dotCommonweal

A blog by the magazine's editors and contributors

.

Ire-land.

Last week, in an impassioned speech delivered from the floor of the Irish parliament, Prime Minister Enda Kenny offeredsome hard sayings about the Vatican's handling of clergy sexual abuse in Ireland. Kenny said that therecent report on the scandal in Cloyne "excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism, the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day." So much for Joyce's "Ireland my first and only love / Where Christ and Caesar are hand and glove!"The Cloyne report examines the diocese's handling of abuse allegations between January 1, 1996, the year Irish bishops established procedures for dealing with abuse claims, and February 1, 2009 -- well after the institutional church came to realize the gravity of such crimes. According to the report, two-thirds of allegations during that period were not forwarded to the police, as required by the Irish bishops' own '96 guidelines.

On Monday, the Vatican recalled its apostolic nuncio to Ireland. Fr. Ciro Benedettini, vice director of the Vatican press office, explained that Rome wanted to consult with the nuncio about its response to Cloyne. But there was another reason. As Benedettini elaborated, the decision was not unrelated to "some degree of surprise and disappointment at certain excessive reactions. By Friday, it was reported that the Vatican would replace the nuncio.

Benedettini wasn't the only one shocked and dismayed by Kenny's speech. Last Sunday, a priest in County Louth gave the following headline to his column in the parish bulletin: "Heil Herr Kenny!" The priest wrote: "No Pope here.' Is this the way forward for a new and better Ireland?"

Catholic journalists soon started asking similar questions. In his column "Erin Go Bonkers" (get it?), George Weigel declares Ireland "the most stridently anti-Catholic country in the Western world." But it's Kenny's "rant" that was "hysterical" and "rabid," on Weigel's telling. He suggests replacing all of Ireland's bishops -- with men from other countries, if necessary, men "who know how to fight the soft totalitarianism of European secularists." Clearly the Irish church's most immediate threat.

In a post titled "The Anticlerical Hysteria Sweeping Ireland," at America's In All Things blog, Austen Ivereigh calls Kenny's speech "bizarre" and "rambling." Ivereigh points out that the Cloyne Report criticizes the Vatican for a 1997 letter from the apostolic nuncio [.pdf] "in which he questioned whether the 1996 guidelines drawn up by the Irish bishops were compatible with canon law, notably the idea that church officials should be obliged to pass on all and any allegations to the civil authorities." Of course, as Ivereigh emphasizes, that is no longer the thinking in the Vatican. He continues: "Nothing justifies" Kenny's "broadside, which conveniently glosses over the state's failures over abuse -- also highlighted in the [Cloyne] Report -- or the Commission's findings that the state's guidelines on abuse are more opaque and difficult to understand than the church's." Yet, according to Ivereigh, this dark cloud has a silver lining:

The good news about Cloyne -- a small rural diocese in Co. Cork -- is that its failures were first spotted by the Church's own safeguarding watchdog, which brought them to light in December 2008. Judge Murphy, then investigating Dublin, decided to extend her probe to Cloyne. Bishop Magee was stood down, and the Church -- as the Cloyne Report clearly acknowledges -- cooperated fully with the investigation.

Leaving aside Ivereigh's own bizarre remark about the size and location of Cloyne -- presumably he didn't intend it to comfort those who were scandalized by the report's findings -- it certainly would be disappointing for the prime minister of Ireland to criticize the institutional church for its failures in addressing clergy sexual abuse while glossing over his own government's mistakes. Just as it would be foolish of him to name the hierarchy's shortcomings without acknowledging its successes. It's a good thing, then, that he didn't. Kenny:

I must note the Commission is very positive about the work of the National Board for Safeguarding Children, established by the Church to oversee the operation by Dioceses and religious orders. The Commission notes that all Church authorities were required to sign a contract with the National Board agreeing to implement the relevant standards and that those refusing to sign would be named in the Board's Annual Report....

There is some small comfort to be drawn by the people of Cloyne from the fact that the Commission is complimentary of the efforts made by the Diocese since 2008, in training, in vetting personnel and in the risk management of Priests against whom allegations have been made.

And:

But if the Vatican needs to get its house in order, so does this State.The Report of the Commission is rightly critical of the entirely unsatisfactory position which the last Government allowed to persist over many years.The unseemly bickering between the Minister for Children and the HSE over the statutory powers to deal with extra-familial abuse, the failure to produce legislation to enable the exchange of soft information as promised after the Ferns Enquiry, and the long period of confusion and disjointed responsibility for child protection within the HSE, as reported by the Commission, are simply not acceptable in a society which values children and their safety.

For too long Ireland has neglected its children.

Does that sound hysterical to you? More or less hysterical than declaiming Ireland as the most anti-Catholic country in the Western world? What about this:

The rape and torture of children were downplayed or "managed" to uphold instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and "reputation."Far from listening to evidence of humiliation and betrayal with St. Benedict's "ear of the heart," the Vatican's reaction was to parse and analyse it with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer.This calculated, withering position being the polar opposite of the radicalism, humility and compassion upon which the Roman Church was founded.

No doubt, many church critics have exaggerated the import of that 1997 letter. But when at least one Irish bishop tells the press that he interpreted it as an instruction not to inform civil authorities about allegations against priests, can you blame them? What about when one considers the fact that the letter communicated the concerns of the Congregation for Clergy, then headed by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, who in 2001 praised a French bishop for covering up for a priest he knew had abused several boys? Or when the '97 letter is read in light of a 1984 letter from the Congregation for Clergy (then run by Cardinal Silvio Oddi) to the bishop of Tucson ordering him notto release the personnel files of priests accused of misconduct (not necessarily sexual abuse) to civil lawyers?

Of course, Kenny's critics are right to say that proposals requiring priests to report abuse disclosed during confession must be rejected by Irish lawmakers -- as a violation of religious freedom and of common sense. But no one ought to be surprised that a Catholic country so convulsed by clergy abuse for so long would, after another in a string of damning reports on the scandal, find itself seeking desperate measures.There was also a hint of desperation in David Quinn's response to Kenny's comments. Writing in the Independent, Quinn also called Kenny's address hysterical. "In the sort of language normally associated with a Richard Dawkins or Ian Paisley, he accused the Vatican of 'dysfunction, disconnection, elitism...narcissism' and effectively of not caring about the 'rape and torture of children.'" Hasn't it already been established that dysfunction, disconnection, and clericalism (usually characterized by elitism and narcissism) significantly contributed to the Catholic Church's sexual-abuse crisis? Is there a better word than narcissistic for Cardinal Sodano's Easter 2010 performance? What do you call the game of canonical hot potato that was played between Rome and local bishops over how to handle accused priests, if not dysfunctional? Were some Vatican officials something other than disconnected when, throughout the 1990s and even as the 2002 wave of U.S. scandals broke, they dismissed the abuse crisis as an American phenomenon?

Yes, Kenny claimed that even today's Vatican is "dominated" by a culture that enables abuse. That's probably going too far. But by how much? The Irish people have seen four state inquiries into clergy abuse, which have cost them 134 million. It's not as though compiling those reports has been a cake walk. As Patsy McGarry points out, "None of this would have been necessary had the Catholic Church here [in Ireland] and in Rome co-operated fully in establishing the truth."When it came to the investigation of the Diocese of Ferns, for example, "abuse files on five further priests which should have been presented to the inquiry remained unavailable until an accidental discovery in the summer of 2005 when the Ferns draft report was already completed," McGarry writes. And in May 2009, the Ryan report concluded that a climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys [by the Christian Brothers]. Children lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from. Just five days before that report was published,the Christian Brothers sent a letter to the redress board denying abuse allegations. The next month the Christian Brothers released a statement expressing their regret for sending such a letter. And in January 2008 the retired archbishop of Dublin sued the current archbishop to prevent him from turning over documents to state investigators. Amazingly, in 2006 the Vatican could not manage toacknowledge correspondence from the Murphy commission. "Instead," McGarry writes, "it complained the commission did not use proper channels." So the next year the commission followed proper procedure, asking the nuncio to forward correspondence to Rome. Silence. Again in 2009,the commission contacted the next nuncio, including a copy of the draft report. No reply.Kenny's critics have complained that he unfairly blamed Rome for the faults of the local church. Apparently they either don't grasp that apostolic nuncios are officials of the Vatican appointed by the pope or they don't know how uncooperative some have been.

Is it any wonder, then, that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin recently admitted that after reading the Cloyne report the first emotion that came to him was anger?

Some years ago I was criticized in some Church circles for speaking of strong forces still present in the Church which would prefer that the truth did not emerge. There are signs, I said, of subconscious denial on the part of many about the extent of the abuse which occurred within the Church of Jesus Christ in Ireland and how it was covered up. There are other signs of rejection of a sense of responsibility for what had happened. There are worrying signs that despite solid regulations and norms these are not being followed with the rigour required.

Much has, thank God, been undertaken within the Catholic Church to address the facts of the past and to improve safeguarding procedures. Much has, thank God, been undertaken within the Catholic Church to address the facts of the past and to improve safeguarding procedures. The Catholic Church in Ireland is a much safer place today than it was even in the recent past.Much is being said, on the other hand, that despite words the Church has not learned the lessons. Both statements are true.

Last week, in a televised interview, Martin said, "Those who felt they were able to play tricks with norms, they have betrayed...good men and so many others in the church who are working today, I am angry, ashamed and appalled by that.Visibly shaken, Martin confessed, "I find myself asking today, can I be proud of the church that I'm a leader of? His admission won the ire of Phil Lawler, director of Catholic Culture, who called it "hardly a statement calculated to boost Catholic morale." Is that what Irish Catholics need right now? An episcopal pep talk? Surely, Lawler, a Boston native -- a fact he mentions often, so you know he really gets the sexual-abuse crisis -- remembers how well that strategy served bishops in the past, not to mention the faithful. Or at least what's left of them.And that's the point, isn't it? Archbishop Martin is presiding over the most dramatic period of attrition the Irish church has ever seen. Perhaps it's more convenient or comforting to focus on Kenny's overreaching claims. It's important to correct them, and more important to make sure priests are not compelled to break the seal of confession.

But Kenny is giving voice to the greater pastoral and ecclesiological crisis that his archbishop -- in his refusal to strike a defensive pose -- is trying to address. Kenny's anger isn't about a single incident, a single letter, a single report. It's about a long history of abuse that was enabled locally and internationally by a church -- comprising clergy and laity alike -- that for too long looked the other way.The failure of some Catholic journalists to recall that larger context, to the point of misrepresenting important parts of Kennys speech, eerily echoes the institutional defensiveness that landed the church in this mess to begin with. That view of history should not be repeated -- or abetted.

Comments

Commenting Guidelines

If, as George Weigel seems to think, the Evangelical Catholicism espoused by Archbishop Chaput will bring about the change needed in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, it will be the miracle needed for the canonization of Pope John Paul II.

How amusing that Weigel doesn't count himself among "the usual suspects."

Where Catholic Lite has been adopted as the solution to the problems Catholic Lite helped cause - as in Boston - the meltdown that began in 2002 continues. George Weigel (Philadelphia Inquirer, July 31, 2010)Doesnt wash as an explanation of the sex abuse scandal in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, never a seat of Catholic Lite.Rick Santorum tried the same tactic in 2002 when he wrote:While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.

It would seem to me natural that Catholics, no matter what their particular varieties of belief, would rally around the Church when it's being attacked, rather than join in the attack themselves, sometimes with more fervor than the most virulent anti-Catholic. What's going on here?

It does not appear to be so at first sight but quite germane to this post is a solid article in the NY Times today on how values affect science and how truths become acceptable after its proponents die because people become familiar with it. New ideas emerge because we formulate our research according to the results we favor. More a case of will than science. You get two different conclusions from research based on the authors bias rather than the facts. This is called confirmation bias or pigheadedness depending on how confrontational you want to be or with whom you are conversing or competing. Another point featured is that differences of opinion even on science are good because it allows both parties to bring out issues that the other side does not fully appreciate. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/31/opinion/sunday/biased-but-brilliant-sc... would take a lot more time to give the article its due. I bring it out here because it is relevant to the liberal conservative divide in the church (and elsewhere). I see this in my own progression. Though I have always had a liberal bent I was always firmly orthodox. Yes the bishops and popes may be corrupt but they are the custodians of the truth and must be followed. It took a lot of convincing to get me to think otherwise and I am really talking about the last ten 15 years. Hans Kung helped me get over that hump which many people like Rahner, Von Balthasar, Ratzinger. Kung was able to explain the alternative to orthodoxy point by point. Many liberals cannot accept that the pope is not infallible. What I am saying is this was useful to me in arriving. Of course this may still be a confirmation bias. At any rate what is useful according to the article is how the differences can benefit both sides at the end even tho both call each other pigheaded during the debate. It might be a good idea for one of the contributors to make a special post and add to the conversation. One thing we might all agree on is that this is fascinating stuff.

Interesting little article. Thanks for the pointer. But it's sort of obvious, no? Humans are essentially feeling, not thinking creatures. We feel our way to decisions and conclusions, rather than deciding on even largely rational grounds. But without reason and logic as restrainers, checks, moderators, feelings can take us into some very dark and dangerous places. We need both. In the end, though, it's feelings that decide. Reason rationalizes and confirms.Look at all the anger against the institutional church that's being spilled in these comments. Facts are given, but only to support the anger. The anger comes first, and drives more anger. What's missing, I think, are feelings of understanding, empathy, historical context, compassion, sympathy. Positive emotions.

David Smith, in Ireland the Church is being helped, not attacked, by the prime minister. Since the church hierarchy is not tackling child abuse effectively, he is stepping up to the task. His criticism is the criticism of a Catholic who loves the church and who is angry about its failures. It is not the criticism of an enemy. He is like a doctor looking at a sick patient's symptoms and embarking on a course of action to remedy them. It's a relief that someone somewhere is doing something rather than put on a band aid and pretend that all is now fine.

Positive emotions after listening to Kenny's speech: relief and hope. Positive emotions when listening to Abp Martin: respect and love.

Angry prophets are useful, Claire, but only in small doses. Healing isn't caused by anger but by compassion, understanding, patience, and perseverance.

ISTM that David S mistakes the hierarchy for the church: "It would seem to me natural that Catholics, no matter what their particular varieties of belief, would rally around the Church when its being attacked"Finding the example of Christ reflected in the hierarchy's actions as revealed in the investigations in any jurisdiction is a futile exercise. Bishops' so-called cluelessness is a from of self-deception that results in the pervasive denial of their culpability. I wait for them to deny denial its cruel reign, and awaken to the reality of their shameless records. Instead we get conscious ignorance, where one is oblivious, but not innocent. The attitudes behind the clerical mindset are what is so embedded in their motivations. Dick Sipe's wife, a psychiatrist, identified characteristics of the underlying narcissism in her talk at SNAP, which was startling in its dead-on accuracy. I'm on vacation and sorry I don't have the material at hand.I fear the Vatican's response to Cloyne will replay the tired old themes. Benedetti's comment already hints in that direction: words, words, words; a strong repudiation of the essence of the charges, theological reflections as red herrings, limited strategic admissions of failures in generalized terms, anguished expressions of sorrow for what victims have suffered, passive voice, not issued in B16's name (have to keep distance from any liability), akin to his failed letter to Ireland --- all leaving those requested documents still hidden, complicit bishops in place, clever parsing about cooperation with police, but not allowing full reporting to authorities as long as Ireland does not have a mandatory reporting law. And even then... as Philly and Kansas City so clearly show.Sean Brady still in place, Diarmuid Martin still marginalized, and eloquent texts signifying little in the way of decisive action to expose the truth. Own the solution pressed by legal and media pressure, but never, never own personally or admit unequivocably to the heinous indifference to suffering and betrayal of our children. The spoils of clerical power and privilege counted more, and still do, else countless bishops would have resigned in abject shame, something utterly missing from their repulsive self-excusing rationales.

David Smith -Your comments presume that the Catholic Church is not only capable of being healed but worthy of it. Leaving that aside, while I agree with you that as humans we begin with emotions and reason follows, it is not necessarilty true that a) those reasons are mearly rationalizations or b) that reasoning doesn't lead us to change our emotional responces - have a change or heart.But my main thought when reading your comments was why? "Whats missing, I think, are feelings of understanding, empathy, historical context, compassion, sympathy. Positive emotions." Huh? We all should be compassionate to the Church? We are supposed to give the Church a break becasue of "historical context"? I really disagree with you. The Church needs to feel, to really really feel the anger of the world. Take it in, own it, feel remorse, ask for forgiveness, do penance, prostrate itself in front of every person it has ever asked for a dime, including the governments it gets tax breaks from.Anger "in small doses" will not bring about change - it will only empower the Church to do more evil.

Grant: Re your comment: How amusing that Weigel doesnt count himself among the usual suspects.Its because he has such a beautiful friendship with one particular group in the Church.

David, You prove the point of the article. You are stressing empathy for the hierarchy, most of us are stressing empathy for the victims. A possible fruitful result is when it goes both ways. The thirst for leadership is immense. How much would we like to rally around bishops who rally around the gospel who take the last place and are not into domination. Surely you would love to heal the victims. Perhaps polarization is good for the church. Paul certainly was having no picnic with the Corinthians and others. Bishops and laity have never been more on their toes more than the present.

David,I think it's not just the right but the duty of we Catholics to criticize the church hierarchy when it's wrong. No one else unserstands as well what's going on in the church and no one else can really do it without being thought "anti-Catholic". If we don't speak up we do a dis-service to the church and other Catholics and we become "accessories after the fact".

The point Crystal makes is addressed by Canon Law under THE OBLIGATIONS AND RIGHTS OF ALL THE CHRISTIAN FAITHFUL: Canon 212 -"3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they [the Christian faithful] possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons." http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_PU.HTM#FU Note in particular "duty" and attention "to common advantage". Bishops' obligations are treated elsewhere. Unfortunately, as often, the intended precise meaning of "the Church" from among the several alternatives in common use is not specified.

There's zero respect in most of the criticism I read here. I don't see how vituperation can be read as constructive criticism.

How many contributors here, are actually aware of what has happened in the Cloyne Diocese? For several years now the Gardai (Irish police) have been investigating claims of child abuse in the diocese and the following are the results:An allegation of reckless endangerment against former Bishop Magee was dismissed by the Director of Public Prosecutions in October 2010.http://irishsalem.com/individuals/accused/bishop-john-magee/index.phpIn May 2011 Father Dan Duane a 73-year-old retired priest from Mallow, who was on trial charged with indecently assaulting a woman 30 years ago when she was a teenager, was found not guilty by direction of the trial judge in Cork Circuit Criminal Court (or in colloquial language the judge threw the case out of court without letting it go to the jury).http://irishsalem.com/individuals/accused/father-dan-duane/index.phpHOWEVER in November 2010 Fr Brendan Wrixon was given an 18 month suspended sentence for gross indecency - which consisted of mutual masturbation of a 16 year old youth in 1983.And those to date are the results of several years of Garda inquiries. (There is another trial coming up in next November I think, and that may be the very last.) Since investigating child abuse is a specialist function, the Gardai who spent years looking into decades-old claims against priests, would otherwise have been involved in the prevention of child abuse today. THAT should be the real scandal!

"It would seem to me natural that Catholics, no matter what their particular varieties of belief, would rally around the Church when its being attacked, rather than join in the attack themselves, sometimes with more fervor than the most virulent anti-Catholic. Whats going on here?"David --What is going on here are different views of just what "the Church" is. Those who identify "the Church" with the hierarchy or the Vatican or the pope have a very, very narrow understanding of what "the Church" is. Go and read the documents of Vatican II. Surely you must accept those writings, approved by an ecumenical (Churchwide) council as authoritative. Vatican II says that "the Church" is "the people of God". It includes hierarchy, lower clergy, laity, and in its widest sense even those in other Christian Churches. To criticize the hierarchy and the Vatican and the Pope is NOT to criticize the Church, it is to criticize the behavior of only certain memembers of the Church. If you think that those men are above criticism, that they are incapable of the failings they are being acccused of, I'd like to know your theological justification. We critics are relying on an ecumenical council -- one whose documents were approved by *both* bishops and the popes of the day. Not to mention the words of Our Lord who cautioned us not to scandalize the children. What theological justification have you got to make us think that we're wrong to defend the children against individuals who have failed the little ones so egregiously?

AnnYou write "What theological justification have you [David] got to make us think that were wrong to defend the children against individuals who have failed the little ones so egregiously?"So far the only proven "little one" is a then 16 year old youth who engaged in consensual masturbation with an adult priest in 1983. In some countries 16 (or less) is the age of consent for sexual activity. As I pointed out above, this is, to date, the SOLE result of several years of Garda investigation.Meanwhile the following are summaries of the allegations against three of the accused priests - as provided by the Irish Times.http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0714/1224300713984.html... PRIESTIn 2003 a resident of a nursing home wrote to the Archbishop of Dublin, Desmond Connell, to say he had been abused as a boy in Cloyne by a priest. Msgr OCallaghan interviewed the man, who couldnt remember the name of the priest.The commission says Msgr OCallaghan should have made a greater effort to find the name of the priest or at least the parish where the abuse is alleged to have taken place.The man has since died."FR KELVEN"In 2002 Philip, who was in his 70s, wrote to Bishop Magee to say he had been abused by Fr Kelven when he was about 12. Philip had become a priest but left in 1970 and got married. Bishop Magee wrote to Philip but nothing more was done. The commission says no procedures were put in place."FR MORAY"Fr Moray, who died in 1991, was the subject of a complaint made six years later. Skyla alleged she and her brother, who subsequently died by suicide, had been sexually assaulted by Fr Moray. The diocese contributed to the cost of her counselling. She started a civil action in 2003 but this was not pursued. The commission says procedures were not followed, no record was made of the complaint and no investigation was carried out.It looks like Judge Murphy was determined to find some stick to beat the diocese with, no matter how ludicrous the pretext. An allegation made against an unknown priest, an allegation made 60 years after the alleged event, an allegation made against a dead priest. What would have been the point in reporting these to the Gardai? Let's take the first case. Suppose this man in a nursing home had written to a Garda (police) Superintendent instead of to the Archbishop of Dublin saying that he had been abused as a child by a priest whose name he could not remember in a parish which he could also not recall. Would the Superintendent have allocated Garda officers to investigate? Do the police in the Cloyne area have nothing better to do with their time?

Rory,"So far the only proven little one is a then 16 year old youth who engaged in consensual masturbation with an adult priest in 1983"I read in the link you provide of 6 or 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 years old, in addition to 15, 16. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0714/1224300713984.html The police in Cloyne or anywhere indeed have the obligation to track down the identities of abusers. One of my most moving experiences was talking with a survivor who was five years old when assaulted and could not remember the name of her perpetrator. From long reading of secret diocesan archives released by court order, I was able to recognize the pattern of assault and location, confirming the priest's identity. The memory of the survivor's relief is seared in my heart.The staff at www.bishopaccountability.org has collected thousands of perpetrators' names and records through dogged research, and helped survivors immeasurably. They also maintain a private list for those priests who cannot be named publicly through criminal or civil proceedings when the survivor is unable to come forward for personal or family reasons. Yes, you comb through the Official Catholic Directory going back 60 years, based on where the family lived (using census records if need be), and check if any names have other allegations, or you find repeated short assignments over a period of time.Only about 20% of abusers are named, only 2% criminally convicted. I do not share your chilling opinion of Judge Murphy, who is trying to better those odds. The impact in countless families' lives is worth the effort.

I think the useless emoting on this thread is part of the problem. If people had actually bothered to read the Cloyne Report or the summary of accusations against 19 priests they could have engaged intelligently with the points made by Rory. Enda Kenny's speech is not the Gospel, and it contains inaccurate characterizations of the Cloyne report and the Vatican's role, which sadly feed into media frenzy in a populist way. The central issue is the failure of Msgr O'Callaghan, a great-hearted man, to implement Mandatory Reporting. The Irish Government has refused to enact a mandatory reporting law three times, despite election promises. Kenny's government will not enact it either, for good reason.

It was always the media until the Boston Globe finally made the complete disregard of threatened children by bishops obvious. Jesus made clear that for those who abuse children it were better if they had not been born. And to throw that old canard "context" into it is to take refuge in absurdity again as if the Crusades were justified because of the temper of the times. That is how a Bernard of Clairvoux becomes a Saint. The emoting is on the side of those who defended Maciel and approved of his mausoleum in Rome anticipating his canonization. When children are involved emoting is ineluctable.

Yes, let's look at the link provided by Rory, who apparently believes reports on the history of sexual abuse are useful only insofar as they lead to criminal proceedings:

Fr Corin IN 1994, Nia complained to a bishop outside Cloyne about abuse by Fr Corin. She said he moved to her parish when she was nine or 10 and had a housekeeper in her late teens. When she visited the house he would sit her on his lap and put his hands under her clothes. The abuse continued until he left the parish when she was 16.Interviewed by Msgr OCallaghan, Fr Corin denied serious interference but admitted fondling between four and six girls in the 1960s. He said he petted Nia and on occasion this went too far.Msgr OCallaghan concluded there had been no abuse, only overfamiliarity.The commission says: It was clearly and unequivocally child sexual abuse.A second complainant, Oifa, recalled an incident when she was 10 in the 1960s and Fr Corin sat her on his lap and put his hands beneath her clothes. In 1996, Fr Corin met Bishop Magee and acknowledged he was guilty of child sexual abuse. He resigned his ministry and died in 2002.The commission says there was no attempt to have Fr Corin assessed to see whether he was a continuing danger to children and no attempt was made to establish the extent of his abusive behaviour. There is no evidence that he was restricted from ministering in public and parishioners were not told of the real reason for his resignation. It is also critical of the lack of a proper Garda investigation into complaints.[...]Fr Tarin Fr Tarin was born in 1922, ordained in 1947 and died in 2003. The commission is aware of two complaints against him.In 2002, Maille told her local priest she had been abused when she was about six in the 1950s. She later told Msgr OCallaghan that Fr Tarin had seriously sexually assaulted her. Msgr OCallaghan wrote to Fr Tarin as follows: I hope that this does not come as too much of a shock to you but it is under control and will have no adverse implications, if we manage it correctly.[...]Fr Drust Fr Drust was born in 1920 and died in 2010. After spells in the UK and on missions, he was appointed to a rural parish in Cloyne in 1964. He had a keen interest in music and created a youth orchestra in the parish, and also taught music.There is one complaint of child sexual abuse against Fr Drust, which is alleged to have occurred between 1967 and 1971. The complainant, Ula, told a priest in 1990 but not the diocesan authorities. In 2002, she brought the complaint to the Bishop of Cork and Ross.She said she first met Fr Drust when she was aged seven or eight in 1964-65. The sexual abuse began a few months later. Initially, it occurred in his car when he put her on his lap. Some time afterwards, she started to visit his house at weekends. She said Fr Drust would give her three or four glasses of sherry and she would wake up in bed the following morning. He would then abuse her.She said that Fr Drust referred to her as his Lolita. Fr Drust, when later questioned by garda, denied any knowledge of the novel Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.Fr Drust told garda in 2002 he did not realise there was anything improper about the name Lolita until he was at tea in a local persons house and had brought Ula. At the end, he asked where was his Lolita. The woman was shocked at the use of the expression and advised him not to use such terms.Ulas elder sister told garda that on one occasion when she was 13, Fr Drust came into her bedroom, ran his tongue down the side of her face and attempted to kiss her.When confronted by her mother, Fr Drust said he was only preparing the elder sister for what boys would do to her in the future.Ula told the commission that one day, when she was 11, she reached out to remove some grey hairs from the collar of Fr Drusts coat. You are turning into a woman, he said to her, and from that day on the abuse stopped.In 2002, on receiving the complaint, Bishop John Magee immediately removed Fr Drust from his ministry. He was forbidden to say Mass in public and was told that no minors were to visit his house. He was retired and given an allowance equivalent to a parish priests allowance.However, Msgr OCallaghan allowed the music lessons to continue.Garda investigated and, in 2004, Fr Drust was charged with 28 counts of indecent assault and sent forward for trial. He took a judicial review over the delay and won in the High Court. The Supreme Court overturned this decision but restrained the trial going ahead due to exceptional circumstances he was then 87 years old.Ula took civil proceedings and a settlement was reached in 2007. The commission says the diocese immediately reported the complaint to garda but says Bishop Magee did not fully co-operate with this investigation.While Fr Drust was removed from ministry, the public perception was that he was a retired priest rather than one removed from ministry.[...]Fr Caden Born in the 1930s, Fr Caden was the vocations director in Cloyne for a long period.Patrick alleged he was abused by Fr Caden in the early 1980s. The abuse, which started when he was 16 or just below that age, initially involved fondling but moved on to penetration and oral sex. Patrick later became a priest in the Cloyne diocese.Patrick told Bishop Magee of the abuse in 2004 but did not identify his abuser. However, a year later, a friend in whom he had confided went to the bishop seeking direction, as he was concerned that Fr Cadens work involved vulnerable children. He was advised he had no obligation to reveal the name.In 2005, Patrick revealed the name to Dean Eamon Goold and gave him a letter that Fr Caden had sent to him, in which Fr Caden referred to his dark secret. Msgr OCallaghan and Bishop Magee were informed.Bishop Magee met Fr Caden in September 2005 and compiled two very different accounts of the meeting. In one, he says Fr Caden admitted the detail of the allegation and admitted the sexual relationship, but in the other he records Fr Caden as being shocked and denying the allegation. Asked by the commission to explain the two different accounts, Bishop Magee said one was created for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican and the other was for diocesan records. He admitted his approach was wrong and the two versions were clashing.

I think Dacid Smith (as in many threads) is given to huge oversimplifications ("people are basically feeling" or wwhen the Chutrch is attacked (read criticized) we shoould jump to her defense, and, when Mr. Smith is ciriticized, he sees 'no respect" in that.i fear his comments lead little or nothing to this good thread that wil as a story go on, until Rome responds to the"excesive" reaction in Ireland.Grant makes the point others have about Weigel - no insight into himself as a "usual" suspect."Maybe the Anchoress could lend him some weight.The problem across Itreland ared people demad9ing to be treated as adults without hypocrisy.A lesson many here are still to learn!

Not to diminish the high crimes of the RCC but please examine the Jehovah's Witnesses who go door to door and come on our property. Jehovah's Witnesses pedophiles. Many court documents and news events prove that Jehovah's Witnesses require two witnesses when a child comes forward with allegations of molestation within the congregation. Such allegations have customarily been treated as sins instead of crimes and are only reported to authorities when it is required to do so by law, (which varies by state). It has also been shown that child molesters within the organization usually have not been identified to the congregation members or the public at large. These people engage in a door to door ministry, possibly exposing children to pedophiles. Although the Watchtower Bible Tract Society claims that known pedophiles are accompanied by a non-pedophile in such work, there is no law stating that such a practice must be followed. The Watchtower corporation has paid out millions in settlement money already. --Danny Haszard abuse victim dannyhaszard(dot)com

Here is a sober and factual look at the Cloyne report by an Irish Catholic blogger:http://thethirstygargoyle.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-many-questions-on-clo... a follow-up post by the same blogger:http://thethirstygargoyle.blogspot.com/2011/07/cloyne-report-tackling-pr...

Enda Kenny did not defame the pope. So, the "factual look" is not really factual, is it?

"AnnYou write What theological justification have you [David] got to make us think that were wrong to defend the children against individuals who have failed the little ones so egregiously?So far the only proven little one is a then 16 year old youth who engaged in consensual masturbation with an adult priest in 1983."Rory --You have completely, totally ignored the question I asked. Such dodging of real questions only weakens your case. Unfortunately, those who regularly defend indefensible clerics regularly try to divert attention.My question was about possible theological justification for withholding criticism of clerics -- NOT about the Clone report. I say there is no such justification. You change the subject.Sheesh.

Yes, he did, as calmly and logically explained in the posts I linked to.

I think Thirsty Gargoyle is the best commentator on Cloyne, but he will not be appreciated by wannabe Maureen Dowds -- he demands too much knowledge, too much interest in fact, etc. "29. Don't you get tired of correcting these misconceptions?You have no idea. But as long as our 'newspaper of record' keeps publishing such claptrap, it falls to the rest of us to point out where it's wrong. Child abuse is a horrendous thing that has blighted my country for too long, but political posturing and media misrepresentations aren't part of the solution. It was bad enough when people focused on the Irish Church as a haven of paedophiles while ignoring the far higher number of Irish paedophiles who weren't clergy, such that for every victim of clerical abuse there were sixty victims of non-clerical abuse. But now we're not even looking within, and are trying to point outside ourselves as though the problem is with people far far away. If we want to fix this problem we need to find the real culprits, and if we want to find them, the whole country needs to start looking in the mirror."

Thorin,Thanks!! Your link is very helpful. It reminds me that one should never "reason" from what one does not know.

No, s/he didn't. Why the need to pretend? Enda Kenny did not deliver a "hysterical rant," as Weigel claimed, nor did he defame the pope. (Was that right-wing blog signed? I stopped reading after the first lie.)

Gerelyn stopped reading Thirsty Gargoyle after the first line, and smears him/her by calling him right wing. I suppose Gerelyn has not even tried to read the Cloyne Report.

Why is it a "smear" to call someone right wing? Isn't that high praise among those in solidarity with molesters?

Gerelyn, look in the mirror, and see how deep the prejudice in your remarks is. Now you have actually libeled the blogger as "in solidarity with molesters" -- which of course no sane person who had said the postings could say.

Why not READ them before you make such outrageous comments?

To defend part of what George Weigel wrote in one column is not to defend even the whole post much less everything else he has written. I stand by what I said in his defense. He, of course, tends toward the "take no prisoners" school of conversation, but it's not as if that genre is unknown on this blog.

Perhaps the Cloyne report is better appreciated if one looks at the 1996 document from the Irish bishops to deal with child abuse:http://www.catholicbishops.ie/wp-content/uploads/images/docs/csaframewor... those in a hurry, here is the Jan 1996 commentary on that document:http://www.irishsalem.com/individuals/accused/cardinal-cahal-daly/guidel... "THERE are many welcome elements in the Irish Catholic Bishops' report on child sex abuse. Prominent among these is the clear declaration that the primary duty of all church officials is the welfare of the child victim of clerical abuse. In the past the church has not always been able to come to terms with this concept and has, on occasion, institution of the church, rather than the individuals adversely affected by abuse. Another welcome development is a clear and unequivocal statement that "where it is known or suspected that a child has been, or is being, sexually abused by a priest or religious the matter should be reported to the civil authorities."Also in January 1996, see the article entitled "Cardinal gives pledge of prompt action"http://www.irishsalem.com/individuals/accused/cardinal-cahal-daly/prompt... " "THERE will be no cover up. There will be no cult of secrecy", Cardinal Cahal Daly said yesterday. He was speaking at a press conference to introduce the report of the Irish Catholic Bishops' Advisory Committee on child sexual abuse by priests and religious. Asked if he was confident that the guidelines would be adopted by bishops and religious orders, Cardinal Daly said he was "certain" they would be put into action quickly. Mistakes had been made in the past, but he wanted to look to the future. "

The letter sent to the Irish bishops by the Vatican is visible in full at:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/europe/the-1997-letter-vatican... is hypocritical to claim that the letter does not reject mandatory reporting. In fact the concluding paragraph clearly implies that the 1996 document ought to be ignored by bishops. Thus the responsibility for the failure to follow the detailed procedures outlined in that document largely belongs to the Vatican. However it seems to me that it may be incorrect to give primary responsibility to then-Cardinal Ratzinger for that letter. It was written on behalf of the congregation for clergy, at that time directed by the infamous Cardinal Hoyos. (Cardinal Ratzinger and the congregation he headed were not responsible for dealing with sexual abuse until later.)

I've lost track of the original post in the stream of comments, but of course Grant Gallicho already had a link to the letter and attribution to Hoyos. It is somewhere else that I saw some incorrect accusation of Cardinal Ratzinger for that letter. After all the comments, the initial post still has the best layout of information!

Fr. O'Leary - you posted in other places a list of the nineteen priests named in the Cloyne Report. Some comments:a) Cloyne Report is the 4th investigation (not by the church)....the point of this report is that a specific bishop and his right hand man choose to ignore, manipulate, and lie on a number of occasions. This, unfortunately, ties in with repeated failures across other dioceses, religious orders, schools, etc. in protecting children. b) you and Rory take one approach - you focus on individual priest abusers in Cloyne....then, you ask: where is the beef?c) but, with that approach, you skip over and ignore the reality of the Cloyne Report - the bishop is the focus; not debating each case; its legal conclusion if any; or what we do or do not know.d) both of you seem to admit that Magee/O'Callaghan were disorganized (but good hearted)....Magee has stated that he took no interest in these affairs. Some say that O'Callaghan wanted to be bishop and was angry when Rome named Magee (who had little to no pastoral experience and had not been in Ireland for years). You strongly underline that O'Callaghan disagreed with a legal approach - wanted a pastoral approach;e) taking your approach and context, you reach the conclusion that Kenny's speech was across the line, inaccurate, etc. Thus, you choose to miss the emotional point of Kenny's speech and reject those factual parts (outlined well by Grant) because you feel that the actual abuse cases have been taken out of context; over-reaction; not a big deal.One can quibble about some of the timelines from 1996 on - but, the points Grant laid out are still standing (despite your list of the 19 abusers - how many have died; how many actually faced trial or went to jail; etc.) One can quibble about how or if Rome/B16 was directly responsible but again, Grant laid out facts (you arrive at conclusions that are not in evidence....the 1996 response did not ask bishops to break the agreement (really?); that Ratzinger should not be held responsible (technically, as you connect the dots; part of what you say may be right but it took Ratzinger and Rome another 6 years to reach the same Irish bishops conclusions and Magee/O'Callaghan still choose to ignore all of this after the fact)Finally, in arguing about the 19 individual cases, here is what we know from the larger sexual abuse context:- we will never know all of the details of each case (death; given lack of records and record keeping; given the diocesan procedure to bury, hide, destroy records, etc.)- you both try to highlight a couple of cases where you believe the abuser merely molested/touched "one" victim......first: your responses denigrate the victim (even one victim); you repeat the process that creates the anger - you start with, defend the abuser without ever mentioning the victim; given that there were no proper investigations of most of these cases - you conclude that what we physically have is all we know....experience tells us that this is rarely the case. There is rarely only one victim; - you cite court cases or lack thereof...of course, between the gardai and the diocese, they were moved in some cases; they suppressed or minimized victims & testimonies; they dragged it out until the abuser was old, dying, or dead; etc. Yes, you can cite the actual Cloyne Report and say that this is all of the documentation (sorry, technically that is correct but I would not bet on that nor would I leap to the conclusion that this justifies calling Kenny's report a "rant" or that Cloyne takes 19 cases and blows them out of proportion.- Grant outlined the fact that Kenny also named the gardai and the government's failure in this (seems to be missing from your objections)- You skip over the last 15 years and the role of two nuncios and Rome's playing diplomatic games with delayed or missing responses (has nothing to do with Magee/O'Callaghan)- Most damning - your case context repeats the same pattern of clericalism; minimizing the damage done by abuse (you try to stratify and weigh victim's damage based upon your outside view); playing the "pastoral" approach (this one is getting old...pastoral approach meaning what - handling the priest as if he is also a victim and conveying to the victim that the abuser comes first?)- finally, in other blogs, etc. you underline numbers - 19 cases - how many are dead, how little actual documentation we have; only 19 priests out of 400+ incardinated in cloyne (given the lack of records - your certitude on this is not reassuring, etc. Didn't realize it was a numbers game...so, if there is only 15 cases, not serious; more than 20, moderately serious; etc.

I fail to see also suport for the Weigel point of view whkich strikes me as obviously biased as any trained historian ought to recognize.

Joseph S. O Leary 08/01/2011 - 2:45 pm"I think Thirsty Gargoyle is the best commentator on Cloyne, but he will not be appreciated by wannabe Maureen Dowds " That is probably because they have read the originator's Disclaimer: " don't take this too seriously. I've no plans to do so, after all. Some of it will be completely made up." More dismissive standards at: http://thethirstygargoyle.blogspot.com/2007/09/before-i-begin-disclaimer...

Mr. Nunz: I also fail to see support for the Weigel point of view. I didn't expect any; but I also didn't expect to see distortions of his argument in that post. None of the reactions to him, of course, were biased, as any trained historian ought to recognize.

Distortions of Weigel's argument in what post?

Mr. Barry:Have you actually read the Thirsty Gargoyle's posts that I provided the links for? Or are you dismissing what he wrote out of hand?

I obviously dismiss it as a priori incredible because of the originator's own Disclaimer. See: http://thethirstygargoyle.blogspot.com/2007/09/before-i-begin-disclaimer...

Well, then you're doing yourself a disservice. What he writes about the Cloyne report is very credible and sober.

I don't understand the plumping of Thirsty Gargoyle. It reads like a lot of snarky dissembling and efforts to focus on the trees to distract from the forest. Sort of boilerplate stuff you find on the Web.

Pages