16 September 2010

Pope's visit to Britain: Behind the iron gates

The Pope has arrived in Britain for the start of his controversial visit to a country where whitewashing of institutionalized child abuse is as endemic as it is within the Catholic Church - though perhaps I am wrong to restrict myself to the use of just one tense - as past, present and future apply to both.

The Pope, will be staying at a property in Wimbledon, South West London. Walled, gated and strikingly similar to an old care home, Pope Benedict XVI will feel secure and protected as the iron gates clang behind him.

How different to untold thousands of children who heard iron gates shut behind them, not knowing (though many would have) that evil wrapped in cloaks of darkness, lay waiting to steal their childhoods. Those in need of protection were denied it, those in need of prosecution were given protection with a stroke of a pen, a shrug of a shoulder - just another priest or Cardinal moved from one place to another till things calmed down.

All in a days work for those who use their power to betray the innocent and vulnerable.

Mr. Ratzinger, I hope the iron gates and walls provide safety from those who may wish you harm. But do not forget or ignore those around the world who carry the physical and mental scars that your Church inflicted upon their minds and bodies - scars about which you and your management and marketing team, do so little for so few.

The children should have sung, "Tomorrow belongs to me" Mr. Ratzinger, but the Church took away their Tomorrows and took away their songs and gave them memories instead. Memories of the sound of footsteps along hollow hallways, the sickening sound of the click of a door.

The sound of silence greeting their pleas for help.

Photo by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Photography

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