Saturday, March 5, 2016

Just for the Headline

I can't imagine that this story has a whole lot of significance in terms of spiritual technology or whatever it is I'm supposed to be covering here at Augoeides. It is tangentially related to religion, though, and the headline is just too bizarre to pass up. After all I'm in competition with a tabloid site these days and I pass up such stories at my own peril.

Check it out: Catholic priest Fr Stephen Crossan 'caught snorting cocaine in Nazi room'.

Fr Stephen Crossan is reported to have sniffed coke through a £10 note on a night of drinking in July 2015 in Banbridge, County Down. He was in a room with Nazi memorabilia and seemed to say "I shouldn't" as he snorted, the Sun on Sunday reported.

The bishop of Dromore said in a statement that he had no knowledge of the incident. It allegedly occurred in the parochial house last July after a party.

The Sun on Sunday said it happened at what was then Fr Crossan's parish home in the grounds of St Patrick's Church, Banbridge, in July 2015. Father Crossan told the newspaper that he took the drugs but said: "It was just the one night and that was it."

A source said that a group ended up back with Fr Crossan after a party and found Nazi memorabilia including flags, hats and an eagle with a swastika on a plinth on his mantelpiece. In his defence, Fr Crossan told the paper that he was no Nazi and that he collected historical items from every country.

It's not just that he's a priest snorting cocaine. He's doing it after a night of drinking, though a £10 note. And here's the kicker - he's doing it in a room full of Nazi memorabilia. There's got to be some kind of "evil overload" or something going on there. Oh, and the whole thing was recorded on video. I'm not sure if that makes it worse or not.

Crossan was apparently suffering from depression at the time, and I know from personal experience that depression can make you do some pretty weird things, especially in combination with alcohol and drugs. He has taken a leave of absence from the church with the support of the parish to seek treatment, and I hope that he makes a full recovery and goes on to generate no more lurid headlines.

One of the takeaways from this, though, is how unhealthy the whole "culture of guilt" that some churches seem to cultivate really is. It doesn't make people moral, it makes them miserable. Not only that, but it makes anything "naughty" seem appealing in ways that it otherwise would not. Crossan's comment "I shouldn't" as he goes for the cocaine says to me that this dynamic is at work.

Of course he did in a room full of Nazi artifacts. It would be less evil otherwise, and that's part of the thrill. Maybe that's why he recorded it as well, for the thrill of possibly getting caught - which he of course happened.

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