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Hypocritical Catholic Church has no moral authority whatsoever

May 21, 2009

Torture, rape and beatings. That’s the unforgivable story of Roman Catholic Ireland in the 20th century. Still the perpetrators have not been named, and may never be brought to justice. It would be no exaggeration to call this a holocaust of abuse. Yet there will be no prosecutions for those perpetrators who are still alive, or naming of those who are dead. The Christian Brothers in 2004 won the legal right to anonymity for all those responsible.

The Christian Brothers, one of the most influential of the Church’s male religious orders, opened their first school in Ireland in 1802 and went on to run schools and residential homes for children in Canada, Australia and the UK.

In all countries, children suffered abuse at the hands of the brothers. In Ontario alone, the Christian Brothers paid out $23 million to 700 former students. In Ireland, where they educated many of the people at the top of the political Establishment, they took out newspaper advertisements apologising to victims of abuse. There has been a royal commission in Canada and convictions for sex crimes in Australia.

The anonymity of perpetrators is unlikely to be enough to save the Church from the effects of the widespread revulsion that will result from this report. If anything, the protection the Christian Brothers have managed to secure will merely add to the disgust.

The above is an extract from a Times article following the release of the report of the long-running Irish Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.

Another article began:-

The full horror of children’s lives that were destroyed by sexual, physical and emotional abuse meted out by Roman Catholic religious orders over decades in Ireland was laid bare today in an official five-volume report.

A nine-year investigation by the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse concluded that, although the sexual abuse of thousands of children who passed through Catholic-run institutions was widely known to be “endemic”, no action was taken to prevent it and the Irish Government colluded in a conspiracy of silence.

The report makes for relentlessly grim reading, chronicling the shocking conditions under which 35,000 children were held, many from infancy until reaching adulthood.

The Executive Summary can be downloaded and the full report downloaded here.

The fact that the Catholic Church clearly knew what was going on and did nothing for decades is appalling enough, but then to see that the pervasive influence of the Church was such that officials of the Irish State then colluded in covering it up is even worse.

Frankly it is hard to have any respect at all for an institution that has failed to deal with this issue on a global basis for decades. The idea that the Pope and the Catholic Church have any form of moral authority is laughable. In fact the suggestion demeans the whole  concept of morality. Next time the Pope spouts on about moral issues and the role of the Church his pronouncements should be ignored. In fact they should be ridiculed.

The Church by it’s actions has forfeited any legitimacy it may have had in moral matters. The least it could do is close those religious orders which were at the heart of these crimes.

The Church leadership failed totally These people had the temerity to call themselves Christians and to preach on moral issues. Quite simply it was and is hypocrisy of the worst kind.

Adam will comment further on this matter once he has had more time to study the report.

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11 Comments
  1. Sally permalink
    May 22, 2009 9:18 am

    Liberty Scott has written two excellent posts on this tragic issue – I don’t think there is a word in the dictionary that is able to describe what has taken place.

    Any way this is what LS suggests

    “In fact, why don’t you email the Congregation of Christian Brothers in Ireland, http://www.cfcvocations.org/index.php?page=brothers-around-the-world, and ask them to publish the names of those who abused children, to expel them from their organisation, to help the victims of abuse to prosecute them.

    “The point is simple, either the Church purges itself, or it will have slipped another mile down the moral authority scale.”

    • Russell permalink
      June 4, 2009 12:17 am

      There is no morality within the Catholic Church Heirarchy, it is all about money and power.
      Have a look at the “Indulgences”.
      Apparently even after being given absolution by your local priest you must still do penance after death before entering the Pearly Gates. That is unless you purchase an ” Indulgence” from the Vatican via your local priest.
      And! Yes if your Grandfather was a mean old sinner you can buy one for him to.

      Russ

  2. richardsonron permalink
    May 21, 2009 12:14 pm

    I wish that people using the term Catholic would use it to properly identify the group. Catholic is a term meaning universal which would include all Christians. In your writing, I understand that you are referring to the Roman Catholic Church as opposed to the Greek Catholic, Russian Catholic, and Protestant (itself a general grouping). There are others than the ones I mentioned. Roman Catholics are a religious group that is headed by the Bishop of Rome (Pope).

    It may seem like a minor point, but it will eliminate any confusion by some readers and (I’m sure you couldn’t care less) smooth my irritation of maybe being lumped in that group.

    Otherwise, your position is well stated and as far as I know – accurate.

    • adamsmith1922 permalink*
      May 21, 2009 12:19 pm

      My apologies. Roman Catholic is correct. In my defence I would note that in common parlance many people regard Catholic Church as being the Roman Catholic Church.

      Of course you are correct in that catholic ‘small c’ has a different meaning.

      • RonT permalink
        May 21, 2009 3:15 pm

        No need for apologies. You are correct, it is in common use, but not being a Roman Catholic. I can’t accept the usage. I will usually try to correct the generality. I think that they like to blur the term.

        take care

  3. May 21, 2009 11:31 am

    Excellent post – we look forward to Adam’s further analysis, which will doubtless be right on the money.

  4. adamsmith1922 permalink*
    May 21, 2009 11:25 am

    Oh and there are many other hypocrites as well such as some Muslims and Jews, plus many atheists and agnostics and believers of many other kinds.

  5. adamsmith1922 permalink*
    May 21, 2009 11:24 am

    Bill

    I agree Christian hypocrisy is not limited to the Catholic Church. However, their tendency to seek to define the moral beliefs of their flock and their constant preaching to everyone else makes them worse than many others.

  6. May 21, 2009 11:20 am

    Christian hypocrisy isn’t limited to the Catholic Church. Nor is religious hypocrisy limited to christianity. But you’re right. This is so monstrous it almost redefines the category.

    In my book any organisation that sets itself as the world’s moral compass has to be dubious by definition.

  7. SimonD permalink
    May 21, 2009 11:03 am

    Depressing isn’t it.

    It never fails to amaze me when people look on with awe at the bile that emerges from the popes (and his underlings) mouths. These people have no more insight into morality than you or I, but people are still taken in by the trappings of the church and the cloud of moral superiority that seems to surround them.

    Still the % of non-believers that make up the population are increasing, with luck this might be the last century that the church has any power whatsoever. Who knows even the universities might wise up and remove theology as a subject worthy of a degree.

    • Russell permalink
      June 4, 2009 12:24 am

      SimonD
      Yes! theology is not worth studying; except as part of a more general religious study.

      Russ

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