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Song: Devil In A Midnight Mass billy

Artist: Billy Talent

Album: Billy Talent II

Release date: June 27, 2006

Why this song was chosen: It’s unfortunate that child sex abuse is often one of the first things that come to one’s mind when the Catholic church is mentioned. I grew up Catholic, and I was never abused in the church. Not even close. In fact, much of the support I received after my abuse came from people from the church I attended. My mother and grandmother are lifelong Catholics, as are most of my family. I went to a Catholic university for a couple of years. As a whole, I have had an extremely positive experience with the Catholic church. And while I am not a practicing Catholic now, I think fondly of all of the people and experiences surrounding my time attending that church. But some people don’t have the same experience as I did. Especially children. And maybe it’s because the church I attended was a bit less traditional and a bit more modern. We didn’t have alter boys. And there wasn’t ever a time when priests were really alone with children from the church, although I’d personally never suspect these ones in particular if they were. Even the confession booth that is so commonly used in movies and Catholic imagery wasn’t in our church. But case after case after case have been made present in the media about priests molesting young boys. And to make matters worse, the Catholic church was extremely meticulous in their attempts to cover up the crimes and move the priests elsewhere. That’s what this song is about. My favorite line from the song is “The holy water in his hands can never wash away his sins.”

What the artist has to say about the song: In an interview with MuchMusic, frontman and lyricist Ben Kowalewicz told Sarah Taylor “It’s from a story I read about Boston priest John Geoghan who had been arrested for child abuse and the church kept moving him from parish to parish. The Supreme Court tried and convicted him of molesting 150 kids over a 30-year span and while he was serving his sentence another inmate broke into his cell and murdered him. I stumble upon these stories, they don’t necessarily have to be directly personal but it’s things like this that move me. I’m a big advocate for children’s rights and this song looks at sexual abuse. It’s not against the church or anything, it’s more about that individual betrayal between adult and child. I don’t have the answers but hopefully if I sing about a certain issue it will get people talking about it.” (Source: Wikipedia)

How do you think this song contributes to the conversation on sex crimes?

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Read the lyrics here.

Possible trigger warning. As with all of the content we post, the songs in the Every Day In May campaign should be listened to at your own discretion. Some may make you feel uplifted and others may make you feel angry, disturbed, or disgusted. The songs should also be considered not safe for work.

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