Friday, December 11, 2009

Pedophile Priests: In Ireland This Time

The Catholic Church in Ireland hit the international news. The Archdiocese of Dublin, anyway.

Pedophile Priests: Here We Go Again

It seems that (some) priests in the Archdiocese of Dublin 'abused children.' If they followed the general pattern of the Amchurch meltdown, most of the raped boys, but the news reports I read didn't say. Maybe this lot went after girls. The point is, some as-yet-unspecified number of priests lusted after children, did something about it, and got the local church authorities to cover up the scandal.

Unsuccessfully, in the long run. (Didn't anybody learn from Watergate?)

The usual apostles of Maria Monk and Thomas Nast will, probably, say this is what Catholics do all the time. Nothing new there. ("Catholics Don't Believe the Bible: Who Knew?" (September 26, 2008))

American college professors, some of them, will see the Murphy Report as more proof that they're right about those people who wallow in "self-satisfied ignorance" - and aren't at all like tolerant, open-minded academic people. Again, nothing new. (" 'Self-Satisfied Ignorance?' Eucharist, Quran, and Atheist Book Trashed" Another War-on-Terror Blog (August 5, 2008))

Abusive Priests in the News

Taking a look at today's and yesterday's news, all the articles mentioned that priests abused children. Some articles, but not all, mentioned the Murphy Report by name. None that I read said whether boys and/or girls were abused. Maybe news editors don't want people to get the wrong(?) idea.

The way news reports danced around just who or what "Murphy" was got my attention, so I looked at news originating in the United Kingdom. I found a lead (link, actually) on BBC. ("Pope Benedict shares Irish 'child abuse outrage' " BBC (December 11, 2009))

That BBC link led me to The Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation. The three members of the commission are:
  • Judge Yvonne Murphy (Chairperson)
  • Ita Mangan
  • Hugh O'Neill
  • Maeve Doherty is the solicitor to the Commission
A bit more link-following, and I found a download page for "Commissions of Investigation Act 2004" (Act No. 23 of 2004)(pdf format). The Oireachtas is the Irish Republic's parliament. (Princeton's WordNet) Now, the Irish Republic is the government of Ireland (distinct from "Northern Ireland," for which we have the last Henry to thank). And the Irish Republic most certainly is not the Irish Republican Army, which is another thing entirely.

So, the Murphy Report is what a commission of the Irish government had to say.

Why I Don't Miss the Good Old Days

The timeline for the Dublin Archdiocese meltdown seems to follow what happened in the Catholic Church in America. I don't know who's accused in Ireland, but here in America the pedophile priests seem to have been from a relatively small cadre of priests, who went through seminary around the sixties and seventies.

I remember those "good old days:" the talent and death of Jimi Hendrix; the wisdom of Professor "Turn on" Timothy Leary; the grooviness of Woodstock; the charmingly clueless idealism and the acid heads.

It was a colorful period (remember psychedelic art?), no doubt: but not one known for rigorous adherence to traditional beliefs and practices. Like keeping your zipper up. With 20-20 hindsight, I'm not surprised that a whole lot of the American pedophile priests are around my age: that was not a time when young minds were encouraged to follow dusty old rules taught by fuddy-duddys. Like, it turns out, the notion that children aren't sexual playthings.

Relive the "good old days?" Thank you, no: I got out alive; for which I'm duly grateful. Many didn't.

Summoned to the Holy See: Yes, the Church is Taking This Seriously

It would have been nice if:
  1. Another bunch of pervert priests hadn't messed around with kids
  2. The local Church authorities hadn't tried to cover up the scandal
  3. The Holy See (Vatican, to most Americans) had somehow known something was going to go wrong
    • And stopped it before it started
That's not the way it happened. But, now that the Holy See knows that they have been, in effect, lied to: Headquarters here on Firebase Earth is definitely paying closer attention to the Archdiocese of Dublin.
"Pope Benedict XVI and high-ranking members or the Roman Curia met with two members of the Irish bishops' conference in the papal library on Friday to listen to their concerns and discuss the issue of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin. The Pope was admittedly 'deeply disturbed and distressed' by the contents of the Murphy Report released on Nov. 29 and expressed his commitment to investigating the matter further.

"Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh, Northern Ireland, and Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin met for 90 minutes with Vatican representatives, including Secretaries of State Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, Archbishop Fernando Filoni, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti. Also present were Cardinal Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Cardinal Re, Cardinal Ballestrero, Cardinals Wells and the Irish Nuncio...."
(Catholic News Agency)
That's sort of like field commanders called to the Pentagon, where top brass explain to them why they're supposed to pay attention to orders.

I'm confident, going to keep an eye on another fouled-up mess. And, I trust, encourage the Archdiocese of Dublin to make reparations to the victims.

That's not, I think, a vain hope. It's happening here in America. Not that anything will give the now-grown kids their lives back.

You might give a thought to praying for everyone involved: the kids (many now grown); the offending priests, the collaborating Church officials; everybody. That's pray for: not against. Forgiveness is a big part of what the Catholic Church teaches. (July 23, 2009) But that's getting into another topic, and it's getting late.

Sort-of-related posts: In the news:

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