FaithWorld

Irish Catholic Church concealed child abuse even after new prevention rules in 1990s

July 13, 2011

(Cloyne Cathedral, 7 May 2009/John Armagh)

A government-sponsored report said on Wednesday the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Ireland continued to conceal the sexual abuse of children by priests even after it introduced rules in the mid-1990s to protect minors.

Revelations of rape and beatings by members of religious orders and the priesthood in the past have shattered the dominant role of the Catholic Church in Ireland. But the latest report into the handling of sex abuse claims in the diocese of Cloyne, in County Cork, shows that senior-ranking clergy were still trying to cover up abuse allegations almost until the present day.

“This is not a catalogue of failure from a different era. This is not about an Ireland of 50 years ago. This is about Ireland now,” Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald told a news conference.

The report, which focuses on 19 priests who allegedly abused children during a period from January 1996 to February 2009, lists how the diocese failed to report all sexual abuse complaints to the police and did not report any complaints to the health authorities between 1996 and 2008. The bishop formerly responsible for the diocese, John Magee, falsely told the authorities that he was reporting all abuse allegations to the police, the report said. He resigned in March last year after a Church investigation said his handling of abuse allegations had exposed children to risk.

The report also criticized the Vatican as “entirely unhelpful” in describing guidelines on how to deal with abuse accusations as “merely a study document.” The government will decide soon whether to summon the papal nuncio, the pope’s representative in Ireland, over the matter, Shatter said.

The report said that the Church’s own guidelines would have protected children had they been implemented. Complainants’ pain was compounded by the fact that their abusers appeared to have suffered no sanctions after the abuse had been revealed. One priest even officiated at the wedding of one of his victims.

Read the full report by Conor Humphries here.

.

Follow FaithWorld on Twitter at RTRFaithWorld

rss buttonSubscribe to all posts via RSS

Comments
One comment so far | RSS Comments RSS

This matter shocked the population of Ireland, especially since it was revealed that the Vatican had, in previous times, sent out an ultra-secret letter, written in Latin by Cardinal Ratzinger as he then was, the present Pope Benedict, ordering bishops worldwide to conceal child abuse from the civil authorities, and letting either the Vatican or the local Catholic Archbishops handle the matter. These letters became public, and it was also revealed that worldwide there were so many cases of priests abusing children that the Vatican was swamped in trying to deal with the matter. After the Irish Prime Minister made a strong emotional speech to Parliament on the matter, the Vatican responded by recalling its Ambassador (Papal Nuncio) to Ireland and publicly scolding the Prime Minister. It will be interesting to see what the Irish population will do in response. Will that, as the people of the German State of Bavaria did in response to a similar episode of widespread child abuse by Catholic priests and resign en-Mass from the Catholic Church, and then try to reform it from the outside ((Shades of Martin Luther))…?

C. ALEXANDER BROWN

Posted by calexanderbrown | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/