Jesus said to his disciples:
"A good tree does not bear rotten fruit,
nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.
For every tree is known by its own fruit.
For people do not pick figs from thornbushes,
nor do they gather grapes from brambles.
A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good,
but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil;
for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.
The new revelations of abuse and child rape from Belgium do not make pleasant reading.
Today's Gospel would affirm non-Catholic's belief that there is something rotten at the very root of the Catholic Church.
We are entitled to ask whether this rot is something which springs from Catholicity or the society or culture in which the Church itself is rooted. Belgium is the country already marked by other high level secular paedophile scandals and by Dutroux's incestuous cellar.
What might also be significant is these new revelations for the most echo the situation in Ireland, reaching their height in the 1960's, the period in which so many taboos were broken. Were the 1960's particularly rotten? If so what about other developments in the Church and society dating from that period? Dare we ask?
Another question that is particularly difficult to answer: are the rates of abuse in the Catholic Church indicative of even greater abuse in families and the rest of society? This is a question people have posed in Ireland but most are pretty shy of addressing directly but the estimates vary from below 10% to over 25% of children suffer direct sexual or sexually related abuse.