The bishop takes full responsibility

It sounds as if the people who run Ireland are finally pissed off at the church.

Tough new laws to force the disclosure of information on child sexual abuse are to be introduced in response to another damning report on the failure of the Catholic Church to protect child abuse victims.

The withholding of information about serious offences against a child will be made a criminal offence, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter announced yesterday following the publication of the report on the handling of sex abuse claims in the diocese of Cloyne.

Which makes the necessary point that what the church has been doing all this time is a crime.

The report found that the Bishop of Cloyne, John Magee, misled the minister for children by claiming the church’s guidelines for handling abuse cases were being fully complied with. It also found he falsely told the Health Service Executive (HSE) that allegations of abuse were being reported to gardaí.

In other words, he lied. The bishop lied. He lied to government bodies. He did it to protect his friends and colleagues at the expense of victims, who were children. He lied when he said he and his friends were in compliance. The bishop lied. His subordinates were raping children, and the bishop lied about it.

In fact, two-thirds of complaints made between 1996 and 2008 were not reported to the Garda and no complaint was passed to the HSE during this period.

The report accuses the Vatican, through its opposition to the Irish bishops’ procedures for handling child sexual abuse, of giving comfort to dissenters within the church who did not want to implement them. In a secret letter to the bishops, Rome describes the 1996 rules as “merely a study document” and not official.

They did what they wanted to do, which was good for them, at the expense of children who were victims of their organization – their Thing.

As Ms Fitzgerald pointed out: “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.”

“It is truly scandalous that people who presented a public face of concern continued to maintain a private agenda of concealment and evasion,” Mr Shatter commented.

The bishop “apologized” all over again.

Bishop Magee repeated earlier apologies for his failure to ensure abuse victims were fully supported and responded to. While insisting he was fully supportive of the 1996 church guidelines on abuse cases, he admitted he should have taken a much firmer role in ensuring their implementation.

“I am sorry that this happened and I unreservedly apologise to all those who suffered additional hurt because of the flawed implementation of the church procedures, for which I take full responsibility,” he said in a statement.

Oh, bullshit. That’s just words. Words are easy.

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