The term “holier than thou” must have been invented to describe a Catholic. I have often, constantly during my miserable childhood, come across the personification of this phrase. More often than not it was my unfeeling narcissist of a mother.
The “holier than thou” Catholic, often a woman, and these days usually an older woman, though I have seen some brazenly two-faced younger examples, revels in the Catholic Church’s insane teaching that if you tick all the boxes (go to Mass regularly, get all the sacrements, pay them money every time you see them [sorry that one should have been first of course], hand over your children for indoctrination, put on a public air of sanctity and superiority, and are really, really horrible to anyone not “one of us”), you are well on the road to sainthood.
Which explains why last night when a small group of clergy sexual abuse victims held a peaceful candlelight vigil near the chief Australian monument to Catholic wealth and power, St Mary’s Cathedral, despite otherwise overwhelming public support, some old Catholic women loudly and viciously abused us for … who can say what for?
For making them feel less holier than thou.
For bringing a disturbing dose of reality into their fantasy that priests, bishops, cardinals, popes and all Catholics are beyond reproach.
For refusing to excuse and exonerate men who routinely and with surprising regularity committed some of the most abhorent crimes possible. Against us. And thousands of other defenceless and vulnerable victims.
For refusing to continue suffering in silence and despair so they don’t have to be embarassed about our existence.
For trying to protect children against ever having to suffer as we suffered. And guess which children are most endangered by Cardinal Pell’s policy of protecting his criminal sexual predator mates, keeping them hidden from justice and free to abuse again and again? Catholic children. Their grandchildren.
Not forgetting of course the fact we committed the worst possible crime in Catholic eyes. Far, far worse than child rape, or murder, or torture, or child slave labour, or sentencing hundreds and thousands of children to death from AIDS.
We insist on telling the truth. Shocking isn’t it?
Certainly deserving of being stared at in disgust. Hissed at spitefully. Shunned and ignored. And screamed abuse at.
And, if they hadn’t been in a hurry to make it on time to evening Mass at St Mary’s, possibly subjected to physical violence and the destruction of our candles and educational materials as well.
Hell hath no fury like a bunch of Pell’s harpies in pursuit of someone who doesn’t mindlessly swallow everything the Catholic Church tells them. Or insists it needs to make sense. Or not be morally repugnant.
So what did we do in response to this further attack by Catholics after all we have suffered?
I calmly thanked them, on behalf of all the victims, for their kind words of support.