Back in 2009, the Commission of Investigation Report into the Catholic Diocese of Dublin (Nope not my grammar, that is what they called what was also known as The Murphy report) was published with the details of some truly horrifying child abuse. It was not the end-game and so they did not stop there because the last Irish government had agreed to extend the Murphy commission’s remit to include Cloyne, so further investigation proceeded. On Wednesday 13th July they finally issued their report.
To give this a contextual time line, the commission was asked to investigate the handling of sex abuse allegations in Cloyne by church and state authorities between 1 January 1996 – when the church’s first-published guidelines, its Framework Document, came into play – and 1 February 2009. In other words, this is restricted to a period of time that “starts” from the day they claimed to have cleaned up their act and does not consider any of the historical abuse prior to 1996.
First the link so that you can go read it yourself. Here is the full report. At 421 pages in length, it is not a quick read.
Now, on to some details.
Main findings from the Commission of Investigation
- Bishop John Magee misled a previous inquiry and gave a false account of how he was handling allegations
- Between 1996 and 2005, the diocese failed to report nine out of 15 complaints made against priests, which ‘very clearly should have been reported’
- ‘The most serious lapse was the failure to report the two cases in which the alleged victims were minors at the time the complaint was made’
- While the dioceses ostensibly supported child protection procedures, it was ‘never genuinely committed to their implementation‘
- The ‘diocese put far too much emphasis on the concerns of the alleged offenders’
- The report says Bishop John Magee must take primary responsibility for the failure to implement the procedures
- The Catholic Diocese of Cloyne was ignoring the church’s own guidelines on child protection as recently at 2009
- In most cases gardaí were not informed of child abuse allegations against clergy
- Monsignor Denis O’Callaghan ‘stymied’ the implementation in Cloyne of child protection policy, and told the Commission he was ‘very disappointed’ with it
- Monsignor O’Callaghan first withheld the identity of a perpetrator from authorities and then attempted to have a particular garda officer investigate it
- In what the report said was ‘clearly and unequivocally’ a child sexual abuse case, the Commission says it cannot understand how the Monsignor concluded no sexual abuse had occurred
- The Vatican and its representatives are also criticised – the Commission says the Papal Nuncio replied to its request for information by saying he was ‘unable to assist you in this matter‘
- The garda response comes under the Commission’s microscope – on one case the Commission says it does not accept there was a proper investigation of the complaints, despite the fact the gardaí insist an investigation took place
- The Commission also reveals how an allegation was made against Bishop Magee himself in 2008 by an 18-year-old who claimed he was embraced and kissed on the forehead by the bishop
Now some reaction to all this:
- The Irish Times has a good summary article here (published 13 July)
- The Irish Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, gives a statement (here), in which he says ‘the era of “mental reservation” is over and the laws of this land will prevail and be applied‘ – he also said in that speech …
I am determined to ensure that those who know a child has been assaulted or abused be required to report such offence to the Gardai and that there be consequences of their failing to do so. I am determined that children not be put in the way of harm to be preyed on by those already known to have harmed a child.
- Ireland’s prime minister (Enda Kenny) has (today 20th July) launched an unprecedented attack on the Vatican, accusing it of downplaying the rape and torture of Irish children by clerical sex abusers.
Here are some quotes, the Irish Prime Minister has said that the report had …
- “exposed the Vatican’s attempt to frustrate the inquiry into child sex abuse”
- ” illuminated the dysfunction and elitism still dominant in the Vatican”
- “Rome seemed more interested in upholding the church’s power and reputation than confronting the abuse of Irish children by its priests and religious orders”
- “the rape and torture of children had been downplayed or “managed” to uphold the institution’s power and reputation”
Also, some Irish parliamentarians have called on the Fine Gael-Labour coalition to expel the papal nuncio from Ireland in protest over the Vatican’s attitude to the allegations in the Cloyne diocese.
Finally, the truth has come to light. The claims made that they had cleaned up their act in 1996 and put safeguards in place have now been proven to be a complete lie, this is not an opinion, but a documented and proven fact, they cannot be trusted, nor can they be trusted when they give assurances that they have cleaned house. Belief in a supernatural entity, for which there is not one jot of evidence, should never again be permitted to become a get-out-of-jail free card, for the issue here was not just a few bad priests, but rather the factual observation that the institution itself is utterly corrupt and excessively dangerous to all.
The institution may claim to be the highest moral authority, but it has been factually proven to be morally bankrupt and totally corrupt.