Daily Archives: November 13, 2005

Irish Report on Sexual Abuse by Priests Stokes Outrage screams the headline in the supposdly outraged NYT.

But can an organization who for decades dutifully relayed every lie promulgated by this international child-molesting cult now be taken seriously? As with all things NYT, that’s a very open question.

But as Dirk Bogarde says in Providence , “Surely the facts are not in dispute.”

“An independent report on sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests in Ireland has led some members of Parliament to call for a severing of the formal ties between the Irish government and the Roman Catholic Church and has led the justice minister to promise new child-protection laws and a nationwide audit of how the church handles such cases.
The report, by a three-member panel appointed by the Irish government, showed that the Catholic Church hierarchy in Ireland was only one part of a system that enabled cover-ups allowing known sexual predators to retain their positions within the church – and their access to young victims.”

That much is clear.

“Before 1990, the panel found, the police were reluctant to investigate claims of sexual abuse by the clergy because they were fearful of challenging the privileged position of Roman Catholic Church authorities. “

That much is even clearer.

“Most schools in Ireland are run by the Catholic Church, so even lay teachers found it difficult to sound alarms. In addition, public health authorities failed to follow up on some accusations of abuse and cut short other inquiries.”

Now how could that be? Isn’t it a Mortal Sin to to tell a lie?
Well it all depends on who’s telling the lie — and how mcuh power they have.

“One-fifth of the report’s 271 pages is taken up by testimony, often verbatim and frequently explicit, from the victims. It includes accounts of priests at a Catholic boarding school who measured boys’ penises at night, of boys who were forced to perform oral sex on priests and of girls who were molested during confession, one even on a church altar.”

So that’s what they’re for! Well it’s nice to have that little detail cleared up after all these years, and all these rapes.

An investigation of 60 accusations of abuse in the Dublin archdiocese began this week, and a public debate has begun about whether to end the Catholic Church’s role in the Irish education system. About 95 percent of Ireland’s elementary schools are state-financed but run by Catholic authorities.

And an end to the Catholic churh’s role in Irish education surely presages an end to Catholic church’s role in other aspects of Irish life as well.

One would hope that the rest of the world follows this example.

And well it might as indicated by a story from last week

“The lawyer for a fugitive American priest wanted in the United States on charges of sexually molesting boys urged an Italian court on Friday not to send his client home because he risked being killed in prison.
Father Joseph Henn, 56, wanted by authorities in Arizona since 2003, has been living under house arrest at the headquarters of his religious order in Rome.
“If he is extradited to America he risks his life because prisoners in Arizona do not like priests accused of paedophilia,” the lawyer, Michele Gentiloni Silverij, told reporters at an extradition hearing.
Henn, who has dismissed the charges against him, was not present at the hearing.
U.S. authorities want him extradited to face charges of molesting three boys when he worked in a parish in Phoenix diocese in the 1980s.
The U.S. Catholic Church has been rocked by a priestly sexual abuse scandal that began in Boston in 2002, when it emerged that priests who had abused children and teenagers were transferred from parish to parish instead of being defrocked.
As the scandal swept across the United States the finances of many American dioceses have been hit by multi-million dollar law suits by those claiming to have been molested by priests when they were children or teenagers.
The next hearing in Henn’s case was scheduled for Jan 26 so the court can receive more documents from the United States.”

The story behind this story is fairly clear. As long as the Vatican continues to be recognized as a soverign nation it can continue to harbor its sex criminals. Breaking this international roadblock won’t be easy, but what the Arizona authorities are attempting to do is a very good start.

Meanwhile in Ireland (whose recent troubled history is recalled in Neil Jordan’s delightful Breakfast On Pluto )

“Bishop Herlihy’s failure to take even basic precautions to protect children from men known to have abused in the past must be seen as inadequate and inappropriate,” the report said. “He does not appear to have recognized that the wrongdoing was a serious criminal offense. Neither he nor the medical and health care community appreciated the grave damage which child sexual abuse can cause to its victims.”
In the 1970’s, Bishop Herlihy knew that two men studying in the local seminary had been accused of sexually abusing children, but still ordained them as priests. When additional accusations against them emerged, Bishop Herlihy sent the two for psychiatric treatment, then made the “inexplicable” decision to appoint them to curacies despite their “manifest unsuitability,” the report said.
Bishop Comiskey continued similar practices, the report said, appointing known abusers to manage elementary schools as late as 2002.
The report referred to the 15 priests it investigated by Greek letters, like “Father Alpha,” which left many victims feeling that the reckoning was incomplete. “It has been very difficult for people whose abuser hasn’t been named publicly,” Mr. O’Gorman said.
Even accusations against Greek letters are damaging to the Catholic Church, which is at the lowest point in its history in Ireland. For the first time, the Dublin archdiocese will not ordain any new priests this year.
Gina Menzies, an Irish theologian and author, said she suspected that the government might next choose to investigate religious orders.
“This is only the tip of the iceberg,” she said, referring to the report.

Iceberg did you say? Cue Celine Dion.