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The Taoiseach has just got it wrong. The Pope isn’t the problem: he is a major part of the solution

Both at the CDF and as Pope he has clearly directed that crimes must be reported to the civil authorities

By on Friday, 22 July 2011

Enda Kenny pins blame for the mishandling of abuse allegations on the Vatican (PA photo)

Enda Kenny pins blame for the mishandling of abuse allegations on the Vatican (PA photo)

As the Belfast Telegraph comments today: “The blistering attack by Taoiseach Enda Kenny on the Vatican in the wake of the disturbing Cloyne report on clerical child abuse was a seismic moment in the relationship between the state and the Catholic Church in the Republic. He pulled no punches in his comments which would have been unthinkable in an earlier era. But, even more worryingly for the Church, one of its most senior clerics, Dr Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, weighed in with more allegations of continuing cover-ups by elements in both the Vatican and Irish hierarchy.”

It should be noted, however, that Archbishop Martin indirectly confronts one of the most potentially damaging accusations in the Taioseach’s “blistering” speech, one to which Mr Kenny gave additional prominence by climactically ending on it: the accusation that as Cardinal Ratzinger he denied that the civil authorities had any part in dealing with crimes committed within the Church:

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said: ‘Standards of conduct appropriate to civil society or the workings of a democracy cannot be purely and simply applied to the Church.’

As the Holy See prepares its considered response to the Cloyne report, as Taoiseach, I am making it absolutely clear, that when it comes to the protection of the children of this state, the standards of conduct which the Church deems appropriate to itself, cannot and will not be applied to the workings of democracy and civil society in this republic.

Not purely, or simply or otherwise.

Now, Mr Kenny’s anger is understandable. But he will get nowhere by characterising the gross failures exposed in the Cloyne report (which found that Bishop John Magee had paid “little or no attention” to child safeguarding as recently as 2008 and that he falsely told the government that his diocese was reporting all allegations of clerical child sexual abuse to the civil authorities) as being a direct reflection of Vatican policy. The Cloyne report also found, according to the Herald’s report, that “the bishop deliberately misled another inquiry and his own advisers by creating two different accounts – one for the Vatican and the other for diocesan files – of a meeting with a priest-suspect”. So, he deliberately kept the Vatican in the dark. The point is that as Archbishop Martin pointed out in his own remarks, “Those in Cloyne ignored the 2001 norms of the Pope, of the present Pope.”

It is important to understand what those norms are, since the Taioseach is now accusing the present Pope (by quoting wholly out of context remarks on the nature of truth made in 1990, in a document entitled “Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian”, and published of course well before the present child abuse furore) of seeking to exclude the civil authorities from cases of clerical child abuse. This is how the relevant CDF document “Guide to Understanding Basic CDF Procedures concerning Sexual Abuse Allegations”, actually begins:

A: Preliminary Procedures

The local diocese investigates every allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by a cleric.

If the allegation has a semblance of truth the case is referred to the CDF. The local bishop transmits all the necessary information to the CDF and expresses his opinion on the procedures to be followed and the measures to be adopted in the short and long term.

CIVIL LAW CONCERNING REPORTING OF CRIMES TO THE APPROPRIATE AUTHORITIES SHOULD ALWAYS BE FOLLOWED [my emphasis].

And that is what he reiterated to the Bishops of Ireland in March last year:

It cannot be denied that some of you and your predecessors failed, at times grievously, to apply the long-established norms of canon law to the crime of child abuse. Serious mistakes were made in responding to allegations. I recognise how difficult it was to grasp the extent and complexity of the problem, to obtain reliable information and to make the right decisions in the light of conflicting expert advice. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that grave errors of judgment were made and failures of leadership occurred. All this has seriously undermined your credibility and effectiveness. I appreciate the efforts you have made to remedy past mistakes and to guarantee that they do not happen again. Besides fully implementing the norms of canon law in addressing cases of child abuse, CONTINUE TO COOPERATE WITH THE CIVIL AUTHORITIES IN THEIR AREA OF COMPETENCE.

Incidentally, on the accusation that in 1997 the then nuncio to Ireland gave bishops an excuse for ignoring Irish law on reporting such cases to the civil authority, see Rory Fitzgerald’s recent Herald blog, in which he quotes Fr Lombardi as saying that the letter in fact did not contravene “any civil law to that effect, because it did not exist in Ireland at that time…”

“This is true,” comments Fitzgerald: “there was no such law at the time. Therefore the accusations that the Vatican’s 1997 letter broke the law in Ireland are probably false.” So, it wasn’t just the Church that needed at the time to catch up: it was the civil law, too.

Finally, here is the full context of that 1990 quotation from a document called “Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian”, which the Taioseach quoted in his speech attacking the Pope:

The Church, which has her origin in the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is a mystery of communion. In accordance with the will of her founder, she is organised around a hierarchy established for the service of the Gospel and the People of God who live by it. After the pattern of the members of the first community, all the baptised with their own proper charisms are to strive with sincere hearts for a harmonious unity in doctrine, life, and worship (cf. Acts 2:42). This is a rule which flows from the very being of the Church. For this reason, standards of conduct, appropriate to civil society or the workings of a democracy, cannot be purely and simply applied to the Church.

The passage in bold type is the quotation produced by Enda Kenny with such a flourish to demonstrate (conclusively, he thought) the present Pope’s alleged belief that clerical child abuse cases were no business of the civil authorities: actually, what it refers to (he omits, notice, the words “for that reason”) is the imperative for all the baptised to “strive with sincere hearts for a harmonious unity in doctrine, life, and worship”. That can hardly be used to prove the Taoiseach’s accusation of “the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism and the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day”.

But that doesn’t make it irrelevant to the Cloyne report. For, what it does draw attention to, with tragic irony, is how very far were so many priests in the Diocese of Cloyne, and how far also were the Cloyne diocesan authorities themselves, from the “harmonious unity in doctrine, life, and worship” that Cardinal Ratzinger called for 20 years ago, and still calls for as Pope. What we need to understand, and what Mr Kenny ought to (but won’t) acknowledge, is that Pope Benedict isn’t the problem; he is a major part of the solution.

  • Josephsoleary

    Ignoring arguments and ridiculing the call for objective discussion is the norm in the current hysteria. I suspect that no one here has even looked at the actual cases Cloyne is accused of mishandling (9 or so). Most of them are single accusations going back to alleged incidents (not rape) of 30 to 60 years previously.

  • Josephsoleary

    The case of Fr Wrixon, to which you refer, is the ONLY court conviction of a Cloyne priest. His crime: mutual masturbation with a 16-17 year old 30 years ago. As this is no longer a crime in Irish law (since 1993) he got a suspended sentence. This is rather remote from the systematic rape and torture of children to which we constantly hear about.

  • Josephsoleary

    The only power the RCC had (since the abolition of its special status in the COnstitution 40 years of so ago) was that of a lobby. The people followed Vatican morality because it wanted to (on divorce, abortion, contraception; and in fact rejected Vatican views on 2 of these some time back).

  • Josephsoleary

    inocoherent mutterings are the stuff of the Irish debate

  • Nat_ons

    Grandstanding politics, WO, and, of course it works. Mr Kenny (apologies to him elsewhere calling the man himself ‘Kelly’, and thanks to TG for pointing out this slip) is playing this ‘beat the church’ racket for all that it is worth, and understandably so; it is the vain glory of a passing political need. For while it may seem that the Irish hierarchy in some poisonous but influential parts (like those of the US and elsewhere) deserve a good beating for their misdeeds and others for a collective and woeful blindness, indeed an indictable neglect, yet the politician who seeks to rip apart the church catholic and the laws that issue in its discipline whip up a whirlwind of unimaginable horrors.

    This is the case with the discipline of the sacrament; Mr Kenny might want his priests to tell the police on others who break the law, yet he would think twice in demanding that his confessor goes straight to a police station to expose Mr Kenny for breaking a law. That the law broken may be a serious one, or may be the false self-accusation of a mentally disturbed soul, or may simply be a law created to make a political point is not a case that can be sifted out – to break the seal of confession is to undo the discipline of sacrament, and is thus wrongdoing i.e. sin. 

    The law of the church catholic as divinely based not a human express is often the last resort and the first line of defence in man’s liberties, rights and protections; Chesterton, of course, would set this out more clearly than I could. For a politician to have no regard for this truth ought to be no surprise, since only the most narrowly focused or issue-twisted mind could casually disregard the fundamental character of law, discipline and community. Yet this does not let off the local Irish Ordinary authorities nor the Vatican Offices and the guidance they offer, and indeed it needs must now concern His Holiness; simply and forthrightly because there has been a failure – or breakdown – in good (moral, legal, purposeful) administration; anyone who as taken the time to read through and digest the excellent, although narrowly reputation based, assessment in ‘Roads To Ruin’ (link to PDF below) will understand both my point and the church’s yawing disasters in ignoring such ‘risk’ to its vulnerable flock, its singly-honoured leadership and thus to the good repute of God (let alone his church).

    http://www.reputability.co.uk/files/20110602_Roads_to_Ruin.pdf

    God bless, Noel.

  • http://twitter.com/thirstygargoyle Thirsty Gargoyle

    It’s true that Michael Daly has ignored William Oddie’s point, but he is correct: the more truthful of the two versions of that episode that Magee recorded was indeed to be sent to Rome. However, it seems clear from the report that Magee wasn’t honest with anyone, and that he had no interest in following the Church’s rules.

    That is what the Inquiry was about, for what it’s worth: the failure of two men in one diocese to follow the Church’s own rules. They did not break the law of the land. They broke the canon law, which is more strict in these matters than the law of the land, and they completely flouted the Irish bishops’ agreed guidelines, which were more strict still, but they did not break the law of the land.

    As to Josephsoleary’s point, while you’re right, I’d be careful with this. If we can trust the findings of the 2002 SAVI Study, and correlate them with the 2002 Census, it seems that a decade ago there must have been about 13,000 adult survivors of child sexual abuse by clergy in Ireland, and more than a further 750,000 adult survivors of child sexual abuse by other people. Now, given that we’re talking about 13,000 or so victims, I’d not be inclined to dismiss the reality of their allegations. Two thirds of the reported allegations at Cloyne, insofar as I can work it out, concerned the abuse of children — including what Judge Murphy refers to as a ‘vicious sexual assault’ on a girl who was around six to eight years old.

    This is bad. It’s not bad in the way the Irish Government and media are making it out to be, but it is bad.

  • http://twitter.com/thirstygargoyle Thirsty Gargoyle

    That’s very likely. The 2002 SAVI Study found that — rounding off numbers — prior to being anonymously surveyed, about 48% of adult Irish abuse survivors had never told anybody of what had happened to them, and about 47% of adult Irish abuse survivors had only ever told family or friends or such. Only about 5% of survivors of child sexual abuse had reported the crime to the police, and those reported crimes, only one in ten resulted in a guilty verdict in court. Abuse survivors generally don’t report things because they don’t want to revisit their pain, and what to leave it in the past.

    Given that the Study found that 27% of Irish adults had been sexually abused in childhood or adolescence, this means that the number of people in Ireland who have been withholding knowledge of child abuse and therefore potentially endangering children even now runs into the hundreds of thousands. This problem goes far beyond the institutions of the Church.

  • kenneht harris

     Mr Oddie’s insightful remarks are deadon. Maybe Mr Kenny should listen more closely to what the Pope
     says wisely about this question instead of “narcisistically” seeking international limelight with the most banal observations, I have my doubts if Mr Keny has any psychoanalytical training when he speaks of the Church’s narcissism – he migh wellt change his mind if he bothered to visit missionaries at work throughout India, Africa and elsewhere.
    Mr Kenny’s unreasoned comments, grounded in prejudice, remind me of the evil strategy of the maleveolent Dr Goebbels, the Nazi minister of propaganda who effectively fued hatred against potential enemies of the regime:
    mainly the Jewish and Christian population who were accused of atrocities of all kinds, from kidnapping children to canabalism .   
    Possibly Mr Kenny and others fancy themselves as liberators of Ireland from the domination oif the Church.
    Yet they fail to perceive that the Ireland they are creating is hardly to be envied: crime, community fragmentation, descocialization, narcotic and drinking abuse, pornography and so forth, the very factors which go toward transorming sexuality into a commodity to be bought and sold. The look blindly to the UK and Scandanavia as their models of “individual feedom”, without realizing the price to pay is the servitude of the individual to fals idols. The Church exists to evangelize. The Church exerts authority, but authority inthe sense of the word’s original meanng -in Latin, “to foster growrth.” The Church humanizes any society where it is present.
    Ireland, like many countries in Europe, needs greater humanization.
    As for th Clone report: it was one-sided  in the sense that the target was excluively institutions run by Ca tholic orders while tose of other denominations, both lay and Christian, were given short shrift, as if this inhuman vice existed only in Catholic quarters which is evidently absurd.

    Kenneth Harris

  • Tim

    I never denied that what Law and Magee did was wrong, but both men likely (Law for sure) took the advice of experts. Law had sent Geoghan and Shanley to treatment centers. “Experts” told Cardinal Law that these cases were treatable. Shanley (not Geoghan to my knowledge) was the one who advocated for NAMBLA, and he also was an open critic of the Church’s teaching condemning homosexual acts. (Which is all the more reason that Church officers ought not tolerate dissenters on moral teaching.) Law sent him to this place:

    http://www.harthosp.org/InstituteOfLiving/default.aspx

    During therapy, Shanley admitted sexual misconduct with minors (males and females). His treatment was obviously unsuccessful. So now we also know that mental health therapists knew of sexual misconduct, and THEY ALSO FAILED TO REPORT! So here’s what I recommend:

    1) Private mental health therapists as well as institutions should open their files and archives
    2) Private mental health therapists as well as institutions should waive all statute of limitations so the victims can sue them for HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS!
    3) Private mental health therapists as well as institutions should settle with the victims instead of defending themselves in the lawsuit because defending themselves would be “arrogant” “insensitive” and “narcissistic”
    4) The Church should sue private mental health therapists as well as institutions for HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS due to professional malpractice.

    None of these things will happen, nor will there be any demand for these things because, for one, the Ruling Class doesn’t want to target the Psychiatric industry as they do the Church. Two, the Church has much deeper pockets. It also seems that the general public in the U.S. and in Europe is practicing “selective outrage”.

    Another point: Authorities had every opportunity to move against Cardinal law, but chose not to do so, and there is no evidence that they planned on doing so before he left the country. There was no effort by the authorities in Boston to bring Law before a grand jury.
    But don’t overlook the fact that Shanley, just like so many of these offenders, were moral dissenters to the Church’s teaching on sexual issues. It is also obvious that the vast majority of these clerical offenders were, let’s be polite, not straight shooting heterosexuals. Yet these men entered the Church knowing full well the Church’s teaching on sexual matters. Many of the minors involved in these cases were victims, but another victim is the Church herself. To use a phrase of Winston Churchill, these sexual deviants entered the Mystical Body of Christ the way Lenin entered Russia, as a bacillus.

    As I stated earlier, we all need to learn from this and move on.

  • Tim

    The rate of sexual misconduct is considerably lower in Christian institutions (Catholic and Protestant) than in other institutions of comparable size.

  • Alan

    I agree that the Pope is, in theory, ultimately responsible.  But my impression over the last 50 years (and much longer from my reading of history) is that, in practice, the Vatican bureaucracy is so entrenched that the Pope finds it next to impossible to go against it if he wishes.  John XXIII managed to, when calling Vatican II, and I think John Paul I tried to; it is said that he wanted to bring the workings of the Vatican Bank out into the open (prompting some of the (probably) wild speculations that he was murdered).  But my sense is that Benedict feels constrained, and would be more “liberal” if he could.

  • brencel

    My point was that if Law and Magee had merely suggested a discussion on ordaining women as priests they would have been asked to resign their bishoprics and I doubt if they would have been welcome in Rome; the Vatican appears to see actual child abuse and cover-ups as the lesser canonical crime.

  • Kennyinliverpool

    I sometimes think people are not shocked / angry that a priest could sexually abuse a child 

    It is ONLY because of this that the secular authorities are acting. 

    People are finding it difficult to forgive because it seems like things haven’t really changed, or not changed enough to satisfy people that this cannot be done again, more abusers need to be brought to trial, and brought to trial quickly. 

    I think it is very sad, as do we all that any priest could abuse a child / young person. 

    I think the Pope is connected to some extent with the infamous ‘cover up’ – maybe more documents need to be released or something – I think that would help.

  • Chris Lane

    No toleration.

    No holding back from the authorities.

    Report all accusations to the police.

    Recognise they cannot be cured, cannot be cured.

    Even the Confessional secrecy must give way to child safety.

    Remember that celibacy is not the problem, per se.  Most abusers are married men.

    One in three children are victims.

  • Paul

    Three of the four mental health institutions which the Boston Archdiocese used for evaluations were affiliated with the RCC, so if the Church follows your advice, it will, for the most part, be suing itself. 

    It’s true that Law wasn’t charged with any crimes because the Attorney General didn’t feel he had enough evidence to convict him beyond a reasonable doubt, but here’s what the AG wrote about Law in his report on the case, Child Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston (http://www.bishop-accountability.org/resources/resource-files/reports/ReillyReport.pdf)
     
    “As Archbishop, and therefore chief executive of the Archdiocese, Cardinal Law bears ultimate responsibility for the tragic treatment of children that occurred during his tenure. His responsibility for this tragedy is not, however, simply that of the person in charge. He had direct knowledge of the scope, duration and severity of the crisis experienced by children in the Archdiocese. He participated directly in crucial decisions concerning the assignment of abusive priests, decisions that typically increased the risk to children; and he knew or should have know that the policies, practices and procedures of the Archdiocese for addressing sexual misconduct were woefully inadequate given the magnitude of the problem.”

    So why didn’t the Vatican discipline this scumbag instead of giving him a plum job at a basilica with diplomatic immunity? Don’t you think Cardinal Law’s cover-up and enabling of these horrible crimes deserved, if not a “pound of flesh,” at least some kind of punishment? Like being sent to an obscure monastery in Latin America to end his days? When justice isn’t served, especially when terrible crimes against children are committed, you don’t just “move on.” Ratzinger could at any time correct this situation and remove Law from his position as “archpriest” at St. Mary’s, but he chooses not to. Your Pope is the protector of a protector of child molesters.

  • Tim

    Truth and Catholic apologetics do often go hand-in-hand. Good observation.

  • http://twitter.com/Scurlocke Scurlocke Scurlocke

    I’m amazed at the denseness of some of the comments here. Maybe the facts are too complex for people with a one track mind. Enda, or the angry Irish priest who wrote his speech, was deliberately misleading throughout this speech. Did Tony Flannery of the liberal clericalist Association of Catholic Priests write the speech, I wonder? His brother is Frank Flannery a member of parliament in Kenny’s party.

  • Anonymous

    I have not seen a factual accounting of those statistics… Interesting.

  • Nat_ons

    Absolutely. What is missed here, however, it the point of Kenny’s grandstand. His prompt is political, not a concern for the welfare of good of the church catholic and its administration – and it is in the administration of church law, ethos and communion that is open to criticism.

    This must be a concern for his His Holiness, among so many other thorns in the crown of leadership. Innocence of the crime or its shameful handling is not the sincere issue at the root of Kenny’s diatribe, or the woeful attack by politicians on the fundamentals of law, discipline and church. What the Vatican needs to address, and hence concern the awesome Benedict XVI, is the systemic failures of oversight; that of the local Ordinaries in apostolic rule, that of pastoral guidance locally and centrally, and more importantly that of the Vatican Offices in addressing guidance or discipline.

    There is little that a pope can do to address this issue in the church catholic as a body – any pope or bishop of any sort – other than what Benedict XVI has set about doing; vigorously guiding the guiders and those who would be guided. As you point out, that is not the typical role of the hands-on CEO or serving Prime Minister or presidential sovereign; for a bishop, like every Christian, represents Christ in the world. He is a pastor while also called a one royal priest among many, a shepherd not an executive of the priestly ministry of the gospel; the foot dragging over have rules on child abuse and its reporting has been dealt with admirably by his lead, it remains a drag  in some sections of the church which he leads (and others that are not in communion with him); over the Vatican Offices, however, he is the monarchic presiding sovereign, he has a sort of prime minister there, who is his typical chief officer of state.

    A Vatican Office is like any office, except in its additional role of being or seeking to be a body of members who are called to be holy as God is holy; the failures of the Vatican Offices and their local episcopal versions may be seen in the types of officialdom that make no effort to be holy at all:

    A. Inadequate board skills and inability of Non-Executive Director members to exercise control B. Blindness to inherent risks, such as risks to the business model or reputation C. Inadequate leadership on ethos and culture D. Defective internal communication and information flow E. Organisational complexity and change F. Inappropriate incentives, both implicit and explicit G. ‘Glass Ceiling’ effects that prevent risk managers from addressing risks emanating from top echelons. The church does indeed have non-executive directors, all of us, God’s people, good, bad and indifferent, including Enda Kenny et al. The episcopal leaders of this body do indeed act with executive powers in being busy about both the humdrum and the risky matters of walking in a new life of salvation in one body with one Spirit. So where defective internal communication/ information is exposed in the complexity of change for such an organisation, an inadequate lead on ethos and culture can produce inappropriate incentives – preventing those who must actually manage risky matters from addressing risks emanating from their top echelons (think Bishop Magee and the souls following his lead, then the show is on the road).God bless, Nat.

  • Alan

    I think William Oddie makes some good comment about specific points.  I see they are usefully being picked up elsewhere.

    But this is the Taoiseach of Ireland speaking and he says a great deal more than that discounted by Dr Oddie.

    Yes, he may indeed be “grandstanding” but the problem surely is that his words are finding a deep resonance within the hearts and minds of many Irish Catholics, including many priests, some of whom I have known personally for several decades.

    Even if the Holy Father were able to show he has cleaner hands than the rest, and I believe he probably has, the weight of evidence that supports this institutionally ignored rape and torture is overwhelming and I mean that, it overwhelms me. The Vatican and all it is (or has been?) stands at the heart of this.

    While I believe the detail and the truth are vitally important too, the Taoiseach would see this attempt by Dr Oddy to bring light to the situation and clear the Pope in these withering terms:
    “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. This calculated,
    withering position being the polar opposite of the radicalism, humility
    and compassion upon which the Roman Church was founded.”

    And what the Archbishop says and writes also seems to support the Taoiseach’s general thesis

  • Tim

    Take a look at American public schools (all of them are completely non religious) and day care centers (shame there is even a demand for those) and state run foster care programs. Looking at the rate of sex abuse in any group or institution where adults and minors mix. Also, most sex abuse happens within families, and the perps are typically married. Here’s some information on the report on U.S. public schools by Carol Shakeshaft in 1995. And yes, teachers were shuffled about from school district to school district. In the States, there does exist some selective outrage as well as selective million dollar law suits, etc.

    http://skellmeyer.blogspot.com/2004/07/no-news-here.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charol_Shakeshaft

  • Tim

    “diplomatic immunity”? Law is not a diplomat.

  • Coghlanronan

    The problem here is that the Vatican is not perceived as being straight.  Whether this perception is true or not is another matter; but the Vatican and the hierarchy are seen as protecting their own. This does not simply apply to child abuse: look how they did a deal with the Italian Government to let Archbishop Marcinckus return to the United States unarrested some years ago. 

    The Irish hierarchy have in the past been difficult when it came to dealing with the State.  They knew (until recently) that if they condemned a political party, it could harbour no hope of Government.  Often the priests came from uneducated backgrounds and some years at a seminary did little to civilize them.  The fact that the Irish Government had to request the Vatican not to make Archbishop McQuaid a cardinal points this up.  The Irish state felt itself hamstrung if it came to any disagreement with the Church.

    The only way the Church can survive in Ireland is for it to change how it is seen by the public – a hard job as so much of the media is both anti-Catholic and anti-Christian.  Ferocious action by the Vatican is called for, including, if appropriate, unfrocking of priests and deposition of bishops.

  • jng

    At the weekend, I was seeing, on the BBC news, subtitles claiming that the Norweigian mass murderer might be an Extreme Right Christian while, at the same time, on sound, saying that there was no evidence that he was connected with any organization.  Al Jazeera, normally a much better news channel, picked this up later. No doubt, it went down very well in those Moslem countries where Christians are persecuted, now that they hve their own extremists, and, perhaps a few more will be.  Today, during a news story about the withdrawal of the Papal Nuncio from Ireland, the BBC seemed strangely disinterested in the probable causes of this but ignored what is a major story to give an Irish correspondent the chance to reiterate Kenny’s anti-Vatican views, one assumes, in case BBC viewers had missed them when they were news last week.  It was all strangely reminiscent of  the BBC’s coverage of the Pope’s journey after his meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury, their representative interviews from the cheering crowd being with someone from the Humanist Society to express his contempt for religion, a man from an anti-papist Protestant group, and to show that they can dig out anything when they put their minds to it, a middle aged Polish bystander, standing with an apparently sympathetic  friend, who had left a seminary due to his moral objections to the Church ‘s requirement for celibacy in the priesthood.  Now, I do not know what is behind either of the recent events, but unless there is an anti-Christian twist to the story, I doubt whether the BBC will be first with the news.  We know where Kenny is coming from.  He seems to have a deep hatred of The Church, and he has plenty of fuel for this in the current situation, but, in his favour, he has not, as yet, made it a law that one must pay licence money to listen to him.   

  • jng

    Truly a crie de coeur.  Catholic philosophy is directly contradictory to the pleasure pain philosophy of the modern age.  That is why the Catholic priesthood is villified, with a fraction of a percent of its members in England convicted of sex with a minor, probably making it the most innocent identifiable group in this connection, while others who either sanction or promote paedophilia, if not ignored, are offered honours.  The fact that the lack of restraint which is implicit to this current philosophy is socially destructive is not considered relevant, particularly by our myoptic politicians and media, even though we can see our Western culture collapsing around us. I am sorry that I cannot give you any comfort in the form of hope, but I think that you are on the right track.  Lies are the Church’s greatest enemy and it cannot be a bad thing to expose them when they arise.

  • Cjkeeffe

    whilst some elements of the church failed. it is a clear as day that that responsiblity lies with the local diocese. the Irish PM’s grandstanding is merely jumping on the band wagon. I’d like to have a time line of home teh Irish state protected children i.e. the police, the courts and the health boards.  
    I’d like to recommed teh cts bookler on teh abuse scandel, £2:50 well spent!

  • Rory Pengel

    …except that the The Commonwealth of Massachusetts found nothing illegal in Cardinal Law’s behaviour. He would be free to return to the state at any time.

  • Anonymous

    The Taoiseach did indeed get it wrong on this occasion. His accusation of “dysfunction, disconnection, elitism and narcissism dominating Vatican culture” is bizarre to say the least. To suggest that the Vatican is in some way responsible for child abuse in Ireland beggars belief. After all, the abuse was carried out in Ireland by Irish priests. To this day, there are no adequate arrangements in place to deal with the great bulk of child abuse which is carried out by lay people – parents (generally fathers), older siblings and members of the extended family. 
    The Taoiseach’s diatribe will, in time, be seen as populist rant, and an attempt to divert attention from his own and other legislators’ failure to  introduce safeguards for all children subjected to this most heinous of crimes.

  • Sandra

    Enda wants to get his act to-ether by going on in this fashion which is not becoming of such a small man with a big mouth, I want to know how many Govt Ministers have gone to Jail for corruption and fraud, Tax Evasion, claiming expenses for expenses that never happened, land rezoning buying up land so the Govt Ministers were able to line there pockets with thousands , what happened to all the money that the country had and were invested into the Banks this is not the peoples fault but the Govt Ministers who should pay it back from there totally inflated Salary, and perks, and Bonus, they made the botch , they should pay for it not us the “the small people” who elected these gangters into Office.

  • GFFM

    Have you ever been to one of these horrible treatment centers for abusers? Many many psychiatrists and psychologists maintain that abusers can be cured or reintroduced into society again. I would strongly suggest that the NCR or any Catholic publication visit a treatment center where many abusers and some non-abusers have gone and research the kinds of treatments offered. Draconian doesn’t begin to describe them.I have spoken to such practitioners who say that this kind of predatory behavior is an “illness” and should be treated as such. Didn’t you know that just about everything is an “illness” now? It is true Law and others acted on the advice of psychiatrists and psychologists. Now what does that tell us? It should tell us something has gone terribly awry in these professions. However, it also seems that Church bashers want to pick and choose when to listen to the psychologists, the “experts” and when not to. Secondly, and very importantly, this situation should tell us that the bishops rely too too heavily on the “experts” and not enough on the grace of discernment they have been given. It is often quite possible that they choose not to act because they are protecting a brother priest, a friend from the seminary, a buddy of the Vicar or a friend of a friend. I have also seen this happen. What is abundantly clear is this: Abuse of this nature is clearly evil; it harms the little ones. And because it is evil it will not be completely understood. There are reasons for the disordered stunting of the abuser and we must try to understand how this comes about, but at bottom call it what it is: a grave sin against the innocent. The egregious cases especially need to go to jail, not treatment; they need punishment, not protection. They need to be treated as criminals, not patients. Their bishops and their brother priests can minister to their souls as they do reparation to society  in prison.

  • Parasum

    “This is a rule which flows from the very being of the Church.”

    The context:

    The Church, which has her origin in the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, (39) is a mystery of communion. In accordance with the will of her founder, she is organized around a hierarchy established for the service of the Gospel and the People of God who live by it. After the pattern of the members of the first community, all the baptized with their own proper charisms are to strive with sincere hearts for a harmonious unity in doctrine, life, and worship (cf. Acts 2:42). *This is a rule which flows from the very being of the Church. For this reason, standards of conduct, appropriate to civil society or the workings of a democracy, cannot be purely and simply applied to the Church*. Even less can relationships within the Church be inspired by the mentality of the world around it (ct. Rom 12:2).

    Only a rotten & degenerate theology could come up with the quoted conclusion. Apparently, communion is for providing an endless supply of  victims for the lusts – in all senses - of the Church Clerical. Rome needs to be exorcised of its legions of demons.

    “For this reason, standards of conduct, appropriate to civil society or the workings of a democracy, cannot be purely and simply applied to the Church.”

    Indeed they cannot. Baby P case (not a Churchly crime) = revolting and scandalous. Churchly crimes not like the Baby P case = not revolting, or scandalous, but “petty gossip”. 

    When the Clerical Church commits its infamies, it is to be allowed to get away with it. Under the 1917 Code, it was cause for excommunication to summon a bishop into court. That out-of-date piffle went in 1983. It is still an excommunicable offence to assault a bishop. The trouble is, that it seems a very safe bet that the clericalist arrogance that allowed bishops to go unpunished by the laity is still at work; abolishing a rule which helped to shape  clerical culture for centuries, including the culture in which all the clergy ordained over 30 years ago were formed – which includes probably all of the cardinals – does not mean that the old clerical arrogance is no more. At least when a rule is still in a code it can be read – when it is an influence, no longer represented on paper, it is perhaps even more dangerous.

    The Clericalist Church has a calamitously bad record of insisting on its rights and ignoring or denying those of others, since (and before) the row between Becket & Henry II. It’s hard not to see the rifling of Becket’s tomb & the spoliation of a stinking rich Church as karma for centuries of clerical pride & self-conceit.

  • Anonymous

    I think the article is spot Kenny’s speech was a not too thinly disguised attempt to shift public scrutiny away Ireland’s body politic

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Anthony-Power/717914564 David Anthony Power

    You are American and not Irish and so should really become more acquainted with what you are talking about and whom you are talking about first.Enda Kenny is not a demagogue.Wojtyla was a demagogue.Enda Kenny is a Christian Politician who was disgusted by the rape of children and the lies of the bishops for over 30 years.Pope John Paul saw it as and treated it as a peccadillo.Nothing to get to disturbed about so long as the crowds of adoring fans were there for him.Kenny and his party are Pro-Life and anti Gay Marriage.I had to laugh when you pawned off the whole Murdoch affair on Mahoney.Why is is that when the last Pope did something dodgy we could always find an excuse.Kiss The Koran?Put Law in St Mary Major?Shield Marciel and Groer?Support the letter of Castrillon Hoyos that praised a Bishop for covering up for a Priest?We are running out of Cardinals to blame.. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Anthony-Power/717914564 David Anthony Power

    Mr Oddie,  Your argument is pathetic and I am a practising Irish Catholic well acquanited with the whole thing.Mr Moloney is no doubt a lot more up to date with the whole issue than you and being a knee  jerk defender of the hierarchy you will have to up your game.Mr Kenny represented the thinking of an entire nation in that speech.He gave voice to what over 4 million people have thought for a long time.It is not scapegoating or anti-catholic.It is Pro-Catholic.We love the Church as does Mr Kenny and don’t confuse bishops with God.