NEWS:  December 28, 2009

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Bird’s Eye View of the News

Atila Sinke Guimarães

CLERGY PEDOPHILIA BLOWS UP AGAIN IN IRELAND - In late November a report on pedophilia in the Catholic clergy was released, and is raising a brouhaha in Ireland and the Vatican. It has been called the Dublin Report, or Murphy Report. The Dublin Report, because it refers to an investigation of pedophile priests just in the Archdiocese of Dublin; the Murphy Report, because it was conducted by Judge Yvonne Murphy and a commission under her direction.

Fundamental flaw of the Ryan Report

In May 2009 a previous report – the Ryan Report – was released about the abuse of children in Ireland, listing countless cases in its some 2,500 pages. However, it was marked by a fundamental flaw. It gave equal priority to the sexual abuse of minors and other so-called abuses defined as such by the new pedagogy inspired by Freud.

According to this school, if a teacher disciplines a pupil or uses strong words to intimidate him to be upright, this would be qualified as an abuse. Such “abuses” were reported in the Ryan document at the same level of gravity as that of a man who induced a child to have sexual relations with him. To me, this parity seems completely wrong, lacking both proportion and objectivity.

On one hand, the sexual abuse of a priest against a boy is an act against nature, a serious transgression against the 6th Commandment, an act of cowardice against a defenseless person, and an appalling betrayal of the confidence the parents placed in him to form their child.

Patrick Ryan - Ryan Report

Patrick Ryan: His report adopted Freudian criteria
On the other hand, correcting a child using discipline and other reasonable methods of coercion was always employed by good masters to transform rebellious children into civilized youth. The Holy Ghost Himself gives us wise advice in Scripture strongly approving this way of forming children. We read: “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him” (Prov 13:23; see also 29:15, Heb 12:11).

This power of parents to discipline their offspring - a presupposition of any good formation in History - was implicitly or explicitly delegated to teachers, who would form and educate children on their parents’ behalf. Following this system, it was normal for Catholic schools to administer punishments to form their pupils well. The same applied to orphanages or schools for abandoned children of unwed mothers, where there was not formal delegation of authority by the parents.

This salutary method of education has been destroyed by the nefarious influence of Freudian psychiatry in modern pedagogy. We are seeing a new way of forming children – better said, of deforming children – being applied. Today children are assumed to be without original sin, and any form of coercion to correct bad natural instincts is labeled as an abuse. I must stress that this Freudian pedagogy is anti-natural, anti-Catholic and never should have been accepted, especially in Catholic schools.

Nonetheless, following Vatican II’s lead in accepting the modern world, this revolutionary system was admitted in Catholic establishments of teaching. So, today authorities with these Freudian criteria are finding “abuses” in what used to be the normal method of formation. It is unnecessary to say that the same error is entering the legislation of many Western countries.

This is why there is a fundamental injustice in numbering “abuses” of this type alongside the real sexual abuse of children by priests. It is why the Ryan Report released in Ireland in May 2009 greatly diluted the problem of pedophilia in the clergy. I believe that the ones who benefited the most from this confusion were the pedophile priests.

Therefore, for the sake of justice and objectivity, other investigations had to be undertaken. The first was the Dublin Report. We can expect to see more from the other 24 Irish Dioceses (1).

The conclusions of the Dublin Report

This new evaluation of the Catholic clergy in Ireland - restricted to the Archdiocese of Dublin - covered the period from 1975 to 2004. The commission in charge of the investigation received information about 183 abuser priests, but could investigate only 46 of them, the others escaping scrutiny through one or another venues.

Dublin Report - Diarmuid Martin

Above, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin holding the Dublin Report; below, he and Cardinal Sean Brady at the Vatican, after meeting with the Pope on December 11, 2009

Irish Prelates meet with the Pope
Even with these limitations, what the commission found was astonishing. One priest admitted to abusing more than 100 children, another of sexually abusing children on a fortnightly basis over a period of 25 years. The complaints of more than 320 children against those 46 priests were analyzed (The Tablet, December 5, 2009, p. 4).

The report concluded that Church authorities were supremely faulty in handling the allegations sent to them. The 750-page document indicted four successive Archbishops of Dublin for their accomplice cover-up: John Charles McQuaid, Dermot Ryan, Kevin McNamara and Desmond Connel, later elevated to Cardinal by John Paul II. Auxiliary Bishops of that period are also strongly criticized. Present day Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who initiated this investigation, also did not escape the fire. He was criticized for not calling for the resignation of any of his auxiliary Bishops, particularly Bishop Donald Murray.

Even the Vatican and the Papal Nuncio of Ireland were denounced. The commission wrote to the Papal Nuncio twice – in 2007 and 2009 – asking for information related to its inquiries, but received no reply. It also wrote the Vatican in 2006 with the same goal: again, no reply. The Vatican contacted the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and told it that the commission should go through the proper diplomatic channels to obtain information (The Tablet, ibidem). This seems a way to delay releasing the requested data.

Ireland being a predominant Catholic country, there would seem to be a tacit pact between the Church and the State to cover each another’s skeletons in their respective closets. For this reason, the Dublin Report also censures State authorities. It says they “facilitated the cover-up by not fulfilling their responsibilities to ensure that the law was applied equally to all and allowing the Church institutions to be beyond the reach of the normal law enforcement processes.”

In the aftermath of shock the report generated among Catholics, it comes as no surprise to learn that the prestige of Catholic authority is in freefall.

Pedophilia in the clergy cartoon
We feel sorry for our Irish Catholic brothers. Here in the U.S. we already had that same gloomy experience they are undergoing today. During the pedophile priest crisis that shook the United States from 2000 to 2004, we saw that the primary concern of the Bishops was not to restore Catholic Morals in their Dioceses. They wanted to save their prestige and sweep the trash under the rug as quickly as possible.

To gratify public opinion, Benedict XVI spoke beautiful words against pedophile abuses by priests when he was in the United States. But, so far he has done nothing substantial to heal this plague infecting the Catholic clergy everywhere. As much as I know, he has only acted when his own prestige was in jeopardy – as he did in 2005 when he arranged for a process against him in a Houston court to be dropped after he was elected Pope, and in 2008 when he removed a pedophile priest in the Diocese of Rome – under his direct responsibility.

Now, with his 2010 visit to Britain confirmed and some hints that Ireland will be included in it, the Dublin Report caused an unplesant situation for the Hierarchy in Ireland and the Vatican, both indicted as guilty of cover-up. So, Benedict XVI needed to do something…

Scapegoats were chosen: first, the Bishop of Limerick Donald Murray, and the Bishop of Kildare Jim Moriarty, two of the Prelates who concealed clerical abuse of children for over more than three decades, were forced to resign. Then, on Christmas Eve two Auxiliary Bishops of Dublin, Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field, reluctantly tendered their resignations.

Although acting to save his reputation, pressuring those Prelates to resign was a good action. It was good also to offer a public apology. But these stances do not resolve the crisis. We are still waiting for the promised concrete measures that would extinguish the plague infecting the post-Vatican II clergy all over the world.
1. Besides the Archdiocese of Dublin, there are more 26 Dioceses in Ireland. Two of them, however, were already investigated on sexual abuse by priests in 2005.

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