A false premise?

Jude Collins isn’t a man afraid to make himself unpopular and I can think of few things more unpopular than a call to look at another side of allegations of sexual abuse against Catholic clergy.

Jude substitutes the Catholic establishment in an article from the Guardian on the effect of false accusations against teachers.

However, unlike the Guardian piece on teachers Jude does not presented a single case that supports his premise of clergy being subject to investigation of and widespread reporting of what turn out to be false allegations.

  • Alias

    If 1 in 25 teachers had allegations of child sexual abuse against them substantiated then there might be a basis to compare suspicion of that profession with a vocation, and to indict the system that allowed the teaching profession to accumulate an abnormally high prevalence of child sex abusers.

    To simply substitute the two words and pretend that there is equivalence is a dishonest trick. The John Jay Report established that the percentage of the Catholic priests who have had allegations of child sexual abuse against them substantiated is 4%, compared with prevalence of 0.8% among the general population. It is possible that teachers are a higher risk than 0.8% but Collins has not established this.

    To turn it around: if 1 in 25 teachers abused kids, would society ignore the problem and regard it as an internal teaching issue to be sorted out by the teachers’ union? No, but the Church is treated differently, and hence there are tens of thousands of children lives destroyed by it.

    The Catholic Church has an unacceptably high number of child sex abusers, and that should mean that children should not be left unsupervised with its priests. But because the Church is a protected institution, it doesn’t mean that.

  • The man needs to read the reports properly and the evidence of the survivors of abuse and then try if he can find a comparison.

    No teacher, no one, has ever had the trust and faith placed in them that this country, and others, placed in the RCC.

    We must take control of ours schools and ensure that all religions are answerable to the rule of law.

  • granni trixie

    Collins has form on the subject of religious sexual abuse,seems to think it is his duty to be devil’s advocate about accused priests with much whataboutery. He reminds me of the A’Town news which seems to have a strategy of playing down stories of abuse, driven by a strange sort of sectarianism (dont want to give amunition to our enemies),loyalty which means you have to stick up for the church at all costs. Most of all they seem to be in denial as to the systemic nature of the coverup.

    But as a someone who worked in a school for many years I also cannot see how JC’s comparison stacks up. Ive said this before but here goes again. The difference between the school and church systems is that if a teacher in NI made sexual advances to a child they would know it was regarded as morally wrong, know why they would be immediately asked to leave pending a legal case and if found guilty know that they would never teach again. The Church fudged the lines of accountability and of morality.

    I also can see that justice requires that anyone accussed of these crimes is equipped to defend themselves and that to be accused maliciously by a child is a terrible wrong. But comparing applies and oranges gets us no nearer to a solution for the problem of justice for the accuser and defendant.

  • Granni Trixie, Jude reminds you of the A’town News because he still occasionally pops up in its columns and of course he was a regular in Daily Ireland from the same group. It is correct that the A’town News has virtually ignored clerical abuse stories and it has also managed to provide Gerry Adams with unlimited space to put his case without reporting most of the episodes which put him in so much trouble in the first place.

  • Ulick

    I may be wrong but I believe Jude lectures in teaching at UUC – so I guess he has a fair idea of what he’s talking about.

  • paul kielty

    Jude Collins makes a valid point. In light of the Ryan report, he does though over play it. Responsibility for this lies squarely with the leadership. Brady now, and cathal Daly, whom for some unexplained reason has been let off the hook. Even though he presided over some of the worst abuse and cover up. Why?

    granni trixie and oldhack, before you go on purely sectarian, anti SF rants, please remember senior orangemen, overweight church elders, and former belfast scout leaders deviant behaviours towards children.

    This is a deep problem for society. And I mean ALL of society.

    I want to see prosecutions against all members of the leadership of the catholic church whom supressed abuse, whether sexual or physical.

    This is too important to be muddied by cheap political mud slinging.

  • slug

    No I don’t think Jude lectures at a university.

  • granni trixie

    Ulick:I simply cannot see the relationship between lecturing in UU (like anywhere) as signifying that you know what you are talking about. All it means is that he has passed a few exams not that he is necessarily any more intelligent,knowledgable or moral than anyone else. I am judging him negatively on what he says on radio and what he tends to write ie single transferable speach.

    Paul K: where did I go on an anti SF rant? Or are you assuming that the A’Town News is ‘owned’ by SF and that in implying criticism of A. News I am criticising SF? Maybe you know something I dont – eg does SF fund A News?

    As for sectarianism,pot calling kettle,I’d say.

  • paul kielty

    granni trixie,

    I take it you are a weekly reader of the andytown news then are you?

    Doubt it!

  • granni trixie

    Paul: spent most of my life in A’town,taught there,have family there so yes read the paper almost every week.

    But even if I had not those credentials, why on earth would you doubt I read the paper?

  • RobertEmmett

    if a principal of a school knew his brother had interfered with children, but didnt bring this information to the relevant authorities, that is, he hid it.

    should that principle be allowed to continue being in charge a school full of children?

  • granni trixie

    RobertEmmett: why yes on grounds that he was demonstrating a lack of adherence to safeguarding children rules.

  • I cannot see how it matters which news paper or how often you read it counts here.

    Jude went several steps too far. You cannot equate what happened in institutions run by the churches, or the betrayal of trust of individual members of the clergy, and the cover ups organised by the church, with any other paedophile case.

    I believe every member of the RCC hierarchy knew of the abuse, and was aware of and in some cases helped organise the cover up.

    It needs a full investigation into every parish to find the full history.

  • paul kielty

    granni trixie,

    I do not support your belief about the Andytown news. I have not noticed it myself.
    The issue here is not the andytown news.
    It is the hierarcy of the catholic church who are at fault here.

    They, in my opinion, should face jail-time.

    Keep the focus on the facilitators of abuse.

    Is that not what every appalled citizen requires?

  • mutley

    Jude by being contoversial, is trying to make himself relevant, he is trying too hard to be the Kevin Myers of the North

  • paul kielty


    Spot on.

    Nobody in a democratic society, wether its the binman/queen of england/pope of rome, should be beyond the rule of law, constituted by the common person. Cannon law can never be an excuse for CRIME.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Just to put on record. What substantiated means in the context of the john jay report was that there sufficient evidence for there to be a case to answer. What would have been required was that at some point the child was in the care of the accused and other material facts that would mean that the priest in question would have to answer back. It amounted to over 4000 in over 100000 priests being accused, hence the 4%. incidentally up to a 1000 or more where completely unsubstantiated which raises question about varacity of many allegations- kind of the point being made.

    Around half of those accused were dead at the time of the allegation so could not clear their name. About 1000 were reported to police, only a minority of which were deemed to be substantiated enough to warrant a prosecution and about 10% were convicted. So only 1 in 40 of all accused were convicted -(2.5% of accused priests and 0.1% of all priests) (5% of priests alive at the time of accustation resulted in conviction)

    take from that what you will but that 4% figure banded about has to be considered misleading to some extent.

    Finally, over 70% of the priest in that 4% figure were ordained Vatican 2. The figure in the church is nothing like 4%. in fact 1% would be a very high estimate.

    There is catholic bashing- especially in the US. Like or not.

  • paul kielty

    I agree with you this is about making sure those who committed the crimes are put beyond reach and that it never happens again.

    Lionel Hutz

    In the schools, institutions, where the abuse took place, children could not tell, they suffered. Of course not all religious were abusers, but if they were in those schools, they knew, and at best did nothing, that is not forgivable. No way. It comes under the heading: Accomplice After the Fact.

  • socaire

    Patience, you have reached a climax in your petty pomposity. How do YOU know that they knew, if they were in the same school? I’m sure even you don’t know what your neighbours do in the valley of the squinting windows. I know you get off on this child abuse thing but try to keep your feet on the ground.

  • Socaire!

    ok, thats it! gloves off! I am pissed off now.

    Of course they fucking knew, what, were they blind as well as dumb?

    No one really knows what their neighbours do, but when the children and the teachers, or whatever, live in a school? It was very different to the folks next door!

    AS for getting off on child abuse? You owe me an apologie sunshine!

  • socaire

    Oh please don’t get angry, patience! It just seems to me that when the subject of child abuse appears on a thread you can count on three or four oul’ biddies putting in their tuppence worth – especially if it can be linked to the Great Leader. I don’t know what arena you worked in but I’m sure you would be the first to rear up if something was wrong and you were swept up in the collective guilt thing. I take it you mean apology? NO!

  • aocaire!

    How very like you. By ‘great leader’ I take it you are not referring to the Pope.

    Whatever work I did I can confirm that I would never, and have never ignored a childs pain. Are we clear? I get no thrill from anyones pain, and there is no way I would ever think to myself: “its for the good of the cause.”

  • socaire

    No! “WE” are not clear.I am not defending abuse of any kind – just the sanctimonious guff posted by people totally removed from the real world. Were you completely unaware that this carry on was going on? Were you blind or dumb? How could you not have known? Why did you keep quiet? And what has this got to do with any cause? And do not tangentialize.

  • socaire!

    You are right. I knew the cruelty happened. How could I not, but I did not know about the sexual abuse, and I did not know how widespread the problem was.

    The only cause it has to do with is the safety of children and the need to ensure they are protected from all predators.

    Is that specific enough for you, I would hate to leave anyone in any doubt.

  • Lionel Hutz


    More power to you! It is right that pippakin, who I find on other subjects to be a reasonable enough poster, seems to thrive on these threads on clerical abuse.

    Pippakin, the horrors that went on in some schools and institutions is an issue to be reasonably appalled by. However were contributors like youself do a service is to over-egg the crisis. You do so in two respects; you make out the abuse to be more prevalent than it actually was; and you draw lines to conclude that there was a cover-up atthe top.

    From my own point of view, I would have sat on my armchair and criticized everyone until Sean Brady’s allegations. I have met and listened to him and just was shocked at the allegation, which prompted me to look deeper at what he was accused of. Now I think initial revelation was damaging even if largely mitigated. I do believe the hysteria that followed was largely unwarranted.

    However the allegations revealed subsequently relating to Fr Joseph Quinn annoyed me, particularly as a Barrister, as they equated a ‘confidentiality’ clause in a legal settlement to cover up, never mind that the confidentiality would only have related to thr terms of settlement- a standard element of legal settlements. That whole scandal has resulted in me researching each new allegation made.

    I have found these allegations to either exagerated or misrepresented.

    I would say to you to research, even on t’internet, at any allegation made against the church, particularly in recent times. It would give you pause for thought. Either by lazy journalism, or just a drive to sell papers, or by a plain smear campaign, even the most respected of news outlets ( for me the BBC and the ap) have completely misrepresented incidents as scandals. This relates particularly to the pope, the allegations against whom have been malicious and groundless ( with the exception of whatever in Germany, which I don’t know about yet). Certainly the allegations made about him regarding his time in the cdf are nonsense.

    Why, I ask? This man has probably done more to reform that church than anyone. I just don’t understand it. It seems that the catholic church really the last acceptable subject of hatred

  • Lionel Hutz

    I am sick and tired of RCC apologists crawling out of the woodwork. It seems I am now a target!

    I comment on threads about child abuse because there are some people who would like the allegations to become old news, wrapping someones fish and chips!

    Nothing has actually changed. The RCC runs our schools. We cannot be sure all allegations of abuse will be reported to the gardai. We cannot even be sure that if a charge is reported it will be investigated properly.

    It has not been confirmed that there will be investigations into every diocese, and I dont see how anyone can know how deep the abuse went on the basis of four investigations.

    So I will keep on commenting as the opportunity arises.

  • George

    However, unlike the Guardian piece on teachers Jude does not presented a single case that supports his premise of clergy being subject to investigation of and widespread reporting of what turn out to be false allegations.

    It has happened in Ireland.

    Nora Wall, a nun convicted of rape on the basis of false allegations.

    Paul Anderson got four years for making false accusations that a priest buggered him.

    That said, I don’t think it could be called widespread.

  • granni trixie

    PaulK: Ofcourse the focus has to be on perpetrators of child abuse and of the coverups which helped systain them. But it is still valid to point out that the influential A’Town News by NOT giving the crisis due importance typifies part of the problem you are up against.