CODCO: “Pleasant Irish Priests in Conversation”

The skit banned by the CBC in 1991 in the wake of the Mount Cashel Orphanage scandal.

The latest child sex abuse scandals in the Church seem to have broken through the last outpost of public forbearance which for so long put the whole issue into a bizarre moral and legal limbo.

Not many people outside of Eastern Canada seem to remember that the scandal actually began in Canada just over 20 years ago — in Newfoundland, in fact, at the Mount Cashel Orphanage.

Anyone who loves Newfoundland culture knows that nothing distills the black humor and native irreverence of the Newfoundland character better than the legendary comedy troupe CODCO.  Some might even recall that head writer and performer Andy Jones quit CODCO’s weekly CBC TV series back in 1991 over the network’s refusal to air the skit featured above involving a deadpan satire on the sexuality of the supposedly celibate.  (As regularly happens with CODCO, you don’t necessarily laugh out loud, but you do wince and cringe, and that’s the way they sometimes preferred it.)

In this case, we can clearly see that satirists at their best are like EMTs — the first on the scene with potentially life-saving aid.  And yet, in this case, sadly enough, the service being offered was refused by antsy Canadian censors, and the public remained in its peculiar state of denial about what all of this really entailed for another 20 years.

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