In 2017 I was lucky enough to visit Italy and I went on a tour of the Vatican. The impenetrable wall around Vatican City and numerous security cameras screamed inclusiveness to me. In the Vaticano museum, there are priceless works from an immense collection built up by Popes throughout the centuries, including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. They own paintings by Leonardo, Van Gogh, Raphael, Picasso, Chagall and Dali for God’s sake. Why won’t the Catholic Church sell some of these artworks and antiquities to help the victims of child abuse by their priests? Or perhaps the world’s starving and homeless? When the gap between rich and poor has never been greater, why are ‘good Catholics’ paying for statues to be made and shipped from all over the world to an already over-stuffed museum? They could wipe out a generation’s problems with a few garage and property sales around the world. So why don’t they?
My visit was a few days before Pell was charged. After his arrest, in St Peter’s Square there were polizei, army and carabinieri on every corner and tourist monument. Pell was hidden away. Who could blame the poor victims who for years were ignored, if they decided to revolt against these monsters in power?
20% of Christian brothers are guilty of perpetrating or covering up child abuse. The Catholic Church pays to protect paedophile priests but argues over paying compensation to their victims when money for shelter and counselling could alleviate the suffering of those whose childhoods were robbed by sick perverts.
The Australia-wide Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse delivered its final recommendations in December 2017. More than 60,000 abuse survivors came forward. The suicide rate amongst males in Ballarat (Pell’s home city) is twice that of Melbourne. But still, some in the Catholic Church believe that their religion is being unfairly targeted. This is the organisation where all serving archbishops told the royal commission they would not report to police a colleague who admitted in the confessional to child rape.
And scumbag journalists with zero credibility defend them.
Members of the media who defend child rapists must be sacked. And a truly visionary pope who wanted to help victims would be a great start.
The church asked Catholics to pay for Pell’s defence team, they helped Pell raise money but try to avoid payment to victims. They initially refused to put in an interim care scheme and a lot of the Catholic diocese’ say they ‘intend’ to sign up for the redress scheme, despite lobbying government to cut it down. Something is seriously wrong with this supposedly moral institution. It’s almost as if paedophiles (and alleged paedophiles) are taken care of but not the victims. Jesus would kick these greedy money lenders out of the temple.
“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
On her 11th birthday, my baby girl put on a sparkly dress, her sister’s makeup and a floppy hat, and went to see her first concert. Her ticket was paid for by her best friend. He wanted to make her happy. She was cross with me as she sauntered off because I told her that 11-year-olds don’t need to wear foundation. She told me I didn’t understand how much she needed to look lovely at the show. She was busting to scream, sing and be carried away with her friends by the music of Taylor Swift.
Whatever adults think of Tay-Tay or One Direction or Take That or Bay City Rollers or the Spice Girls or Metallica is not the point. At your first concert, you get to feel the live magic of your hero, your crush, your superstar; the artist whose tunes helped you through your heartache, with other people who feel the same devotion. For 90 minutes we forget that life can be shitty, that people disappoint, that friends let us down. We sway and dance in the dark and hear our music. Sinead O’Connor is my woman, I spent my grocery money on buying a ticket to her show two years ago, because I knew I had to hear that voice live once in my life.
This week young adults and kids in Manchester said goodbye to their mums and dads to head off for the night of their young lives, seeing their girl Ariana Grande sing songs for them. Some of them were just old enough to leave their parents at home. Those innocent kids won’t be coming back to tell their families how happy Ariana made them on the last night of their brief lives.
22 white Westerners die and the world is outraged, but more than 55,000 children have died in Syria, 7% of Catholic priests in Australia have been accused of child abuse and 200,000 aboriginal people massacred by ‘Christian’ settlers. This week I’ve had enough, I’m blaming righteous god botherers for the world’s problems, and the hypocritical males who run these archaic institutions. I can’t see what is attractive about your religion, what you believe in is bullshit if your beliefs dictate that you hide people who bomb babies, cover for men who sexually abuse children then deny it, and steal land from indigenous peoples in the name of an imaginary god. Your books preach love and your actions show that you hate your fellow humans, particularly the smaller ones. No wonder people are losing faith.
My heart weeps for the children of Syria, Orlando, Baghdad and Nice, I feel powerless to change the hatred and fear gripping parts of our world. What the hell can we do?