“I will only resign if asked by the Holy Father.”

Cardinal Séan Brady is resisting calls for his resignation over his involvement in a 1975 canonical inquiry into allegations of sex abuse by Fr Brendan Smyth, during which the complainants, aged 10 and 14, “signed undertakings, on oath, to respect the confidentiality of the information-gathering process.” Brendan Smyth was convicted of 17 counts of sexual abuse 20 years later – and brought down an Irish government in the process. From an iol report

Asked why he did not see it as a moral obligation to ensure the police were alerted, the Catholic primate said today: “Yes, I knew that these were crimes, but I did not feel that it was my responsibility to denounce the actions of Brendan Smyth to the police.”

And from an Irish Times report

Cardinal Brady insisted that responsibility for Smyth was with the head of Smyth’s religious order at the Co Cavan abbey where he was sent after he was stripped of pastoral duties as a priest. “The responsibility for his behaviour rested with his religious superior at Kilnacrott,” he said. The cardinal said he did all that was asked of him by Dr McKiernan in relation to Smyth. “I did act, and act effectively, in that inquiry to produce the grounds for removing Fr Smyth from ministry and specifically it was underlined that he was not to hear confessions and that was very important.”

Meanwhile, as a separate Irish Times report notesMonsignor Maurice Dooley, former Professor of Canon Law, said Cardinal Daly had “no obligation whatsoever” to report anything to the gardaí. “There is no law in Ireland or statute that requires that clergy report crimes to the police,” he added. Monsignor Dooley pointed to paragraph 1.16 of the Murphy report, saying: “it says quite clearly that the clergy, the bishops and so on, had no obligation to report anything to the police”. “Is it a sin against the law of God not to report matters to the police …no I don’t think so…because there are certain people exempt from this moral obligation to report to the police,” he said. [added fuller quote]Although a BBC report notes Cardinal Séan Brady’s statements in December last year.

However, in an interview with Irish broadcaster RTE last December, the cardinal said he, himself, would resign if he found that a child had been abused as a result of any managerial failure on his part.

“I would remember that child sex abuse is a very serious crime and very grave and if I found myself in a situation where I was aware that my failure to act had allowed or meant that other children were abused, well then, I think I would resign,” he said.

At that time, the cardinal apologised on behalf of the Church after an Irish government report revealed abuse over decades, a systematic cover-up by the Church and a lack of action by Irish police.

He said: “No-one is above the law in this country.

“Every Catholic should comply fully with their obligations to the civil law and co-operate with the Gardai (Irish police) in the reporting and investigation of any crime.”

And, as Crooked Timber’s Maria Farrell notes

The Irish adult voices of raped children are joined by American ones; people now grown up who were raped and abused by Fr. Smith when he was sent away from these shores and off to where he wasn’t known and could start again. A Connecticut woman poignantly asks why she was repeatedly raped by a priest who had been sent to America instead of to the police. An Irish woman asks why no one went to the police. If they had, she might have been saved. Many might have been saved.

Will Crawley widens the story out onto the European stage

Last month, reports began to surface of historic abuse cases in several elite Jesuit boarding schools in Germany.

The German Catholic Church is now dealing with multiplying new reports of physical and sexual abuse, including some linked to a renowned choir once led by Pope Benedict’s brother, Fr Georg Ratzinger.

As the domino effect of reporting continues, the wave of abuse revelations reached the Netherlands by late February, with scores of victims coming forward.

By March, the scandal had spread to Switzerland, where 60 new cases have now come to light.

And in the past few weeks, more abuse cases have emerged in Austria and Poland.

This weekend, a Vatican spokesman denounced “aggressive” efforts by the media to personally implicate the Pope in the unfolding child abuse crisis as questions were raised about the handling of a priest accused of molestation in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising when the future Pope was archbishop in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Last Friday, the Pope met the President of the German Bishops’ Conference to discuss the wider sex abuse crisis, just as an archbishop in Austria was breaking ranks to call for a public discussion about the future of the mandatory celibacy rule for priests.

Some informed Vatican sources now predict that the text of Pope Benedict’s pastoral letter to the Irish church will need to be expanded to include churches across Europe as full realisation dawns that the clerical sex abuse crisis now facing the church is a European problem, not just an Irish one.

, , , , ,

  • Greenflag

    Here’s a lady who did’nt have to wait for the Pope’s orders or even the orders of her own church . But then Germans (some) may have a different sense of values than some of our Irish Catholic Hierarchy ?

    The story below is quoted from “Christian Today ‘

    Just as well .Had it been in the Sun the headline would have been ‘ German Protestant Church resigns in red light affair’

    Just months after becoming the first woman to lead the largest Protestant church body in Germany, Bishop Margot Kaessmann has resigned.

    Her resignation on Wednesday was submitted days after she was caught drunk driving and is effective immediately.

    “I made a serious mistake that I regret deeply,” Kaessmann, 51, said in a statement.

    The top representative of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) was caught in Hanover over the weekend, driving with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit. She was pulled over after running a red light.

    The EKD is an umbrella group representing nearly 25 million German Protestants from Lutheran, Reformed and United Churches.

    The Rev Mark S Hanson, president of the Lutheran World Federation and presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America released a statement expressing “great sadness” over Kaessmann’s resignation as bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hannover and as chairperson of the EKD Council.

    “Bishop Kaessmann’s resignation is a great loss for the Lutheran World Federation and the EKD,” Hanson said.

    “Bishop Kaessmann is a gifted theologian, an outstanding global religious leader, a prophetic voice for justice and peace, and colleague. I have communicated to her my gratitude for her leadership and my commitment to holding her, her family and church in prayer,” he added.

    “We will continue to pray that God will give her strength and opportunities for continued witness and service.”

    Kaessmann was the youngest to be elected to the office of EKD chairperson last October. She received 132 of 142 votes and was to serve a six-year term.

    After her incident Saturday, the Council of the EKD judged unanimously that it was not grounds for a resignation, according to German newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

    Despite support from her church, Kaessmann decided to step down.

    “My heart tells me very clearly that I cannot remain in office with the necessary authority,” she said, according to The Associated Press. “I would no longer have in the future the same freedom that I have had to name and judge ethical and political challenges.”

    Kaessmann is a divorced mother of four and a breast cancer survivor.

  • Greenflag

    joe canuck ,

    ‘Greenflag, you haven’t been reading all of the news.’

    I never read all the news and in particular ‘religion’ news . I have been watching a German political cabaret ‘Neues aus dem Anstalt ‘ ‘news from the asylum (as in lunatic) in which the ‘comedians’ take the piss out of German and world politicians . The Greeks have been in the firing line but now the Pope has been ‘fingered’ .

    Your point re

    ‘The papa is busy trying to cover his own ass (not his brother’s). ‘

    was actually mentioned in one skit when the one comic says to the other that the pope was trying to cover his flock (the sheep) asses . It doesn’t translate well but the word ‘cover’ (bedeckt ‘ is used in the agricultural sense . A letter was also being prepared by the Pontiff to send to his flock to ‘cover’ all possibilities .
    You mean his flock in Germany ?

    No in Ireland 😉

    Hilarious stuff;

    Many German catholics appear to prefer the more popular previous Polish pope .

  • Greenflag

    Nevin,

    ‘do you suppose the victims will care about which of the two was elected?’

    Deceased victims won’t . Survivors and their families can choose which politician to vote for . They don’t get to choose their cardinal .

    As I’ve stated before -had I been born in Northern Ireland theres at least a 50/50 chance that I too would have joined a paramilitary group . When it’s over it’s over .

    It’s just as well the RC birthrate in NI has reduced to protestant levels this past decade or more . Otherwise there would be tens of thousands more young people alienated against the present NI status quo and the dissidents would have their ‘sea’ of recruits . This is not a particularly irish phenomenon . It’s a worldwide observation . It’s why the USA is now paying off i.e ‘bribing ‘ some Taleban to kow tow and providing ‘jobs’ for Sunni recruits in Iraq.

    PS -They did’nt learn that technique from the UK Government in NI . It’s an ancient one -been around for millenia.

  • Greenflag, you fail to grasp the significance of McGuinness’ hypocrisy in this dreadful business. If the National electorate can stomach McGuinness in power they shouldn’t have a problem with the much lesser sins of Brady.

    Meanwhile Monseigneur Dooley says he wouldn’t report (clerical) child abusers to the civil authorities; he claimed that was a matter for the parents/guardians. He was speaking on the Nolan show this morning. His intervention will not have aided Brady.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Pip @ 22

    we do not know of two. What would you have expected him to do in the first meeting when the parents were there and he was only taking notes. Put it this way:

    Parents and their child go to the school principalto report alleged abuse. A teacher in his 30s, not a head of year or department, is asked to come in and take notes. He does so. The abuser is removed from the school. 18 years later, it transpires that this abuser is convicted of multiple acts of child abuse. Would you be calling for the teachers head

  • Greenflag

    Nevin ,

    I’m not failing to grasp anything . I understand your views on McGuinness & Co but I don’t share them . I expect ‘hypocrisy’ from politicians and in particular NI politicians of all parties . They could’nt function in NI without a large dollop of the trait. NI politicians by definition have to be janus faced just as the very state itself was/is janus faced.

    The RC Church hierarchy is falling apart at the seams . They have lost any moral authority they might have had. The abuse of the children of the poor and weak is of course something that not just the RC hierarchy turned a blind eye to.

    Monsignor ‘Dooley’ may be technically correct as regards ‘legalities’ but he’s still an idiot . Brady will go or he will be pushed .

    ‘the National electorate can stomach McGuinness in power they shouldn’t have a problem with the much lesser sins of Brady.’

    Lesser ? What was the DFM convicted of ? The Nationalist voters in NI have strong stomachs . They would not be where they are if they had’nt . They had to endure after all 50 years of ‘non hypocritical ‘ rule by the UUP quasi fascist one party regime.

    We stray from the thread topic ;(

  • Lionel Hutz

    In the first instance I expect the school to immediately suspend the teacher and report the matter to the Gardai

    As the ‘secretary’ involved I might expect to be interviewed by police. I would also as a secretary keep a close watch on the situation and if it seemed to me there was any form of collusion between the accused and the school authorities I would report the alleged offence to the police my self. In todays parlance it is whistle blowing, but it was always an option for everyone including members of whatever clergy.

  • joeCanuck

    It’s a pity St.Patrick cannot be resurrected; there’s still a few snakes to be driven out.

  • “What was the DFM convicted of?”

    Greenflag, I think you can put lack of conviction down to his status as a bird from a protected species. We know the terrorist body that he helped run and I’ve not seen any reference to Brady providing cover to any priests who might have been part of it.

    PS Put that scatter gun before you shoot yourself in the foot …

  • joeCanuck

    The Cardinal has today admitted that he failed and apologized for his shortcomings. Forgoing denial is the first step towards redemption.
    It’s the number 1 story on BBC World News; they devoted about 3 minutes to it.

  • Brian MacAodh

    “I came from a Catholic background but I agree with the Protestant refrain back then that Home Rule would have been Rome Rule.”

    With a significant and powerful Protestant minority in the dominion/country I am not so sure.

    Back to the story at hand…it takes a lot to get my blood up these days but this story gets me fired up. Completely outraged at these scoundrels and this organization that claims moral supremacy.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one with a dear old ma is always getting on me to go back to the church. I have to hold my tongue

  • Brian MacAodh

    When it comes to brain washing the Catholic church is second to none. My mother gave up on the church long ago but, all her life she referred to those poor girls in the laundry “They were the penitents. We had nothing to do with them!”

    In an institution where physical abuse of children was the norm, how much worse must it have been for those girls. How deep the brainwashing that in all the years after she had left and joined the real world, she still used the institutions name for the girls…

  • joeCanuck

    With regard to that brainwashing, pippakin, in my preparation for confirmation, it was stressed how serious a sin it was to break a sworn oath. Maybe why that was stressed is clearer to me now.

  • joe

    Sometimes, when Im feeling particularly charitable, I wonder what on earth must have happened to the nuns, priests and monks etc. to turn them into such monsters. The sad thing is the cover up has been so deep we will never know.

    My mother was born in 1922, at three years old she was in the convent. She was ‘released’ at sixteen. It is simple arithmetic, and all these years later we are still just scratching the surface of the abuse.

  • Greenflag

    Nevin,

    ‘We know the terrorist body that he helped run ‘

    Yesterday’s terrorists ? You mean ‘freedom’ fighters surely and tomorrow’s defenders of the PSNI and security forces . Remember Irgun ? the American and French Revolutions? and the entire anti colonial struggles and conflicts of half or more of the nations on earth against their colonial powers ?

    The scatter gun approach does as you say run the risk of shooting oneself in the foot or worse, but it also manages to connect with a few snipe in the long grass 😉

  • Greenflag

    joe canuck ,

    ‘it was stressed how serious a sin it was to break a sworn oath.’

    A hangover from medieval times . Our Irish ‘uncivil’ war in 1922/23 was fought because of an ‘oath’ . The Irish took their oaths seriously . After Sarsfield’s defeat at Limerick if not before the British ‘word of honour’/oath as regards any matters dealing with Ireland was regarded by all but the British as being ‘expedient’. And in relation to NI and indeed ROI that has’nt changed all that much . Some call it realpolitik -others call it perfidious Albion looking after number 1 .
    To which one can only reply why not ? Nobody else will 😉

  • joeCanuck

    Greenflag,

    It is interesting to note that the Germans seemed to take an oath extremely seriously too. Many officers in their Forces who knew that the Nazis were evil and were leading their country to utter destruction were apparently deterred from mutiny solely by the oaths they were required to take to Hitler personally.
    Hope this doesn’t cause Godwin’s Law to be invoked, although this discussion is petering out anyway.

  • Greenflag

    Joecanuck,

    That’s true to an extent but it has to be qualified . Many of those who you say were deterred from mutiny despite what they knew about nazi evil were deterred more by their loyalty to Germany i.e their country rather than Hitler per se . Rommel took the suicide pill not for Hitler but for Germany and his family’s honour .

    Similar to the my country right or wrong attitude which alas is found everywhere and in some places more adhered to than others .

    I read of an ex Wehrmacht officer who fought on the Russian front who despised the SS and Hitler and knew it would end badly for Germany but he could no more ‘desert ‘ than you or I could enlist in the Taleban to defeat western civilisation or what’s left of it . As he said Germany had a 1,200 year history before the ‘nazis’ who ruled for just 12 years i.e 1% .

    On the same kind of note Sir Roger Casement tried to enlist some 2,000 Irish POW’s in camps in Germany in the 1914-1918 war . He got 4 or 5 volunteers . Many of those 2,000 would have been in favour of a Home Rule Ireland or even an independent Ireland but they could not bring themselves to desert their comrades in arms in the British Army.

    Older Germans now in their 80’s still don’t think too highly of those who defected. This doesn’t mean they were nazis .

  • Procrasnow

    listening to the clergy comments on the radio, I cannot help but be prompted to ask, Where was Jesus when all this abuse and cover up was going on, and I never hear Jesus being mentioned in interviews.

    I know one if Smiths victims personally. No longer a catholic, or christian of any flavour, he said it was bad being abused, it was bad that no one did anything to the abuser. Worst of all Jesus did nothing about it.

    As for me, I would recommend that the Cardinal in his reflection, reflect on 1st Timothy Chapter 3, qualifications for Bishops.

    sad

  • Greenflag, Cardinal Brady’s alleged sins are in the past whereas Comical Marty’s organisation is still involved in organised crime – a sort of Irish version of the Mafia. If you want to throw in a political dimension you could always do a comparison with fascism.

  • joeCanuck

    Well, perhaps I shouldn’t comment since I’m non religious but, heck, I was raised as a Catholic. If Jesus were to come back and look around at the princes of the church and their palaces, he would say “Nuthin to do with me, guv”.

  • TellMeMa

    Paedophilia is terrible and I feel very sorry for the victims of paedophile clergy, or of any paedo. I think paedophiles should be punished and, if possible, be treated. I understand that this abhorrence is almost impossible to treat and paedos invariably re-offend if given the chance. I have read reports of jailed paedos who think their “love” for children is natural and consider themselves to be persecuted.

    However, paedo clergy are very rare. Less than 4% of Catholic priests were paedophiles (what is the percentage in the general population – can any Slugger tell me?), and I and my parents (+ aunts and uncles, cousins etc.) were lucky to have never encountered them. I went to Catholic schools from age 5 to age 17 and taught by hardworking, dedicated nuns/brothers and priests, who were of the 96% of Catholic clergy who have harmed no-one, except that some teachers should not have been teaching – they were too old and/or who may not have been the best teachers in the world.

    As to Fr Brady’s actions (or inactions) regarding Fr Smyth, at that time pedophilia was barely known, and especially the long-term and devastating effect on the victims. Fr Brady DID pass the information he gathered to his superiors. Nowadays in a similar situation he would have reported Fr Smyth to the police – or his superiors would have. And so would have the parents of the victims. And all of them very quickly too.

    Should we judge Fr Brady in hindsight, using today’s understanding and knowledge of paedophilia? In the mid 1980s, and earlier, the Catholic Church did not understand the persistency of paedophiles. The Church would have been following Christ’s teachings “go and sin no more” and thought that confession, penance, and therapy would have been sufficient to cure paedos.

    There is also Christ’s directive “let he who has no sin cast the first stone”. That is a Christian (Catholic and Protestant) approach – but not secularists’.

    I have found secularists to be the most condemnatory of people, generally without mercy. They condemn anyone peripheral to paedophiles because “they did not do enough”, they did not follow the guidelines laid down today when at the time there were no such guidelines. Or they condemn those relatives/co-workers who did not do what should really have been the police’s job. And they hint and sneer at the unproven *possibilities* that other people may have been protecting paedos. They ignore any evidence that is contrary to their opinion and do not wait for anything to be proven one way or the other in a court of law.

    And the secularists condemn an entire organisation because of 4%’s evilness and forgetting the good the 96% (generally speaking) has done and is still doing.

    Secularists also find religion to be rather nutty, and would like to find any reason to attack any religious organisation, especially the Catholic church.

    Christianity was founded originally as a way to sainthood, or enlightenment, of understanding God. Christ said “I am the way, the truth and the light”. This message has been reinterpreted (and misinterpreted) over the last 2010 years but that is the original purpose of Christianity. Should not Christians be focusing on one’s own personal achievement of enlightenment, rather than other people’s sins (and sins of omission)?

    OK, after that rant, I might add that I have not been a Christian for some years now, though I still believe in God. And from my experience, it’s likely that loathing paedophilia is instinctive. In the 1970s I read “Lolita”. I did not know anything about paedos then, but when I finished as much of that book I could stomach I was so revolted by it I threw it in the rubbish bin. I normally have a great respect for books and give or sell those I don’t want anymore.

    “Lolita” is still around so in this (secular) society so it’s OK to read about paedophiles and their “love” for children – but not to practise it.

  • joeCanuck

    Less than 4% of Catholic priests were paedophiles
    What is your source?

    Secularists …. would like to find any reason to attack any religious organisation, especially the Catholic church.
    Now there’s a sweeping condemnatory statement if I ever have heard one.

    I have found secularists to be the most condemnatory of people, generally without mercy.
    Same comment as previously.

    Should not Christians be focusing on one’s own personal achievement of enlightenment, rather than other people’s sins
    Sure, let’s abolish the whole judicial system. Nuthin to do with us wot others get up to, guv.

  • TellMeMa

    1975, would be what ten years after Brady & Hindley? and there had been other cases. I disagree with your analysis of this problem.

    For the record the Church/es had no trouble combining their pursuit of ‘sainthood’ with some of the most vicious and sadistic practices and punishments ever invented, by I am sure you will agree a very inventive populace!

    I am not convinced of the 4% claim, but it is almost irrelevant. The question is how many victims did each paedophile priest have access to.

    We are not talking about Lolita or even Bill Wymans ex wife! we are talking about very young children taken to places that practised every form of abuse. I actually think the boys were worse off, they bore the brunt of the sexual assaults. The girls abuse, as far as I know, was mostly physical and psychological, there were obvious exceptions, but that seems to have been the ‘norm’ in those appalling schools.

    It has to be dealt with. I am not sure it has anything to do with celibacy. The protestant church has its share of abuse scandals.

    It may be that we are no longer in awe of the church. If so it is a very good thing.

  • TellMeMa

    1975, would be what ten years after Brady & Hindley? and there had been other cases. I disagree with your analysis of this problem.

    For the record the Church/es had no trouble combining their pursuit of ‘sainthood’ with some of the most vicious and sadistic practices and punishments ever invented, by I am sure you will agree a very inventive populace!

    I am not convinced of the 4% claim, but it is almost irrelevant. The question is how many victims did each paedophile priest have access to.

    We are not talking about Lolita or even Bill Wymans ex wife! we are talking about very young children taken to places that practised every form of abuse. I actually think the boys were worse off, they bore the brunt of the sexual assaults. The girls abuse, as far as I know, was mostly physical and psychological, there were obvious exceptions, but that seems to have been the ‘norm’ in those appalling schools.

    It has to be dealt with. I am not sure it has anything to do with celibacy. The protestant church has its share of abuse scandals.

    It may be that we are no longer in awe of the church. If so it is a very good thing.

  • TellMeMa

    >>Less than 4% of Catholic priests were paedophiles
    What is your source?//

    Here’s one of them. Note: Philip Jenkins is not a Catholic, and he has estimated even less than 4%, actually 2% of Catholic clergy have been child sex abusers:

    Pedophiles and Priests: Anatomy of a Contemporary Crisis (ISBN-13: 978-0195145977) Published by Oxford University Press USA.

    Reviews include:
    From Publishers Weekly
    Since 1982, 400 Catholic clergy (out of a total of 50,000 American priests) have been accused of sexual misconduct with minors. In this in-depth study, Jenkins, professor of history and religious studies at Pennsylvania State University, examines the circumstances surrounding the molestation charges that peaked in the early 1990s. He looks at such prominent cases as those of Father Bruce Ritter, founder of Covenant House, who was forced to resign in disgrace in 1990; and the notorious Rev. James Porter, who may have molested more than 100 children before he was convicted and sentenced to prison. Jenkins probes scandals in other religions; looks at the traditional “anti-Catholic” feelings in the U.S.; documents the media’s frenzied reactions to the charges; chronicles the feminist response to the allegations; and researches the financial drain on the Church caused by litigation (estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars) as well as the debate surrounding recovered memory and repressed memory. Jenkins (Intimate Enemies) has written a thorough, academic study that convincingly challenges the popular estimate of the extent of pedophiles in the Church.

    Review
    “A thorough, academic study that convincingly challenges the popular estimate of the extent of pedophiles in the Church.”–Publishers Weekly

    Review
    “For those who have been offended by the media coverage of the ‘epidemic’ of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, here at last is somewhere to turn for the facts.”–National Review

    *****
    // Secularists …. would like to find any reason to attack any religious organisation, especially the Catholic church.
    Now there’s a sweeping condemnatory statement if I ever have heard one//

    Well, Joe it probably is, but it’s still mild compared with some secularists’ condemnation(s) of the Catholic Church.

    *****
    //Should not Christians be focusing on one’s own personal achievement of enlightenment, rather than other people’s sins
    Sure, let’s abolish the whole judicial system. Nuthin to do with us wot others get up to, guv.//

    Joe, as an ex-Catholic and a regular Slugger contributor (often interesting comments) you should know what I mean. I am talking about the condemnations I have read in Slugger (for example) of people who are not paedos themselves but had the misfortune to be either related to or worked with one.

    You have taken my comment out of context. Also, didn’t I say that paedos should be punished? I did forgot to mention they should also be taken out of any contact with children – and perhaps that should be more important than punishment.

    *****
    Now I am going back to focus on my own enlightenment, even though I am no longer a Christian….

    Best wishes

  • TellMeMa

    Pippakin
    I appreciate that you and your family have had personal experience of abuse in some Catholic institutions. I am lucky to have never experienced this – and so are 98% of Catholics.

    Forgive me if I am not as condemnatory as you would like me to be.

    For a more detailed answer as to the actual proportion of abusers in the Catholic Church, see my answer to Joe the Canadian.

    Kind regards and best wishes.

  • joeCanuck

    Thank you TellMeMa.

    My last comment was a bit too far, I agree.
    I have my doubts about the 4% figure. Not all criminals are uncovered. Of the priests that taught at my Grammar School, my estimate would have been at least 10% and possibly up to 20%. Maybe that particular place was an exception. None were ever publicly exposed let alone charged to my knowledge. But they were known to the students, at least to many of us.

  • joeCanuck

    Maybe I can offer an explanation why that place could have been an exception. It took boarders and, in general, they were the ones who were “groomed” and then abused.

  • TellMeMa

    I have no great opinion on whether you are condemnatory or not. My mother was a victim of the system, not me. I feel very strongly about child abuse generally.

    It is easy to say 4%, even 5%, what that does not say is how many children were abused. Some families were ostracized by the church because they complained of the abuse. In those days if the church ostracized you, you were finished in the community.

    The fact is hundreds of children were in each of the ‘schools’, all of them suffered abuse. Of course it did not stop at the ‘schools’. priests were shunted around the country to continue their abuse in unsuspecting parishes.

    It is not something than can be excused by whining it was only 4%. In the case of Smyth he is said to have abused about one hundred children. If paedophelia is a ‘learned’ practice how many of his victims might have gone on to become abusers. It is the most serious subject we have to deal with.

    It is relevant today because the churches still have inordinate power in our schools and childrens homes.

  • Alias

    “Less than 4% of Catholic priests were paedophiles”

    Presumably the correct statement is [b]convicted[/b] paedophiles. Since the Church covers up the activity of its paedophiles – often with the collusion of the State – the figure for unconvicted/unknown paedophiles is likely to be substantially higher than the figure for convicted/known paedophiles. As it stands, 1 in 25 priests being known paedophiles is far too high a figure to allow them access to children as a group. If the figure was 1 in 500, the risk might be acceptable with supervision but it would still amount to a lot of abused children.

  • TellMeMa

    JoeCanuck:
    I think the 4% (or 2%) figure is more accurate. Perhaps your school did have more paedo priests than most. I did not go to boarding school but I had cousins, aunts and uncles who did and they experienced nothing bad at all. Maybe a strap on the hand for being naughty but that’s it. I had a couple of whacks at grade school, but in senior school all we got were lines to write as punishments.

    When I read things in the media about the damage paedos and abusers have done to the Catholic church’s reputation (as well as to their child victims), I am reminded of Christ’s statement “…and the gates of Hell shall not prevail…” Hell has definitely made some pretty big inroads.

  • TellMeMa

    I have no great opinion on whether you are condemnatory or not. I do appreciate your good wishes of course but my mother was the victim of the system, not me. I feel very strongly about child abuse generally.

    It is easy to say 4%, even 5%, what that does not say is how many children were abused. Some families were ostracized by the church because they complained of the abuse. In those days if the church ostracized you, you were finished in the community.

    The fact is hundreds of children were in each of the ‘schools’, all of them suffered abuse. Of course it did not stop at the ‘schools’. priests were shunted around the country to continue their abuse in unsuspecting parishes.

    It is not something than can be excused by whining it was only 4%. In the case of Smyth he is said to have abused about one hundred children. If paedophelia is a ‘learned’ practice how many of his victims might have gone on to become abusers. It is the most serious subject we have to deal with.

    It is relevant today because the churches still have inordinate power in our schools and childrens homes.

  • Im sorry everyone Im having problems with B/B tonight, that and the cat playing with the keys!

  • TellMeMa

    Pippakin, I am not “whining” that it was only 4%. I am simply stating an approximate figure based on actual research. In fact the source I quoted (Jenkins) has the percentage down to 2% of priests, so my 4% is probably not generous enough.

    As I said, at the time the paedo priests were “shunted around” the Catholic Church did not realise how bad and persistent paedophilia is. They would certainly not be “shunted around” nowadays. They would be facing criminal charges and probably defrocked even before their cases were heard in court.

  • Alias

    Pippaki, if the figure is that high (and it is obviously extrapolated since known paedophiles would now be out of the loop – presumably), then that is the equivalent of playing Russian roulette with 25 chambers and one bullet. In other words, one child out of 25 in contact with a priest is in contact with a child molester. If the figure is true, then it is pretty shocking – and even more shocking is now nonchalant folks are about it.

  • Seosamh913

    Pippakin

    Surely sacrificing children is also a practice which the clergy could claim biblical warrant for ?

  • Seosamh913

    You can probably find justification for almost everything in the bible. This is not to condemn the bible just to point out it is all things to all people.

    TellMeMa

    Others on this thread have spoken of their happy childhood in the schools and homes run by the church. I dont disbelieve them. I am glad they felt safe and secure. It does not alter the terrible time endured by others, indeed it serves to hilight it.

  • Seosamh913

    The catholic church is a profoundly evil institution. Any meaningful progress which either of the two current states here achieves in permanently removing its influence from any aspect of society is to be welcomed.

    Parents everywhere should consider themselves encouraged to keep their youngsters, and indeed themselves, away from churches and from the very dangerous people who frequent them.

  • Seosamh913

    There are many people who have been hurt in one way or another by organised religion. The children are or should be the first of our concerns. I agree with you regarding parents they should keep a very close watch on their children.

    To Whom It May Concern

    I feel I must say this I hope everyone will bear with me.

    I should say on this thread, since it is about victims of abuse: there are now many places for victims to go to get help. I would urge anyone who has concerns to phone or go to one of the centres.

  • TellMeMa

    Just done my sums on the figure quoted by Jenkins – 400 Catholic clergy out of a total of 50,000 is only 0.8%, that is, less than 1%.

    While no doubt paeodophile priests had more than one victim, and the despicable Smyth had around 100, and the Catholic hierarchy did not respond in the past to paedophilia in an effective manner (but does so nowadays), should an organisation be condemned for the sins of 0.8% of its members? There are 99.2% who have devoted their lives to hard work (or have tried to).

    Seosamh913: I assume you are a secularist (or a bitter ex-Catholic) and I should not bother asking but I shall. Can you give reasons for your statement that “the catholic church is a profoundly evil institution”?

  • TellMeMa

    To answer your question: Yes! when that organisation have colluded in the cover up of the crimes, when that organisation have effectively facilitated the continued abuse of children, then I am afraid the answer has to be yes!

    You sound so certain: it does not happen now. It could never happen again. What makes you so sure. Is it that you think we now keep a much closer watch? Is it because you think the church has ‘learned its lesson’? I hope you are right, but I am far from convinced.

  • TellMeMa

    Pippakin: No one could persuade you otherwise.

  • TellMeMa

    I am afraid the record does not support your assertions.

    If I have it correctly the church is still not obliged to report abuse. It was cardinal Ratzinger who ordered priests to report abuse to him and not the police.

    Times may have changed but when it comes to the church the changes have been reluctant and grudging.

  • joeCanuck

    I am reminded of the little dutch boy with his finger in the dike desperately trying to prevent the whole edifice from being washed away. Hope the ending is different.

  • TellMeMa

    Pippakin: Your information is outdated. The Pope has not been Cardinal Ratzinger since 2005.

    The Pope will be sending a pastoral letter to Ireland this Friday. From the Global Post:
    “As the crisis gripping the Catholic church deepened Wednesday, with calls for national inquiries to be held in Germany and Ireland to fully disclose the detail and extent of sexual abuse by priests, Pope Benedict XVI made a point of addressing of the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day during his weekly general audience at The Vatican. He said he hoped a pastoral letter he was to release on Friday addressing the issue would “help in the process of repentance, renewal and healing”. “

  • joeCanuck

    TellMeMa,

    “repentance, renewal and healing”

    Not to be a word about disclosure or justice then?

  • TellMeMa

    I do understand your defence of the church and I have no problem with that.

    Cardinal Ratzinger issued the instruction when he was Cardinal. It was not that long ago. I mentioned it only because it shows the church may not be as enlightened as we are being lead to believe.

    I hope you are right and everyone, including the church has learned the lesson of cover up and subterfuge, I just am not sure.

  • joeCanuck

    Further, my remembrance of a pastoral letter is that it is hoped that every member of the Church reads it. Why would the common parishioner who was kept in the dark about the evil have anything to repent for? Next thing you know, some stupid bishop will be suggesting that the parishioners contribute to paying the compensation bills.

  • Seosamh913

    TellMema

    “should an organisation be condemned for the sins of 0.8% of its members?” In circumstances in which its most globally senior hierarchy were aware of the problem for generations and went to extraordinary lengths to conceal and deny it, thus perpetuating the problem on a barely imaginable scale, unequivocally yes.

    We are now a very long way past the ‘few rotten apples’ argument here and you should reconcile yourself to that.

  • TellMeMa

    \\JoeCanuck: Why would the common parishioner who was kept in the dark about the evil have anything to repent for?

    You could say the same for the 99.2% of clergy who are not paedophiles.

    That 0.8% has cost the Catholic Church dear, afaik bankrupting the Boston diocese which had to pay out so much compensation to victims because of the hierarchy’s failures to deal with the problem priests.

    In the end it will be the parishioners who have to fork out since it is they who pay for the diocese(s) by their contributions.

    In the USA there have been a few huge donations from wealthy Catholics to keep things afloat. A couple of days ago there was a US$20 million donation for Catholic Schools in NE USA.

    I have just visited a website for survivors of abuse (www.snapnetwork.org). It hasn’t been updated since around 2004. I think what is happening is that all the paedo priest and other abuse stuff is coming out in the open – lancing the boil so to speak. That is pretty yuk, but it will heal and I think is unlikely to recur – at least not at the levels that were reported in the last few years. Too many people are aware of the pain and suffering caused.

  • joeCanuck

    I think is unlikely to recur

    I think you are in denial, TellMeMa; they never go away. Constant vigilance is needed and, at least, there will be more people watching for it now. That might minimize it but, as I say, it won’t go away.

  • TellMeMa

    There have been a few books published on Anti-Catholicism being the last acceptable prejudice. Here is a review of one of them:

    “The American media, usually painstaking in their efforts to offend members of no racial, religious or gender category, consistently make one major exception-the Roman Catholic Church. … Though anti-Catholicism arrived with the Pilgrims, only since the 1960s has it been aided by dissenters within the Catholic Church, primarily those who disagree with the church on sexual matters: birth control, feminism, abortion, homosexuality. Copious recent examples of anti-Catholicism [have been] in public protests, movies, television, publishing, the arts, the news media and academia…. Offenses against Catholicism, unlike those against, say, Judaism or Islam, are rarely censored and never considered hate crimes. Similarly, historical offenses by Catholics are treated differently from those against Catholics: “If seizing Christian Syria and Palestine by the Muslim sword was acceptable in the seventh century, why was it so atrocious to try to reclaim them with the Christian lance 400 years later?” … “One does not make light of black heroes and martyrs, of AIDS or gay-bashing, yet when dealing with Catholics, no subject is off-limits.”

    My cousin, a devout Catholic and mother of seven children complained to me about a recent Mardi Gras where gay men dressed up as nuns and other Catholic figures. She said it was OK for gays to make fun of her religion, but not OK if Catholics made fun of gays.

    I have worked with people who become absolutely **furious** at the mention of the Catholic Church, literally foaming at the mouth. I am amazed and bemused at this reaction. And Richard Dawkins seems to me to be utterly rigid in his opinions. There is only one view: his.

    IMHO there is nothing more bigoted than a one-eyed secularist.

    JoeCanuck: with regard to your little boy keeping the dyke from collapsing (did you intend the sexual imagery here??) Pope Benedict has stated that it may well be in the future the Catholic Church becomes a very small organisation, but that does not take away the truth of its basic beliefs.

  • joeCanuck

    In the end it will be the parishioners who have to fork out since it is they who pay for the diocese(s) by their contributions.

    Not at all. They can stop contributing, find another untainted diocese to worship in, even, heaven forbid (for the diehard), find a different sect to go in communion with.

  • TellMeMa

    Joe: I am not in denial – just hopeful. And I did add that: “at least not at the levels that were reported in the last few years”

  • joeCanuck

    did you intend the sexual imagery here??

    Absolutely not, TellMeMa, and shame on you for suggesting it. I trust a moderator will remove that outrageous slur.

  • TellMeMa

    The quote from joe is famous, surely you had heard it before? and to the best of my knowledge had never before been associated in any way with sex.

    Im going to bed now, and before what appears to be your overactive imagination runs away with you. It has nothing to do with sex!

  • TellMeMa

    Oops. Did not intend an outrageous slur.

    I might mention that those gay men dressed as nuns called themselves “the sisters of perpetual indulgence”.

  • TellMeMa

    Pippakin: that story about the little Dutch boy was read to me by one of the nuns who taught me, so I do know it well. Just in context on this thread did it become sexual.

  • TellMeMa

    You have got me trying to remember all the correct words now.

  • joeCanuck

    Just in context on this thread did it become sexual.

    I deny it absolutely. You choose to make it sexual, TellMeMa, and as I said, you should be ashamed. Perhaps you have your own sexual repressions to deal with.
    Bah, I’m finished.

  • joe

    I believe you implicitly. I think TellMeMa was having a joke…

  • joe

    I believe you implicitly. I think TellMeMa was having a joke…

  • TellMeMa

    Sorry Joe, I thought you were being ironic. I should rephrase “just in context of my reply to Joe did it hint at “dykes” and “little boys””

    Better stop here in case I get into deeper trouble….

    Good night (or evening in Canada).

  • Alias

    I’d say the thread is finished, but is Sean Brady? The State could finish this blackguard if it if had the moral courage but like the Church protects its peadophiles, the State protects the peadophiles’ protector.

  • joeCanuck

    Try an unqualified apology TellMeMa, similar to the one I gave you previously, and maybe then we can resume discussion. Until then, arrivederci!

  • TellMeMa

    Sorry Joe.

    A week or so ago I made this innocent comment on another thread. “Iris Robinson’s role may have been wee, but it was the tipping point”. A few people thought this was hilarious – and sexual!!

    Arrivederci Joe.

  • Lionel Hutz

    You see todays allegations against the bishop of Derry are an example of when this goes over the top. Someone takes a civil case which is settled in 2000 and it’s called a cover up! How is that?

  • TellMeMa

    Lionel: you have probably seen this item also from today’s Guardian:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2010/mar/16/religion-catholicism-brady-guilt-resignation

    Some of the comments are interesting too.

  • granni trixie

    Lionel: but you don’t seem to get it either. The Derry case illustrates a pattern of lack of transparency in dealing with such cases. IOt is one thing if the child and family want silence but what if they don’t? There is more to come,infact Fr Pat McCafferty today on radio named other cases in which similar pending cases in another locality are asking questions of the now Bisop of Derry.

  • TellMeMa
  • Procrasnow

    Is there any chance the holy father will resign?

  • Seosamh913

    Procrasnow,

    I doubt it, that would require some integrity. And it may also require some sincerity and seriousness about moving the church out of this self-imposed disgrace.

    Leaving that aisde, I’m not even certain there is such a facility under church procedures or protocol for resignation per se for Herr Ratzinger however I am certain some of our barrack room canon lawyer correspondents can, ahem, enlighten us on that point.

  • TellMeMa

    Listen, O ye petty gossipers:

    From the Sunday Telegraph:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/vaticancityandholysee/7532643/Pope-will-not-be-intimidated-by-petty-gossip-over-sex-abuse-scandals.html

    In his Palm Sunday address…“the Pope said: “From God comes the courage not to be intimidated by petty gossip.”

    From The Sunday Times:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article7079173.ece

    “Pope Benedict XVI has opened Holy Week indicating that he will “not be intimidated” by accusations against the Vatican over the clerical sex abuse crisis.

    “In his Palm Sunday address the Pope said that Jesus Christ “leads us towards courage which does not allow us to be intimidated by the chatter of dominant opinions, towards patience which supports and sustains others”.”

    So folks (some of whom are petty gossipers) the Pope does not intend to resign.

    On the paedophile cases, the latest from the Vatican is:

    [1] Father Federico Lombardi, acknowledged that the way the Church responded to the abuse scandal would be “crucial for its moral credibility”. He noted that most of the cases that have come to light recently occurred decades ago. He added: “But recognising them, and making amends to the victims, is the price of re-establishing justice and purifying memories that will let us look ahead with renewed commitment together, with humility and trust in the future.”

    [2] Monsignor Robert Zollitsch, head of the German bishops’ conference, has said that the Vatican was compiling information from around the world with the aim of setting out new guidelines on abuse.”

    On celibacy:
    “The Vatican has rejected suggestions that celibacy causes abuse, and Pope Benedict this month reaffirmed it as “a gift to God”.”

    Eastern religions agree celibacy is a gift to God. Sexual activity causes a person to have earth bound vibrations which disable him/her from the perception of the more subtle vibrations essential for God-seekers, ie they are drowned out. Christ said something similar: “Be still, and know that I am God”.

    Some of you will scoff at the last point, no doubt. But you are likely to be earth-bound, which is quite OK.

  • Seosamh913

    Tellmema

    Why would God need or be glad of such a ‘gift’ ? More importantly, how can we trust, or even be expected to trust or esteem, humans beings who seem to know not only that there IS a God, without being able to produce a single shred of evidence for such a preposterous idea, but also seem to know what he/she/it ‘wants’ ?

    Presumably these are the same people who regard the wearing of hair shirts and self-flagellation as gift-esque ? Morally normal individuals may more probably view these people as having often dangerous degrees of sexual repression and tendencies towards combinations of sadism and masochism, as we have been witnessing.

    The catholic religion, along with some of its competitor faiths, should arouse the utmost suspicion from the rest of us on its teaching on human sexuality.

    But that of course is not the whole truth of the matter, logically enough the church has provided a tailor-made environment for paedophiles and it seems to me unlikely that it hasn’t attracted undue numbers of perverts of all descriptions over the years precisely because of the way in which the institution mishandles such ‘transgressions’.

  • TellMeMa

    S913: “the church has provided a tailor-made environment for paedophiles”
    No it hasn’t. I understand that paedos are usually married men with children. There are paedos in the Anglican church, one of whose main differences to the Catholic Church is allowing married clergy. Listen, for example this item (Sunday’s news) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8591534.stm

    There is a lot of research which has confirmed that celibates are not paedophiles, nor does the celibate life encourage it.

    “The catholic religion, along with some of its competitor faiths, should arouse the utmost suspicion from the rest of us on its teaching on human sexuality.”
    It’s OK with me that you do not appreciate celibacy. I tried to explain one of the main reasons for it in my penultimate paragraph in post 24. Celibacy makes life a lot easier for many people, I can tell you!

    All Catholic Church religious orders take the vow of celibacy, and had all of them kept to their vows, then there would not have been any paedophilia, or homosexuality, or illegitimate children or other sexual scandals from the Catholic Church. It’s likely these people should not have joined religious orders in the first place as they were not ready for celibacy. Two of my uncles realised this, and they left their religious orders and married. They stayed devout Catholics nevertheless. My aunt remained a nun and so did the third uncle stay a religious brother for the rest of his life.

    The central thing is “Peace, be still, and know that I am God”.

    No one is forced to become a member of a religious order. If you have paedo tendencies, don’t even think of joining. Get treatment, or go to jail. Vamoose!

  • Seosamh913

    Tellmema

    You’re missing my point; many paedophiles were drawn to the church precisely because of the the access to children it provided and the abundant trust the role of priest provided to them. The determination of the church to deal with the issue was, if you’ll forgive me, with a ‘Brucie bonus’ in terms of cover.

    Your reference to the fact that everything would have been ok had the vow of celibacy actually been adhered to rather affirms the point Ive already made so thanks for that. In that respect, it’s rather like the church’s aproach to contraception, ie ‘AIDS is bad but condoms are worse’ – a profoundly immoral teaching which has caused untold misery, poverty, pain and death across the world.

    I am not sure about the respect in which the empty phrase “Peace, be still, and know that I am God” is central to anything, leastways anything worth paying any attention to or discussing.

  • TellMeMa

    S913: if you don’t understand, then you don’t understand (and you have just picked bits from my posts rather than actually thinking about the matters I have raised).

    Paedos get drawn to any situation where children are – the scouts, choirs, etc. etc. The Catholic Church is (mostly has) rid itself of them (you refuse to accept that). Remember the Catholic Church cases coming to light now happened decades ago, but they are still happening elsewhere, for example at the nursery I mentioned last week; there is also a Rabbi from NY charged with molesting little girls. No one in the cases I have mentioned were celibates.

    I guess it’s a pearls before swine situation.

    Please don’t reply to my posts if you cannot be bothered thinking about what I have said.

    “Peace, be still, and know that I am God” is not an empty phrase. It is central to Christianity. For people who can understand it.

  • Seosamh913

    TellMeMa

    “The Catholic Church is (mostly has) rid itself of them” – yes I don’t accept that so please explain when this ‘purge’ happened, what specifically was done to achieve it and what safeguards are now in place to prevent recurrence by currently serving clergy i.e by identifying further paedophiles within the institution and how to prevent new priests who are paedophiles being recruited in the first place.

    You continue to fail to explain the meaning and derivation of the phrase you continue to quote. I’m happy to be educated as to its meaning, likewise sharing an understanding of its relevance to this thread.

    Can I suggest for the meantime though that you address yourself to another biblical gem, also from Psalms, which I think is somewhat less opaque.

    “Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!”.

    Verily, ’tis heart-wwarming stuff.

  • Seosamh913

    TellMeMa

    “The Catholic Church is (mostly has) rid itself of them” – yes I don’t accept that so please explain when this ‘purge’ happened, what specifically was done to achieve it and what safeguards are now in place to prevent recurrence by currently serving clergy i.e by identifying further paedophiles within the institution and how to prevent new priests who are paedophiles being recruited in the first place.

    You continue to fail to explain the meaning and derivation of the phrase you continue to quote. I’m happy to be educated as to its meaning, likewise sharing an understanding of its relevance to this thread.

    Can I suggest for the meantime though that you address yourself to another biblical gem, also from Psalms, which I think is somewhat less opaque.

    “Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!”.

    Verily, ’tis heart-warming stuff.

  • Coll Ciotach

    Seosamh – your assertion that the Church teaching on contraception as regards AIDS is completely wrong. I would refer you to the example of Uganda.

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09032003.html

  • Coll Ciotach

    very interesting line from Psalm 136, and very apt. In the spiritual sense, we dash the little ones of Babylon against the rock, when we mortify our passions, and stifle the first motions of them, by a speedy recourse to the rock which is Christ.

    And it is a pity that the paedos did not do it.