Broken Rites - A Tribute

The decalogue forbits all forms of extra-marital sex,

But concupiscence is always there the souls of men to vex.

Yet clergy and religious both, because of special state,

Might be expected to resist and never deviate.


Experience is otherwise, and all do not stay chaste.

Worse, some by perversions even lower are debased,

Inflicted on the children who, entrusted to their care,

Are often quite unable to avoid the hellish snare.


Such clerics and religious speak with pious words sublime

They preach the good but practise evil, spiritual crime,

And when the victims show a disposition to protest,

They may be told that no one will believe what they suggest.


'Tis true, alas!  The faithful are unwilling to believe,

For evil of the clergy would upset them to perceive,

And if you offer evidence, they do not want to hear,

Lest perchance they must abandon dear days of yesteryear.


Referral to the bishop brings more hopelessness indeed -

Reply by him, though possible, by no means guaranteed.

Instead, and almost always, he transfers the erring priest

(Without knowledge of his whereabouts he cannot be policed)


And does not warn of danger in the parish where he ends,

But again repeats the move for every time the priest offends.

The agony and scars of victims would melt a heart of stone

But not, it seems, of clerics who such practices condone.


The object is to cover up a scandal to the Church,

To put offenders well beyond the reach of normal search,

Not caring that this course of action justice would deny,

Causing helpless, tortured victims in solitude to cry.


The clerics, skilled persuaders, keeping victims all alone,

(Unknowing they have fellows, thinking they are on their own),

Are often propped up by support from hierachic lies,

The feral wolf thus cloaked in shepherd's innocent disguise.


Discerning Christians felt the need to call the clergy's bluff;

To clerical abuse they were impelled to cry "Enough!"

They set about the task of minimising victim's plights,

And organized themselves into a band called Broken Rites.


They did not stand on protocol, and clergy did expose.

The clergy, moved to call them liars, in accents bellicose,

Have broken all commandments that are numbered five to eight,

That relations with our fellow man were meant to regulate.


Surrounded by hypocrisy and suppression of the truth,

Rejected by the so called 'good' seeking comfort free from ruth,

The deserted and molested folk, poor little, friendless wights,

Find solace in the helping hand stretched out by Broken Rites.

perseverer perseverer
56-60, F
7 Responses Mar 6, 2010

And thank you, clarkee, for taking the trouble to read it.

And thank you, clarkee, for taking the trouble to read it.

it takes such a long time... hence your name i suppose. thankyou for posting this!

And thank you for reading it. The truth at times is very uncomfortable. But we should never shy away from it. It is only media attention that forced the Catholic Church to finally acknowledge this problem and start dealing with it. Truth and publicity are powerful aids to social action.

Des would have been thrilled just to know that people were reading it and becoming more aware of the need to be an advocate for victims of these crimes. Thank you for reading this, Dex. Des was a most gifted man in every respect, a real genius. And yet he was humble too and used his talents to fight for justice. He would have been very pleased to be commended for his writing from a fellow great writer.

Des was a very talented writer, with some clear insights into the problems associated with institutionalised abuse and its effects on victims. His tribute to the Broken Rights organisation is heartfelt -and deserved. <br />
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Thank You for posting your friend's poem, perseverer. You pay him tribute by doing so.

Yes. When my friend Des wrote this poem, victims of institutionalized abuse were only just beginning to speak out and were being howled down by a public unwilling to believe. In Tasmania we did what we could to assist the poor victims. Des himself, though never personally a victim, was nevertheless aware of it happening to people around him at the school he went to.