TWO senior Catholic bishops ran a PR stunt last Sunday. First they lay prostate in a Dublin cathedral, then they proceded to wash the feet of eight victims of Church abuse.
Worshippers (and victims) looked on as Cardinal Sean P O’Malley of Boston and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin performed their act of contrition after hearing long sections of government reports detailing horrific abuse of children in Dublin parishes and church-run industrial schools.
So what is this all about? Well, they claim …
We want to be part of a church that puts survivors, the victims of abuse, first — ahead of self-interest, reputation, and institutional needs.
O’Malley is in Ireland at the request of Pope Ratzinger, who has charged him with conducting a review of the response to sexual abuse by the Archdiocese of Dublin.
The O’Malley-Martin stunt was performed at the “Liturgy of Lament and Repentance” held at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral.
O’Malley also said (Warning – lots catholic Buzzword coming up) …
On behalf of the Holy Father, I ask forgiveness, for the sexual abuse of children perpetrated by priests, and the past failures of the church’s hierarchy, here and in Rome – the failure to respond appropriately to the problem of sexual abuse. Publicly atoning for the church’s failures is an important element of asking the forgiveness of those who have been harmed by priests and bishops, whose actions – and inactions — gravely harmed the lives of children entrusted to their care.
Martin, who became archbishop in 2004 and has been highly critical of his predecessors’ handling of abuse cases, thanked those who had the courage to speak about their abuse.
The first step towards any form of healing is to allow the truth to come out. The truth will set us free, but not in a simplistic way. The truth hurts. The truth cleanses, not with designer soap, but with a fire that burns and hurts and lances.
What nonsense, he talks about healing, what about justice. The first step is to bring the abusers to trial, not seek forgiveness from the abused.
Martin added that there is more reckoning to come [no kidding] , saying:
There is still a long path to journey in honesty before we can truly merit forgiveness.
So there you have it … his final goal is “forgiveness”. This is of course Catholic theatre at its very best, for not only do we have this act, but they also had long stretches of soft, airy music along with bible readings.
Some, quite rightly protested and interrupted the proceedings twice.
Robert Dempsey, walked up to the altar and spoke of his failure to receive justice. He was allowed to have his say as he explained that he was speaking for all victims, and spoke of how he was placed into a mental institution when he was only three, and later of how he was raped by a cleric in another institution when he was 15.
He also explained that a court case, that he had taken up to obtain justice, had been stalled for 10 years. Mr Dempsey then handed Archbishop Martin a file of legal documents and urged him to use his influence with the judiciary to have his case heard and settled.
The second intervention came from Christopher Heaphy, who spoke of receiving “the lash and the whip” when he was aged five as a resident of Greenmount, run by the Presentation Brothers in Co Cork.
Speaking later, Mr Heaphy said that victims, many now elderly, still wanted justice and compensation, which he claimed had not been given by the hierarchy and religious orders.
A third victim, Paddy Doyle, a disability activist, approached the precincts of the sanctuary, before directing his wheelchair out a side exit. Referring to the presence of two gardai, Mr Doyle said: “Cardinal O’Malley is the most protected man in the building.”
It is claimed that all this was a clear and definite expression of repentance by Archbishop Martin on behalf of the Dublin archdiocese, but the evidence does not support that claim.
When the Ryan report was issued in 2009, it was originally intended that abusers would be publicly named in the Commission’s report. However the Commission was blocked from doing so by a legal challenge from the Christian Brothers. The Brothers sought and received permission to deal with abusers anonymously. To date, not one single abuser has been brought to justice, this wicked cult is still protecting them to this day
Doyle, one of the abuse victims, said he had been invited to have his feet washed, but he declined.
It’s a stunt. Another stunt by the Catholic Church to absolve itself of the rape and abuse of children all over the world.
And that’s it in a nutshell, you can wash as many feet as you like, but if you are still protecting the abusers, then its an obvious sham, a PR stunt that is motivated not by remorse, but simply because they got caught.
2 thoughts on “Bishops Wash feet in Dublin = PR stunt”
For the (partial) text of the Sunday Times article referred to by Richard Webster see:
regarding the alleged savage beating of a young girl by Sister Xavieria
In an article in the Irish Times on 1st March 1996, Fintan O’Toole wrote:
“Strangely enough, of all the images in Louis Lentin’s superb documentary film on Goldenbridge orphanage, the most disturbing for me was not one of the violent ones – a child deliberately scalded with boiling water or beaten with a club until her whole leg from ankle to hip burst open. We see so much brutality on the screen that most of us, I suppose, have learned how to shield ourselves from it.”
The Sunday Times did not engage in any difficult feat of investigative reporting. They simply interviewed a surgeon who worked in the hospital where children from the Goldenbridge orphanage were treated during the 1950s. The only reason why O’Toole did not check out this information, is that he did not want to know. The same goes for Archbishop Diarmuid Martin today!
[ The remainder of the Sunday Times article dated 28 April 1996, deals with an allegation (made AFTER the broadcast of ‘Dear Daughter’) that the Sisters of Mercy were responsible for the death of a baby left in their care who had allegedly died of burn injuries. Doctor Prendiville is quoting as saying:
‘They didn’t treat burns in St Ultan’s. If the baby died from a burn, there would have to be an inquest.’
The postmortem said the child died of dysentery – which was the kind of illness that St Ultan’s children’s hospital had been set up to treat.
This is UK cultural historian Richard Webster, writing about one of the ladies whose feet Archbishop Diarmuid Martin washed on Sunday 20 February. (The Archbishop certainly knows how to pick them!)
“The Irish story then developed in a manner which paralleled the development of the North Wales story. In 1996 the producer and director, Louis Lentin, made a television documentary about abuse in children’s homes which was shown by RTE, the main public service broadcasting station in Ireland. It focused on the brutal regime which was said to have been operating during the 1950s at St Vincent’s Industrial School, Goldenbridge, one of a network children’s homes or detention centres which were funded by the state and run by the Catholic Church.
“The documentary featured allegations made against Sister Xavieria, one of the nuns belonging to the Sisters of Mercy order which ran the home. The woman ‘survivor’ at the centre of the film claimed that, on one occasion, she had been caned by Sister Xavieria so severely that the entire side of her leg was split open from her hip to her knee. She says she was treated in the casualty department of the local hospital and believes that she received 80 to 120 stitches.
“No medical evidence has ever been produced to substantiate this bizarre claim. The surgeon who ran the casualty department at the hospital in question has given evidence which renders it highly unlikely that such an incident ever took place. Apart from anything else, the surgeon points out that caning would not have caused a wound of this kind, which would have required surgical treatment under a general anaesthetic and not stitches in a casualty department. Yet although the evidence suggests that the woman’s memory was a delusion, her testimony was widely believed at the time. In the wake of the broadcast, atrocity stories about Goldenbridge and other industrial schools began to proliferate. ”
3. Sunday Times (Ireland), 28 April 1996, citing the views of the surgeon, J. B. Prendiville.