I think we are all reeling from the news that has been coming out about the late Jimmy Savile. It seems he was more than just an eccentric man, the mounting evidence of his alleged abuse of up to sixty (the figure as of writing) is shocking and one wonders how he could have able to carry on abusing for six decades, from 1959 to 2006 when he was almost eighty.
When he died last year many of us were reminiscing on his life - his work for charity and his deserved (or so it seemed) knighthoods from the Pope and the Queen of England. It all falls flat as the real legacy emerges. God help those poor girls who, it seems, for decades carried the awful secret that one of Britain's most loved men was their abuser. But as we know from the last number of years, nothing should surprise us now.
Of course there is more to this story than the vile deeds of one who was trusted - it was the silence of those who knew or at least suspected something. After twenty years of accusation and recriminations directed against the Church, many by the BBC, now we see that it may have been the case that the organisations who assumed the moral high ground and threw stones may have been as guilty themselves. Was it all a case of shouting loudest to cover over their own sins? There is no pleasure to be taken in the fall of the BBC from their exalted position since it emerges on the backs of suffering children, but it reveals that the incompetence with dealing with child abuse is not a Catholic thing - it is a human thing.
In society at large there is a great silence, one which covers over or, at the very least, refuses to acknowledge that abuse is closer than we think: that people we know may well be abusers. According to the SAVI Report one in five people in Irish society have suffered some form of abuse, and of them 96-97% were not abused by clergy or religious. I wonder, will the revelation of Jimmy Savile awful deeds force secular society that it is as guilty of cover up as the Church?
I see the Catholics United for the Faith, a new lay organisation set up in Ireland to defend the faith, have called on Cardinal Brady to withdraw an invitation to former president, Mary McAleese who had been asked to speak before Mass to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of St James's Church in Cooley, Co. Louth. It would most wise to withdraw the invitation given Mrs McAleese's recent attack on the Church and her unorthodox views. Indeed given that is it obvious she supports, and may well be promoting, the homosexual agenda, she should not be given a forum under the auspices of the Catholic Church. It may well constitute a scandal to allow her speak.
And here is an interesting article. Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto has said that the time it takes to deal with annulment cases may have to be looked it; it may need to be faster. A friend of mine works in a marriage tribunal and he and the others working with him do an excellent job. Realising the gravity of the issue they deal with and conscious that they will have to answer to God for their work, they are meticulous, prudent and hard working. Much of the time delay is the result of delays in gathering information and examining witnesses, and then of course the usual appeals. The length of time varies from region to region, and while some regions are quick (some too quick?), others are very slow. I know of one case - a straightforward non-consummation case, which took over five years to come through.
In his matter pastoral charity would dictate that each individual process be dealt with as quickly as possible, noting that in many cases people have entered into second unions and so there is the issue of saving souls involved here.
Finally, Marie Stopes International are opening an abortion clinic in Belfast next Thursday. The Minister for Health in Northern Ireland said that the administration there is looking into regulating the clinic. Northern Ireland is not covered by the UK's 1967 Abortion Act, but subject to another Act passed in the 1940s which allows abortion only if the health or life of a woman is seriously in danger. This Act requires proof of the danger to the woman's health, so it is quite restricted. I'm sure the powers that be will get around that somehow - once the advocates of abortion get the taste of blood in their mouths they charge forward doing everything they can to get abortion on demand.
No doubt the pro-abortion brigade down here in the Republic will use this to push their case. These are dreadful times. No tyrant, no regime has murdered as many people as abortion has. And yet it is all dressed up as if it was mature, good, necessary and compassionate. It is demonic, and those who promote it are working under the direct influence of the demonic putting the salvation of their souls at risk. I remember speaking to a priest who had been at the bedside of a dying abortionist. She never repented and had died a dreadful death. Ultimately, he said, while he could not judge where she had gone, he felt within himself that there was a strong possibility that she may have gone to hell. In death, there was an awful look of horror on her face.
But God's mercy is infinite, and we must trust in him, that said we must not presume upon it either. We must work to bring abortion to an end. And the battle for life in Ireland has reached a critical moment. I think there are plans to stage protests in Belfast on Thursday, if anyone has any information, please drop me a line in the combox to inform my other readers.