Catholics and child abuse in Ireland

And the Catholic Church is at it again. This time it’s the horribkle story of the Christian Brothers and their exploits in Ireland. From BBC News we can read that:

An inquiry into child abuse at Catholic institutions in Ireland has found that sexual abuse was "endemic" in boys’ institutions. It also found physical and emotional abuse and neglect were features of institutions. Schools were run "in a severe, regimented manner that imposed unreasonable and oppressive discipline on children and even on staff".

The nine-year inquiry investigated a 60-year period. About 35,000 children were placed in a network of reformatories, industrial schools and workhouses up to the 1980s. More than 2,000 told the Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse they suffered physical and sexual abuse while there. …

The five-volume study concluded that church officials encouraged ritual beatings and consistently shielded their orders’ paedophiles from arrest amid a "culture of self-serving secrecy". It also found that government inspectors failed to stop the chronic beatings, rapes and humiliation.

The Irish Times succinctly summarises the situation with: "abuse was not a failure of the system. It was the system."

Further down the BBC News page we can also read that there will be no criminal charges brought on any of the clergy involved.

The findings will not be used for criminal prosecutions – in part because the Christian Brothers successfully sued the commission in 2004 to keep the identities of all of its members, dead or alive, unnamed in the report.

That there will be no prosecutions is absolutely astounding, but clearly in line with Catholic ideology (and in this case also that of the Irish state), which seemingly is to protect the perpetraters and piss on the victims. Obviously it is more important to protect the "good name" of Catholicism than to right a wrong.

According to a BBC Panorama documentary aired a few years ago, covering up child abuses is a long-standing tradition within the Catholic Church. The current Pope Benedict has been instrumental in this concealment conspiracy for years. In the London Evening Standard, we can read that:

In 2001, while [the current Pope Benedict] was a cardinal, he issued a secret Vatican edict to Catholic bishops all over the world, instructing them to put the Church’s interests ahead of child safety. The document recommended that rather than reporting sexual abuse to the relevant legal authorities, bishops should encourage the victim, witnesses and perpetrator not to talk about it. And, to keep victims quiet, it threatened that if they repeat the allegations they would be excommunicated.

Systematic child abuse is obviously nothing new among the Catholic clergy. Eamonn McCann of the Belfast Telegraph provides a historical perspective in his column:

The oldest known instruction to Church officials, the Didache, dating from the second century, commands, ‘Thou shalt not seduce young boys’. The earliest recorded gathering of bishops, the Council of Elvira, in 309, spelt out 81 Canons, of which 38 dealt with sex. Among those excluded from receiving communion were ‘bishops, presbyters, and deacons committing a sexual sin’, ‘those who sexually abuse boys’, and ‘people who bring charges against bishops and presbyters without proving their cases’.

Why would the Church have mentioned such things had they not already become problems?

No doubt, Pope Benedict will continue to do his utmost to protect the interests of paedophiles and child abusers, rather than to do the right thing, which would be to help bring the perpetrators to justice.

His God must be really pleased with him.