Irish Bishops, Priest and Religious ‘appalled’

Clergy ‘appalled’ at handling of abuse

PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent

What are your thoughts? Lets hear from you. DrNick

PRIESTS, RELIGIOUS and bishops are among those appalled by what they have learned about “the wrongdoing of some priests”, Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam said yesterday.

It was “understandable that many good and faithful Catholics experience distress and discouragement after the revelations of the mishandling of abuse cases”, he said. The archbishop was speaking during a Mass he celebrated at the top of Croagh Patrick in Mayo yesterday morning as the “Reek Sunday” climb was under way.

Mayo Mountain Rescue estimated up to 20,000 people took part in foggy conditions. About 120 rescue personnel were on duty, with a spokesman saying up to 50 people had been treated for minor ailments by mid-afternoon. There were no serious incidents.

“We are very conscious of the difficulties on life’s journey, the enormous difficulties besetting our church, chiefly in the number of innocent people who have suffered through the wrongdoing of some priests,” Archbishop Neary said. “Many are angered and appalled by what they have learnt. Indeed, these feelings are shared by priests, religious and, yes, bishops too.”

He continued: “A woman asked me last week when it would all end. The honest answer is that it will not end until every survivor has told their story and until every victim is facilitated in embarking on their journey to real healing, where true dignity is accorded. On our pilgrimage today, we bring before the Lord all those who have suffered a betrayal of their trust and a violation of their dignity.

“In the crucible of suffering it is cold comfort to hear it said, but the reality now is that literally thousands of people, the vast majority lay, are active in our parishes implementing child safeguarding measures.

“Next year, the 50th International Eucharistic Congress will take place in Ireland. At the heart of the congress is the mystery of the Eucharist and never did we need the Eucharist more,” he said.

The Eucharistic Congress Bell was taken up to the summit of Croagh Patrick by young people from Tuam archdiocese on Friday morning. It was there until 2.30pm yesterday.

Meanwhile, there has been a call for the congress to be postponed and for the Czech government not to accept the current papal nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, as papal nuncio to Prague, to which he has been appointed by the Vatican.

David Clohessy, director of the US-based Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, has endorsed a call by Fine Gael Senator Cáit Keane in the Seanad last Tuesday that the congress be postponed. Supporting a call by the Association of Catholic Priests, she said, “I believe it is not an appropriate time for an event such as the Eucharistic Congress to take place in this country. I believe that everyone will be better served, given the sensitivities around the findings of this report, that it be held at a later date.”

Mr Clohessy said the network “wholeheartedly” endorsed this view. “Somehow, somewhere, Catholic officials must learn that they can’t enable and hide child sex crimes, and then just plod along with ‘business as usual’.

“Somewhere, somehow, someone must show them that there are actual, ‘real world’ consequences when they cause thousands of innocent boys and girls and vulnerable adults to be raped and sodomised.”

He described reports that the papal nuncio to Ireland was being transferred to Prague as “terribly distressing”. It meant “Pope Benedict is sending a clear signal to church officials across the globe: ‘If you stonewall secular authorities and keep clergy sex crimes and cover-ups covered up, I’ll protect you’,” he said.


3 Responses to Irish Bishops, Priest and Religious ‘appalled’

  1. Speaking-Up says:

    In relation to the above-mentioned article ‘Clergy appalled at handling of abuse’, I DO NOT believe that this is about “the wrongdoing of some priests.” I DO believe that “some priests will have to pay for the sins of many… they will be made into biblical scape-goats.” Religious abuse is endemic and systemic within this Institution and is introduced at the seminarian level during the initiation process. The ‘courageous’ are weeded out by Superiors who ‘discern’ that they do not have a vocation. Some Religious Leaders even believe that they are standing in place of God Himself. This is Scripture-twisting at its worst.

    Only the ‘cream of the crop’ are allowed to make their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience after they have graduated in the virtues of docility, submissiveness, passiveness and self-abasement. Why do they endure years of religious-abuse? Perhaps some are afraid of the consequences of ‘speaking-up’, as threats abound on the dangers of doing this? Perhaps this career affords them an opportunity for advanced education and old-age security? Perhaps some look to lucrative transfers and career-mobility as they move up the totem-pole. Perhaps some have bought into this ‘culture of death’ and are willing to perpetuate this cycle of abuse from the top-down? Perhaps there are some who nurture their vocation, in the crucible of suffering, and develop a personal relationship with God. Religious abuse is the source of most types of abuse such as verbal, emotional, psychological, physical, sexual, financial etc. Unless we root-out religious abuse, the sexual abuse of vulnerable children and adults will continue. I make special reference, at this point, to the abuse of nuns, especially in Africa. The following link provides extensive information on this subject.
    Sexual Abuse of Nuns in Convents and Nunneries

    What is encouraging about the article on ‘Clergy appalled at handling of abuse’ is the following comment by Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam: “A woman asked me last week when it would all end. The honest answer is that it will not end until every survivor has told their story and until every victim is facilitated in embarking on their journey to real healing, where true dignity is accorded. On our pilgrimage today, we bring before the Lord all those who have suffered a betrayal of their trust and a violation of their dignity.’ End of extract.

    The Hierarchy should be held responsible for promoting an environment that globally fostered religious abuse. Do they plan to facilitate every victim’s journey to real healing….? At this stage, victims need more than prayers, apologies, forgiveness-sermons? They need the perpetrators to be made accountable and to face the consequences of their actions. The appointment of the current papal nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, as papal nuncio to Prague does not send this message. In a similar vein, the Eucharistic Congress cannot be used as a distraction and cover-up for clergy sex-crimes. It should be postponed till the criminal investigations are completed, reports are made public and and justice is served.

  2. drnickmazza says:

    Speaking-Up: This is excellent. Thank you for moving this along. Let’s keep the conversation alive. DrNick

  3. Deacon Bill says:

    Perhaps Archbishop Michael Neary is an exception and maybe his words are heart felt “after the revelations,” but there is too much evidence in diocese, after diocese, in country after country, in decade after decade, by too many bishops to count, that this world- wide cover-up was not the result of all bishops being “required” to cover up all scandals with the “warped,” out-dated idea that this somehow “protected the people of the church from scandal.”

    This secret cover up pracice is just too widespread. As appalling as the behavior of pedophiles is, the most grotesque evil is the behavior of the Episcopacy which has abused its power. It is the same arrogance that emanates from the Vatican and the Pope in their refusal to admit the bishops’ behavior is an abuse of power. This arrogance is seen not only in the reassignment of Ireland’s papal nuncio, the pope’s rewarding of Cardinal Bernard Law, but also in the Vatican maintaining that the scandal is a”priest’s scandal'” and not a bishops’ scandal.

    Rome is just following the “Dallas Model” of doing nothing about the role of bishops in keeping the scandals secret. Benedict and the Vatican are stone walling the truth and trying to rescue Episcopal authority. The pope cannot rescue the bishops authority because the bishops were only doing what Rome wanted. The bishops were universally and obediently following “traditional” Vatican policy, namely “Keep all scandals secret to preserve the unity of the church.”

    The pope cannot replace all the bishops of the church because they were being obedient to Rome. I am not suggesting that every bishop consulted with Rome about every case of child abuse, but rather the covering up of all scandals was understood by all bishops as Standard Operating Procedure. Were it necessary, such direction from Rome could easily have been hidden through secret diplomatic instuctions by papal nuncios. Nevertheless, how the policy of secrecy was delivered and understood is immaterial, insofar as the widespread use of secrecy as practiced is sufficient to make the Vatican complicit in the Episcopacy’s abuse of power.

    As a practical matter the pontif maximus cannot admit the truth that Vatican secrecy was the underlying cause of the scandal because the loss of authority undermines the power and control of the Vatican. The primary concern of these last 2 pontificates has been about power and control. This is evidenced in their absolute intolerance for diversity or dissent. It is evidenced in the resurection of secret investigations and secret trials of the ordained who are not absolutely perfect in their obedience to Rome.

    There is a spirit of condemnation permeating the halls of the Vatican. What supports it is a Vatican secrecy that fears the light of day. The arrogant abuse of power is perpetuated and fostered in the exalted priviledged princely positions of unlimited power granted to members of the Episcopacy. The return of bishops as powerful arrogant medieval princes is Benedict’s ideal model of his church.

    To answer the woman in the article,”When will it all end?”
    The abuse of power will continue until the pattern is obvious to all, or until a new pope has the moral courage to reveal the abuse of power as the real scandal in the church and take institutional measures to restructure the church. If these 2 things don’t happen, future bishops will still have the power to keep secret the abuse of our children and grandchildren. The bishops still have the power to keep abuse secret today. It is only public vigilance and outcry that make bishops currently more cautious.

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