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
Archive for December, 2009
Today the Holy Father held a meeting with senior Irish Bishops and high-ranking members of the Roman Curia. Basically all the guys with bells and whistles. He listened to their concerns, the wailing and moaning, and discussed with them the traumatic events that were presented in the Irish Commission of Investigation’s Report into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin.
After careful study of the Report, and careful cross-checking with our own more extensive archives, the Holy Father was deeply disturbed, that so much got out, and distressed by its contents. He wishes once more to express his profound regret at the actions of some members of the clergy, excluding the bishops and their helpers of course, who have betrayed their solemn promises to God, as well as the trust placed in them by the victims and their families, and by society at large.
The Holy Father shares the outrage, betrayal and shame felt by so many, but not by the Curia, of the faithful in Ireland, and he is united with them in prayer at this difficult time in the life of the Church.
His Holiness asks Catholics [the few that remain] in Ireland and throughout the world to join him in praying for the victims, their families and all those affected by these heinous crimes. Especially Bishops who were found out.
He assures all concerned that the Church will continue to follow this grave matter with the closest attention in order to understand better how these shameful events came to pass and how best to develop effective and secure strategies to prevent any recurrence. We don’t want to be found out again.
The Holy See takes very seriously the central issues raised by the Report, including questions concerning the governance of local Church leaders with ultimate responsibility for the pastoral care of children.
The Holy Father intends to address a Pastoral Letter to the faithful of Ireland in which he will clearly indicate the initiatives that are to be taken in response to the situation. More Masses.
Finally, His Holiness encourages all those who have dedicated their lives in generous service to children to persevere in their good works in imitation of Christ the Good Shepherd.
The Report of the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin was set up in 2006 to investigate how Church and state authorities handled allegation of child abuse against 46 priests over a period from 1975 to 2004.
• One priest admitted to sexually abusing over 100 children, while another accepted that he had abused on a fortnightly basis throughout his 25-year ministry.
• The Commission examined complaints in respect of over 320 children against 46 priests. Substantially more of the complaints relate to boys – the ratio is 2.3 boys to one girl.
• Of the 46 priests examined, 11 pleaded guilty to or were convicted in the criminal courts of sexual assaults on children.
• There was one clear case of a false accusation of child sexual abuse.
• The report found Dublin Archdiocese’s pre-occupations in dealing with cases of child sexual abuse, at least until the mid 1990s, were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the Church, and the preservation of its assets. All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities.
• All the Archbishops of Dublin in the period covered by the Commission were aware of some complaints.
• The Church authorities failed to implement most of their own canon law rules on dealing with clerical child sexual abuse. This was in spite of the fact that a number of them were qualified canon and civil lawyers.
• A mother who contacted the Archdiocese to report that her daughter had been abused as a child was told that the daughter would have to make the complaint. When the mother made it clear that the daughter was unlikely to be able to make such a complaint, she was not even asked for the name of the priest.
• A number of very senior members of the Irish police regarded priests as being outside their remit. There are some examples of them actually reporting complaints to the Archdiocese instead of investigating them.
• The Church did not start to report complaints of child sexual abuse to the Irish police until late 1995
The full report can be read at http://www.justice.ie
We, as bishops, apologise to all those who were abused by priests as children, their families and to all people who feel rightly outraged and let down by the failure of moral leadership and accountability that emerges from the Report. What else were we supposed to do? If Ratzi gives us an order we HAVE to obey or we lose the big house and the car and all the fine wine and luncheons.
As an initial response to the Report, we agreed today to request the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church to explore with the relevant Government departments and statutory authorities, North and South, a mechanism by which to ensure that the Church’s current policies and practices in relation to the safeguarding of children represent best practice and that allegations of abuse are properly handled. Actually it wasn’t our initial response to the Report. Quite a few of us had to use the ‘sick bucket’
We are deeply shocked by the scale and depravity of abuse as described in the Report. We are shamed by the extent to which child sexual abuse was covered up in the Archdiocese of Dublin and recognise that this indicates a culture that was widespread in the Church. The avoidance of scandal, the preservation of the reputations of individuals and of the Church, took precedence over the safety and welfare of children. This should never have happened and must never be allowed to happen again. We humbly ask for forgiveness. This is really what’s expected of us: to ask for forgiveness and if we’re criticised for making this plea then it will only confirm that this so called child abuse scandal is only a media campaign against us.
The Report raises very important issues for the Church in Ireland, including the functioning of the Bishops’ Conference, and, how the lay faithful can be more effectively involved in the life of the Church. We will give further detailed consideration to these issues. Yeah, right! In our cubicles with the flush on permanent!
In response to the many concerns raised about the use of ‘Mental Reservation’, we wish to categorically state that it has no place in covering up evil. Charity, truthfulness, integrity and transparency must be the hallmark of all our communications. Lies are just lies and what’s the harm in a few little whoppers mow and then, and we tell lies all the time in anyway.
Cardinal Seán Brady and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin have been called to the Vatican by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, to enable him “to be briefed and evaluate the painful situation of the Church in Ireland following the recent publication of the Murphy Commission Report.” They will meet with Pope Benedict on Friday. Let’s hope Ratzi doesn’t beat US around the head with HIS crozier.
We humbly ask that you continue to pray for all those who suffer due to child abuse. There that’s it done – whoooooooo!