Paedophile scandal follow up needed in the North

Alan Shatter the Fine Gael TD who has long been a family law specialist, has asked in a speech worth reading in full, how severe was clerical child abuse north of the border. We already know one that one case cited came from Termonbacca boys’ home in Derry. Shatter said:

“There is no reason to believe that clerical sexual abuse stopped at the border. I am calling on the Government to engage directly in discussions with the Northern Ireland Executive; with the Northern Ireland Secretary of State and with Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, to seek the creation of structures to address allegations of clerical and institutional abuse in Northern Ireland”.

I hadn’t realised until reading Jason Berry in the Irish Times that bishops have escaped from ultimate censure over paedophilia.

Since the 1990s, the Vatican has forced at least 15 bishops and one cardinal (the late Hans Hermann Groer of Austria) to step down for sexual abuse of youngsters. The Vatican has defrocked dozens of priests but not one bishop has been so punished – they have been removed from office but not from the priesthood

The reason it seems, was that the Pope refused to delegate responsibility for unfrocking bishops, so bishops who hid the crimes weren’t fully responsible.

In 1989, as the first wave of abuse survivors’ lawsuits hit America, the bishops sent canon lawyers to Rome, seeking permission to defrock paedophiles. Pope John Paul II said no. … John Paul’s long myopia on the crisis complicates his case for sainthood…. Why did the pope, so brilliant a force against communism, stand passive before the worst Catholic scandal in centuries?

At home, Eamon casts a beady eye on all that wide-eyed episcopal surprise.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London