This Shocked me more than Toulouse

shadows and light *

I was brought up a Catholic, and went to two Catholic boarding schools. I was never sexually abused but was physically assaulted, pretty much daily while in the ‘care’ of the Irish Christian Brothers in Blackpool. After a spell at a posh day school in Salisbury I finished my education at Salesian College Farnborough in Hampshire. There the assaults were of a more psychological kind, though a brawl with my dormitory master left me with a perforated eardrum. Having said all that, I can honestly say I bear no grudge against the Catholic church. It was only a few years after the war’s end and it wasn’t considered in the least remarkable in those days.

St Ignatious Loyola may or may not have said ‘give me the child and I will give you the man’ but there is great truth in that saying. No matter how long I live or how much I discover of the darker side of the Church, there will always be deep inside me a conviction that Christianity is more good than bad, though there have doubtless been times when the bad almost completely obscured the good.

I am an atheist not just because of the Church and the Holocaust, the Jesuits and the Inquisition or the Thirty Years War, they matter, but simply because I see it as the only possible answer to ‘why am I here?’ In short, I am a logical being.

Reading that brief article linked above on the Church in Holland after the war and their wicked deeds committed against innocent children, that conviction deep inside is being sorely tested. Sometimes it seems to me that there is no end to the evil that Christ’s church has done, particularly to children.

I still believe Christianity has been more of a force for good in mankind’s history, but that is all it is now. A belief. Because right now I’d be lost if you were to ask me to prove it.

* The Transfiguration: Raphael (1516-1520) oil on wood, Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City



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