Persistent correspondent John Guillaumier has, entirely unsurprisingly, gleefully inflicted yet another complaint against the Catholic Church upon the long-suffering readers of this newspaper.

While I have no wish to diminish in any way the degree to which the Church I belong to has failed in so many ways, most evidently reflected in the abuse scandal, it would be far more useful were folk such as Guillaumier to attempt to explore these crucial issues in a sober and constructive manner.

One of the many lessons I have learned during my 37 years as a doctor has been the fact that, ultimately, all these failures are eminently human. My own profession, along with nursing, social care, the teaching profession, scouting, the armed forces, the police and every other sector responsible for the care of the vulnerable, be they children or adult, attracts the good-hearted and, sadly also, the predatory paedophiles.

As a society, we need to find ways of preventing the malign from inveigling their way into roles that brings them into close contact with folk they will eventually take advantage of. That is the lesson the Catholic Church is trying hard to learn from and to deal with. So are the caring agencies.

Guillaumier might like to reflect on this and try to find ways of healing wounds rather than just indulging in mudslinging. He might also like to contemplate the significance of that powerful biblical message: “Let he who be without sin cast the first stone.”

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