Ireland wakes up
…for the first time in this country a report on child sexual abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago, not three decades ago. In doing so the report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection and elitism that dominates the culture of the Vatican to this day. The rape and torture of children were down-played or managed to uphold 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.
Music. And there’s more.
Clericalism has rendered some of Ireland’s brightest and most privileged and powerful men either unwilling or unable to address the horrors cited in the Ryan and Murphy reports. This Roman clericalism must be devastating for good priests, some of them old, others struggling to keep their humanity, even their sanity, as they work hard to be the keepers of the church’s light and goodness within their parishes, communities and the condition of the human heart. Thankfully for them and us, this is not Rome. Nor is it industrial school or Magdalene Ireland, where the swish of a soutane, smothered conscience and humanity and the swing of a thurible ruled the Irish Catholic world. This is the Republic of Ireland in 2011. It is a republic of laws, rights and responsibilities and proper civic order where the delinquency and arrogance of a particular version of a particular kind of morality will no longer be tolerated or ignored.
Later on, Deputy Dara Calleary speaks up:
It is exactly one week since the publication of the report by the Government and the Vatican has yet to issue a formal response. Its only response was through a spokesman this morning who, in a personal capacity, said there was noting in the advice given by the nuncio in 1997 to encourage bishops to break Irish laws. He said the Vatican’s advice on child protection policies could not be interpreted as an invitation to cover up abuse. Does the Vatican take us, the people of Ireland, for fools?
This is the most damning line. There is no indication of any concern on the part of Vatican for the children who were abused. While the Vatican authorities might not have encouraged bishops to break the laws, they encouraged them to put the reputation of the church before the protection of children. They were more worried about embarrassment than the damage of abuse. In how many other dioceses did the Vatican interfere in the manner it did in Cloyne?
Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin:
The Papal Nuncio refused to answer queries from a commission of inquiry and claimed diplomatic immunity. The same Papal Nuncio still has the role of issuing Vatican instructions to the bishops in this country. I expect that if a school system operated and directly controlled by a third party state in Ireland consistently failed to report allegations of child sexual abuse against its teachers and ancillary employees to the Garda, that state’s ambassador would be required to answer questions. If he or she failed to do so, he or she would be asked to leave. The church is not above the law and it is high time it stopped thinking it was. Fr. Federico Lombardi may claim his recent remarks were made in a personal capacity, but this is the disingenuous double-speak that must come to an end.
Bishop John Magee had no interest in protecting the children of Cloyne and fobbed off his responsibility to Monsignor Denis O’Callaghan who equally had no interest in reporting the abuse of children to the authorities. Bishop John Magee actively and knowingly lied to the Government, the health service and the Garda. He concealed information on the crimes committed by the priests in his diocese. He actively engaged in the reckless and, at times, wilful endangerment of children.
And there’s much more. It’s good reading.