Monday, January 7

Support your isolated Cistercians: The Cistercians of Caldey Island off the coast of Wales have set up shop online. They sell candy, shortbread and...perfume, which, it seems from the site, they do indeed manufacture themselves. Be sure to read about the history of the place. It's quite interesting - monks have inhabited the island since the Dark Ages. In 1910, a group of Anglican Benedictines settled there, then promptly converted to Roman Catholicism three years later and had to sell the property to Cistercians because they couldn't support themselves. I'm glad the Cistercians figured out how to make perfume, just so we can read their descriptions of their scents:

ISLAND FERN: Crisp and fresh - a leaf green fragrance with a breath of woodland magic

ISLAND MADRIGAL: Subtle and sophisticated - with an enticing hint of spice

BROCADE: Alluringly feminine - with a woody tang and a touch of tropical mystery

CALDEY FOR MEN: Wholly masculine - blending subtle strength with restained notes of incence and spice

I want to get me some Cistercian perfume, by heaven.

A must-read article from the Boston Globe about a particularly terrible case of a priest sexually abusing children.

It is the old, well-known story. Priest abuses children. The situation is made known to church officials. Church officials send priest off for "treatment", then reassign him to a parish where's he's put in charge of altar boys or the youth group or some such rot. More accusations surface. Priest is reassigned over and over until the financial risk becomes too great and criminal charges and civil suits are in the offing. Then, as the various suits and charges are pursued, church officials scramble desperately to have records of intra-church discussions on the matter sealed:

Until recent years, the church also had little to fear from the courts. But that has changed, as predicted in a 1985 confidential report on priest abuse prepared at the urging of some of the nation's top bishops, Law among them. "Our dependence in the past on Roman Catholic judges and attorneys protecting the Diocese and clerics is GONE," the report said.

Add that to the many elements of this case that make your skin crawl.

Thank goodness, in this case, they have failed:

But for all Geoghan's notoriety, the public record is remarkably skeletal. That is because almost all the evidence in the lawsuits about the church's supervision of Geoghan has been under a court-ordered confidentiality seal granted to church lawyers.

In November, acting on a motion by the Globe, Superior Court Judge Constance M. Sweeney ordered those documents made public. The archdiocese appealed to the state Appeals Court, arguing that the Globe -- and the public -- should not have access to documents about the church's inner workings. But the appeal was denied last month. The records, including depositions of bishops and personnel files, are scheduled to become public on Jan. 26

One has to wonder what about the continued presence of Geoghan as a priest in the Archdiocese of Boston was so essential that it required such a terrible price to be paid in wrecked and ruined lives and lost faith. I have absolutely no sympathy for the institutional church on this issue. Expose the corruption, compensate the victims, and maybe then the rot will be stripped and the Church will be recognizable once again as the Body of Christ.

Someday, I will write again. I'm not sure when. Today the Christmas stuff needs to be taken down, the house needs to be cleaned, and I've got a sick little girl upstairs, down with the flu that Michael had last week, shivering and feverish.


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