Friday, November 27, 2009

Catholic sexual abuse in Ireland

I’m Irish, although any trace of the old country has long since vanished from my family. After 5 generations in the USA, the only thing I can claim as Irish is a visit to the Guinness brewery 10-years ago. Still, when hear stories of clergy sexual abuse in Ireland, I take notice.

The Roman Catholic church brutalized the children of Ireland for most of the 20th century. This paragraph from a government ordered report on Roman Catholic sanctioned child abuse. It says it all.

Thursday's 720-page report — delivered to the government in July — analyzes the cases of 46 priests against whom 320 complaints were filed. The 46 were selected from more than 150 Dublin priests implicated in molesting or raping boys and girls since 1940.

The church knew about the abuse and covered it up to avoid scandal.

The commission found that three archbishops of Dublin — John Charles McQuaid (1940-72), Dermot Ryan (1972-84) and Kevin McNamara (1985-87) — did not tell police about clerical abuse cases, instead opting to avoid public scandals by shuttling offenders from parish to parish.

Sustained child sexual abuse over most of 20th century seems like a good enough reason for the Irish to change the relationship with the Catholic Church. I know that four million Irish Catholics will not walk away from the faith, but perhaps they will start to question the moral mandates handed out a church with no moral authority. I’ll hold my breath.