Ireland awaits the Pope’s pleasure

A fortnight after the report, and a reaction at last.

..the Holy Father was deeply disturbed and distressed …..The Holy Father shares the outrage, betrayal and shame felt by so many of the faithful in Ireland..

“Disingenuous and inadequate” a survivors group call it. The BBC are reporting that “heads will roll” and that the Church in Ireland will be reorganised, whatever that means. Only a papal visit and a public apology in Ireland would allow the Vatican to atone for decades of clerical child sex abuse, a leading victims’ organisation said.

Irish Survivors of Child Abuse (Soca) said the “sin against our children was so immense that it requires an immense gesture on the pope’s part”.
Irish Soca said a papal visit and apology should be combined with a “diocese-by-diocese inquiry across the island of Ireland” to investigate the scale of abuse of children by priests and religious orders

So Ireland awaits a pastoral letter from the Pope to tell them what’s going to happen. Odd to say the least in the 21st century that the national leaders of the church have to attend as suppliants to a monarchical system at a 90 minute meeting. Sinead O’Connor would go a lot further…

  • Ray

    There needs to be an Independent International War Crimes Tribunal set up for “crimes against humanity” commited by the Catholic Church and so-called Irish government for centuries of these horrific acts against tnes of thousand of innocent little children.
    Nothing has changed and nothing will change. Everything is damage control.
    The Catholic Church has been nothing more than a predatory paedophile cult going back one or two millenium. The question is simpy where did it start?
    How in God’s name can the Catholic Church be allowed to have anything to do with education?
    It is past time for a Nurenberg Tribunal.

  • anne warren

    I agree with Ray. Ireland is not alone in having its children abused psychologically, physically, emotionally and sexually by the catholic hierarchy. (And please don’t drag in red herrings that other institutions also did it. Let’s focus on this issue).
    The pattern of abuse and cover-up seems endemic to the catholic church. This news report from a dioceses in Connecticut, USA was published just a couple of days ago and cited in another thread on Slugger.
    If one googles child abuse in the catholic church one gets a staggering “1,900,000 hits in 0.27 seconds”. This hierarchial/govermental system has become so corrupted as to be guilty of putting children at risk in countries around the world and some way must be found to hold it accountable. Would a pandemic like this justify charges being brought against the Vatican State, which is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. If not, what would? Can no international body e.g. Save the Children prosecute or ban an international organisation that is responsible for such heinous actions, harbours criminals worldwide and does its best to obstruct the course of justice, spending millions of dollars in the process (see the American report cited above)? Can none even make a disapproving comment?

    In all instances the catholic church plays upon the ambiguity of its position to wriggle out of all responsibility for the actions of its clerics. Is it church or foreign state? Can it be both, being whichever of the two is most convenient in any given circumstance? Would you trust or do business with someone like that?

    Since the Bishops are constantly justifying their actions under Canon Law what place exactly does Canon Law occupy in the United States of Europe (which came into being on the 1st of this month)? Who is subject to it? Is the Vatican State part of the EU and subject to EU laws? Does Canon Law take precedence?

    And other, more local aspects need to be examined in depth.In my view, Ireland is particularly unfortunate in its association with the Catholic church because Catholicism was so closely linked to politics north and south particularly after 1922 and the de Valera constitution in 1937. No matter how horrified everyone is at this litany of abuse, any criticism of the church leaves one open to Loyalist triumphalism, resentment from practising Catholics who are obviously smarting from the deception and hypocrisy and the defensive closing of ranks of an entwined Church and State establishment.
    But despite this, let’s ask a few questions.
    What brainwashing went on to make children and adults think that the abuse they suffered (sexual, physical, emotional and psychological) was their fault?
    Who made sure that shame was internalized by victims, families and neighbours and how was it done?
    What abuse was done to the entire population when almost no one ever questioned anything?
    When and how are Irish people going to rid themselves of these mental shackles? From the various reports we have learnt the methods used to cover-up, while based on brainwashing the victims, families etc to internalise shame, psychological threats, social ostracism etc, also rely on unquestioning obedience to an “authority”, deception and lies which are justified as “mental reservations” and a mafia-style refusal to answer queries (see papal nuncio’s response to the Enquiry Commission). Now that Irish people realise how they have been manipulated do they really want to continue as a consenting partner in the deception?
    Can we hope that in the future hands can be stretched out from Northerners in compassion and friendship, without recrimination and a “told you so” attitude? If not, why not?

  • Coll Ciotach

    Why stop there? Lets go the whole hog, nail the state for the abuse in state orphanages all across Britain, not just Kincora for example or would that be diverting the attention from the Catholic Church which not suit the agendaists?

    And do people still witter on about Canon Law? That stupid and just plain silly allegation has been blown out of the water years ago.

    As for the USA, Anne the other churches there freely admit they have a problem equal to the Catholic Church, but sutre that does not fit into the anti-Catholic Church agenda.

    Would welcome an enquiry into centuries of abuse though – would we go as far back as the Dutch usurper?

    Let me assure you that no government wants to go done thath path. Because every government in Europe has the same filth stuffed under the carpets.

    It is not just Ireland.

  • anne warren

    I agree Coll Ciotach. It’s not just Ireland. I myself wrote that “Ireland is not alone” . The point is that abuse by the clergy of the catholic church occurs, and has been made public, world wide. So one can start demanding accountability there. Or would you prefer to just let it be?

    As far as regards abuse being carried out in other institutions I specified I wanted to focus on this particular issue. What’s so wrong with that and why drag in other examples? Just because other people did it, doesn’t mean its right or justified. Or that the instance in question can be dismissed using this pretext.

    You may be right when you say “no government wants to go down that path. Because every government in Europe has the same filth stuffed under the carpets” But one has to start somewhere. Why not with this?

    I don’t have an anti-Catholic agenda. Many of the observations I made are similar to those voiced by victims of the abuse. Can you say the same about yours?

  • Ex Catholic

    Coll Ciotach, and others, are fearful that the Catholic Church will be seen as much worse than the Prods. Sad and stupid. A bit like saying Gary Glitter was as bad and he was a Brit.
    No doubt abuse crosses all boundaries but attempts to kick the ball in to the long grass reek of defensiveness.

  • Coll Ciotach

    Absolute rubbish – I am pointing out that wherever the vulnerable gather so to do the predators, the really galling part in the cover up which has went on for ages. And the collaborators in this are escaping scot free.

    Do I think that we will ever get to the bottom of it. I do not. Because no politician will want too much dirt being dragged up. Forecast a number of scapegoats go to the wall – up front payments ameliorated by grants for capex spend.

    What I do take exception to is the allegations that the Vatican uses canon law to cover this up. That is just pure nonesense which makes me wonder about the real agenda of the poster especially when the wording of the post seems to suggest that the problem exists solely in the Catholic Church.

  • igor

    “What I do take exception to is the allegations that the Vatican uses canon law to cover this up”

    …. sorry but your post is just wrong. Many of the Bishops’ views until they were exposed was that Canon law supervened local law in terms of dealing with these priests ie it was for the Church to punish not the state

    Any sensible state ignored this of course but it was a convenient theological fiction to help justify the cover ups.

    I don’t blame ‘the Catholic Church’ for individual acts of abuse. All organisations are in danger of being penetrated and exploited by paedophiles and their networks. But I do blame them for the cover up. I do blame them for allowing priests to CONTINUE TO ABUSE when there was ample evidence of their crimes.I do blame them for offering compensation to victims conditional upon them not making statements to police. I do blame them for doing sordid deals with politicians and police officers to stop investigations. That all surely amounts to a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice?

    Oh yes, and I do blame them for refusing to co-operate with the Inquiry because it wasn’t they allege ‘asked through proper channels.’ If any of them still believe in God I hope they are fearful of what questions he may ask in due course – through the p[roper channels of course.

  • Ray

    Canon Law is simply paedophile theocrat rule to protect the financial and other interests of the Catholic Church. It is not “law” in any sense of the term.
    There are huge issues here. Irish history will have to be completely rewritten.
    One cannot condemn Iran as a “theocracy” when the so-called “Republic of Ireland” was established by the Catholic Church some 60 years ago as a “stealth paedophile theocracy.”
    It was the “Irish government” who knowingly sent tens of thousands of destitute children to the Catholic Church to be abused. They cannot now play stupid.
    Immediately after WW II the US President sent the founder of a boys orphanage in the US, Boys Town, a Fr. Flanagan, to Europe to see what could be done to start the rebuilding of Europe. Fr. Flanagan was from Ireland originally and natually made his first stop in Ireland to visit family. He saw what was happening in the Catholic run institutions and spoke out against the abuse. The Catholic Church and the Irish government demonised Fr. Flanagan and ran him out of the country.
    The Irish government is just as guilty as the Catholic Church. This is a crime against humanity.
    Neither the Catholic Church nor the Irish government have any legitimacy and must be prosecuted for their crimes against humanity and children.

  • Coll Ciotach

    Maybe some did – and hopefully they are pulled over the coals as they were wrong – the Church view is otherwise. The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People of June, 2002, approved by the Vatican, states that sexual abuse of children be reported to the appropriate legal authorities.

    I do accept in full the rest of your comment except the last paragraph. It is important that protocol is fully complied with, especially in matters of extreme importance and sensitivity such as this. The request of the Murphy inquiry shows sloppiness and unprofessionalism.

  • Coll Ciotach


    Nonesense, Canon Law is law in every sense of the term that any reasonable person would attest to. In fact in many periods people would have resorted to Canon law before Civil law as it was the more humane.

    I cannot see how you can say the Republic was established as a stealth paedophile theocracy, I cannot recall Mick Collins having any agenda on that front. And it was the Irish people who sent children to the various establishments – so perhaps we need to be looking at ourselves, as you suggest, it may well be painful for us to be modern day Dorian Greys but I think that is were we are at and to use the Church as a convenient scapegoat is too easy.

  • anne warren

    Coll Ciotach: Make up your mind about Canon Law.

    First you said it was a “stupid and just plain silly allegation has been blown out of the water years ago”
    Then you state “Canon Law is law in every sense of the term that any reasonable person would attest to”.

    The link between Church and State derives from the 1937 Constitution (De Valera). Michael Collins had nothing to do with it, being long dead and gone. I would agree that the Easter Rising and the 1916 Proclamation of the Republic probably had very different objectives to what was eventually brought about.

    In focussing on abuse by the Catholic Church in Ireland I want to ask you if you have forgotten about the Magdalen Laundries? Have you heard of symphysiotomy? Hundreds of women in Ireland
    were subjected to a mutilating childbirth operation driven by religious fanaticism rather than medical necessity.
    From 1944-84,fundamentalist Catholic doctors boycotted Caesarean section because
    they were opposed to birth control: they opted instead for a barbaric 18th century operation that severed the pelvis. I believe law suits are now on-going.

    I don’t know if this abuse of women was done elsewhere in the world but I do know that the list of horrors in Ireland is all too much. And I repeat I agree with Ray when s/he suggests prosecution for crimes against humanity and children.

  • Coll Ciotach

    No – I have not forgotten about them. Neither have I forgotten who tended to place the women in them or who thought that this was the right thing. In short I have not narrowed my criticism to any particular group or individulas. You may argue, and correctly, that the Church should have known better but the fact was that they did not as the people in the Church, laity and clergy, reflected the mores of the time. What I would criticise the Church for unreservedly is the cover up of any abuse that occurred. The rest is societal.

    Symphysiotomy is a perfectly valid surgical operation. It many circumstances it is more effective and medically preferable to a caesarian. Everything in its context.

    Why are you trying to drift away from the OP?

  • anne warren

    “the fact was that they did not as the people in the Church, laity and clergy, reflected the mores of the time”.
    The UN Declaration of Human Rights dates from 1948. The knowledge was out there.
    Who or what dictated the “mores of the time” in Ireland and forged the mentality that allowed these abuses to continue until the mid-90s? In my view it was the unholy alliance of Church and State.
    I am not trying trying to drift away from the OP. With other posters I have tried to give the background to the comment by the survivors group that the message to date from the Vatican is
    “Disingenuous and inadequate” and to echo the requests of some that much stronger action is needed.

  • Coll Ciotach

    The mores of the time were derived from the Victorian era and the people elected the govt and provided the priesthood, they both reflected the people – not the people them. The views of the survivors group is there view and they are entitled to it but the outlandish and inaccurate claims that you state are the background only serve to diminish their case.

  • ciaran

    “The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People of June, 2002, approved by the Vatican, states that sexual abuse of children be reported to the appropriate legal authorities.”
    Coll, have you any idea how many reports of sexual abuse have been reported to the authorities since 2002, or how many priests have been identified by the church to the authorities. And do you agree with this as I think in a previous post you suggested we should let the church investigate itself first, before it decided if it should hand over any information.

  • Adolf

    Anne: Why should anyone care about your sectarian rant? People like you had their heads shaved in 1945. No one should care what parasites or parasitic groups think.

    I also note the acerbic tone of the post. Pre judging. Lynching, like sectarianism, has not dies.

    As regards war crimes, start putting ther real war criminals on trial first: Churchill, Harris, Blair, Bush, Cheney.

  • Coll Ciotach

    Ciaran – you either have misread me or I have not presented myself clearly enough. All child abusers should suffer the full rigours irrespective of who they are. The Church should have its own investigations from the point of view of its own internal affairs. That is the extent of that.

    And no – I have no idea whatsoever how many have been handed over.

  • ciaran

    Sorry coll when you wrote “The vatican is proceeding properly. In an ordered and structured way. await the announcements following the meetings currently in progress in Rome” it almost seemed as if you were suggesting that the vatican should be allowed to have its own internal investigation before it decided if or how much it should co-operate with the authorities. My mistake, I am sure you as I agree that any member of the clergy who has had an allegation made against them should be named to the police so as to allow a full and thorough investigation. Its just a pity that the local police are the investigators as there will probably be a lot of bias towards the church in the south at least. A european investigation team would be a bit more acceptable.