I don’t even know the proper name for them – those websites where people put their comments on an article or an issue of the day. I probably should, since this site provides that facility (even though so few seem moved to write something, be that good or bad). But looking at other examples of it can make you feel …low. Sometimes it’s the atrocious spelling, sometimes the highly-individual notions of what punctuation is, sometimes the way the argument wanders about like a diseased rabbit. But over the last couple of days I’ve been shocked – and I’m not easily shocked – by the way the clerical abuses scandal has been addressed. There’s a tone of seething hatred – that’s the only apt word – of the Catholic Church and particularly the Catholic clergy. The comments on the Pope – ‘that old German fucker’ – were crude and sometimes racist, the slights resurrected from childhood were many, meanness of the tone of postings throughout was, um, degrading. Not of the Catholic priests attacked but of the people doing the posting. I risk sounding like an old fogey but it is sort of sad to see relatively young people carrying such simmering viciousness with them through life. If the same tone was adopted with any other race or any other religious grouping, I suspect the posters would be filled with indignation. But because it’s the Catholic Church, liberalism goes out the window and hatred assumes centre-stage where it squats, suffocating complexity and reason.