Links Between Irish Priest Abuse Scandal and United States

A lay group that has spent the better part of this decade documenting cases of Catholic priest abuse in the United States now claims there’s a significant link between what has occurred in the US Catholic Church and the ongoing Irish priest abuse scandal. has documented more than 70 cases of Irish priests emigrating to the United States where they’ve abused in the United States as well. We blogged on the topic and the disturbing connection back on August 14th in a post entitled “Irish Priest Abuse Has US Connections”.
It’s a well-known fact that in the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century, the United States was considered missionary territory and many foreign born Irish priests came to the United States to serve in US dioceses across the country. The full extent of the connection is still under investigation and may take years for the depth of the relationship to be uncovered. However, we do know that a number of these priests are now documented sexual abusers of the young and innocent in this country.
In studying this relationship, Irish Central, a periodical targeting Irish-Americans, has quoted the founder of Bishop Accountability in exploring this issue.
“Bishops in Ireland just like bishops here have been moving accused priests around even though they know they are dangerous,” said Terence McKiernan, founder of “Unfortunately the places where they put them include our own backyard. So the Irish crisis, basically has become our crisis, too.”
In the 19th and 20th centuries, American bishops often took trips to Ireland to recruit seminarians and priests for service in the United States. Because of the scarcity of priests, these bishops were more often concerned with staffing their parishes with priests without doing any type of background checks on these men. As we’ve learned from the documents discovered in the litigation process, some of these men were problems in their home dioceses and the bishops were only too happy to send them elsewhere, even the United States.