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The Stirrer’s Talk-In Radio Blog (10)

CELIBACY AND AUTHORITY – A RECIPE FOR ABUSE

23-05-2009

Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg takes us behind the scenes at his Talksport show to reveal this week’s big phone-in subjects. The abuse of children in Ireland’s childrens’ homes was – perhaps surprisingly – the biggie.

In the fortnight since my last blog, one subject has dominated my Talksport phone-in – MPs' abuse of the expenses system.

For seven of the last eight shows, listeners have been queuing up to give their elected representatives a metaphorical kicking over the airwaves – no one in parliament should be in any doubt about the genuine and intense public anger over this issue.

Indeed, it was with a degree of trepidation that on Friday morning, I tentatively suggested a different lead item – the issue of child abuse in Ireland’s “industrial schools” and homes run by Catholic orders.

For a UK-based radio station this was not an obvious choice of subject – but I needn’t have worried. For five gripping, evolving and extremely moving hours it was the mainstay of my show, as victims of childhood abuse from all kinds of circumstances rang in to share their experiences.

But why was Irish Catholicism particularly prone to these kind of problems? Two reasons, I reckon.

One is the imposition of celibacy on the priesthood – an entirely unnatural condition not required by other major religions of its teachers – and, secondly, the hierarchical structure of the Church which (unlike Protestantism) discouraged individual rebellion and whistleblowing.

The Stirrer’s Phone-in Five

  1. MPs' expenses
  2. Irish Child Abuse scandal
  3. Should Man Utd field a full strength team against Hull?
  4. Is Baby P’s mom sincere in her apology?
  5. The student who sold her virginity

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