Absolutely frightening revelations from Ireland's Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse.
As the Guardian reports, "thousands of boys and girls were raped, abused and exploited by the religious brothers and nuns who were supposed to look after them."
I knew a bit about this anyway as my grandmother used to tell stories about being regularly beaten by nuns in school in Ireland (she was an orphan).
All this will horrify rank-and-file Catholics as much as the rest of us. I just hope that reforms have been put in place to stop this kind of thing ever happening again. But given the reactionary nature of the present Pope it is hard to hold out hope of fundamental reforms. The problem with the Catholic Church is exactly the same as the problem with Nazi Germany or Stalin's Soviet Union - when you have an authoritarian unelected apparatus with no accountability, it will inevitably attract people who feel that their vocation is to bully, exploit and torture people. In the end, democratic accountability is the only way forward for religious institutions, just like political institutions.
It is very unlikely that I would ever join up to the Christian religion - although not impossible. But if I did, it would have to be one of the denominations which gives power to the rank and file - for example the Methodists or the Quakers.
Not sure really why I'm blogging in any detail about this, given that I'm no Christian and certainly no Catholic. I guess it just struck a family chord.