Hand of God


Paul Cultrera

I watched the documentary Hand of God the other night. It left me deeply angry.

The film was made by Joe Cultrera and documents the sexual abuse suffered by his brother Paul as a child. The abuser was the Catholic priest  Joseph Birmingham. Paul was abused as an alter boy in the 1960s and told no one, including his family, for 30 years. Meanwhile the priest, despite other allegation of sexual abuse, was promoted by the diocesan (seems to be a common way for the church to ignore the problems it creates).

Paul later finds out that of the 40 priests in Birmingham’s graduation class 12 had been exposed as sexual abusers!

Joe Cultrura documents how Paul changed from a bright eager boy into a drifting depressed man. We often don’t realise how long lasting the effects of child abuse are (see Psychological abuse of children, Psychological abuse and Facing up to child abuse) . Many don’t confront the psychological issues until much later in life, if at all. Suffering extends for a lifetime.

And yet the Catholic Church has squirmed, denied, excused and attempted to avoid the problems they have created.  And their fellow religionists often refuse to condemn and sometimes are even just as guilty of such abuse.

So I am angry at the hypocrites for damaging young children and causing lifetime suffering. But I am also angry because these institutions claim authority when it comes to moral questions. A claim that is so clearly not justified.


Further, I am angry because these evil people use such claims to condemn those who don’t accept their authority. In the last few weeks we had the spectacle of two UK Catholic Archbishops condemning secularists and atheists as “not fully human,” as the worst evil. Ripping into Richard Dawkins (whose moral viewpoints could teach them a thing or two).

And at the same time ignoring the public furore over the long record of child abuse in Irish Catholic Church institutions – exposed by the report of the Irish Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.

So, I’m not exactly in the mood to listen to people who claim that secularists “can at best produce some half-baked reasoning” for their moral positions or that atheists have no basis for their morality.


See also:
Hand of God Home.
about the film from Bishop Accountability
Abuse Tracker at Bishop Accountability
Concentration camps run by holy men and women
Children suffered abuse of many types, both physical and emotional
Cardinal Cormack Murphy-O’Connor thinks you aren’t fully human
Catholics plead poverty in Irish abuse
Atheists fight to keep God out of Irish law

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9 responses to “Hand of God

  1. That is horrible that there is still sexual abuse in the Catholics. Priest can’t have sex with women so they have sex with little boys. This world is full of some sick and apparently godly people, some people are both. What will we do to prevent this in the future, no one knows.


  2. Ken,
    I do not hesitate to join you in condemning the devastating acts of child abuse. Whether it’s done by a parent, priest, school teacher, relative, etc. It has lasting and often permanent affects. (I encountered abuse as a young boy, so I have experiential knowledge of this)

    But the reality of moral failure (one that is a reality to some degree for all of us) has nothing to do (directly) with providing a basis for their moral views.

    The child abuse issue is not related to “atheist v. theist morality” issue.


  3. I don’t know about child abuse being related to atheism/theism. This obviously isn’t simple but there does seem to be some anecdotal evidence of it being more common with religious institutions which may relate back to the influence of “divine command” approaches interfering with the development of personal morality . That’s not the point of the post. After all we have a a variation in the attitude of Paul’s family where his parents were/are still strong Catholics, church attenders and his brother Joe was still a theist but hated the Catholic Church.

    My final point though is that these people have no humility and are hypocritical if they can make claims that atheists are some how not moral, have no basis for their morality. One of the priests interviewed in the film made a claim that such priests have a special knowledge of moral issues. Clearly they don’t.

    And the public (many of whom were fooled by this in the past) more and more see such claims as laughable, if not evil.

    I really can’t see how anyone can respect people who make such claims while ignoring, or even covering up, such abuse within their own ranks.


  4. The classic response, defense mechanism, from Catholics is “it’s only a minority, don’t paint them all like this”.

    The fact still remain this minority exists (rather than pre-tense) on all continents.

    They were/are shielded by Church authorities all-over the globe.

    Currently 700 abusers of children from Ireland alone, are housed, feed and shielded from prosecution.

    This isn’t an anti-Catholic atheist vendetta, some apologists would like it painted – a red herring if there ever was one.

    This is a crime against humanity – the world’s largest organised pedophile ring.

    If this was a worldwide Day-Care Corporation, rather than a religious group – it would have been closed years ago.

    What we are seeing is the callous power of religion, to act with impunity on a scale normally reserved for times of war.

    Torture, starvation, sexual abuse – sickening stuff – perpetrated against the most vulnerable in society.

    But their God will forgive these abusers , I guess.

    Ironically it’s just ‘the godless’ like you and me Ken, that are not so forgiving.

    It’s us that must fight for justice, leaving it to the Churches would see it continue, the same as it has since organised religion began centuries ago.

    See ya.



  5. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/abusetracker for daily verified & vetted repoting on the USCCB (Unremoved Sexual Criminal Cabal Bishops) & Roman “La Cosa Nostra” Pedo Curia Cult.

    THE SOLUTION? “STOP DONATING LAITY” as St. Peter Damien correctly, and canonically sanctioned, asserted.

    There is no middle ground here laity, in the ongoing curia perpetration, aid & abetting & enabling of thousands of proven pedo clergy (many curia among them).

    You are either a financial suppoter of this uncorrected, unpunished (Roger Mahony, Bernard Law, Francis George, Edward Egan,Noberto Rivera, etc.), and rolling crime spree, or you are not.


    Fiat Lux & Veritas!

    Albino Luciani,


  6. My question is: “why aren’t more people angry? Have they become impervious to the scandal in the Catholic Church? I am at a loss!


  7. This Story about The Crime Against Humanity [sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy, nuns etc.] perpetrated by the Roman Catholic Church must be found out by the public, through the regular [ general] media. [Media should not be afraid] If not, it will never be recognized for the evil that it is and still is to this day, by the Catholics who are still putting their heads in the sand and ignoring the evil they are actually ALLOWING TO CONTINUE by their selfish [it’s not my problem] attitude. THEY TOO, ALONG WITH THE EVIL PRIIESTS, WILL CARRY THE GUILT UPON THEMSELVES TO THE GRAVE AND BEYOND! It is imperitive that these people who ignore the truth , OPEN their EYES and EARS to what has been going on in their church and continures to this very day and forever, if it isn’t stopped by them. Open their eyes oh Lord! Do it by giving one man or woman the courage to start the Series of RCC’s sexual abuse of children throughout the world. God will bless this Journalist.


  8. Yes, HAND OF GOD Is A Wonderful Film. Also see DELIVER US FROM EVIL and OUR FATHERS. There is so much for the People In the Pews to learn; and even more for them to accept. The men in the roman collars with the Crosses around their necks are not the people you think they are. So many Catholics blame the Victims for what’s been happening lately. Well, we didn’t ask to be raped anymore than a fetus asks to be aborted. The Roman Catholic Church is being destroyed from within. St. Pius X said, “The smoke of satan has been allowed to enter the church”. Boy Was He Ever Right.


  9. It isn’t just “a few bad apples” – do the math! The John Jay report says only 4% of US priests molest, but the alternate figure is as high as 10%. Except in small towns and remote areas, priests lived 3-4 to a rectory. If we account for an average of three residences with a total of nine priests as housemates for each molester, then we have a low figure of 36% and a high one of ***90%*** of nonmolesting priests who *had to* know (along with housekeepers and cooks) about the rapes and DID NOTHING. With the high figures, you have ***100%*** of clergy involved in some way, either molesting, covering up, promoting, and even walking away when the witnessed abuse instead of reporting it to the police. This is truly sick stuff, and it goes up the hierarchy to the very top. They say at least 2/3 of bishops were involved and did nothing.

    The true relationship of the shepherd to the sheep is fleece ’em, screw ’em, kill ’em, eat ’em. According to RCC Inc, the organized criminal child rape cult, and their bible, we are all less than human, less than slaves, lower than livestock, we are plants and dirt – all commodities to be exploited, used, harvested, and abused. Rape is glorified in the bible, specifically with the story of Mary’s conception of Jesus, but it’s prettied up with birdies and angels and bright lights so we don’t see that her parents pimped her to a temple as a “dove” and she was probably raped by a priest in that temple (assuming the story is true at all). We’ve all been sold a very ugly and exploitative bill of goods in the name of pleasing a “good” god who is bloodthirsty, capricious, and evil. IMO, the whole belief system should be tossed into the trash. Xtians claim we nonxtians worship Satan, but I can’t think of a better example of a satanic deity than their own pedophile god and his pedopriests (of any denomination).


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