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Can Catholic Church overcome child abuse scandals?

10:39 UK time, Thursday, 18 March 2010

Pope Benedict XVI has apologised to victims of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Ireland. What is your reaction?

In a pastoral letter to Irish Catholics, he acknowledged the sense of betrayal in the Church felt by victims and their families and expressed "shame and remorse".

The Pope said those guilty of abuse must "answer before God and properly constituted tribunals for the sinful and criminal actions they have committed".

The letter addressed only the scandal in Ireland, not the other cases of abuse which have recently come to light in other countries across Europe, including in the pope's native Germany.

Is the Catholic Church doing enough to address these child abuse scandals? Does the Pope's letter go far enough? How has he handled the situation?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.


Page 1 of 14

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    The question has to be asked "why is paedophilia so common within the Catholic Priesthood"? Any member of the Roman Catholic hierarchy should be excommunicated for their silence or participation in the abuse of children and should be persued and prosecuted under the laws of the land.

  • Comment number 3.

    "there is no statute or common law requiring them to do so"

    Whether or not that is true, there is definitely a moral law that says if you are aware child abuse is going on, you need to act to stop it.

    I thought the Catholic Church were supposed to believe in moral laws?

  • Comment number 4.

    The evidence which has emerged so far suggests that for many years the Catholic Church actively implemented a policy of covering up child abuse, and protecting the abusers.

    Because this policy was so widespread I suspect that there is a generation of senior clerics in the church who can all be implicated to one degree or another in this travesty, doing the Catholic Church immense damage.

    I think we’ve only begun to learn about the sheer scale of the cover-up and I have serious concerns for the safety of all children currently under the stewardship of the Roman Catholic Church, particularly those in 3rd world countries where the authorities are often corrupt and the police are not particularly geared towards child protection.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    Anyone who is complicit in child abuse (which it appears members of the church have been, by protecting perpetrators and coercing victims to remain silent, enabling these offenders to go on and reoffend against other children) should face criminal charges. They are little better than those tracfficing children for sex. Disgusting.

  • Comment number 7.

    Paedophilia is probably more common within the Roman Catholic Church owing to celibacty.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    Oh and on a slightly separate note it's a little hypocritical to lecture people on morality when members of the catholic faith have sought to cover up the crimes of their fellow priests.

  • Comment number 10.

    2. At 11:07am on 18 Mar 2010, missproliberty wrote:
    The question has to be asked "why is paedophilia so common within the Catholic Priesthood"?


    I suspect that predatory paedophiles have actively targeting the priesthood because it was easy to get in, there was no screening process and it would give them access to children.

    Some of them may even have been encouraged to take up the priesthood by the stories about the church covering up abuse and protecting the abusers.

  • Comment number 11.

    Never mind an apology, why are these dreadful individuals not prosecuted for witholding information from the police or are they another branch of never mind the offended, let's protect the offender?

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Until very recently (maybe even now), the Catholic church was more or less untouchable in Ireland. This, along with the creed of suppression, guilt and unquestioning obediance has led to these dark festering secrets that are only now being brought out into the light. Without an almost total overhaul of the system, it's hard to see how trust can ever be restored. Modern society simply isn't compatible with Catholicism to anything like the same extent as it was, and revelations like this are hardly going to help. It seems that for every small step that the church takes forward, it slides back another hundred paces. The Pope's intervention may well be too little, too late. In time, even this figurehead could become every bit as impotent as the priests are expected to be.

  • Comment number 14.

    perhaps once the perpetrators AND the "accessories after the fact" have been sent down. Then they can start trying to rebuild trust. However, it was so sad to see all those "good" catholics applauding the cardinal's apology and seeming to absolve him from guilt.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 17.

    The Irish and German govts have called for the catholic church to hold an inquiry, How come? , surely that is the polices job. If i was suspected of a sexual abuse crime the govt wouldnt ask me to investigate myself would they?

  • Comment number 18.

    And the Labour government is still trying to increase the number of "faith" schools for this lot!!!!

    All those responsible should be given life in prison and that's means LIFE, not the British version where all sentences are immediately halved for 'good behaviour'.

    Anyone who knew about it and didn't divulge what they know should be given life for perverting the course of justice.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    Ironically, the Catholic Church should practice what they preach.

    Confess their sins, admit there is a problem, and only then can they begin on the road to redemption.

  • Comment number 21.

    I cannot speak for Irish law, but I trained as an advice worker with the Citizens' Advice Bureaux in the UK. They have a confidentiality ethos that is as strict as the 'seal of the confessional' with one single exception - if you believe that a child is at risk, you are required to report it immediately.

    Likewise as a teacher, any suspicions that a child is being abused or is otherwise at risk must be reported at once under Child Protection law - even if the individual concerned would prefer you to keep it confidential. Been there. Reported it. And had a copper turn up in my classroom to take a statement! (He did have to wait until the end of the lesson, though.)

    Yes, in both cases the organisation has a reporting procedure to follow, a designated person to whom you must speak about your concerns or what has been disclosed to you. But they have clear guidelines to follow as well, including the involvement of appropriate external agencies - hence the rozzer sitting in my computer lab until I'd dismissed the class.

  • Comment number 22.

    Ladies and Gentelmen. the Human condition is beyond repair. I mean really what did the curch think would happen by forbidding priests from satisfying what the body needs.Organised Religion of all sorts are the most corrupt institutions on the face of this earth. they have not change one bit since their inception but only evolved to meet the status quo. unless the law applies to the church just as it applies to everyone else there shall be no change, and only more cases of brutal abuse by the so called men of God who cannot prove the existance of their God besides old writings that were written by mere mortals who claim they were instructed by God him self. what a silly argument, in a day and age where people will not believe you unless there is solid proof to ones cliams.

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    The Catholic church is like any large institution in that it protects and favours its leadership and priesthood at the expense of absolutely anybody else. Large multinational companies make no exemption for children as slave labour, why shouild we expect the Catholic church to be any more caring and respectful of the child? The church is now talking about repentence and other euphemisms for refusing to acknowledge their responsibility. We are not interested in the personal sufferings of the priesthood, our only concern is the victims now and potential victims in the future. Their use of language indicates no interest in helping victims or changing their basic nature which has always been child-abusive.

  • Comment number 25.

    I thought the BBC's (attempted) questioning of the mostly female, mostly middle aged women going to St Patricks Mass yesterday was most interesting. None of them would let the BBC say a bad word against the church in general and Cardinal Brady in particular. One shouted that the allegations were nonsense.

    This is why these abuses went on so long. The Irish people didn't want to believe what was happening and turned a blind eye for far too long. The situation is very similar to basically decent Germans trying to pretend their Jewish neighbours haven't mysteriously vanished.

    The philospher Edmund Burke, himself an Irishman, said "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" . The 'Good men' of Ireland did nothing. Maybe the entire Irish nation should be apologising for what they let their nuns & priests do?

  • Comment number 26.

    To be honest I'm not very surprised. The Catholic church has been corrupt to the core for centuries. They have never practiced what they preach.

    To all those referring to the priests that didn't bring this to the attention of the authorities they can be charged for Perjury.

    These animals should be brought to justice for what they've done, and should serve time in prison just like any other criminal. The fact they are priests should have no bearing as they are subject to UK law, not the law of the vatican.

    The Pope's visit should be cancelled due to this scandal

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    It's just another sign that the Church is slowly self-destructing as it struggles to cope with the 21st century. When priests were revered and vitually the whole population was forceably indoctrinated into christianity from childhood, they could pretty much get away with anything. Now they can't. Increasingly their attitudes and teachings are out of touch with the progression of human knowlege and humanitarianism. There is no place or requirement for them or any other religion any more, the big questions are being explained without the need for superstition or corrupt unprogressive institutions. We just need to highlight the enormous humanitarian damage and supression of the truth that the other big religions cause, both on a global and personal scale, and hopefully they will rapidly begin to decline as well.

  • Comment number 29.

    In the light of the information provided by Poster No 8 it does rather beg the question as to why the Pope will be treated as a welcome guest in this country.

    He will no doubt be fawned over by British Catholics.

  • Comment number 30.

    I find this whole story absolutely horrifying. In answer to the question posed - 'can the Catholic church overcome the child abuse scandal' - my answer is yes it CAN (the catholic church can quite clearly do whatever it likes with little rebuke) but no it SHOULDN'T be able to.

    I do not have the words at my disposal to express how horrific and shameful this episode is. How the catholic church can lecture on issues such as homosexuality, contraception, sex outside of marriage and other harmless issues and yet cover up horrific crimes on such a massive scale is honestly beyond my comprehension. The sooner the Catholic church - and all religions - are wiped out, the better.

  • Comment number 31.

    #8, Chaos Magick:

    If what you say is true, that is truly shocking. More so than any of the other allegations I've heard.

    However, while I don't for a minute think that the Catholic Church are above such things, is there any real proof of those allegations? Just because someone wrote something in a blog and in a newspaper doesn't mean that it's necessarily true.

    In any case, I'll still see you at the protests when the Pope visits the UK. Even if those allegations aren't true, the Catholic Church's blatant homophobia (see the previous HYS) and efforts to frustrate life-saving condom distribution programmes in Africa, and of course the paedophilia cover-ups that we already do know about with reasonable certainty, are reasons enough to protest.

  • Comment number 32.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 33.

    I am a Catholic and I for one am deeply ashamed not only of the involvement of clergy in this vile affair but am outraged at the ineffectual handling of it by the hierarchy-and that goes right to the top.

  • Comment number 34.

    The RCC must confront this issue along with a host of others (views on divorce, marriage for priests)we no longer live in the old days where you can sweep the subject under the rug. Until they come to terms with the real world we will keep seeing more space in the pews on Sunday.

  • Comment number 35.

    If the Catholic Church wants to recover any semblance of credibility with its worshipers and the world at large, then those involved in this massive cover-up of what the church considers Mortal Sin, Cardinals, Bishops, Priests and if necessary the Pope himself must be exposed and dismissed. They may not have broken the laws of the lands where these acts were committed but they are all guilty of the most grievous of sins against what they proclaim as the laws of God. If there is no sweeping 'clear out', then they will be perceived as the hypocrites they are.

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    "Can Catholic Church overcome child abuse scandals?"
    I certainly hope not.
    A more pertinent question would be "Can their victims overcome the abuse they suffered at the hands of priests?"
    The sooner all religion is consigned to the dustbin of history, the better.

  • Comment number 38.

    Of course they will overcome it while there are still those weak minded people who will follow a religion no matter the evidence to the contrary or the obvious manipulative and criminal activities of those who preach it. What religion with all its pomp and ceremony and archaic rituals has to do with modern society is beyond me. Ban religion and stop these criminals hiding behind their mumbo jumbo and bring them to book. Disgusting

  • Comment number 39.

    This runs much deeper than the catholic church. Now that they are having to battle with this, should they fail, a whole world you never knew existed will open up. Tip of the iceberg I feel. This is an undercurrent which runs through all sections of society, as much as you would like to deny that fact. This just goes to show that no matter how disgusting and deplorable the crime; the more powerful you are the more you can stave off being caught or prosecuted. "Virtuous acts can license subsequent asocial and unethical behaviors" or "Moral Balancing" seem to be common place, not solely within the church.

  • Comment number 40.

    It seems to me that due to its unwillingness to properly deal with the paedophiles within its own structure the Roman Catholic Church has lost its position of being presumed a good - or at least not negative - influence on society. In my view it should now be viewed as another dodgy cult with no standing in society.

  • Comment number 41.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 42.

    "missproliberty wrote:
    The question has to be asked "why is paedophilia so common within the Catholic Priesthood"?"

    You don’t have to be Sigmund Freud to work out that equating the biological imperative that the human animal shares with all other living creatures to sexually reproduce as “original sin” and repressing an entirely natural drive to have sex in order to take a vow of celibacy is mentally unbalanced and psychologically unhealthy.

    In other words, their entire philosophy and belief system is deeply flawed and actually unnatural.

    Instead of acting like sex-hating prudes who are obsessed with what consenting adults get up to in the privacy of their own bedrooms maybe the Catholic church and all the Abrahamic faiths should just grow out of their self-induced infantilism and try to understand that there is nothing more unnatural than men in dresses who don’t have sex lecturing the rest of us who do have sex that they shouldn’t be having sex.

  • Comment number 43.

    The catholic church is just one big abuse of human rights since it was formed.

  • Comment number 44.

    As far as i can see (and i have good eyes) For generations the Popes have known about this and possably all below them have also known. You could possably say the Catholic church was founded on it from the castrato choiar boys singing for the Cardenels and Popes to the modern day. And dont just look at the prists look at the nuns too. Not just sex crimes but torcher and cruelty over hundreds of years . If these are "gods people" im glad im not one of them.

  • Comment number 45.

    It does not suprise me that Brady failed to report the abuse the police but would the police have done anything there a lot of Catholic police officers in Ireland would they have covered it up?

    The Catholic church like all religions have far to much influence in goverments in uk and Ireland you should not have bishops sitting in the house of lords they have no right voting on laws and goverment poicy.

  • Comment number 46.


  • Comment number 47.

    Can the BBC explain, which house rules my comment at no1 broke?

    Google the victims name and you get hundreds of hits, yet search the BBC news site and zilch, zero.

    What are the BBC scared off?

  • Comment number 48.

    I hope not, but they will.
    Deceive of this magnitude will not just disappear.
    They have experience in survival since Roman times
    and they are very good at it. As long as the public
    is on the receiving end and donations/taxes are flowing,
    there is nothing can shake their successful establishment
    unfortunately, never mind the children of present times...

  • Comment number 49.

    While I have every sympathy for the victims, in truth I am delighted to see this unpleasant organisation fighting for its very survival. In my opinion the Catholic Church is well past its sell-by date.


  • Comment number 50.

    "My friend then age 7 yrs was abused by a Catholic priest in Ireland for over 3 years he was not alone his brother was too,The bishop knew all about it, the priest was sent to America to be hidden or re educated? This was not un common so he told me years later , of course no one would at that time have a word said against, a priest? he tryed to tell some one, but was beaten daily by the monks in his school, they were his teachers? I was told about an orpanage, that was a brothel,in Ireland but I dont know where it was, I hope some one who was an inmate there will tell about the horrors' that happen to them. The catholic church in Ireland has a great deal to hide.

  • Comment number 51.

    Is the Catholic Church doing enough to address these child abuse scandals?

    No. It needs an open, transparent root and branch enquiry and many heads must roll. It must unlock some of its immense wealth and pay compensation to all those proven to have been harmed. It must name and shame. It must put in place rigorous, auditable mechanisms for screening priests and monitoring their behaviour

    What do you think the Pope should say in his letter?

    What I have said above. Sorry isn't good enough.

    Is 'repentance, healing and renewal' achievable, as the Pope suggests?

    Who for - the offending priests or the damaged victims. It is very easy for the former to put on their virtual hair shirts and say how sorry they are, but how can the victims be 'healed' by this?

    The catholic church has a long history of secrecy, repression, abuse of power, suppression of good science and medicine and hoarding wealth whilst its followers starve in ignorance and poverty.

    If the church and its members really believe in Christ and the Gospels, they should divest themselves of their gold and silver, discard their finery, break up their ridiculous hierarchies and start practising what Jesus told them to do.

  • Comment number 52.

    It is now time for the Pope to step in and prevent all future scenarios of unsupervised contact and communications between Roman Catholic clergy and children.

    The number of sexual abuse cases and subsequent cover-ups committed by the priesthood continues to increase. The perpetrators may be in a minority, but their repulsive acts, criminal silences and the blind deference of many in the Catholic laity failing to condemn this behaviour can no longer be accepted.

    If the Catholic Church hierarchy are truly able to grasp the severity of the situation, perhaps it is now the appropriate time for them to intervene, and abide by the law of the land. If not, ALL Catholic clergymen may find themselves added to the (unofficial) list of perceived undesirables and paedophiles. Scary but true.

    I fear that letters of apology and prayers for the thousands of ruined lives is too little, too late, and are simply not enough. Perhaps the Pope believes this too, if he understands the reality and appreciates the level of people's disgust at the Church's failure to act accordingly, led by his predecessor.

    The Pope may also choose to review their policy on the celibacy and veneration of the priesthood. The Church invented these absurd rules to suit the beliefs of the medieval Vatican and to frighten the peasants. But they simply have no place for any men living in the 21st century.

  • Comment number 53.

    Sadly it cannot since the idea of a celebate man is an anachronism as it always has been. In the past a Catholic Priest often has a lover now this is less likely.

    The result is that the profession acts as a magnet for potential pedophiles.

  • Comment number 54.

    #32 "At 11:58am on 18 Mar 2010, Robert Warstein wrote:
    Cdl. Brady was under no obligation to report these incidents, and in fact the church authorities urged people not to, including the current Pope, whose ultra conservatism is not exactly what's needed right now."

    At least under British law (and British and Irish are very similar in most respects) you ARE legally obliged to report a crime (and child molestation is a very serious crime). To be aware of a crime and attempt to cover it up makes you an accessory. That's the legal obligation. The moral one should be far, far more obvious. I'd have thought the Pope of all people (desperate to distance himself from his Hitler Youth membership in the past) should be repeating to all his staff that 'I was only obeying orders' is not a valid defence.

  • Comment number 55.

    We must remember that catholics feel they can tell their priests anything without it going any further, going to confession is an important part of catholicism. Plus if no laws were broken then he's not in the wrong.

  • Comment number 56.

    If the catholic church actually allowed male priest to marry and stop this whole un-natural vow of celibacy then it would might have better balance. It all stems from the homosexuality was considered vermin buy general society and the church, so if you had homosexual feelings and couldn’t marry a woman, so it was much respectable to take a vow of celibacy and follow GOD so with human nature if you suppression something it often come out in different ways.

    I would rather have someone who has married and seen a birth and understand that you would protect your child with your life as you can’t preach about the meaning of life with no life experience.

  • Comment number 57.

    In failing to report these vile and bestial offences, Cardinal Brady was only following orders.
    Now where have we heard that nasty little excuse before?

  • Comment number 58.

    It is not just the RC's that have a history of this, it was also widely prevalent with the Church of England.
    They took exactly the same attitude, move the offender and cover it up.
    It makes one wonder if the Clergy in particular attracts people of a certain ilk?
    As for the current situation, the scandal is that the people who are there to manage the Church and the Priesthood were complicit in the actions of the Paedophiles in that there silence allowed them to get away with it.
    Surely a crime has been committed, and a crime for which they should ALL be facing the consequences of?
    I know that if a person has prior knowledge of an offence, or knowledge after the fact they can be charged with various offences, so why are these Bishops protected from it?
    Is the Irish Government so afraid of the Church of Rome that it will not act?
    Shame on them all

  • Comment number 59.

    Whilst none of us are without sin this whole series of events is a manifestation of pure evil. No amount of edicts and pledges will ever heal the pain felt at the mass betrayal by these so called leaders of the faith. We should now look at every single country involved in this religion and investigate thoroughly what is going on. This is not restricted to the few countries already mentioned, this is global. This needs a real spiritual leader with true guts to go out there and sort the problem not the weak apologist we see on TV today.

  • Comment number 60.

    "there is no statute or common law requiring them to do so"

    Excuse me?? Am I wrong or do we not live in a SECULAR country? That means EVERYONE obeys the law of the land, regardless of religion.

    This will never happen of course, but if the Catholic Church see fit to flout our laws and state openly they don't apply to them, then I think they ought to be considered an illegal organisation.

  • Comment number 61.

    40 comments displayed with not a single catholic shamelessly defending their cult. Shame they are quick to put forward their homophobia when it comes to gay adoption

  • Comment number 62.

    It is possible for the Catholic church to do enough to address these scandals but it will never happen. They have proven over and over their contempt for people and human organisations, considering themselves above reproach due to their mandate from God.

    Any organisation that aids and abets paedophiles and other criminals should be investigated and closed down, it would happen to any other organisation that did the same.

    I'm most disappointed that Catholics across the world are almost silent about this, they are obviously too used to submitting to the will of the church.

  • Comment number 63.

    The church should no longer be able to have any contact with minors, end of.

    Children are only allowed in church when they are with their legal guardian, and all people who have been involved in the cover up or abuse should be put in a jail with real men and see how they like it!

    Criminals. And if this is not dealt with properly then I will be shocked at the hypocrisy or the government and that religion really does mean you can have your own rules!

    Can we PLEASE not pay for the pope to come here!!!!!!

  • Comment number 64.

    The Church has only itself to blame for empty pews. It initelf is not bigger than the religion. The fact that they felt the need to protect themselves is disgusting. More respect would have been paid if tey held there hands up and said they where wrong. Any abuse, by anyone be they priest or joe public. Is abuse. and not to be excused and swept under the carpet.

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 66.

    It may well be that Irish law differs from British, or ther are exemptions for religions.

    Normally I would expect someone involved in the cover up of any crime, to be prosecuted for conspiracy (after the event).

    I can understand when information within a confessional might be exempted (much as we provide confidentiality to lawyers, doctors and journalists - under certain circumstances)

    However I understaood the catholic charch carried out an investigation and supressed the findings.

    I'd like to know
    a) how many other cases there are
    b) whether they really are entitle to hide crimes, and leave people in a position to reoffend

  • Comment number 67.

    It is true that Sean Brady had no obligation under Irish law to tell the Gardai anything. However, his involvement in keeping things quiet showed he was doing more to protect a 'known and persistent paedophile' than he was to help the victim.

    This is a reversal of what the Church stands for and Sean Brady was deeply implicated. He ought to do the honourable thing.

  • Comment number 68.

    tyhe catholic churchis over 1000 years old it comprises human beings
    human beings are fallible in allsorts of abhorrent ways one of the worst things about theseterrible exposures quite apart from the deeds themselves is that they take away attention fron where the vast majority of child abuse takes place, like it or notwell in excess of 90% of child abuse occurs in the family setting and is by people the child trusts
    nobody can detract from the horrors expeienced by the paedophile priests
    nor should they but the sensationalisation with which the media reports these issues never makes reference to one simple fact in % terms there are no mor paedophile priests in the catholic church than in the population at large in fact probably fewer, there are now many measures in place to protect youngsters in the presence of priests which were not enven thought about 10,20,30 40 years ago which is when most of these terrible cases took place, sadly everyday we see in the news about child abuse which has nothing whatever to do with any church, priest or vicar
    the media choses not to give those instances more than about 48b hours coverage where as paedo priest seems to be guaranteedheadlines to judge purely by the media one would think that priests carry out more abuse than anyone else this is patently not true.

  • Comment number 69.

    No doubt the perpetrators thought that a few hail marys would absolve them of any crime they committed

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    Sean Brady MUST resign immediately and give all his pension to the abuse victims and the poor. He will thus, at least, show that he cares about the principles of the institution he belongs to.

    But the real problem is that the Catholic Church (like most religious establishments) rely on arcane traditions such as celibacy. It is now understood that such restrictions can cause deep problems to an individual. Although a priest may, at some point, vow never to have any sexual relation of any nature, how can he be sure that this will be the case forever? I maintain that this vow will surely make any normal human being go crazy and, sooner or later, he will do things he is not allowed to. Not only he will break the law but he will try to cover it up. And we saw what happened after decades (or, most likely, centuries or millennia) of sexual abuse by the religious authorities.

    The solution is to reform the church and allow sexual encounters.

  • Comment number 72.

    Repentance and reflection, there is some level of Culpability, the dividing line between moral evil. Probable guilt in aiding and abetting or withholding information, or perverting the course of justice? This man(and possibly others)could have prevented further suffering and ended the crimes against the innocent.
    Time best spent in prison reflecting and making admissions to ignoring the truth.

  • Comment number 73.

    Humanity cannot be trusted with religion; it gives 'license' to commit atrocities that God (if he/she were indeed real) would respond swiftly and violently toward.

    The course ahead is clear; ban religion.

    Only then can the individual be held truly responsible for their own actions and not seek to justify their own sick actions through a fundamentally flawed institution.

  • Comment number 74.

    To answer the HYS question, I think they are going to struggle to overcome these scandals in the long-run.

    Organised religion, however noble many of its practitioner's ideals are, works on the basis that the blissful happy ever after depends upon adherence to that particular orgainsation's set of rules. The keepers of those rules are the priests, Rabbis, Imams, vicars et al and thus they wield tremendous power over their flock.

    We're more willing to demand answers now and some of the questions are quite difficult for religion to answer. Even the rather decent John Sentamu was recently stumped on why God allows so many people to die in natural disasters.

    Rules are an important part of all our lives but we need to understand them and buy into them democratically. The cover-ups were a function of a feeling of impunity. The deference which allowed that sense to flourish is, I suspect, ebbing away.

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    I certainly hope not. Having a belief system is one thing, manipulating billions of people for political purposes over the course of 1700+ years is another.

  • Comment number 77.

    To think the church say's homosexuals are a danger to society indeed the Pope thinks there as bad as climate change! Yet he say's little about the danger his church has been and will continue to be with its cover-up of child sex abuse.
    Nothing will save the church in my eye's until the leaders and those involved directly are arrested for there part in covering up this abuse and we should not be scared of taking the pope himself to court if he is implicit in this shocking crime.
    I have no respect for this or any church that has allowed or hidden the crimes done to children both past and present.

  • Comment number 78.

    The Pope has covered up Abuse “Himself” and communicated an Edict that Reporting Rape or Torture would result in Excommunication.

    The Pope also introduced a statute of limitation for Rape and Sexual abuse of 10 years after the victim reaches 18 and an Edict that these events where to be Kept secret until that time.


    The "Holy See" is a corporation with a Sovereign State and if they have profited from the abuse of the young of Ireland are culpable; as they should have made sure that the contributions that they accepted where clean and not covered in "SIN".

    But who is going to take the most powerful Corporation in the world to the "Court of Human Rights" Who can unlock the secrecy of this Corporation and gain access to their Financial Records.

    It is about time that the "Corporate and Religious Veil" was lifted.

  • Comment number 79.

    Cardinal Brady should be prosecuted under canon law and then be dismissed. He has admitted to demanding that the victims of a paedefile priest who went on to defile more young men for many years afterwards,take a vow of silence to prevent the truth becoming public. He is a hypocrite and a disgrace. Brian Judge.

  • Comment number 80.

    The Catholic faith to be ban for preaching moral issues until it can get it's house in order. It is disgraceful that the vitims of these horrible crimes have not had justice. Religion is man-made ! Therefore we should ignore any ranting by the Pope towards homosexuality, family planning, abortion...........

    The Catholic Church is a disgrace.

  • Comment number 81.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 82.

    The Catholic Church was built on a bunch of lies and fallacies in the 1st place, has always been corrupt, throughout the catholic church has been guilty of genocide and torture over periods of centuries just because others religious ideas don't quite conform to theirs, at best and all to often for purely political purposes. There have been stories about this sort of thing ever since I can remember, all they have ever done is build cover up over cover up. It is about time this thoroughly corrupt organisation is disbanded and broken up.

    Or is it to big to be made to fail...

  • Comment number 83.

    is this christianity? should i group and suspect all christians to be part of/condoning of this crime? do i expect a apology from other christians on behalf of their fellow christian wrong doers? is it right for me to steroeotype?

  • Comment number 84.

    I'm a confirmed atheist and this whole pedophilia episode is abhorrent but, looking at some of the posts, let's not confuse religion with this scandal.
    Christianity does not condone illegal activities or pedophilia - this isn't something indicative of the faith or doctrine. Some people in positions of power have abused that power and are guilty of covering up horrific illegal activities (not limited child abuse).
    Their institution is protecting them but the religion does not support their acts.
    the same goes for the huge global support of their figurehead who, rather than preaching a form of social unification, backs oppresion of the poor and promotes counter productive policies that obstruct progress. None of this is part of what i would call faith (rather than religion)

  • Comment number 85.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 86.

    This is an awful situation, whereby certain individuals are bringing great shame onto the Christian faith. There is a cruel irony here in that Jesus has such high regard for children. Consider His words from the Bible...."He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

    “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."

  • Comment number 87.

    Ref: Paedophilia is probably more common within the Roman Catholic Church owing to celibacty!


    The deliberate abstinence from sexual activity, usually in connection with a religious role or practice. It has existed in some form in most world religions.
    Although I understand and feel the same as the majority on this serious subject.
    It is one of many reasons why such abhorrent acts occur, and so it appears is common place within areas of the catholic community, I am not really that surprised by it.
    Although I am not of the Catholic faith, and this does not necessarily make me anymore the wiser, I really do believe that the time has come for the Church or more importantly, religion to ask itself, are our ideas of Celibacy totally out of date and perhaps serious grounds for change. I do not wish to offend those who are Celibate and lead a blameless life, good for them, but the fact is that we are all Humans, with basic needs, I don’t think I need to spell them out here. It is obvious from the amount of factual evidence that has come to light, there are common factors with the issues of abuse besides Celibacy, which need to be confronted and resolved if the Catholic Church is immerge with a clean sheet.
    I was once told about the treatment of young girls who had been sent to a Convent in India many years ago, the discipline was harsh whether there was any sexual abuse I wasn’t told however, the description I given was the Nun’s were cruel and sadistic, I would like to believe those days are now passed!

  • Comment number 88.

    My Grandmother and her siblings all come from Ireland (Limerick) and none of them ever had a good word to say about the church over there. I can see why.

  • Comment number 89.

    Isn't this the same church that's against contraception and homosexuals??? beggars belief!

  • Comment number 90.

    The Church is in terrible trouble over this. I'll tell a story thats shows how profound the problem is...

    My daughter is in the reception class of a wonderful Catholic infant school. I'm of a very-lapsed Catholic disposition but one of my daughter's friends is from a very devout Irish Catholic family. The sort of people who would have hidden priests in holes in their houses during the times of Elizabeth I.

    The very devout matriarch was hysterical when she approached me - I've known her for years. Why? Because she had heard a rumour that the young local priest was helping with PE lessons. Turns out he wasn't - but she was all 'inappropriate, child protection, dangerous, worried'.

    Now, if people like her can't and don't trust the Church any longer, the Church is in terrible, terrible trouble.

    In my opinion, clerical celibacy and the hierarchical structure of the Church are the two main problems.

    Firstly, celibacy is clearly less of a problem for those who face persecution from the State. This used to be the case for homosexuals, who found a safe haven from persecution by the legal system in hypocrisy in the Catholic Church. What did it matter if you could not marry if you faced prosecution for your sexuality? Since being gay is no longer a crime, the Church has a recruitment crisis. Who is attracted to the Church's protection now? I think we all know the answer.

    Secondly, the representative of the incidentally married St Peter long ago stopped listening to his Flock, but forgot that behaviour is often reciprocal. I'd say the average age of a mother in my daughter's school is mid-30s and the average size of a family is 1.5. So, is the flock listening to the Church on contraception? Nope. And once the flock begins to question and ignore teachings it will question and ignore more and more. Look at the collapse in the Church's prestige in Ireland, Germany and the US.

    The only way forward is reform and married priests. There is no theological objection. Priests could marry for the first 1000 years of the Church. But the repressed clique at the centre of the Church would need to give up its own power. Is it capable of reforming itself? I doubt it.

  • Comment number 91.

    As one of the more aggressive and destructive religious memes one hopes it will either lead to substantial reforms in its attitudes or marginalization.

  • Comment number 92.

    No, I don't think they can overcome these scandals. This will probably hang over the catholic church forever. As it should.

  • Comment number 93.

    It will survive because it has too much momentum. People will rationalise what they see against what they want to believe.

    There is a doctrine that the Pope is infallible. There is a doctrine that the Holy Spirit acts in Christians to make them better (and that without this we are wretched sinners). There is the idea that religion is the one source of morality.

    Where was this Holy Spirit in the life of the infallible pope or his priests? (How does that doctrine explain how people who are not Christians can show goodness too? The answer I've heard - that "God acts through them in spite of their non-belief" is patronising when "God" is an external being and redundant when "God" is metaphor.)

    The evidence contradicts the doctrine, but the doctrine will be adapted or rationalised. It will still be believed. There is too much attachment to it. Too many people's sense of self identity depends on it.

    It is a problem that religion claims special privilege on the basis that it has access to morality, or that priests claim that atheists cannot be moral. Some of the points raised by religion have value, but there should be no special reverence for it just because it is religion.

  • Comment number 94.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 95.

    We haven't got any choice: we have to overcome it. We need every single sick person who was involved in this facing justice. Working in the Catholic Church, I can assure you that the child protection procedures which are in place are extensive and thorough. It is just an atrocity that these procedures were not in place fifty years ago.

    It's yet another example of how religion instead of being recognised as a good thing allows itself to make the headlines for its evil side.

  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    The Catholic Church in Ireland is corrupted from Root to Branch with Paedophiles. These evil criminals have been protected from within and outside their organisation. The whole organisation is a disgrace. It has been cover up after cover up, Lie after Lie. Evil criminals were moved from country to country to avoid law enforcement agencies. Victims were forced to signed documents stating that they would never disclose the truth. Poor children were snatched from their families and placed into Orphages and Factory Schools, systematically abused Raped and tortured. The current head of the Church in Rome was in the Hitler Youth. There are authenticated photographs of him dressed as a priest giving Nazi salutes. What a disgusting and corrupt organisation.

  • Comment number 98.

    No, of course the Catholic church isn't doing nearly enough. Can you imagine if the same horrific abuse had occurred on the same scale within another organisation entrusted to supervise young children in the absence of their parents - say cub scouts, or a school football league - and had in the same way been methodically covered up throughout the organisers' heirarchy? There would be mass arrests, prosecutions, an immediate halt to all of the organisation's activity and incredible public outrage. The organisation would never be permitted to continue to exist in anything remotely resembling its present form.
    The church, on the other hand, has its 'golden ticket' (fundamentally arising from a literal belief in iron age mythology, chinese whispered through about 500 generations) giving it carte blanche to act as it likes with legal immunity. Instead of tackling the actual cause of the problem, the fundamental nature of the self-interested, controlling, joyless institution itself, we are told we must instead foot the bill for its self-appointed leader to take a week's holiday spreading his hypocrisy in our country.
    Unfortunately the church will weather this storm like it has so many others, and like it will the next. With its fingers firmly planted in the pockets of millions around the globe and the shield of holy immunity it has gradually built around itself for the last 2 millennia it is sadly pretty much untouchable - as its leaders know full well.

  • Comment number 99.

    I find the Catholic Church's covering up of the sins of their own priests to be sickening. I can see no justification for it nor can I excuse it. It smells of the highest form of hypocrisy. How can any organisation which claims to be the moral guardian of its members behave in this way. They may overcome the scandals but they should not be allowed to.

  • Comment number 100.

    I really dont understand why everyone who knew and never said anything have not been jailed for this.

    The catholic church is well past it's sell by date and people will eventually turn on it if these kind of things keep happening.


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