When I read of the action, and mostly of the inaction, of the Catholic Church in the Republic of Ireland in the widespread abuse of children in the diocese of Cloyne by paeadophilic Catholic priests over many years, I ask if you have ever considered the consequences to an organisation which was, to all intents and purposes, the real ruler of the people who lived within the Republic, and to a lesser extent, to those who held to the Catholic Faith in Northern Ireland as well. The word of the Church was Law to believers, and God’s spokesmen spoke on many issues, and the various Governments allowed the Church great leeway in the manner in which it operated. Its charities, its schools and educational establishments were given preference, its teachings, especially around contraception and abortion, still carry a great deal of weight even today within Government. It is still illegal to procure an abortion in the Republic, and as a direct result of this intolerance towards women and their choice over their bodies, some 140,000, that is one hundred and forty thousand women travelled to England and Wales to abort their unborn children over ten years.
When we hear and read of the abuses against defenceless and innocent children, we expect; no, we demand that they be protected! When the Catholic Hierarchy announced, to great fanfare, that they were amidst a new beginning, many rejoiced; but some did not. As the Cloyne Report stipulates, ‘Bishop Magee “took little or no active interest” in the management of clerical child sexual abuse cases until 2008, 12 years after the framework document on child sexual abuse was agreed by the Irish Bishops’ Conference. ‘, and yet he was allowed to carry on, delgating such matters to his sidekick Monsignor, who himself disagreed with the guidelines, as he confessed to becoming emotionally and pastorally drawn to the plight of the accused priest, to the detriment of the pastoral response I intended to make to complainants”. In other words, despite being plainly aware of the actions of perverts, he took their side because they were priests, like him!
A senior member of the Irish government proposed a law which purported to break the ‘seal of the confessional’, but this was then hedged about with so many ‘ifs, ands and buts’ that the reader knew that what was proposed was totally out of the question!
In fact, his proposed new law allows those with a “reasonable excuse” not to report allegations of abuse, and those excuses explicitly include the situation where an abused person makes it known that he or she does not want the Gardai to be told. Existing legal precedents also suggest that courts could find other “reasonable excuses” implicitly include those of lawyers, doctors, bishops or priests who believe they have a privileged relationship with a patient, client, priest or penitent. So why bother?
Along with very few others, I have personal knowledge of a paeadophile priest in action, although confessing at the same time that he gave off the aura of ‘just another parish priest’. I shook his hand, I joined in his parish works, I even gave him a hand with parish activities and auctions. Why? Simple, because, above everything else, because of the hidden and disgusting nature of their inner being, their disguise is so good, so impenetrable, that the only way is by either direct knowledge, or accusation by one of the abused which is taken seriously. When Adrian McLeish was arrested and charged, I, along with all the other parishioners, was flabbergasted. Was the man who had preached reconciliation, peace and charity the same who was accused of sacrificing the innocents to further his own perverted ends? Was the man who handed out the Sacrament the same as the pervert? I even visited him in prison before his trial, to try and discover what had turned him from the path of clarity, of truth and single-mindedness in belief to that of double-talk, and of perversion! All I found was a self-serving bleat that he could not help himself, all I heard was drivel and treachery!
Remember, the man being accused is a priest; one who stands aside from everyday life because of his calling. No wonder the poor boys who fled from the Christian Brothers’ Australian Bindoon Home were not believed; the very men who were presumed to be above the crowd by nature of their beliefs and standing were amongst the worst abusers!
According to his brother, Bishop Magee will return from America in a few days time, but will the accusers have their own day in Court? Knowing the track record of the Roman Catholic Church based in Dublin, I doubt if they will ever hear or see him again!
X-posted from A Tangled Web