summer heat wave.

    Norman reforming Christianity had arrived !.

  • Munsterview

    Head the ball & Green flag
    Part (2)

    The Normans were also sectarian, they brought their own religious orders who would not allow the Native Irish to join and began to implement the Diocesan system, Feudal Class ridden Church wherever they could. However Gaelic held lands also by in large operated the old system and continued to do so until after the Flight of The Earls and that other Gaelic Lordships such as the McGuires of Fermanagh and the McAulliffes of County Cork.

    Every time one of these great families left they took not only all the top and middle tiers, but also all the education, medical and other infrastructure. Whatever little was left Cromwell finished and one of the oldest continual civilizations in Europe was left to eke out what what was left of it’s existence on the margins of mountain and bog or huddled outside the walls of planter towns.

    The Irish Church as, as ha been shown, was structured different to the Roman system. St Patrick was not allowed into Cork or Kerry as according to tradition the churches there came via St. James in Spain who had preached in Compestello as early as 40AD. Likewise Ardmore has been Christianized through Cornwall there via Roman tin traders also within the first century.

    While Patrick led the first mass Christianization drive, there were pockets of Christians in different parts of Ireland. To them the teachings of the Carpenter’s son were separate to the Romans who the Celts had every reason to fear and detest from their own or other Celtic peoples historical experiences. The number of Old Celtic Church sites named for St James in South West Munster more or less delineate this thread of Christianity in terms of it’s territorial spread.

    Protestantism never caught on Ireland for two main reasons, first given the structures and organization of the Celtic Church, the same abused of authority had not occurred here as had happened on the Continent. Secondly Protestantism was the religion of the oppressor who had robbed, plundered, murdered, committed genocide and proved themselves devoid of every Christian value in their dealings with the Native Irish.

    Protestantism came with baggage and had little to commend it to Native Irish sentiment prior to the 98 Rising and even then the poor Irish Catholic Class held back because they did not trust the Protestants to fight or believe they would until it was too late.

    In 98 in Limerick, Fitzerald, brother of the then Knight of Glin called a local rising out and addressed over 2,000 of a mainly Catholic crowd and got them all fired up for action. The local Parish Priest then addressed the same crowd immediately after, he just reminded the people of every act of broken promise and act of treachery committed by the Planter against the Native Irish locally since the Treaty of Limerick in 1690, a hundred and eight years before, including the breaking of every article of that same treaty.

    He then posed the question; can you trust these people now, ? He turned and walked away home, the crowd scattered and did likewise!

    This is a very simplified outline, it is unnecessary to go into Doctrinal differences as by in large in the Irish situation they were not an issue. Events of History had build a wide gulf and created a situation that made any of the beliefs and those who held them very unattractive to the Catholic peasant or middle classes. We are only now beginning to generally acknowledge these differences never mind discussing and attempting to bridge them.

    That journey for Catholic Culture will not be all that difficult : most of our National culture heros from the 19th, century are Protestant. What is not generally appreciated is that they were acting out of a Protestant value system and what these values were and meant when turned into action. The protestant journey should be even easier, after all these culture heros are their own people, all they have to do is look at what they then stood for and why!.

    The late Cardinal O’Fee knew his history and his Ulster Roots; some years before his all too early death and at the height of D.U.P. intransigence he said to me, “ never take the Presbyterians for granted or despair of them, Paisley will sunrise us all yet but not me, they are our own people even if they have forgotten it for the moment”

  • Munsterview

    green flag

    To deal briefly with Gombeens and Gombeenism!

    Yes there are many meanings but they were not middle or any other class per se, they could be of the Middle Classes and in most instances probably were, but the true Gombeens were a parasitic class unto themselves.

    Their main characteristic was that they never produced anything themselves that they did not have to flush afterwards!

    In Irish 19 century life they operated mainly outside of the large urban centers, in the small towns, villages and rural areas. To describe them as moneylenders it to bring this already disreputable activity into an even more infamy that it do not deserve.

    They were middle men who exploited every misfortune and misery of their victims while these or their relatives had the slightest bit of property or a use that could be exploited.

    Their usual was to offer money at exorbitant interest rates against land, stock or harvest. A bad family illness or a bad harvest, the loan could not be redeemed, even more borrowed to pay off the first and interest. In two or three seasons they owned the few acres at a fraction of it’s value and these ‘business arrangements’ were upheld by the courts.

    This did not rule out the laboring class who had no property assets, these were given food in return for work on their farms or other enterprises, the days used were always well in deficit to the food given, especially where a family was involved, so they got continual good labor for poor food. If the laborer tried to break free and work for a wage then the food supply was immediately cut off and with no credit available from the local small shops, often owned by the gombeen or his relatives, the man and his family went hungry!

    These people were despised by all classes and their activities barely tolerated. Time and again they crossed the line and were ‘visited’ by Whiteboys and Moonlighters. With the breaking of Landlordism and the rise of Trade Unionism and better conditions generally they began to die out naturally in the late 19th/early 20th century.

    These incidently were the people that Yeaths had in mind with his ‘fumbling in the greasy tills’ poetry lines

    The local IRA ‘discouraged’ their activities post 1918 and any cases that came before the Dail Eireann courts got short shift.

  • HeadTheBall

    Munsterview,

    I am delighted to have so much detail on the background to our topic and very much obliged to you for assembling it. I note and acknowledge your key points, eg that there was less need for reform in the Irish Church and the failed introduction of Protestantism as an “imperial project” by the colonial power.

    The kind of detail you supply is not available to me here in semi-rural Australia, where I have lived for many years, and I am grateful to you for it.

  • HeadTheBall

    Munsterview,

    I ought also to have thanked you for the quote from Cardinal O’Fee, which is an eye-opener (I come of Presbyterian stock, myself).

    Many thanks.

  • Munsterview

    Head TB
    I am away at present on a project, I do not have access to my library so all of this is off the top of my head without reference.

    Yeaths was right about many aspects of his perceptions off this island such as his quote of ” much hatred, little room ” Too often unfortunately it takes the view from another country to get a home perspective. Another of his lines went ” Too long a sacrifice can make a heart of stone ”

    I did not just take up this view yesterday; I have been saying these things to anyone who would listen since my late teens, that was the pluralist culture that my particular family came from. These were also the ideas and ideals of my Primary National school teacher and my last long conversation with him some months before his death centered on the last quotation.

    Meanwhile if you are really interested in getting insights into the Presbyterians of 1798 and their philosophical in the Jacobite radicalism roots this is a good place to start. Good hunting!

    The True History Of Scottish-Esoteric Masonry

  • Munsterview

    ‘……Once the second defense of the Republic began all the bishops and most of the clergy were again on the Republican Bandwagon where they have remained since!…..”

    Correction……. This of course should have read …Anti-Republican Bandwagon…..

  • 1. My view is that the Church must be removed from all institutions of the state. No monies, funds, subventions, tax breaks or financial relief of any sort should be given to the Catholic Church. Or any religion.
    The Church must be denied access to state media, schools, colleges, libraries, hospitals and any institution of the state. No religious ceremonies, demonstrations, vigils etc should be allowed in public spaces.
    A person’s right to practice their religion must be constitutionally protected. Under such legal entitlement religious organizations must be allowed to raise finance from their members to enable the church to function. The state cannot arbitrarily close places of religious worship or deny access to those places. Neither can it interfere with the functions of church officials.
    An audit must be taken of all Church property and finances with a view to restoring to the state, on behalf of it’s citizens, the wealth that the church misappropriated from the citizenry under the false premise that the Church was acting in the best interests of the people; and would use donations and state funds justly.
    The Church should be left with premises for its members to practice their religion. The state should take over the responsibility of housing Church officials at a fair rent; and supporting those officials who are old and infirm. The Church must pay the salaries of all its working officials.
    These proposals beg the question of the role of the state in the current political formation.
    The state as it stands has worked, and will continue to work, hand-in-glove with the Catholic Church in a common front against the citizenry, and in the interests of the rich and powerful. Neither the Church nor the state will change under pressure from any quarter.

    Religious belief is an assertion of the supernatural. It cannot be investigated scientifically. It should therefore not be any part of public civil society (the State). It is a private matter in that sense, or personal if you prefer.
    Claims to moral superiority are no more than that. There are any amount of unfounded claims in this world.
    Civil society needs to be organized on enlightened and proven principles. If an indvidual wishes to practice a religion that is their choice; but their private, unverifiable views must have no role whatsoever in the role of the State.
    A person’s right to practice their religion must be defended in the constitution.
    A principle dating back to the Enlightenment – separation of Church and State.

  • Munsterview

    greenflag

    this is the info you requested, it will give you the leads to get to others. just in and remembered where I had it and decided to post while it was in my mind. Finishing off a book edit and a bit up the walls.! cheers.

    Mary Korsonouris Books: Buy Mary Korsonouris’s Retreat from Revolution
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    http://www.flipkart.com/author/mary-korsonouris/ – Cached

  • Munsterview

    mervyn

    Cannot really comment comment at this stage, must first look up Henry the Eight’s Suppression of Monasteries act or whatever it was called to see just what is new in your proposals or what has already been covered by Henry!

    It is possible that back then most of what you advocated was objected to and already answered. Lazy research I know but then again it is in the genes apparently, there is no shortage of observations from your side as to how lazy and indolent our lot always were.

    Thing have not changed all that much ( well for some anyway)

    Thanks for not advocating driving Catholics out of the walled towns and planted areas into mountains and bogs,killing Catholic clergy wherever they are to be found etc. as in the past when the Native Catholics were dealt with in these terms by the Planter stock.

    Who says progress is not possible!

  • Munsterview

    Did you notice the use of my phrase ‘any religion’.
    Your slant on my comment has inferred a call for secularism is anti-catholic.
    The catholic church is also a powerful bulwark of the imperialist system in Ireland, as well as being a religious organisation.

    The separation of church and state is a demand that dates back to the Enlightenment. The gross thievery that the churches have engaged in is one crime against the oppressed that must be remedied, along with the prosecution of abusers, and the unstinting support the Catholic church gives to the oppressor.
    The particular issue of the Catholic church is centre-stage because of it’s dominant role in Ireland, and it’s supposed tie-in with the struggle for national freedom – a false history.

  • Munsterview

    Mervyn.

    If you have followed my previous general postings for the Aussie Presbyterian, I gave an overview of the Celtic Church and later Irish Church as it developed. In that I delineated how from the start of the Nineteenth Century there was a parallel interests of Roman Catholic Church and British state in keeping radical ideas out of Ireland an in controlling social progress to only what they both would allow.

    There is yet another factor and complication in the Irish equation that is not generally acknowledged; post The Treaty Of Limerick, such of the significant Irish Catholic families that retained any property or influence looked to the Crown and their friends in Court to assist them and vindicate their rights against the establishment in Ireland of the period, who were of Planter stock and mainly hostile.

    Arising from this the Irish Catholic establishment always had a closer affinity with the Crown and Rome than they had with the then establishment in Ireland. It was only to be expected that in the normal course of events the Post Emancipation Roman Catholic church establishment would reflect this. However given their parallel interests it ran deeper, each in fact supported and assisted the other.

    It is not often appreciated by non Catholics just how different the Catholic church of the common people and that of the New Roman establishment was of how hard the latter had to struggle to impose their will on that church.

    In one Munster area, out on one hillside a law family nicknamed ‘The Saggarts’ ( The priests) let thousands of an open air meeting in traditional prayers including praying all the Roman Catholic Mass as their family members had done for generations in the absence of clergy.

    Across the valley the newly appointed priest said another open air mass with only a few dozen of local Catholic prosperous farmers their families and servants present. The common people were not fools, they simply did not trust the new clergy or their open pro British stand. There were many disputes over the sighting of churches etc, the people wanted their links with the Old Church Sacral sites maintained, the clergy wanted new sites as far away as possible from the old days and old ways.

    The famine removed the majority of these people by millions of deaths and millions of emigrations afterwards. What were left were too traumatized to rebel against any form of authority. From the 1850 on while the Catholic Church broadly speaking supported some form of home rule, it was also on the understanding that the ruling elites of that church would come from the wealthy farmer and new equally wealthy Business man class, in fact the very class that by the last quarter of the twentieth century was suppling their own parish priests, Bishops and Convent Reverend Mothers in charge of the mushrooming educational convents.

    The christian brothers split on this issue, some content to open big boarding schools and cater for those who could afford the type of education that orders like the Circestians were already providing. While quite a few priests and the occasional Bishop threw their weight behind the Land War struggles, almost none were involved in the corresponding struggles of the laboring classes for social emancipation. To do so would have supported these deprived people against the clergy’s own brothers fathers and their social class.

    While fully acknowledging how the Roman Catholic Church provided the infrastructures for Catholic emancipation, education hospital care etc. I have never failed also to point out how they smothered all social reform and radical politics that threatened their own class and accordingly themselves.

    How these forces operated in the 20th, century to give us the abominations masquerading under christianity that reached the height of their power in the fifties is a matter for another analysis. While I may have delineated the services the Catholic provided and pointed out the good it did, I have no hesitation either in highlighting it’s anti-progressive, flawed nature. It could not be otherwise given the class that it was drawn from.

    How many Bishops for instance spoke out against and condemned the naked greed of the Celtic Tiger during it’s most rampant and outrageous phase when it’s practices contradicted every value Jesus espoused in the Sermon on the Mount and every true Gospel Teaching since ?

    I do not defend the Irish Catholic Church establishment but again I do urge caution on the Catholic /Nationalist side that we do not throw out the baby with the bath water. Neither do I minimize the problems of the church as currently structured, in fact nothing short of some sort of spiritual Nama is requires to sort them out. I even know just the place for it, Skellig Michael, put the entire bishops conference and other rankers there for three months on bread, water and prayer!

    Finally as a Republican I do advocate a complete separation of Church and State North and South and the sooner the better.

  • Munsterview

    Your comments are interesting. I wouldn’t have read as closely as you have on this issue.

    However, I have no agreement with you whatsoever when you propose there is a Catholic/nationalist side.

    in a very profound sense the phrases nationalist working class or loyalist workers are oxymorons. In that the poor man has no country.

    The working class came into being and has become thee dominant class, by social weight, in the world as a product of the capitalist economic system. This system has major contradictions inherent. One being capitalists have created an interconnected world market; but base their power on the nation state. The working class has no loyalty to a bourgeois state. Irish workers may fight Imperialist oppression under the Green flag; but that has led to nought beacuse it is only the socialist revolution which can mobilise the masses and overpower Imperialism. The Irish bourgeoisie were by-passed by history a long time ago. They belong to the second league of cheap money-grubbing wheelers and dealers – getting leftovers from the table of the master.

    The issue of secularism is profoundly important. It is in the interest of human progress to throw of the dead-weight of obfuscation. Politically this was fought for since the dawn of the capitalist age.
    The issue about the Catholic church is not whether some individual priests etc have stood up against oppression. The issue is that religious organisation per se is on the side the oppressor.

    One cannot be republican and a catholic/nationalist.
    Republicanism was internationalist and secular.
    Sinn Fein are not a republican party. Indeed if one is nationalist of any stripe one is not republican

  • joeCanuck

    From the Nesbiscuit.

    Catholic church to combat ’sexual predator’ choirboys with burqas.

    The Vatican has announced today that to tackle the problem of Catholic priests being given the come-on by pre-pubescent choirboys in revealing robes, choristers will now be required to wear the more sober burqa traditionally worn by Muslim women.

    ‘I think we all accept that in hindsight, the customary cassock and surplice probably hasn’t done priests any favours,’ said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi today. ‘Those flowing robes, allowing mischievous boys to flash their innocent, winsome smiles on vulnerable priests, have much to answer for in the systematic corruption of the priesthood. These honest, red-blooded celibates often have to carry out their holy work in extremely testing circumstances – even Jesus might not have fared so well in the desert had the devil had access to a trainee monk’s habit.’

  • Or even the senior monks ‘habits’…