Ireland releases report on abuse in Catholic schools

May 20, 2009

candlesA report released on Wednesday said children suffered decades of abuse at institutions in Ireland run by Catholic orders.

The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse issued a 2,500-page report which said children had been the victims of sexual, emotional and physical abuse at orphanages and industrial schools now closed during a 60 year period.

The report found after a nine-year investigation that: “Physical and emotional abuse and neglect were features of the institutions. Sexual abuse occurred in many of them, particularly boys’ institutions. Schools were run in a severe, regimented manner that imposed unreasonable and oppressive discipline on children and even on staff.

Here is a link to our story. The full text of the report can be found here.

The Catholic Church in Ireland is already a shadow of its former mighty self. Do you think this report will hurt it even further? Or has its reputation been so battered that more reports of abuse might not deliver the same shock they used to?


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Well, nations with state religions have much higher rates of atheism. We can hope. :)

Posted by Pete Cann | Report as abusive

When will people wake up to the fact that the Catholic Church has been one of the major sources of EVIL in the world? Its medieval obsession with sex and celebacy has always guaranteed that it would attract sexual misfits and perverts. And of course the hierarchy has no reason to jeopardize its power and luxury for something as morally peripheral as child abuse. It’s time for the Catholic Church to be ABOLISHED. NOW.

Posted by Rick Hogan | Report as abusive

I was raised a Catholic, attended public school and was required to attend Catechism classes (religious classes) on Wednesday and Saturday at the local Catholic School as a boy. One day in Catholic class, a nun refused to allow me to go to the bathroom, though I pleaded several times during class. At the end of this two hour class, she had us all stand in line to leave, but before leaving required each of us to name the American presidents in order… I got to Abraham Lincoln, couldn’t hold it any longer and went diarrhea in my pants, running out of class all the way home. My father, a construction worker, called the priest and threatened to come down to the church and personally beat him to a pulp. My dad as a boy had also been abused by nuns, who would stand by and watch the boys urinate and pull them out by their ears if they took too long. The nun called back and profusely apologized, but I never had to return to Church. This turned me off to the notion of a God for several years. Later, in the Navy, I began to study the Bible and it awakened my belief in a loving God and His son, Jesus. Never during years of so-called Catechism were we encouraged to read the Bible, all we learned was pure Catholic orthodoxy. I recall being told by nuns that the Holy Bible was for priests alone to interpret, because it was so complex. The Catholic Church in my view should return to and abide by 1 Timothy 3 1-4 where as a bishop should be the husband of one wife, sober, and a good father. Much of the abuse we are learning of was committed by (let’s face facts) pedophile homosexual males and sadistic boy-bashing lesbians in leadership positions within the Catholic Church.

Posted by Found God | Report as abusive

I see that today the Irish Government has announced the proposed introduction of a criminal blasphemy law at a time when other EU nations move away from anachronisms.

Some may think that the Catholic Church had nothing to do with this move.

The apologies are a veneer.

Posted by G. Mason | Report as abusive

What’s new? Everything being broadcast about the Catholic church are its negative side! They don’t even acknowledge that the Catholic Church and no less than Pope Benedict XVI made reparations on the abuses of the Church. This is the reason why many dioceses had closed just to make reparation for the damages it had caused. The Church is always capable to acknowledge its mistakes. But I havent heard a report from the media or secular government exposing sexual abuses made by Muslim clerics, Protestant ministers etc. I won’t believe that there is none! I know a lot of cases but it’s not being announced in the whole world. But when it comes to Catholic Church, there you are! You have all kinds of reports of abuses and some of these are even not committed by the Catholic Church such as the holocaust. I understand that this is part of the grand scheme to discredit the Catholic Church. But Christ is always with the Church. The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Posted by Daniel Rosaupan | Report as abusive

I get incensed at the Vatican,its immovable position on contraception has been directly responsible for the desperate hardship and poverty experienced by the Irish population for hundreds of years.I grew up in Ireland and I have absolutely no time for the Catholic Church.Not allowing priests to marry attracts paedophiles to the “profession”,a job description from Heaven for a child molester.

Posted by barbara agnew | Report as abusive

“Ireland releases report on abuse in Catholic schools” with the headline like this I am not surprise at all. It happens in every country.
The catholic church is become a expert in PR because of situation like this now a day.
Just imaging if this can happened to many first world countries, I wonder how many abused cases are there that have been covered up in the third world by the catholic church.

Posted by keith | Report as abusive

I guess every right thinking human being would strongly detest abuse, especially that of children. I feel sad about the abuse-report and even worse as it involves the chosen persons who perform sacred duties among us. Sometimes the devil pulls strong strenght.

However, politicising the report would appear to show ill-will and deep-rooted acrimonious antagonism which many non-Catholics display towards the Catholic church. Judge not that you may not be judged! So says the Lord Jesus Christ. Further, any man who says he is without sin, let him be the first to condemn the church of God. We must remember that Christ does not hate the sinner, but detests sin which he commits. Furthermore, the fact that some abuses were noted in the Ireland does not mean that it is a secret trade mark of the church’s institutions.

Worse things happen in many other places. A muslim friend of mine who got converted into Christianity (a prominent pentecostal church) told me that during her post graduation national service here in Nigeria, she noted that highlevel sexual immorality was pepertrated by the ministers. At one time or the other, you too were guilty.
Celibacy is adorable. Those who hold on to, and practice the teaching of Jesus on ‘No sex outside marriage’ would agree with me that celibacy is a reality. It is a spiritual act. Only those in the spirit can achieve it. The remarkable axiom is that “in every twelve, there is always a Judas”…if you know what I mean. God help us.

Posted by Chineme | Report as abusive

As a victim of Protestant clergy abuse myself, and a researcher into the phenomenon, I would never argue that it’s only the Catholic Church that abuses, but let me debunk two common misconceptions already stated in previous comments: 1) There is no direct correlation between paedophilia and homosexuality (in fact, more paedophiles are heterosexual), and 2) Celibacy is not the cause of clergy sexual abuse.

There are a number of reasons why Catholic cases appear in the media and the courts more often – firstly, it’s often same-sex abuse, which is easier for the victim to recognise and acknowledge as abuse. Secondly, the Catholic church is a worldwide organisation, which means that transfers of offenders are much easier to facilitate (hence leading to a larger number of victims of any one offender, and more likelihood of at least one of those victims deciding to press charges). Thirdly, research indicates that male abusers of males (and, to some extent, those who abuse both sexes) usually have a greater number of victims than male abusers of females. So in Catholic churches, where there’s a much greater degree of gender segregation, and hence same-sex abuse, there’s a greater number of victims per perpetrator than in Protestant denominations, which increases the likelihood of discovery and court action. Lastly, many Protestant denominations have so far successfully argued that they are not the clergyperson’s employer, and therefore not liable for his actions, which means they don’t/can’t get sued.

This is not part of some “grand scheme to discredit the Catholic Church”. Any supposedly moral organisation which deliberately sets out on a policy of denial of sexual predation and violence within its ranks needs to be exposed for what it is. And when the organisation then refuses to co-operate with civil authorities, and works to protect abusers within its ranks, any right-thinking person should condemn its actions.

The extent to which this issue has brought down the Catholic Church is directly related to the structure and nature of the denomination. Yes, we Protestant victims wish the denominations in which we were abused could be brought to such public account too, but the reality is that they can’t. But that doesn’t mean we should avoid bringing to account those who *can* be.

Posted by Clare | Report as abusive

When we Irish come to terms with our responsibility, and, look clear eyed into the past at out collective inability to act it will become clearer that we all were in fact imprisoned by your faith. A faith poured onto us at birth. This was a parasite given to every child, replacing human reason and joy with deference to authority. The Catholic Church behavior is now on full view for the world to see. But it will be painful to look at.

Posted by mark swiss | Report as abusive