The Irish "Child Abuse Commission" released its findings last week and they are pretty harrowing. They blow a huge hole in the suggestion that child abuse was a small fraction of bad behaviour in the Catholic church. The commission finds that it was "endemic".

 The Commission was set up in 2000 to conduct an inquiry into abuse of children in religious institutions in Ireland from 1936 – 1970.

According to one blog, the Catholic church is getting away almost entirely off the hook as a result of a Church-State deal:

In the closing days of the last Fianna Fail adminstration, a deal was rushed through which ‘indemnified’ the religious orders from any further financial responsibility than that agreed in the deal. This notorious Church-State deal, capped the contribution of the religious orders at €128 million (and only a fraction of that in hard cash), the religious orders claimed there had been no cover-up of abuse and no protection of abusers. We now discover from the Ryan report that this was a lie, and that several religious orders not only knew all about the abusers in their midst but concealed that knowledge from the rest of us.
It was a fantastic deal for the religious orders, and an absolute stinker for the people of Ireland, and most importantly of all a retrospectively studied insult to the victims .
The religious establishment here in Ireland , were in effect left well and truly off the hook, for a relatively small financial pay-out, most of which took the form of properties, which were in effect for various legal, and now, economic reasons unsaleable assets in any case.

Among the Commission’s conclusions:

  • Sexual abuse was endemic in boys’ institutions.
  • It is impossible to determine the full extent of sexual abuse committed in boys’ schools. The schools investigated revealed a substantial level of sexual abuse of boys in care that extended over a range from improper touching and fondling to rape with violence. Perpetrators of abuse were able to operate undetected for long periods at the core of institutions.
  • Cases of sexual abuse were managed with a view to minimising the risk of public disclosure and consequent damage to the institution and the Congregation. This policy resulted in the protection of the perpetrator. When lay people were discovered to have sexually abused, they were generally reported to the Gardai. When a member of a Congregation was found to be abusing, it was dealt with internally and was not reported to the Gardaí.
  • The recidivist nature of sexual abuse was known to religious authorities.
  • When confronted with evidence of sexual abuse, the response of the religious authorities was to transfer the offender to another location where, in many instances, he was free to abuse again. Permitting an offender to obtain dispensation from vows often enabled him to continue working as a lay teacher.
  • Sexual abuse was known to religious authorities to be a persistent problem in male religious organisations throughout the relevant period.
  • In general, male religious Congregations were not prepared to accept their responsibility for the sexual abuse that their members perpetrated.
  • Older boys sexually abused younger boys and the system did not offer protection from bullying of this kind.
  • Sexual abuse by members of religious Orders was seldom brought to the attention of the Department of Education by religious authorities because of a culture of silence about the issue.

And that’s just the sexual abuse. There was plenty of physical, psychological and emotional abuse as well.

According to the ABC, many of the Irish catholic priests who were the abusers were moved overseas to countries such as Australia.

When are the authorities going to do something serious about the Catholic Church and hold it accountable for its actions? I still maintain that in Australia it should be SHUT DOWN pending an independent commission into it’s crimes. It’s ridiculous to suggest this was something that only happened in Ireland. It is probable that the same conditions that lead to this kind of abuse in Ireland also existed in other countries, such as Australia. It has everything to do, I suspect, with the insanity inherent in  Catholicism itself.