Dr. Edward Peters Gently Bludgeons Anti-St. Pius X Writer for ‘Daily Mail Online’

(In the Light of the Law) Maybe the Daily Mail Online does not have fact-checkers, or maybe its fact-checkers were on break when John Cornwell’s screed against Pope St. Pius X and Confession was submitted for publication. Or maybe any news outlet that posts headlines like “How a pope called Pius turned the confessional box into a paradise for paedophiles wouldn’t let quibbles from fact-checkers get in the way of a good old-fashioned Catholic bashing. Still, I’d like to think there are yet some folks who care about facts, and it is for them that I write.

Central to Cornwell’s attack on the sacrament of Confession—celebrated in “a dark box like an upturned coffin, smelling of stale perfume and nasty body odours” (Cornwell actually wrote that, and the Mail Online actually published it)—is his claim that: “It was the anxious and pessimistic Pius X, Pope from 1903-1914, who decreed in 1910 that children must make their first confession at the age of seven,” inaugurating, per Cornwell, a practice that reduced “child penitents [to] guinea-pigs in the greatest moral experiment ever perpetrated on children in the history of Catholicism.”

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