Please donate to clerical rapists’ defense fund

What was that I was just saying about the Catholic church presuming to lecture everyone on how to be good and what a flesh-crawlingly bad joke that is? Well spare a thought for the bishop of Ferns.

Dr Denis Brennan, the Bishop of Ferns, was inviting parishioners (and any individual priests who felt so inclined) to donate money to assist the church in footing a bill, the tally for which comes to more than €10m, to meet the legal costs of defending civil cases brought against the diocese in relation to clerical sexual abuse. In other words the Roman Catholic Church in Ferns is asking the victims of its own bitter failings to pay the price for the crime.

That’s pretty, isn’t it? Empathetic? Compassionate? Thoughtful? Sensitive? Self-aware? Humble? Remorseful? Other-regarding? Unselfish? Generous? Everything admirable?

The reports into clerical abuse in Ferns and Dublin have shown a distressing level of complicity within the wider community. How could the police, the health service, schools and many private citizens, have sat back and allowed such atrocities to happen? The priest who abused my friends was well-known as having a fondness for his altar boys, yet no one ever confronted him about it. And in its arrogance and lack of self-awareness, the church interpreted this as tacit approval.

And in its continued arrogance and lack of self-awareness, the church expects its victims to help it avoid the consequences of its generations of brutality.

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