Tue, Jan 19, 2010
RITE AND REASON: “Paul”, who suffered clerical sex abuse, explains why he believes the Catholic Church has failed properly to deal with the problem in its midst.
I AM writing because I know why the church hid the abusers and is still evasive about blaming the perpetrators and the people who hid them.
Naturally I am a victim, so I am limited by the anger I feel, but also it seems I am unique in remembering the most important aspect of it all, the aspect that explains everything.
My priest (abuser) has the distinction of being the highest placed individual that I am aware of as having been accused. He is dead many years.
I want to remain anonymous because I do not want a label attached to myself. Understand, I am not shamed in any way, but that is not who I am and I don’t want all my actions or inactions explained away with reference to the abuse I experienced.
The reason why the church covered up the abuse and moved priests about is because they did not blame the priests, they blamed the children. With this knowledge observe the reaction of church authorities. They
look as if they would like to say it, but can’t.
And that is it. They can’t because they believe society is now over-sentimental about children and they would not be understood. This was confirmed to me when I met an old priest tucked away in a nursing
home despite the fact he was not unwell.
At one point he suggested Cardinal Ó Fiaich should be canonised, I rejected the idea, pointing out he was involved in the cover-up of abuse.
The old priest said: “People should forgive him, after all we are prepared to forgive the children.” I asked: “Forgive the children what?”
He replied: “Their share of the blame.” Of course in that moment I realised he was himself an abuser, hidden away there.
In my own case the priest treated the abuse as punishment for some contrived wrongdoing by me. Afterwards he would recoil, claiming that I was the cause of it and he was merely a weak sinner who had been tempted by me.
You can see; firstly, the damage this would do to the child, (the child is unlikely to report it as the child has been led to believe that he/she is to blame) and, secondly, you can also see the moral get-out clause this gives the priest and the church.
They see themselves as the victims and everything that has happened, up to and including the Murphy report, is part of the attack that these Devil-inspired, tempter children have been responsible for in their
attempts to destroy the church.
Every victim who then claims against the church is simply acting in the role in which they have been cast. Having tempted the poor, weak priest into sin they then add insult to injury by trying to destroy the church
by attempting to steal its money.
With this logic in mind everything falls into place. The problem is not a legal or a moral one, it is spiritual. This explains their moving the priests on; giving them a fresh start; and pleading that “lots of prayer will help you”. And when they offend again, they will have been preyed
upon by another agent of the Devil in child form.
Of course this is all self-deluding rubbish. It is a product of a “closed society” which has drifted into a terrible place because it has no outside agency (such as the law) to regulate it. All closed societies are dangerous for this reason.
Furthermore, we are dealing with an organisation that still retains medieval beliefs. It may play them down (exorcism for example) but they are still on the books and inform the day-to-day running of the church.
I believe strongly that the church, despite all its mistakes, was a major contributor to the stabilisation of western civilisation. But that day has passed. Law and constitutional democracy have superseded the
need for the rules the church enforced.
*The identity of the writer is known to The Irish Times
© 2010 The Irish Times