The Latest Irish Abuse Report

The so-called Cloyne Report is the civil Irish government’s fourth report in as many years as it attempts to come to grips with the horrors of Catholic priest abuse in this largely Catholic country. What’s new in this report, new but not surprising, is that Catholic Church officials continue to cover-up for pedophile priests. The report refers to case after case in which priests’ sexual abuse was known and nothing was done about it.
The former bishop of Cloyne who resigned last year responded in the standard fashion, “I now realize. . .” as if it should be some great revelation to him and his fellow bishops that they have a moral and civil duty to protect children.
According to the NY Times, “The Cloyne Report is the Irish government’s fourth in recent years on aspects of the scandal. It shows that abuses were still occurring and being covered up 13 years after the church in Ireland issued child protection guidelines in 1996, and that civil officials were failing to investigate allegations. The report warned that other dioceses might have similar failings.
“That’s the most horrifying aspect of this document,” Frances Fitzgerald, Ireland’s minister for children, told a news conference on Wednesday. “This is not a catalogue of failure from a different era — this is about Ireland now.”
“Most damaging, the report said that the Congregation for the Clergy, an arm of the Vatican that oversees the priesthood, had not recognized the 1996 guidelines. That “effectively gave individual Irish bishops the freedom to ignore the procedures” and “gave comfort and support” to priests who “dissented from the stated Irish church policy,” the report said.
Now, let’s not think for one minute the situation in Ireland is any different than our own in the United States. If you’re tempted to think so, take a look at the disaster in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia or the Diocese of Gallup, just to name two recent examples. The Catholic bishops can not be trusted to police themselves and their priests. It’s time for a federal investigation of the entire enterprise and federal oversight in every diocese. We need something akin to a Superfund for a toxic spill. Nothing short of that will stop the abuse and the cover-up.