This cartoon by Joel Pett upset a lot of Catholics. I found it rather funny and pertinent. Not all priests are bastards, obviously, that would be wrong to suggest. But there is undoubtably a problem.
I'm a lapsed Catholic. Lapsed to the point of rabid anti-Catholicism and indifference. Sent to a Catholic pre-school until eleven, and then on to a Catholic secondry school until sixteen, I know something of Catholic teaching and their priests.
The priests I came into contact with as a child were Irish, abusive, angry and aggressive. As I became older they became less aggressive to me personally (I was bigger) but they remained utterly dogmatic and authoritative. Between the ages of eight and eleven I was also an altar boy, one of many pretty little boys dressed in flowing skirts. The priests alternated between thuggery and benevolence. I was never sure if I was going to be slapped around the head or given a 'hug'. And by slapped I mean knocked off my feet, slapped.
The contrast between the benevolent teachings and harsh reality was confusing. Ultimately, this confusion resulted in a stark realisation that this Church was not for me. The last Mass I attended I was eighteen and when I heard the priest say, 'The Mass is ended, go forth in peace,' my response was the expected one.
'Praise be to God'.
Except the feeling inside me was Praise be to God it was over and I can at last get the Hell out. I never came back. My relatives still serve the Faith and I have no real idea why. I don't challenge them about it and they don't mention my lack of faith. But I suspect they're very disappointed in me.