« The Case of the Painted Floorboards | Main | Penumbra Overture Open Source »


Matthew 19:14

Entry 1684 posted in: 1. General Mish Mash

the body of christ A few of years ago there were a couple of racist attacks from right-wing skinheads in Belgium. Basically the skinheads, having been drinking far too much lager at their local skinhead pub, saw a passing stranger with a different skin colour than theirs and decided to kick or stab the victim into hospital.

Television crews and newspaper journalists tumbled over each others to cover the news. Prime ministers, deputy prime ministers, ministers of interior, ministers of justice, ministers of equal rights and even some ministers nobody had ever seen before all had their say on prime time television and on the first page columns of the serious newspapers.

Some of them uttered the kind of stupefied arguments that one would normally only expect to hear from the skinheads they were reacting against. Like: we will immediately forbid skinheads and their skinhead pubs. When confronted with quotes like these the quite cynical man behind this blog thinks, in his own uncensored way of reasoning: "Oh yeah, you silly cunt. Just tell me how?" As long as there is freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in Belgium you can't simply stop people to wear silly outfits and to shout Oi! at each other. This, my dear politicians, is what we call democracy. It is a system where any single person, even very stupid ones, can become a politician and you are the living proof of it.

The Belgian Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism obviously condemned these vicious attacks in very harsh words and quite rightly so. But when a few weeks later some brown-skinned Islamic youngsters, although it is not considered politically correct to say that, kicked a passing girl into hospital because she didn't wear a traditional headscarf the same institute refused to describe this as a religious inspired discriminatory attack. The centre called this an unhappy incident and politely instructed the boys that their cultural and religious habits were not always appreciated in the laic state of Belgium. But that is not what this post is about.

The Belgian catholic church, as in a couple of other countries, is momentarily under fire because of their strange way to deal with paedophilic priests. Newspaper De Morgen revealed past week that five priests, who committed sex with minors between 2000 and 2008, are still on the job today. In some cases the catholic church has paid the victims huge sums of money to buy their silence.

Since bishop Vangheluwe had to resign, a couple of weeks ago, 270 claims were entered at the sex abuse commission of the catholic church, but 353 other complaints arrived through other channels as some victims simply don't trust catholic organisations anymore. This is understandable: asking the catholic church to investigate its own sins is like asking the Cosa Nostra to investigate its own murders.

What is even weirder, not one single politician of any importance dares saying before the camera that it is about time to have a closer look at the institute Church (one notably exception is Marleen Temmerman).

Not one single member of parliament proposes to throw a few bishops in jail until they confess that they have neglected to inform justice of these criminal acts and actively tried to minimise and cover-up the abuse.

Not one single minister dares whispering that we could, at least as a temporary matter, (partially) withdraw the yearly subventions the church receives. The catholic church gets the yearly amount of 550 million euro. This amount isn't based on the actual percentage of practising Catholics in Belgium (about 12%) but on the assumption that 70% of all Belgians have been baptised and that out of a silly traditional habit. This means that the catholic church, for the past 30 or 40 years, has been over-subsidized with at least a factor five.

I am not preaching to burn down some churches (although to paraphrase novelist, poet, painter, playwright and movie maker Hugo Claus: a burned down church is a good one), but we can at least sell one for each abuse and distribute the money to the victims. And paedophilic priests do not have to contemplate their sins in a monastery but in prison. Just like skinheads.

If you liked this post, you could maybe try this one next: The Cross and the Maiden