Sexual abuse was endemic in Catholic boys’ institutions.

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.

15 thoughts on “Sexual abuse was endemic in Catholic boys’ institutions.

  1. Can’t say I was sexually abused at school but we at Convent schools were, I believe, physically, psychologically & emotionally abused.

  2. The Let Go…Let Peace Come In Foundation is a newly formed nonprofit that hopes to help heal and support adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. We are actively seeking adult survivors who would be willing to post a childhood photo & caption, their story, or their creative expression to our website http://www.letgoletpeacecomein.org. By uniting survivors from across the globe we hope to provide a stronger and more powerful voice to those who have not yet found the courage to speak out and for those that have spoken out and have been cast aside. Unfortunately this is “endemic” in more places and religions than just the Catholic church; it is happening in your community at this very moment while you are reading this blog and it’s statistically probable that you know an abuser and you know a survivor and you most likely know one of each. Together we can stand up and make a difference so that countless generations do not have live with the trauma of being sexually abuse as a child.

  3. I understand anyone’s outrage at this news within Catholic organizations in Ireland. However, your statement that the ENTIRE Church be shut down because of the actions of some within it is also outrageous. Your statement that there is insanity inherent within the Church is merely a diatribe, as some of the best and worst of people can be found in any Church or group. The Church has both human and divine elements. The human elements can be very problematic at times and needs to be rectified. Condemning the entire Church does not provide for that. Apparently you have some personal issues with the RCC; maybe you should spent time addressing those.

  4. Bob, to suggest this kind of behaviour was localized to Ireland is naive. In 1962, a 69-page Latin document bearing the seal of Pope John XXIII was sent to every bishop in the world. The instructions outline a policy of ‘strictest’ secrecy in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse and threatens those who speak out with excommunication. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/aug/17/religion.childprotection)

    It is well understood that child abuse was systemically covered up by Catholic Church authorities around the world. The only difference between Ireland and every other country is that in Ireland they have bothered to do a proper inquiry into the extent of the abuse.

  5. If you read the pdf of this document in detail with an understanding of Catholic due process, you would find that its purpose is to get this information into the Catholic judicial system without delay and to serve due process. The Church thinks and acts as any other judicial system in this regard, requiring that the proceedings of the case not be public until appropriate so that due process can happen. The excommunication you speak of is on those in hierarchy or their designees who violate the secrecy of the confessional and this process. It does not normally threaten the accuser with such a thing. That would be an extreme type under the discretion of the Church authority upon those individuals deemed necessary, not the average accuser.

    Reading any kind of legal document, whether secular or ecclesiastic, requires close reading as to nuance, exceptions, etc. An accuser being threatened with excommunication for not maintaining secrecy would be an exception.

    And, lastly, there has been very much done also in the U. S. by the Church itself, in an open format including the laity at a high level, to efficaciously seek solutions to issues related to this topic.

  6. Why does the world allow Catholic priests to continue the abuse?

    Ranta vs. Diocese of Savannah:
    Diocese of Savannah Enables Catholic Child Rapist Priest to Abuse Children for 30+ Years
    Secret Facts Revealed

    The YouTube presentation is updated to the new version. It may take a little while longer for the new version to be visible. You can see it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDdkfmNY-6g

    You can get to the presentation and the downloadable PDF file at http://www.susanvance.com/savannah_webshow.html or at http://www.clergysexualabuse.org (Most Clear to View)

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