Sir, I write as someone who has no hostility to the modern Catholic Church and respects the faith it represents and its progress since Vatican II [Rabbi Romain is, as evidenced by his chairmanship of ACCORD and other interests, of a not illiberal tendency in Judaism - which is why he may not appreciate that the modern Catholic Church is also the ancient Catholic Church] . However, there is no doubt that Archbishop Williams was correct in his comments (“Church in Ireland has ‘lost all its credibility’,” Report, Apr 3) about its colossal trauma. The number and global spread of paedophile cases means that it is no longer possible to blame a few rogue priests, but the whole institution is under scrutiny.In a similar vein, see the reports of Rocco Buttiglione's interview on Radio 4 this morning. He is one of my heros, as an outstanding model of how one brings Catholic faith into encounter with the political and cultural milieu of the 20th and 21st centuries, so I am rather disappointed I missed his interview. The BBC website is currently carrying a recording of the interview, though I am not sure how long it will remain on the Today programme site. If you are able to listen to the recording, you will find that Rocco Buttiglione is suitably robust, as exemplified by his concluding words:
Moreover, it is not yet possible to talk about “a new future”, as some Catholic bishops do, while past misdemeanours and cover-ups are still coming to light. [This doesn't readily square with the assertion of the writer that he "has no hostility to the modern Catholic Church"]
A papal missive is not enough to restore the Church’s moral credibility. What is needed is a large and highly public act of contrition, with a week of sorrow being declared, culminating in a day of fasting by all Catholics. [Oh dear, the poor Rabbi has not read the papal missive to which he refers! In that letter, Pope Benedict asks Catholics in Ireland - and many Catholics in countries other than Ireland will no doubt join with that initiative to make it an international one - to offer their Friday penances for a whole year, a whole year, do you get that, a whole year, that's 52 days, one Friday for every week of the year, that's 7 and a half weeks of Fridays, and not just one week ... for precisely the purpose that Rabbi Romain suggests.]
It would both demonstrate the Church’s deep regret and be a powerful act of self-cleansing.
Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain
There is a criticism that continues, because the anti-Catholic prejudice is the only prejudice that is fashionable in the world of today.