Not even should a modern-day Hercules channel the recent flood waters through the Augean stables of the Irish Roman Catholic hierarchy would the atrocious crimes against the innocents be cleansed, nor any hope for redemption be achieved, either for the paedophile monsters still lurking in their midst or for the ogres’ protectors within the Church.
Are these people following the path of Jesus who said, ‘Suffer little children to come unto me’ ? One monster, a Fr Noel Reynolds admitted inserting a crucifix into a girl’s vagina and back passage. His trial did not proceed ‘for health reasons’. ‘The girl’s health?’ I hear you ask. Aye, what do you think?
Only a handful of hundreds (the Murphy Inquiry chose to investigate only a tiny sample) were ever charged and but a few years jail time were ever served by a very few monster priests. And the Church – having shuffled them around endlessly – now has no idea where the vast majority of these fiends are located, or just who they are abusing now!
What is the point of canon law when it ignores the plight of the innocent and protects the guilty? For make no mistake, these monsters were not even subject to whatever penal sanctions pertain within the Church system.
Amazingly the Murphy Report found the vast majority of priests who did not participate in these evil and vile practices chose to keep silent about what they knew.
Only a very few bravely spoke out.
How can a reformed Church survive with these few good priests – for surely none others should be welcomed or harboured?
Whatever is the faithful laity, among whose diminishing number I count myself, to do?
Every Catholic lay person knows these paedophiles acted with impunity in every diocese in the country and the earlier Reports (Ferns – and Ryan, reporting on the atrocities committed all over Ireland by 18 ‘religious’ institutions) and the Boston Report in the USA testify to its widespread nature. Countless lives have been ruined and a number of victims took their own lives, unable to bear their ‘shame’.
At a purely personal level, I survived unscathed. But I shudder to recall my early weekly confessions …
‘Bless me Father for I have sinned… I told lies … I stole food from my family’s larder … I used the Holy Name in vain … etc’
Meanwhile, for all I knew the priest at the other side of the grille could well have been one of those monsters who had made no honest confession in years and may well have raped several children since his last.
‘I told lies.’ I didn’t know the Church had a way around this! Cardinal Desmond Connell explained the concept of ‘mental reservation’ to the Murphy Commission, a new concept that apparantly supplanted the Church’s own Canon Law: ‘ .. you are not permitted to tell a lie. But .. there may be circumstances in which you can use an ambiguous expression realising that the person you are talking to will accept an untrue version ‘ … .
An example given is where a curate is sent to the door to tell a caller that the parish priest – hiding, no doubt, from one of his victims or the parents of such – is not in. Mentally (into himself) the curate adds .. ‘to you’. He has not told a lie.
How does this differ from crossing your fingers behind your back as you tell a blatant lie or make a vow you will never keep? We were taught not to do this, but here’s the Cardinal espousing a similar deception.
What is the minimum that’s to be done?
The ruthless prosecution by the State of every paedophile priest.
The seizure by the State of all relevant documentary evidence held by dioceses – if these are not surrendered willingly.
The contacting of the Vatican – through the ‘proper diplomatic channels’ – to gain whatever relevant files they hold.
The immediate excommunication of every Bishop and Archbishop who connived or conspired to shield the guilty : to name a few, Archbishops John Charles McQuaid, Dermot Ryan, Kevin McNamara and Desmond Connell and their auxilially Bishops Brendan Comiskey, Laurence Foffistal, James Kavanagh, Dermot O’Mahony and Donal Murray.
The extension of the Commissions of Enquiry to every diocese in the country.
The creation of an extended period of penitence where every priest, for example, must wear ‘sackcloth and ashes’ – or an appropriate alternative, to symbolise the Church’s guilt and attempted contrition.
The immediate establishment of a fund – from Church resources – running to the hundreds of millions of euro, to attempt to compensate the innocent survivors.
The establishment by the State, of procedures to ensure there can never be any repeat of these atrocities by any institution operating within its borders.
These proposals are anything but comprehensive. If they are not acted on, I cannot visualize my membership of the Catholic Church in a year’s time.