The painful truth of sexual abuse in the Irish Catholic Church
I'm a committed Christian. I also have a great respect for what the Catholic Church did for Irish education over the centuries. The early Irish monks provided a great service for humanity by saving much of the great Classical literature from destruction during the Dark Ages. They also created the first written records in their own native language of the wonderful oral sagas that recounted the legends and history of the Celtic peoples. Throughout the dark days of British occupation, the Church kept the spirit of learning alive through its clandestine 'hedge schools' and by providing university places in France and Spain for Irish refugees. When British rule relaxed somewhat from the late 18th century onwards, it was the religious orders that provided free education to the poorer classes. Without that support, Ireland would have become a nation of illiterates.
Catholicism for many became identified with 'Irish nationalism'.
Peronally, I have nothing but praise and admiration for the members of the Catholic clerics (Patrician Brothers) that taught me in primary and post-primary education.

But the old adage rings so true: 'power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely'. The church became debased by its growing political and religious pre-eminance in society. Bishops became 'princes' and behaved like divine rulers who considered themselves above the law. As God's representatives on Earth, the celibate priests were judged by ordinary people to be above suspicion and to be free of the 'sins of the flesh'. But many joined the priesthood when they were too young to know their own sexuality and experience ordinary healthy sex relationships. For those few members of the clergy that were sexual deviants, they found that they could have a ready supply of victims inadvertently sent to them by their families for religious reasons such as to hear confession, to be provided with religious instruction etc.
The release yesterday of the offical report into clerical sex abuse within the diocise of Ferns has shocked the nation. 22 priests in this lowly populated region in south east Ireland were found to have committed a sickening litany of crimes against children. Over 240 priests nationwide in a 40year period are now confirmed as having being accused of sexual abuse. People are left wondering how extensive was such abuse across the rest of the country

1 comment:

Pádraig Ó B said...

Hard to know what to make of it all really Brendan. Very difficult to fathom. So much good work undone by mindless and sick acts.