From Mr Vincent Whitehouse Sir, It is too easy, and comforting to regard the reporting of paedophilia (more accurately, active homosexuality, since mainly targeted at adolescent boys and young men) within the priesthood, as inflated and out of proportion news-coverage; eagerly seized on by a virulently secular Press who run it for all it's worth.
There have always been "bad apples" even within the priesthood, and ever will be. We're all flawed creatures, one way or other. That does not posit a laisse faire attitude which wrings its hands then puts a few guidelines in place and sighs with relief when scandals are off the front page. No; as Hamlet rightly remarks (considering what follows): "there is something rotten in the state of Denmark." The fact is, although as Scripture says "scandals will always come," those on the unprecedented scale we now witness are evidence not of a New Springtime within the Church – but rather a wintry visitation.
Recent articles in your paper, have touched on the reluctance of some national and diocesan seminaries to accept orthodox, conservative candidates; indicating a bias towards something "other". That, I would suggest, is one sure sign of "Denmark". The seeming reluctance of bishops to deal promptly and effectively with miscreant abusers within their dioceses is another. "Zero Tolerance," one reads; wise after the event. Good grief! Why the "tolerance" to begin with?
Is it any wonder our major seminaries are closing and amal formation, in seminaries (notably in North America and Australia, and within the new priestly institutes and societies) of strictly orthodox hue, attract numbers in excess of available accommodation?
It seems that rather than endless rationalising of grave problems within the mainstream Church, not excepting recent scandals, a long hard look at what has manifestly gone wrong, and will continue to till righted, would not come amiss. Indeed, is imperative.
Yours faithfully, VINCENT WHITEHOUSE London SW20.