I note with satisfaction that the UK courts have just ruled that the Diocese of Plymouth cannot claim that its priests acted as self-employed consultants and thus itself escape the legal consequences of their despicable actions over the last 60 years at least.
When the whole vast topic of child abuse began to surface within the catholic church I felt a certain satisfaction that the truth had finally come to light and that the myth of occultist abuse of children, started by fundamentalists in the USA, has finally become discredited as a baseless excuse for a literal 'witchunt'.
I went to a vaguely church of england school and to a vaguely church of england affilliated scout group, most of the weddings and funerals I have attended seemed vaguely church of england too. Vague seems the operative word here, it all seemed rather silly and harmless and its practitioners defended its mumbo-jumbo in vague and evasive terms, generally preferring to emphasise its ethics instead.
I had no experience of catholicism untill I spent a couple of terms teaching in a catholic school circum 1980. I had assumed it resembled anglicanism but with more bells and smells. I actually found it rather nasty, the whole school seemed to run on physical violence and metaphysical fears and threats. Since then I've travelled more widely in catholic countries and formed an even lower opinion of it.
I can now well appreciate Richard Dawkins classification of catholicism as the world's second worst religion. The current pope spent a decade as the head of the inquisition to his predecessor. It beggars belief that he did not take a leading role in the child abuse cover up.
When you look at the iconography and the behaviour of catholics the underlying emotive dualities of that faith become all too apparent. Its emotive appeal depends on a mixture of the dualities of 'sentimentality and cruelty', 'guilt and self-righteousness', plus 'sexual inhibition and sexual machismo'.
Just look at all those sickly sentimental virgin and child images juxtaposed with the pornographically cruel depictions of the crucifixtion. The whole catholic guilt trip goes hand in hand with self-righteousness. Self righteousness (rather than innocence) provides the actual emotive duality with guilt.
Combine cruelty with self righteousness and you explain the horrors of the Inquisition. Combine cruelty with guilt and you explain their fascination with mortification of the flesh. Combine guilt with sentimentality and you explain their self-pity. Combine sentimentality with self-righteousness and you explain their false piety. Then when you start adding in the sexual inhibition-machismo vector as well you get even nastier combinations. They do say that catholics make the 'best' whores and nuns and rapists, and their priests make the 'best' child abusers. Ugh.