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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.


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.

About the Author

Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.



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One of the striking things about Kenny's speech was that it was not impassioned, not in manner any way. It was delivered in a voice that expressed a cold fury, all the more powerful for that.

My thought exactly, Joe. That's why I embedded video of the speech.

I think there more to Weigel's column than reflected in your remarks, Grant, especially these two paragraphs, which I think are quite useful. (I wonder if he is responsible for the headlinie.)'Perhaps some comparative history and sociology suggest an answer. In each of these cases, the state, through the agency of an authoritarian government, deliberately delayed the nations confrontation with modernity. In each of these cases, the Catholic Church was closely allied to state power (or, in the case of Quebec, to the power of the dominant Liberal party). In each of these cases, Catholic intellectual life withered, largely untouched by the mid-20th-century Catholic renaissance in biblical, historical, philosophical, and theological studies that paved the way toward the Second Vatican Council. And in each of these cases, the local Catholicism was highly clerical, with ordination to the priesthood and the episcopate being understood by everyone, clergy and laity alike, as conferring membership in a higher caste.'Then came le dluge: the deluge of Vatican II, the deluge that Europeans refer to as 1968, and the deluge of the Quiet Revolution in la Belle Province. Once breached, the fortifications of Counter-Reformation Catholicism in Spain, Portugal, Quebec, and Ireland quickly crumbled. And absent the intellectual resources to resist the flood-tides of secularism, these four once-hyper-Catholic nations flipped, undergoing an accelerated course of radical secularization that has now, in each case, given birth to a serious problem of Christophobia: not mere indifference to the Church, but active hostility to it, not infrequently manifested through coercive state power.'

Yes, well, there's more to everything I've commented on in this post (despite its length!). That's why I linked to the column. My point wasn't that every word in that column was mistaken, but that making sweeping claims about Ireland's supposed anti-Catholicism (worst in the West!) doesn't really get us anywhere.

"Christophobia"? I rather think "Vaticanophobia". But if Weigel is suggesting that clericalism tends to beget laicism, in some form or other, for once I think I might agree with him.

It's true that the fortress mentality of the counter reformation crumbled and continues to despite the understanding of Mr. Weigel and others who see the "cointinuity " of VII in present policies.It's also true that very Catholic states may have even angier reactions to what they see as failures that deeply hurt members of the perceived fortress."Chrisrtophobia" and "radical secularization" are semantics for the apologetic of not facing up to deeper problems.(I note John A. over at NCR is complaining of the German/Austrian sensibility to "rebel" as part of the kickback toward Rome there.)The Goodstein piece last week on somepsuhbacks in the Church was correct in citing Ruff -nothing will change immediately for commitment to the continuity of VII, loved by Weigel, will continue in the fortress approach from Rome. With more crumbling??

A contrarian view from columnist Kevin Myers, by no means a naive friend of the Irish Catholic Church: Theres never been a safer time or place for children than modern Ireland. would only add that the times are also not so terrible in the U.S. At the Catholic grammar school in my parish there were 53 graduates in May. The number going on to Catholic high schools is 51. And this in an area where theres an abundance of fine public and private high schools. Anecdotal evidence like this doesnt prove anything but Im strongly inclined to defer to the judgment of families about how the welfare of their children is respected in the Catholic Church. Actual choices of parents, revealed preferences as the economists phrase it, trump opinion polls, pundits and political grandstanding. In both countries we will end up with bureaucracies, crazy forms to fill out, and many ill-thought out initiatives that no one can show are more effective than the parental involvement that is already clearly in evidence.

Thanks, Grant, for providing the video of the Taoiseach's sad comments.The attacks on him from those who defend the rapists and torturers and their enablers are sickening.

I think it's interesting that anxious critics would focus so intently on one aspect of Kenny's remarks, and one bad bill on confession, and use that to make wildly exaggerated claims about "soft totalitarianism" and the "hysterical" speech by the PM while ignoring the broader context and legitimate grievances that Kenny points to -- as does Diarmuid Martin. Kenny and most Catholics, I think it's fair to say, are furious and frustrated at a defensive and authoritarian institution that abused their children and their good faith for so many years. The Irish hierarchy and the Vatican have still not come to terms with that, or sought to amend their ways. Kenny does look at his own government's record in a way that the Vatican has not. Perhaps he and other Irish Catholics understand confession better than their critics do. As Joe Gannon says, I think conflating Christ with the Vatican and church authoritarianism is wrongheaded. Maybe these "radical secularists" simply want a more Christian culture. So again, why the hyper-defensiveness by Kenny's critics?

It's the fortress (read the traditional Roamanita governance) approach - a kickback from VII- that matters.I see that in Philly (very Catholic Philly) the Lynn et al cases wil go to trial. Anecdotal comments on the inquirer site and the Inquirer reporting point to an anger there - it strikes me that very Catholic Boston is still in tension with the smooth over Cardinal O"Malley .I think David is right: strong catholics are looking for a better Church than the m.o. Church we've got.

Grant:A minor correction to your insightful blog post on the current distressing situation in Ireland: The quote is O Ireland my first and only love Where Christ and Caesar are hand and glove!It is from Joyces satirical poem (Gas from a Burner - 1912) directed against the publisher, who had promised to publish The Dubliners but reneged, and the printer, who destroyed the sheets. (Fortunately, Joyce had a complete copy of the sheets.)The above quote is preceded by these even more sarcastic lines: Tis Irish brains that save from doom The leaky barge of the Bishop of Rome For everyone knows the Pope can't belch Without the consent of Billy Walsh.(William Walsh, who, by the way, was an advocate of Home Rule, was the Archbishop of Dublin in Joyces time.) The poem is a protest against censorship in the words of the publisher defending his actions against Joyces work. But I owe a duty to Ireland: I held her honour in my hand,I think the poem could just as easily be read as a protest against church officials who would protect the church from scandal by hiding the truth about sexual abuse in Ireland.

The problem with the fortress mentality is its utter inflexibility. There is no dialogue, no possibility of surprises. Everything is settled ahead of time, once and for all, even if behind the walls, the proverbial deck chairs are being rearranged artfully. Enda Kenny spoke truth to power last week and the inflexible are running scared.

Thanks, Helen. I'll make the correction.

I had a high school prof who remarked that when you hear anti-clericalism being criticized, you can be pretty sure there's a lot of clericalism around.Gerolyn writes: "The attacks on him from those who defend the rapists and torturers and their enablers are sickening." Certainly defending rapists and torturers is sickening, but I hadn't noticed anyone of those the people cited in or contributing to this thread doing that. Weigel, for one, echoed the Irish theologian in desiring that the whole batch of Irish bishops be replaced.

"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."Mr. Kenny got it so perfectly right. No hysteria, just devastating, stern precision. I only hope his message translates well at the Vatican. Their first, informal comment was not promising.

Thanks for this post, and all the links.It brings to mind for me arriving many years ago for a retreat held at the (massive, imposing, gorgeous) seminary campus built during the Great Depression by the Brooklyn diocese (I believe). The priest leading the retreat commented, "I never know whether to be more appalled at the arrogance of the hierarchy or inspired by the generosity of the faithful".I try always to keep in mind my gratitude for the courage and the faithfulness of the laity who have played, and continue to play, active roles in bringing justice in the midst of this scandal.

Weigel's 'Then came le dluge: the deluge of Vatican II,'... Who wants to read further when such bias starts his ideas. One would think only an anti-catholic or SSPX would say 'le deluge of Vatican II'.. I await Weigel's take on the Philly trials Bob Nunez posted on. If Weigel wants to see 'le deluge' get him a train ticket to Philly. The scramble of the defendants to 'make-a-deal' and inform on higher ups, will give Weigel a whole new meaning to hysteria. We pray for Not-Cardinal A/B Martin of Dublin at every meal.

God bless Diarmud Martin.

If you had read further, you would have seen that Weigel mentions three deluges. Yves Congar used the image to indicate how much of Tridentine Catholicism was swept away in the wake of Vatican II. Certainly the Council contributed to that tsunami in Quebec, Spain, and Ireland.

Excellent, Grant. Well written with good analysis and highlights. Appreciate your skill. If I may add to you and Fr. K - it is reported that Enda Kenny also made this speech with no prior announcement; on an ordinary meeting day; with no effort to stoke or get attendance, press, etc. excited about this. There were no prior press releases, etc.My guess is - this was an extremely difficult speech for him to give personally; one that he considered and wrestled with over days.

It seems to me that when considering the fury of the Irish we need to bear Irish history in mind. For 500 years or so the Irish clergy sided with the Irish people against the English who wanted to conquor them. It is no small wonder, then, that the Irish held their clergy in particular esteem. Human nature being what it is,it is no small wonder that the Irish clergy became corrupt at least to some degree. Now that even the hierarchy has been shown to have terribly betrayed the trust of the people, the fury of the Irish is quite understandable, and, I think, quite justified. Nothing hurts so much as betrayal by someone one has respected. I can only admire Enda Kenny for his control of his justified fury. I've read that he is still a practicing Catholic, God bless him. He is doing the Church at large a great, great service. Now if only Benedict can finally get the full force of that message through his stubborn head. (When even George Weigel has come to realize that it is necessary to criticize some bishops severely, there is some hope. Perhaps he himself is like the Irish -- he trusted the clerics too much and is now starting to become radicalized.)

Such destruction will continue unabated until the Church stops trying to run itself as a seventeenth century monarchy with its kingly pope and princeling bishops autonomous and autocratic, not transparent and not accountable to the faithful they're supposed to serve.Even the deluge Fr. Joe mentions - "Yves Congar used the image to indicate how much of Tridentine Catholicism was swept away in the wake of Vatican II" - how much is attributable to Vatican II itself, how much to the *autocratic* papal commission charged with implementing the reform, and how much to the justifiable anger on the part of the clergy against the preceding decades of autocratic anti-modernist lunacy? It's interesting to remember that no lay people (and no women) were involved in any of these goings on.

Gerolyn writes: The attacks on him from those who defend the rapists and torturers and their enablers are sickening. Certainly defending rapists and torturers is sickening, but I hadnt noticed anyone of those the people cited in or contributing to this thread doing that. Weigel, for one, echoed the Irish theologian in desiring that the whole batch of Irish bishops be replaced.---- Who is helped by pretending that Enda Kenny delivered a "hysterical rant" to the Dil to "deliberately foment anti-Catholic hysteria"?Why would anyone defend the priest who compared Enda Kenny to Hitler?Who would be helped by sending foreign bishops to Ireland? Is anyone clueless enough to imagine the Irish people can be forced back to the place they occupied when a parish priest could remove a girl from her family and incarcerate her in a laundry because she was "fast"?A shame the Irish church and the Irish government didn't listen to Fr. Flanagan's warning 65 years ago.

Thanks, Grant, for some much-needed perspective on all this. I suspect Mr Kenny's remarks and their delivery cut very deeply in some quarters. Good. It show's there's a shadow of conscience in some Catholic apologists."Theres never been a safer time or place for children than modern Ireland."Possibly true, but not the point. Thanks to considerable advocacy, and no thanks to nearly every bishop, this is true.The point is that too many of these bishops are atrociously bad priests and shepherds. Some of those inhabit Roman offices. And o amount of crying "Wolf!" from their allies will change that. Millstone, meet deep-sea diving.

I never thought I would link to "Gawker" but here's a piece written by a gay man about improprieties in the Archdiocese of Miami. You use to see this stuff in the New Oxford Review or the Wanderer and attribute part of it to conservative crankiness.

Gerelyn, thanks for the link to article about Pastor Flanagan. Reminds me of Luke 4:24 - No prophet is welcome in his own country.In meantime, life at the Vatican continues as lackeys put fortress stones into place, put on their cappa magnas, speak for God (lololo), ad nauseum. All the while relying on YOUR money to support their modus operandi.At risk of repeating myself, I think we need to turn the place upside down and shake the hell out of it!!!And Jesus continues to weep.

YOUR = collective giving from the laity

So, then, no one defending "rapists and torturers and their enablers."Ann: George Weigel has been very critical of bishops like Cardinal Law all along. It's not a new position for him in this whole horrendous scandal.

Re the welcome thought to "turn the place upside down and shake the hell out of it!!!" what is the moral obligation of the faithful?

Jeanne Follman, it depends on whom one asks.I saw a heartbreaking post the other day at NCROnline from someone who essentially asked, What do I do now in light of all the stuff that's been coming out of Rome for awhile.I told her I wasn't qualified to tell people to stay in, or leave, the Church of Rome. I did leave 4-1/2 years ago and consider myself, for now, as Catholic in faith, no longer Roman Catholic by affiliation.On the other hand, I suggested this blogger consider diverting her parish contributions to worthy causes, Catholic and/or otherwise, that help folks in need. (I'm reminded here of Jesus' teaching that when religious observance conflicts with human need, the latter must take priority.) I reminded my fellow blogger that a parish must turn over a portion of receipts to the local bishop who will, in turn, send money to the Vatican, which will then use said funds to continue its assault on Vatican II.Money talks (folks in Rome know this truth all too well).Catholics must make its absence talk louder.

I think that George Weigels suggestion, however hypothetical, that a way to deal with the sex abuse crisis in Ireland is to replace, if necessary, the bishops in Ireland with men from other countries, is a both dismissive of and disrespectful to the Catholic Church in Ireland and its long history of fidelity to the Catholic Faith.Grant: In response to your rhetorical (?) question: Is there a better word besides narcissistic for Cardinal Sodanos Easter 2010?I would say a more accurate word is "unctuous."

Kenny is now the most popular politician in Ireland, despite the financial crisis.As Lisa McInerney says "You can choose to remain part of a criminal organisation or you can choose not to." An Irish lass no less

One link that might have been nice to complete this thorough post would have been Pope Benedict's 2010 letter to the Irish. I wonder if there is a parallel between Kenny's speech and that letter? Kenny: through our legislation, through our Government's action to put Children First., those who have been abused can take some small comfort in knowing that they belong to a nation, to a democracy where humanity, power, rights, responsibility are enshrined and enacted, always....always.... for their good.Pope Benedict: The lay faithful, too, should be encouraged to play their proper part in the life of the Church. See that they are formed in such a way that they can offer an articulate and convincing account of the Gospel in the midst of modern society (cf. 1 Pet 3:15) and cooperate more fully in the Churchs life and mission.- Kenny:There is little I or anyone else in this House can say to comfort that victim or others, however much we want to. But we can and do recognise the bravery of all of the victims who told their stories to the Commission.- Pope Benedict: I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated. Many of you found that, when you were courageous enough to speak of what happened to you, no one would listen. - Kenny: I agree with Archbishop Martin that the Church needs to publish any other and all other reports like this as soon as possible.- Pope Benedict (to bishops): Only decisive action carried out with complete honesty and transparency will restore the respect and good will of the Irish people towards the Church ... - Kenny: Today, that Church needs to be a penitent Church. A church, truly and deeply penitent for the horrors it perpetrated, hid and denied.- Pope Benedict: a Church purified by penance and renewed in pastoral charity ... It is my prayer that, assisted by the intercession of her many saints and purified through penance, the Church in Ireland will overcome the present crisis- Kenny: The Tnaiste left the Archbishop clear on (...) Ireland's complete rejection and abhorrence of (the gravity of the actions and attitude of the Holy See).- Pope Benedict: In the name of the Church, I openly express the shame and remorse that we all feel.- Kenny: This Roman Clericalism must be devastating for good priests.... some of them old... others struggling to keep their humanity....even their they work so be the keepers of the Church's light and goodness within their parishes...... communities... the human heart. - Pope Benedict (to priests): All of us are suffering as a result of the sins of our confreres who betrayed a sacred trust or failed to deal justly and responsibly with allegations of abuse. In view of the outrage and indignation which this has provoked, not only among the lay faithful but among yourselves and your religious communities, many of you feel personally discouraged, even abandoned. - Kenny:>i>I believe that the Irish people, including the very many faithful Catholics who - like me - have been shocked and dismayed by the repeated failings of Church authorities to face up to what is required, - Pope Benedict: It cannot be denied that some of you (bishops) and your predecessors failed, at times grievously, to apply the long-established norms of canon law to the crime of child abuse. Serious mistakes were made in responding to allegations. I recognize how difficult it was (...). Nevertheless, it must be admitted that grave errors of judgement were made and failures of leadership occurred.

There are indeed many similarities. Here are more: Kenny has the power to do implement authentic change in his government, insuring its transparency and accountability, so such things do not happen again. Benedict has the power to implement authentic change in the Church, insuring its transparency and accountability, so such things do not happen again.I'm guessing there's one big difference: Kenny will, Benedict won't.

The fortress mentality of Rome?Ein feste Burg ist unser VatikanEin gute Wehr und Waffen . . . . .but for how long, I wonder?

My hopes for action had rested on Pope Benedict's letter, but what I had taken as a first step from him outlining a plan of action seems to have been a last step, and he has sunk into passivity since then on the sexual abuse front. His silence hqs been discouraging.But now, lay people (along with Archbishop Martin, God bless him) are rising to take leadership, and I am heartened by Kenny's thunderous speech. If you will forgive me, I am reminded of those prophetic lines:"Arise, you prisoners of starvation!Arise, you wretched of the earth!For justice thunders condemnation:A better world's in birth!No more tradition's chains shall bind us,Arise you slaves, no more in thrall!The earth shall rise on new foundations"Would that people's rejection of child abuse purified the church!

Excellent overview, Grant, acute and timely. (#1 of a weekly series?) Countless times, one hears "they just don't get it" or equivalent Always, the implication is that the bishops and cardinals would "get it" if only some breakthrough or insight were to happen. Obviously to most, they should adjust. The weight of continuing, overwhelming evidence shows that, except for a handful of noteworthy men, the individuals of the hierarchy constitutionally, essentially, fundamentally _cannot_ "get it", no matter what. It's not that they will not but that they can not. Much motivation has been available. Many causes of the phenomenon could be considered - genes, vocation selection processes, education and mis-education, formation, experience, tradition, solemn oaths, esprit de corps, deep fear of authority, or some combination. A contributing factor is that the episcopal ensemble is created in its own image, self-reproducing via nuncios, Congregation for Bishops, and Pope. (Americans on the Congregation are Law, Rigali, Burke, Levada, and Stafford.) Whatever the causal explanation, the externally observable effects seem clear. To the extent that this notion of immutability applies, most of the ongoing multinational turmoil is readily understandable but pointless. The only difference to be expected in 5 years is the level of exhaustion. For working purposes, assume nothing changes for the next 5 years in attitude, approach, and responsiveness of Pope, cardinals, and bishops. Save this thread - it will be re-usable. Otherwise, the question today is how to convert JJ's metaphor (7/30 2:12PM) "we need to turn the place upside down and shake the hell out of it!!" into reality. Ireland is the focus of the moment. It diverts attention from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile . Philadelphia . etc. Who will be the speaker to follow Kenny?

Its worth noting that the Heil Herr Kenny priest, mentioned in the post above, apologized (July 28) for his remarks:Cleric says he regrets leaflet berating Enda Kenny over accusation that the Holy See downplayed child sex abuse scandals

I was going to note that he'd apologized, but then I read that after expressing regret, the priest said, "I am not comparing Enda Kenny to Hitler." Which doesn't wash.

I thought Kenny's speech was good. Some background can be found in this story at the Guardian - Irish political classes lose their fear of the Catholic church. Austen Ivereigh isn't what I'd call objective, working for Catholic Voices ( as he does.

"I thought Kenny's speech was good."I did, too. Kenny was simply expressing the trust in the Holy See that he doesn't feel anymore (but wishes to feel). He was also suggesting that the most important element of repentance is little hesitation to report crimes to the police. He delivered this "speech" as a practicing Catholic, who believes the Holy See (the Curia?) does not seem to know when it may be too late to respond intelligently (and canonically) to the scandal. Makes sense for now. Somewhere St. Augustine says, "Before God can deliver us we must undeceive ourselves." Possibly Enda Kenny was also trying to say that.

Joe K,Shall I say I am miffed, intrigued or astounded at your steadfast defense of Weigel? Weigel, like many, will put in other things in his essay in an attempt to persuade that he is fair. Secondly, your assertion that he criticized Law is ever so weak. how about Maciel? can I say, Joe. Does Weigel want the fantastic American bishops to take care over Ireland?O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts, And men have lost their reason. Bear with me; My heart is in the speech there with Kenny, And I must pause till it come back to me.

JAK --It's one thing for Weigel to criticize Law et al, and another to call for removing the entire Irish hierarchy. Even SNAP hasn't called for anything so radical. I think it would be very cynical to think that Weigel just wants American prelates to be moved there. But, who knows.Jeanne --I agree that Rome gives every indication of being hopeless at this point. Yes, the Pope is sorry the children were hurt, but he doesn't know how to change the hierarchy or doesn't have the strength. What finally made me give upon him was his appointment of Bishop Vasa of Baker, Oregon to be bishop of a much larlger diocese, Santa Rosa, CA. Vasa is one of only two bishops who refuses to have audits of his compliance with the Dallas agreement. See bishopsaccountability, which has a lot negative stuff on him, e.g.,

Lots of anger here. One would think the Vatican is corrupt to the core and that the hierarchy and much of the clergy and religious are evil. Sounds almost hysterical. Is this going anywhere - open letter to the New York Times, protest conferences, formal schism - or is it just letting off steam? Letting off steam can be therapeutic, but only if it leads to constructive engagement. Unremitting rage only confirms in separation and arrogance.

David S. --You still don't get it. You just don't or can't or won't understand why ordinary people become furious when children are mistreated criminally and then ignored by the very churchmen who are supposed to preach justice and charity yet do not defend those children from sick and/or wicked priests. There is such a thing as righteous anger. When one sees suffering children being ignored == or worse - - by their "shepherds" the anger at the shepherds is a righteous one. Don't fool yourself. Churchmen are capable of evil.

David S. -Examine the results from the Ferns Report (2005), Ryan Report (2009), Murphy Report (2009), Cloyne Report (2010), and Justice for Magdalenes Submission to the UN Committee Against Torture (2011), and you can make your own judgment rather than depending on other peoples'. After you have done so, the calm restraint shown by Taoiseach Enda Kenny may be rather surprising, considering what he had to draw on when aiming a speech at, among others, the Pope.

Outstanding, Grant. I am very grateful for your incisive response. It reminds me of your excellent thread on the Kiesle case a few years ago. The same skill and research are evident.By sharp contrast, the disgraceful effort at is most disappointing, to say the least: Vatican critics smelling sharks in the water, with Kenny playing politics at the Vatican's expense.

I get very angry when people condemn the critics of the abuse scandal as being too extreme, anti-Catholic, whatever. It is completely disingenuous to make the Vatican in any way the victim in all of this. I don't think it is even possible to be excessively critical; no language is too strong in condemning our Church leaders' actions/inactions around child abuse.

'And absent the intellectual resources to resist the flood-tides of secularism, these four once-hyper-Catholic nations flipped, undergoing an accelerated course of radical secularization that has now, in each case, given birth to a serious problem of Christophobia: not mere indifference to the Church, but active hostility to it, not infrequently manifested through coercive state power.This argument by Weigel is elitist as it is absurd. As if intellectual are the heart of the church. Building empire and narcissism yes. But not building the church. The people who have not written anything as Jesus did not, are responsibility. There is where the Holy Spirit works not in an elitist Rome, Weigel et alii."At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, "I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight."

Weigel - like some of you, confused by the apparent defense of Weigel. Here is his latest effort in Philly: effort is embarrassing in its ideology, mis-statements if not inaccuracies e.g. as if quoting from Opus Dei's CNA is a version of "Fact Checking". Some points that are almost ridiculous:"All of this is tiresome, if wholly predictable; both its tediousness and its predictability help explain why it's the rare discerning reader who turns to the mainstream media for serious reportage about and analysis of the Catholic Church. In this case, however, the same-old-same-old also obscured what is truly important about the Chaput appointment - which is not the archbishop's Potawatomi ancestry (interesting as that is), but his place as one of the most vigorous exponents of what might be called Evangelical Catholicism."Please, what is tiresome if not predictable is Weigel. Another: "With the appointment of Charles J. Chaput as archbishop of Philadelphia, the deep reform of the Catholic Church in the United States - the reform that is giving birth to Evangelical Catholicism even as it leaves the old postVatican II arguments fading into the rearview mirror - has been accelerated."Give me a break - this is even worse than his diatribe on Kenny.Another: "

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. 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." 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. 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). 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. 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. 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 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: a follow-up post by the same blogger:

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: those in a hurry, here is the Jan 1996 commentary on that document: "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" " "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: 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, 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:

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:

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.

No, it reads like a calm and logical analysis of the facts. In this, I'll grant you, it is quite different from what the Irish papers are reporting, and quite different from the speech of Enda Kenny.

Mr. Barry, thank you for your reference to canon 212.3, which reminded me of my recent exchange of correspondence with Archbishop Kurtz of Louisville. I asked if he would permit the editor of our local church newspaper "to print readers' letters that challenge official church teaching and policy on issues such as women's ordination, optional celibacy, artificial birth control, etc." I suggested that canon 212.3 "would appear to allow, if not mandate, such action." I included a copy of a "Letters" column from another diocesan newspaper that printed reader feedback in support of women's ordination (including support for Roy Bourgeois). The other diocesan paper even included a sidebar with resources, both pro and con, about the issue.After invoking God's blessing on me, the AB "offer[ed] some thoughts for [my] prayer and reflection." He went on to state:"I think it is important to consider both the full wording of the canon and the purpose of an archdiocesan newspaper in responding to this question...."You quoted canon 212.3 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law. The canon assumes several conditions, 1) the 'knowledge, competence, and preeminence' of the person making the comment; 2) that opinions are expressed in the proper forum; and 3) that care must be taken 'with due regard for the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward their pastors, and with due consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons.' When considering the publication of letters that disagree with the teaching of the Church, both 2 and 3 particularly inform this question."A diocesan newspaper's primary purpose is to inform, educate, and evangelize within the context of a local Church and is not the forum for letters that disagree with fundamental teachings of the Church. This is not the purpose of a diocesan newspaper. This certainly does not preclude an individual from expressing his or her concerns in other appropriate public or Church forums or with his or her pastor. Certainly, the newspaper can publish letters that disagree with the newspaper's work or that disagree with Church actions or decisions that do not fall within the purview of authoritative Church teaching. I think it is important to add that the newspaper has a firm policy of not publishing 'attack' letters that denigrate or insult individuals or groups."In his closing paragraph, the AB acknowledges that "we may have different perspectives about the purpose of diocesan newspapers."As an attorney reminded me several years ago, the meaning of the law depends on the person whom you ask.

I should note that I then asked Archbishop Kurtz for clarification on several points in his letter. For now, I'll just note that our local newspaper apparently is violating that provision of canon 212.3 regarding the "'knowledge, competence, and preeminence' of the person making the comment." I advised the AB that if letters published to date are any indication (THE RECORD only rather recently resumed publishing letters on some limited but regular basis), they reflect the level of information that most of us would obtain from reading the daily newspaper or watching the network news :-)I asked Archbishop Kurtz if his editor will now be vetting the backgrounds of THE RECORD's readers who submit letters for publication. I also asked him what might be the qualifications required in terms of experience, education, and training in order to consider a reader's letter worthy of publication.And life goes on --- in a very dysfunctional church.

I might also note that Kurtz is 18 months my senior and has a master's degree in social work; my graduate degree is in human resources development. Unlike the AB, I've had the luxury over the past several years to inform myself on various church issues such as liturgical history and women's ordination. I'm no expert, to be sure, but I suspect I could easily debate Kurtz on these issues.Damn sad: the AB takes the people's money to publish a weekly newspaper, but he also denies said "taxpayers" the opportunity to offer informed critique on non-infallible teaching and policy.As I've noted many, many times here and elsewhere, the laity are "enabling" such irresponsible hierarchical behaviors.

Joseph, your archbishop is naive. He should publish letters representing a breadth of opinions; but he should choose them carefully so that letters that agree with official church teachings and with his priorities are chosen among the well-articulated, factual, reasoned letters, while the letters that disagree with church teachings or with his viewpoint are chosen among angry, irrational, off-putting letters. I think that that would be much more effective. You should consider yourself lucky that Abp Kurtz is so honest (or so unsophisticated).

OMG, Claire, let's not give the AB any ideas :-) !!!!!

Phyllis Zagano has a fine piece at NCR today that I think the less than empathic Mr. Weigel would probably brand as a "usual suspect."

Danny --True, other denominations have their perverts, as do schools, the Boy Scouts, and other child intensive groups. It is a wonder to me that politicians have not realized how very much the general population cares about such abuse and that you don't find politicians with planks in their platforms promising to eliminate as much child sexual abuse as possible wherever it exists. Much headway has apparently been made in some dioceses. I would assume that the problem can also be minimized in other institutions besides the RCC.

The blog "The Thirsty Gargoyle" has been mentioned a number of times and some posters have denounced it - evidently without bothering to to read the links provided. This is an extract from one of the TGs articles entitled "How Many Questions on the Cloyne Report". I am quoting THREE of his questions and replies as they provide a useful overall view of the Report: How many allegations did the diocese receive?The Report deals with allegations against nineteen priests, including John Magee himself --9. John Magee? There were allegations against the Bishop?Yes. Well, sort of. There was a troubling incident or series of incidents, but it seems that the matter in question, while inappropriate and unwise, couldn't possibly be deemed child sexual abuse. It's difficult to see what the Diocese' response to an allegation of something that certainly wasn't child sexual abuse is doing in a report on how the Diocese dealt with allegations of child sexual abuse, but there you have it. The Report's not perfect.10. Right, so it deals with allegations against eighteen priests. That's a lot, isn't it?It is, though it depends on what you mean by a lot. The Devil's in the details, and when thinking of these eighteen priests, it's worth keeping mind that the Report notes that 430 priests were incardinated in the Diocese between 1932, the year in which the oldest priest covered in the Report had been ordained, and 2010, and that there has been only one case in Cloyne where a court decreed a priest guilty of any sort of sexual abuse. I think even one is one too many, really. Two of the cases deal not with allegations but mere expressions of concern, one about an isolated episode seventeen years earlier. At least three allegations were against priests who had died before any accusations were received, so they weren't given any opportunity of defending themselves -- indeed, a fourth such case is almost certainly related to a long-dead priest, the identity of whom remains unknown even now -- and three complaints were about priests who died soon after allegations were received. In four cases, the Director of Public Prosecutions decided against pressing charges, and although charges were brought in a fifth case, no criminal prosecution took place. The Director of Public Prosecutions repeatedly decided against pressing charges against yet another priest, identified in the Report as 'Father Ronat' and in the Elliott Report as 'Father B'; however he has since been tried and acquitted. In only one case has a priest of Cloyne diocese been convicted of any crime related to abuse: this priest, the Report's 'Father Caden', pleaded guilty to gross indecency and received an eighteen-month suspended sentence.

Rory -The point of the Cloyne Report is not to point out convicted priests but to show instances of charges of sexual abuse that were not properly investigated by the those responsible to investigate. Bishop Magee and his Msgr. are dogs that *should have* barked in the night, but didn't. They should have called for proper help to invetigate suspicious circumstances, but they didn't. They were bad watch dogs/bad shepherds/choose your own metaphor. That's the point of that study.

It seems to me that Judge Murphy showed bad faith by taking the worst possible interpretation of the actions of Bishop Magee and Monsignor O'Callaghan. They are accused of not doing enough even in cases where priests were dead or the accuser could not remember the name of his alleged abuser. If those accusers had gone directly to the police and reported decades old allegations against now-dead priests what do you suppose the police would have done?The Thirsty Gargoyle also points out that the chapter of the Report that details an allegation against Magee himself seems to have no relevance to the terms of reference of the Commission since it does NOT relate to an allegation of child sexual abuse. "Chapter 26 details how Magee himself is said to have inappropriately hugged a young adult male, but the Report gives no indication of when this happened. More importantly, it is unclear on the youth's age (C26.4), despite the fact of the Report stating that although he had been accepted for a place in seminary when he was approximately 17 years old he had to wait until he was 18 before starting his studies (C26.3), and that the youth was first hugged by the bishop at a meeting just before the start of the seminary year when he was due to begin his studies (C26.4). At least on the basis of the Report, he must have been eighteen at the time, but the Report seems unnecessarily vague on the matter. ........"......... I don't see that the Magee episode as described in Chapter 26 has any place in the Report at all. I don't dispute for a moment that it's troubling, but what's clear from it is that it concerns the bishop having allegedly hugged an admittedly young adult male, and having kissed him on the forehead. Everybody who considered this matter -- the diocesan delegate Father Bermingham, Ian Elliott of the National Board for Safeguarding Children, Archbishop Clifford, and the Garda -- all took the same view, which was that though Magee's behaviour was inappropriate, given the actual details revealed and Josephs age at the time, the behaviour described did not constitute an allegation of child sexual abuse. Given that the remit of the Report was to report on the handling of allegations and suspicions of child sexual abuse received by the diocese of Cloyne between 1996 and 2009, I really don't see why this is in the report at all. I'm not saying it's good; it's nothing of the sort. I'm just saying it's not in the remit of the Report." END OF QUOTEMy own question - Apart from facilitating sneering media attacks on Magee, what precisely was the reason for including Chapter 26 in the Report at all?

Rory --Bringing in the bishop's inappropriate behavior (he kissed the boy a number of times, not just once) brings confirmation that he was the sort of person who *at best* did not recognize what was unacceptable behavior with young people. This might possibly explain to some extent his inaction with regard to a number of serious allegations of abuse. Conclusion from these episodes: Bishop Magee at best had very rotten judgment.

AnneThe Cloyne Report begins: "This Report describes the handling of allegations, complaints, suspicions and concerns about CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE in respect of 19 clerics". [My emphasis]. Chapters 9 to 26 concern the 19 clerics. Each cleric is allocated one chapter - the only exception being Chapter 22 which deals with "Two priest teachers in a diocesan college". Chapter 26 relates to Bishop Magee. The Thirsty Gargoyle points out that "despite the fact of the Report stating that although he had been accepted for a place in seminary when he was approximately 17 years old he had to wait until he was 18 before starting his studies (C26.3), and that the youth was first hugged by the bishop at a meeting just before the start of the seminary year when he was due to begin his studies (C26.4). At least on the basis of the Report, he must have been eighteen at the time, but the Report seems unnecessarily vague on the matter".Thus a chapter of the Report that is supposed to deal with "child sexual abuse", does not relate to a child at all - or to sex abuse for that matter. If Judge Murphy wanted to make some general comments about inappropriate behaviour by Bishop Magee with a non-child, then she went the wrong way about it.

I heard of an English Anglican priest ministering in the Irish Republic and who had some sort of sexual affair with a 17 year old boy. In itself such behavior is legal; but he received 5 years for "indecency" -- sounds like we are back to Victorian times.Rory is right -- the Cloyne Report is obsessed with mandatory reporting, even when the allegations are of the flimsiest, and Msgr O'Callaghan is being hung, drawn and quartered for the exercise of common sense. This is rewritten as "presiding over the systematic rape and torture of children" by the witch-hunters.(Note again that the Irish Government thrice rejected mandatory reporting legislation, and will do so again despite Kenny's rant).

@ Joseph S. O'Leary:This has nothing to do with "Victorian" sensibilities about "indecency." This discussion is about the sexual exploitation of children and vulnerable adults by priests who because of their position in Irish society were able to sexually violate these children and vulnerable adults with impunity - and then have complicit hierarchs cover it up.If that is a too old-fashioned-notion for you, then really who is the moral reprobate here?Agreed that mandatory reporting legislation is no magic bullet, nor are these statutes perfectly written. But, if effectively welded by civil authorities and agencies, mandatory reporting requirements are an essential tool to compel sociopathic priests and bishops to participate in and adhere to social laws that are intended to safeguard children from predation.You may not have such a high opinion of the Enda Kenny. But one thing is for sure: This moment may not come again for many years - maybe not in our lifetimes. To have a civil politician, a prime minister of government no less, so bluntly identify the evil corruption that has all but consumed the Catholic Church's hierarchy, is a rare event in the history of democratic governments spanning more than two centuries.To have the Irish Taoiseach speak aloud these truths to power is beyond astonishing! Throughout the centuries of Irish suffering and deprivation, the Catholic Church always stood as a bulwark against economic and political oppression. While Ireland suffered the diaspora of millions of her sons and daughters spread around the globe, the Catholic Church provided shelter for the Irish culture, language and spirituality. The prime minister's speech now proves that all that has passed away because of the arrogant narcissism of the hierarchs.P.S. Interesting that you, O'Leary, invoke the memory of the church's Inquisition "witch-hunters" to besmirch advocates for survivors of sexual exploitation by priests! Things getting a little too hot, a little too close to bone, for you guys?

But, if effectively welded by civil authorities and agencies, mandatory reporting requirements are an essential tool to compel sociopathic priests and bishops to participate in and adhere to social laws that are intended to safeguard children from predation.That kind of rant is one of the things that prompted The Thirsty Gargoyle to comment in relation to this "debate":Too often it's like being in a bizarre University tutorial where you're the only person who's read any of the original sources, but where everybody else has a passionate view on the stuff they've never read. Still, if people shout at you for being honest and informed, that's the way it goes. We have a duty towards the Truth, after all. you understand that the Irish Government specifically declined to introduce mandatory reporting on a number of occasions? They declined on the advice of the social workers who actually deal with troubled families and abused children. The social workers feared an avalanche of false claims that would make their jobs impossible. These are the people who would have to report allegations of sexual abuse even if they thought the allegations were without foundation. When the police investigated and found no evidence of such abuse, the social workers would then have to deal with the enraged parents whom they had falsely accused. After all the families would still be troubled and now would have a GENUINE grievance against the "interfering busybodies".It is clear from media reports that Irish social workers are still strongly opposed to mandatory reporting.

For a view of the way the Itish government views this and its approach to the Vatican, check out the parliamentary debate of August 8.Mandatoruy repotting is a defense issue from supporters of the Romans at this point.

@ Rory Connor:Excuse me, I believe you're the one who's "rant[ing]". Sadly, it is you who is woefully uninformed and don't understand mandatory reporting statutes. I don't know what is the specific political dynamic behind Irish social workers and what they are advocating for their particular circumstances. I'm sure that there is still a great deal of shame associated with how Irish culture abetted child sexual abuse for generations.For obvious reasons of which we are now aware rooted in their history, the Catholic Church does not have a stellar record of supporting mandatory reporting regimens. I am a mandated reporter in CA. There are established, intricate systems for reporting abuse of vulnerable populations. It's NOT a perfect system - tragically too many folks still slip through the safety net. But it has made important contributions to the safety of children, women caught in domestic violence, and elderly who are particularly vulnerable to exploitation.I shutter to think what a hell-hole children would be abandoned to if the state had no mechanism to intervene in what are mostly abusive family situations.Child protective agencies, although understaffed and under-funded, are the central players in these circumstances. Courts and police have come to rely heavily on these professionals to provide a modicum of protection for especially children.The key to making mandatory reporting systems work is to ENFORCE the LAW. Unfortunately, there has been a sad example of the consequences of not enforcing the law right here in No. CA: A local district attorney failed to prosecute Bishop Daniel Walsh of Santa Rosa [Since the advent of the Catholic abuse scandal, priests and bishops have been designated in CA as mandated reporters.] after Walsh failed to report serial child sex abuser, Xavier Ochoa, to civil authorities, and in fact tipped-off Ochoa that the police were going to arrest him, allowing Ochoa to skip town and flee to Mexico which has no extradition for rape and sodomy.Walsh was given a slap on the wrist. Apparently, Ochoa is now back in ministry in Mexico where he is ostensibly free to menace and sexually assault even more children. [Ochoa is a particularly pernicious sexual predator since his preferred victims usually come from the poorest of families.]Mandatory reporting statutes are only ONE tool in efforts to make children safer. In my opinion, a more effective tool would be for the Catholic Church to publicly identify all priests who have been credibly accused so that parents could be forewarned about sexual predator priests.Other helpful measures: Effectively supervised "Aftercare" programs for identified perpetrator priests. Stiff prison sentences for abusing priests and their complicit bishops.Since there is no known effective clinical treatment for child sexual abuse [published in the scientific literature], the best that we can do to ensure the safety of children is to sequester perpetrators from their target victim populations using the prison system.It wouldn't hurt if the Catholic Church (read hierarchs) got serious about reforming the priesthood from parish to pope.And Rory, I would gladly suffer some occasional "interfering busybodies" if it meant that at least some children would not have their innocence violated by predatory adults, especially priests.

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