St Augustine’s sin:
Why child abuse bedevils Christianity
Genre: Non-fiction; Category: Sociology of Religion; Subject: Religious abuse
Priests are taught that children are born soiled by St Augustine’s sexual (original) sin, while children learn priests are Godly. Could Augustinian theology be a factor in some cases of clerical child abuse? St Augustine’s Sin attempts to answer this question with novel insights and scholarly brilliance.
Drawing on the author’s personal experience in the Roman Catholic community, the narrative is supported with extracts from scripture and religious texts underpinning Western Christianity’s dogmas. Recently published books discuss clerical celibacy or criticise the sacraments of Penance and secret absolution, but St Augustine’s Sin reaches beyond these. Might children, inculcated with guilt and deference to clergy, be more vulnerable to ecclesiastics who believe all children to be soiled by original sin, labelled by St Augustine ‘the carnal sin of concupiscence’ (sexual lust)? The author sketches the subtle pressures that shape attitudes and behaviours to show how Christian rites and rituals might influence clerical child abuse.
St Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354 – 430), who laid down Western Christianity’s doctrine on Original sin, wrote in his Confessions of seeing ‘filth’ and ‘lust’ in infants. A clinical comparison with recorded dialogues of convicted paedophiles, reveals striking parallels. The author presents evidence that wayward clerics who take scripture literally are liable, wilfully or unconsciously, to consider children legitimate prey for abuse. Scrupulously probing the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Orders, the author argues that Church drill and doctrine have a more influential role in clerical child abuse than has generally been recognised in mainstream social science.
While interrogating Christian rites and rituals, the author draws attention to the current Education Acts, which compel all schoolchildren to undergo daily acts of worship. Further, the law demands that Acts of Worship should be ‘mainly Christian in character.’ A majority of these children will renounce religion later in life, often handicapped by their brush with Christian theology, as St Augustine’s Sin evidences.
The author lances Vatican sanctimony to ‘pop’ the rights and rituals underpinning Christian Faith, and afford new insights into clerical child abuse. Writing graphically, with the conviction gained from a childhood of immersion in the Roman Catholic community, the author claims that fondling and groping caused him less lasting harm than the doctrines that shape both abusers and their victims. Numerous references are documented and footnoted in the manuscript, and quotes from relevant sources are all properly attributed.
For anyone who thinks Christianity is a benign influence, this book should make them think again.
Data sourced from Commission reports and criminal records, and communications including Dark Net Internet traffic, are drawn together in support of a possible relationship between Christian belief and child sexual abuse world-wide, in the opposite direction one would expect. Here’s what happens to children inculcated with Augustinian guilt and shame, when clerics believe that babies are born already stained with carnal sin and the abusers have a Canonical right to God’s secretive forgiveness.
With vignettes from the author’s extraordinary upbringing and indoctrination giving key insights into the cloistered workings of the Catholic Church, this book will be instructive to anyone struggling to understand why Christianity is bedeviled with child abuse. It will be indispensable to those concerned with child protection.