Tom McMahon has put in a long week preparing this commentary on the dark tunnel of clerical abuse. He's still got a focus on 1991 THE BOYS OF ST. VINCENT television documentary but in this commentary seeks to delve back into 19th Century history and some of the origins of the warped theology and spirituality that led to this crisis in the 20th and 21st Centuries. With the headline news from the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry in the last 24 hours [LINK], it seems there are still huge lessons to be learned.
Meeting the main characters in the film...
Let's meet the fictional Brothers in the movie THE BOYS OF ST. VINCENT in one of Tom's priceless drawings.
A story goes with this art work. Tom moved from rural Sonoma and a public school in 2nd grade to Mission Dolores all boys Catholic grade school in the big city of San Francisco. The nun was probably 19 or 20 and she criticized my simple drawing. I was terrified and had a bowel movement that stayed with me all day. I never again drew in public until I made a Cursillo at age 45 as an ordained priest. Vatican Two has set me free to express myself. I am well aware that oppressive power is the backbone of Roman Catholicism. I cannot find fear, negativity, damnation, sin in the Gospel snippets we have of the historical Jesus.
Brief Explanation of the drawing: as Tom observed the Brothers in the THE BOYS OF ST. VINCENT. From left to right:
Most of the young brothers are followers. This is evident in their drinking and eating. A mistaken understanding of obedience is to imitate the conduct of their alpha leader. Alcohol is a tip of the iceberg of sexual abuse. The boys, aware of this, steal altar wine and have a party of their own; permission is silently given for the boys to be future drug users and alcoholics as we will see in Part Two of the film. Although in their 20's, 30's or 40's most of the brothers are "forever 14" — sexually, genitally, and mentally underdeveloped due to lack of exposure to the outside world, especially. women. We will take this up in the following as we exam Irish cultural spirituality as introduced in the mid-1800's by Cardinal Paul Cullen. The Cullen takeover of the Irish Church will hopefully lead us to some understanding of the massive abuse problem. For unknown reasons Cullen's 1800's fearsome God did not take hold in this writer's 1930's training. Perhaps it was because my mother spoke more, with pride, of being an American than a Roman Catholic.
The Cultural Collision of the 19th Century...
The following is an investigation into the huge CRISIS COLLISION OF 19TH CENTURY THINKING AND CULTURES. Let me introduce the major players: Rice, Dickens, Cullen, Augustine and original sin, God, and the Little Ice Age.
The Little Ice Age was a period of cooling that occurred after the Medieval Warm Period. While it was not a true ice age, the term was introduced into the scientific literature by François E. Matthes in 1939. It may be conventionally defined as a period extending from the 16th to the 19th centuries, or about 1350 to about 1850 ... crops failed and livestock could not be maintained through increasingly harsh winters. In North America, American Indians formed leagues in response to food shortages. In Portugal, snowstorms were much more frequent than today. Heavy snowfalls in the winters of 1665, 1744 and 1886 were reported.
Wikipedia Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age
Paul Cullen: [TMcM: There is far too much important data for me to copy here from Wikipedia. I urge you to read the Wikipedia page. I select only a few snippets. Aloof Roman power over people is the core of Cullen' so called spirituality. Note in the following the politician Cullen is trained in Rome.]
Cullen is most notable today for being the first Irish Cardinal after 1,400 years of Christianity on the island. The improved condition of the Catholic Church in Ireland on his death in 1878, contrasted with what it was in 1850, afforded proof of the fruitfulness of Cullen's relentless zeal during his episcopate. Those twenty eight years marked a continuous period of ultramontane orthodoxy in matters connected with religion, discipline, government-funded education and charitable institutes.
Wikipedia Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Cullen_(cardinal)
Augustine and Original Sin [a repeat from last week] One of the silent messages that underlies the conduct of the Christian Brothers who teach the boys in the film is Augustine's vile interpretation of the beautiful work of the Creator. Augustine, totally unaware of evolution as were the originators of the Garden of Eden myth, proposes a fall (a downward collapse) from the original human nature given generously to all human kind by a loving Creator. [Genesis] Augustine, having lived abusively a wanton life of debauchery, immoral sex, child and wife/partner abandonment projects his own degradation onto all human beings. Michael Morwood in his books has done an excellent job of exposing this fraudulent theology. Fear of God and hatred of the body are the teachings Paul Cullen mandates on the Irish clergy and educational system.
Last week's commentary:
Charles Dickens is a major feature of the February 2012 Smithsonian Magazine. "Going Mad for Charles Dickens" is the title. The article begins with British film director Mike Newell wading ankle deep in ooze and mud that is the replica of West London's Smithfield Market circa 1820, the quagmire a symbol of. the degradation and poverty of the day. Such is the arena in which Oliver Twist is born and survives.
[From Wikipedia] Oliver Twist, also known as The Parish Boy's Progress, is the second novel by English author Charles Dickens, published by Richard Bentley in 1838. The story is about an orphan, Oliver Twist, who endures a miserable existence in a workhouse and then is placed with an undertaker. He escapes and travels to London where he meets the Artful Dodger, leader of a gang of juvenile pickpockets. Oliver is led to the lair of their elderly criminal trainer Fagin, naively unaware of their unlawful activities. The book exposed the cruel treatment of many a waif-child in London, which increased international concern in what is sometimes known as "The Great London Waif Crisis" – the large number of orphans in London in the Dickens era.
TMcM: Furthermore I recall a saying concerning the French Revolution and the storming of the Bastille: "Repression is the only lasting philosophy. The dark deference of fear and slavery, my friend," observed the Marquis, "will keep the dogs obedient to the whip, as long as this roof," looking up to it, "shuts out the sky". Dickens wrote with an understanding of the Gospel conversions highlighted by Jesus. Dickens was a champion of the underdog, the poor, and the mistreated. With his father, once in debtors' prison, "Dickens made the wickedness, squalor, and corruption of London his own." He wrote about heartlessness and, rags to riches, seeing the world more vividly than others. Today's use of A CHRISTMAS CAROL may amuse many children while its centuries old message about greed and need still carries a powerful message.
Smithsonian Magazine Source:
TMcM: Edmund Rice, a married man with the noble purpose of helping unfortunate boys founds the Christian Brothers, the first school, on Waterford's New Street, a converted stable in 1802, with a second school opening in Stephen Street soon after to cater for increasing enrolments. I see Cardinal Cullen strongly influencing the curriculum of Rice and his followers, they are careful to be obedient to the controlling power of Rome. Benedict, in the 4th Century, had mandated his monk followers to be obedient, that is to listen to one another, especially the youngest, so as to be well informed. Top down authoritarianism was not for the great founder of the monastic system. For centuries Rome has distorted obedience to be a mind controlling experience. Rice will teach Original Sin and his once innocent followers fall victim to a non-Gospel approach to children. Can one imagine the historical Jesus who bids the children to come to him abusing the little ones?
Somewhere and somehow some of the Christian Brothers, seduced into the want for power over another walked the dysfunctional Cullen path, forsaking the Jesus' model. The Crusades, the Black Death, Dante's Inferno, and corrupt ecclesiastical power, had taken a stranglehold on the Roman Catholic system of education.. John the 23rd's Pacem in Terris and the Vatican Two Council are the keys that unlock the stranglehold of medieval unchristian power. Vatican Two beckons us back to the Jesus and his loving Father. I encourage readers to meditate on the story of the Prodigal Son.
Wikipedia page on Bl Edmund Ignatius Rice:
GOD, under the Cullen system, will be forced on the children as judge and punisher. The present form of confession must go, especially for children. In 2012 Benedict XVI still uses the smoke and mirrors approach, keeping the God of Jesus (ABBA/Papa) out of human sight, camouflaging Jesus and his gentle Father by men wearing pompous robes and using exalted titles.
History has a way of softening reality. Dicken's A Christmas Carol is presently presented as children's pleasant reading when in reality Charles Dickens wrote to expose a terribly abusing power society. It continues to educate people today!
Continues next week...
Tom McMahon, San Jose, Ca. This wicked tunnel is hard to explore ... discouraging... 12Oct2012
What are your thoughts on this commentary?