Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Priestly Pedophilia

San Francisco writer and poet John Norton came over for a visit the other day, and we found ourselves talking about pedophilia in the Church, which has reached crisis levels in the eyes of the media.
I opined that thirty years ago Communists were considered the worst people in the entire world, and that these have been replaced since 1989 by pedophiles and suicidal jihadists. I also thought that French films in former times tended to laugh or poke fun at pedophile priests, accepting them apparently as an institutional given in the quotidian rhythms of a Catholic education.
Later I thought of a perfect example, found in Louis Malle’s 1971 film, Murmur of the Heart (Le souffle au cœur) a wonderfully funny story about a 14-year-old lad growing up absurd in bourgeois Dijon in the 1950’s.
Perhaps French school kids are simply more savvy than ours, but judging from the movie it didn’t look that they were greatly surprised or affected by the gropings of horny priests, finding the Church totally ridiculous to begin with.
But perhaps they were secretly gathering evidence to launch injury suits against the Church 25 years later. 

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