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Archive for November, 2009

A Most Chilling Paragraph

 

The Archdiocese’s pre-occupations were the maintenance of secrecy, avoidance of scandal, protection of the Church’s reputation and preservation of its assets – other considerations including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities.

Report into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin

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The Case Against Brady

Ireland’s most senior Catholic cleric vehemently faced down calls to resign after revealing that he was at a secret tribunal where sex abuse victims were made to take an oath of silence. Cardinal Sean Brady said that he had attended two meetings in 1975 concerning Father Brendan Smyth, a notorious paedophile, where two of Smyth’s child victims signed an affidavit promising to discuss their claims only with a specified priest. The secret tribunal was held behind closed doors in 1975 only yards from Dundalk Garda station. But the church did not inform the gardai about the allegations at the time.

It was admitted by the Church that it moved him around Ireland, Britain and the US, where he continued to abuse children for 18 more years after Brady’s ‘Investigation’   In 1997, Smyth died in prison. His rampant abuse of children was known to his superiors in the Catholic church and helped bring down the Fianna Fáil/Labour coalition in 1994. The Catholic church has refused to release Fr. Brendan Smyth’s “assignment record” in the US, which would detail the various parishes Smyth was assigned to.

A woman who was first abused by Smyth in 1974 — the year before the investigation took place — and who was abused until 1979 said the “right thing” would be for Cardinal Brady to resign.  “Seán Brady asked a 14-year-old to sign a form of secrecy — that’s what all abusers do . . . to ask a child to sign [up to secrecy] is to collude in what Smyth had been doing. I think those who protect abusers are worse than the abusers,” she added.

Helen McGonigle, a US attorney who was first abused by Smyth at the age of six while he was based in Rhode Island, said the Cardinal’s assertion that he should not be judged by today’s standards was “absolutely wrong. He’s coming to this issue with unclean hands, unclean hands that are borne by the bloodstains of many victims and victims who have committed suicide or attempted to commit suicide.

Jeff Thomas said he was just seven years old when he was abused by Smyth in Rhode Island over a period of three to four months. He said he could not excuse Cardinal Brady for his inaction.  “Anybody that has the responsibilities to oversee the flock of the children I think has the professional responsibility when he misses a call this big . . . really, how can you exonerate him? I just think about all the kids that could have been saved from this monster — and he was a monster,” he said.

The cardinal defended his role in the investigation, stating his actions were part of a process that removed the shamed cleric’s licence to act as a priest.  “Frankly I don’t believe that this is a resigning matter,” Brady said.

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CHILD SEXUAL abuse was covered up by the Dublin archdiocese and other church authorities for almost 30 years, according to the report of the commission of investigation. State authorities facilitated this cover-up by not fulfilling their responsibilities to ensure that the law was applied equally to all, and by allowing church institutions to be beyond the law, it says.

The welfare of children was disregarded for many years, when the focus was on the avoidance of scandal and the preservation of the good name, status and assets of the church and its priests. The abuse of children in Dublin was a scandal. The failure of the archdiocesan authorities to penalise the perpetrators is also a scandal, it notes.

The report says it is abundantly clear that child sexual abuse by clerics was widespread throughout the 30-year period it examined. It says there was no doubt the reason for covering up information was to ensure as few people as possible knew of priests problems. There was little or no concern for the welfare of the abused child or for the welfare of other children who might come into contact with the priest. Complainants were often met with denial, arrogance and cover-up and with incompetence and incomprehension in some areas. Suspicions were rarely acted on.

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cardinal mugshot
The Minister for Justice said:

I read the report as Justice Minister.  But on a human level – as a father and as a member of this community – I felt a growing sense of revulsion and anger. Revulsion at the horrible evil acts committed against children. Anger at how those children were then dealt with and how often abusers were left free to abuse. But the white heat of our anger should not for one moment deflect us from what needs to be done.  The persons who committed these dreadful crimes – no matter when they happened – will continue to be pursued. They must come to know that there is no hiding place. That justice – even where it may have been delayed – will not be denied.  And there is a clear duty on us all to ensure that everything possible is done to prevent such abuse happening in the future. And where it does happen that noone is above or beyond the law.  But the era where evil people could do so under the cover of the cloth, facilitated and shielded from the consequences by their authorities, while the lives of children were ruined with such cruelty, is over for good.

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Is there any other possible interpretation of this other than the Cardinal is to be arrested and charged ?

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