Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Why I'm Giving Up Catholicism; Sex Scandals, Misogyny and a Terrorist Priest Have Turned This Writer against Her Lifelong Religion

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Why I'm Giving Up Catholicism; Sex Scandals, Misogyny and a Terrorist Priest Have Turned This Writer against Her Lifelong Religion

Article excerpt

Byline: Jackie Annesley

IWAS baptised a Catholic, educated at a convent and spent my childhood inventing sins for the confessional box, so the road to renouncing my Catholicism has been a long one.

But even as a recent disbeliever, the news this week that a Catholic priest was a terrorist behind an IRA car bomb in Northern Ireland that killed nine still shocked. It follows the cover-up of clergy sex crimes and the Vatican's misogynist pronouncement last month that ordaining a woman a priest is as sinful as abusing a child. So much for all God's children ( John 1:12-13).

The seemingly trivial turning point for me came during my father's funeral several years ago, when the Catholic priest began eulogising about Eric. Dad's name was Alexander. As our muted sobs almost gave way to incredulous giggles, the undertaker was forced to go up to the altar to remind the priest, fond of the drink, of the name of the deceased.

How we squirmed with embarrassment as our Protestant, Ulster-born cousin looked on. Still, I shouldn't have been surprised. Ten days earlier, at my mother's funeral, he'd called me Eileen. Which was her name. To catch, match and dispatch were his fundamental duties and this woefully inadequate man -- of which the church seems to attract many -- couldn't even get that right.

But it was when our youngest son became ill 18 months ago that I really began to question my faith. For more than 40 years I'd blithely accepted that prayer and belief in God made a difference. But nothing can save Joe from the reality of genetics. Life Everlasting? The lesson I learned was that our time here is short and final. …

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