Catholic band disinvited from youth gathering for 'graphic' video
Organisers have criticised "disturbing" video highlighting clergy abuse
Catholic pop band Ooberfuse have announced that they have been disinvited from performing at Catholic Underground, London's largest gathering for young Catholics, after releasing a new music video in which they highlight the plight of victims of clergy abuse.
The official video for 'March of the Downtrodden' includes text that shares the stories of several abuse victims and is accompanied by haunting images of young children.
The lyrics declare "From your abuse I'll break free / Flee from your infamy / Won't let you push me down".
The group say that they aimed to underline the real tragedy of abuse within Catholic institutions.
"Little attention has been given to the devastating effect of clergy abuse upon its many silent victims throughout the world," singer Cherrie Anderson told The Catholic Universe.
"Our new video attempts to redress this imbalance with real life testimonies combined with harrowing images, telling the story from the angle of the broken hearted victims."
The group have called upon Pope Francis to reform the structures of the Church using the suggestions made by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in their recent report on child abuse, which denounced the Holy See for allowing priests to commit sexual crimes and protecting many perpetrators.
Ooberfuse, who wrote the anthem for Pope Benedict XVI's papal visit to the UK, were set to headline Catholic Underground (CU) in March, but were told that organisers have "had to reconsider" their invitation
In an email from the Chairman of CU, Ooberfuse are criticised for their decision to produce the "disturbing" video, which organisers said was "graphic and explicit and overall painted a very negative image of the Church".
"It failed to highlight the work the Church has done to combat child abuse and if anything portrays a worse image than the mainstream media," the email reads.
It concludes by explaining: "We have decided we no longer want Ooberfuse to perform at our next event. I would urge you to seriously reconsider the display and promotion of this video and find a different means by which to address this topic."
Ooberfuse have since released a statement in which they say they are "saddened" by CU's decision.
"The reality of clergy abuse from the perspective of the abused is extremely disturbing. For you to have watched the video and to have "found it quite disturbing" means that the reality of what is going on has successfully been conveyed," they say.
"It it paints a negative image at all, it does so of clerical abusers not of the Church."
The group contend that CU's response will merely serve to strengthen the "common misconception that the Church is a sanctuary for child abusers".
They have condemned accusations that the video "damage[s] the mission" of CU to evangelise, asserting that "When you say our video does 'completely the opposite' of evangelisation, we take it you understand evangelisation in the narrow sense of proselytising i.e. public apologetics for the institutional Church.
"We hope that instead of being repulsed you will allow yourselves to be evangelised by the suffering of clergy abuse victims."
CU did not respond to ChristianToday.com's requests for comment.
WARNING: The video features explicit content and is not suitable for children.