Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It takes a Priest to make it a Scandal

"This affair is frankly a bit sinister ... Here is a man of such talent, recognised worldwide, recognised especially in the country where he was arrested. This is not nice at all."

- Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner

How would the French cultural aristocracy or the sirens of Hollywood feel if a Roman Catholic Priest were detained by Swiss police for a 30 year old molestation, rather than Roman Polanski? Wouldn’t it just be another case of “American style” overzealous prosecution (oddly enough, executed by the Swiss) of an old man?

Swiss Church leaders have conceded that a priest suspected of molesting children in France was quietly transferred into Switzerland in the 1990s.

French law-enforcement officials are now seeking to question the priest, who has been identified only as a 67-year-old Capuchin. He has reportedly been living in a monastery in Switzerland.
Experience tells me that half of the ire comes from the fact that Polanski is a French national, and more importantly considered culturally French. The other half comes from a false argument that ‘he’s suffered enough’ founded on his chosen profession. Polanski's position in that cult of culture makes him a sort of high-priest. As with the church, it was the higher-ups that too came to the defense of the violator. The irony here is that while the parishoners were the most adamant to see justice served, there appears to be no great sense from the European public, save for a few parents, that THIS child abuser should at least come in under the law for the crime he pleased guilty to.
“Judicial lynching,” said Jack Lang, the former French culture minister. “Absolutely horrifying,” echoed the current French culture minister, Frédéric Mitterrand. “Provocation!” shouted Andrzej Wajda and other Polish filmmakers. From across Europe, nearly 100 representatives of the entertainment industry, including Pedro Almodóvar and Wim Wenders, signed a petition declaring themselves “dismayed” by the arrest
Their dismay seems to say a lot about these men.

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