Irish clerical abuse not typical of church, says Vatican prefect

The Irish Times – Thursday, January 14, 2010
PADDY AGNEW in Rome

THE CLERICAL sex abuse scandals in Ireland are not representative of the behaviour of the vast majority of priests in the Catholic Church, a senior Vatican figure has said.

Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy, said the abuse by priests in Ireland constituted “painful” and “criminal” behaviour.

However, in an interview yesterday in the Vatican daily, L’Osservatore Romano, he said it would be wrong to “make generalisations” as a result of the Irish experience.

The cardinal was asked if events “in certain parts of the world” did not suggest that something had “gone wrong” in relations between bishops and their priests.

“The painful Irish happenings – which by the way have seen some bishops assume their responsibilities and resign – simply do not relate to the entire episcopal ministry.

“The bishops are good fathers for their priests,” he said.

“Certainly, there are some unbecoming situations but they are very limited in number. Unfortunately, we are talking about situations linked to the human condition. And that’s what happened in Ireland.

“This is a very painful business which, it is true, hurts above all the victims but it also profoundly wounds the heart of the church. Once responsibility for so much evil has been objectively established, then we need to go all the way, handing the matter over to the state judicial authorities.”

L’Osservatore asked Cardinal Hummes if, in his view, the credibility of priests worldwide has been undermined by such scandals: “Unfortunately, in a society that has little inclination to dig deep in its search for the truth, [such scandals] damage the image of the priest. Above all because the media concentrate on these events rather than on all the good that is done by the vast majority of priests.

“It is undeniable that painful episodes have happened but we are talking about a limited number of cases which, according to the numbers, are proportionately modest.

“These are of course very serious, criminal happenings which the church can in no way tolerate. But let me repeat it, the vast majority of priests worldwide are decent people, committed to their ministry, ready to give their entire lives, often lose their lives, for the Gospel.”

Appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006, Cardinal Hummes is a Franciscan who himself was often considered a possible candidate for pope at the 2005 conclave which elected Benedict. He is known as a moderate on social justice issues.

Cardinal Hummes’s reference to Irish church scandals is further proof that, while the Vatican may well have kept a very low initial profile with regard to the fallout from the Murphy report, the matter of the Irish church, its scandals and its reorganisation is currently weighing heavily on Holy See minds.

Pope Benedict is to deal with all these matters in his forthcoming pastoral letter to the Irish faithful, expected on or before Ash Wednesday, February 17th.

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16 Comments.

  1. Charles O'Rourke

    “The painful Irish happenings, simply do not relate to the entire episcopal ministry” Taste that for racist arrogance.

  2. Charles O'Rourke

    If we are to believe Hummes the rape and torture of Irish children emanates from the Irish, so he says.The explanation is to found within the barbaric Irish who readily attack children, even their own. He is using a racist platform to generalise and explain away the fact that there is growing concern as to the roll of the Vatican in all of this. It does not happen any where else, only in Ireland he claims, despite evidence to the contrary. If Ireland where to disappear then the problem of the barbaric Irish raping their children would all disappear. I think the President of the Republic understood this at the assembly of the diplomatic corps and made a speech about the Ryan and the Murphy report to the Diplomats, the edge of which was directed to the Vatican ambassador. I’m sure the intelligence service of that state are still analysing every word the President spoke and a sense of concern is dawning on them that this was not good news for the Vatican.

  3. Gabrielle North

    Dear Paddy
    I would like to refer to Michael Hulls Letter Jan 14 My heart goes out to him as we all know this abuse has taken place any where the Irish clergy went Michael I still think they have got away with it and in my opinion THE Vatican are still in denial and will never face the truth they have left a trail of devastation in its wake and we are their casualties they have blighted so many lives throughout the world Gabrielle North

  4. barry clifford

    SOCA OF IRELAND
    Soca of Ireland has as its secretary Mick Waters who lives in England. He is also the director of Soca in England.
    Here in Ireland, SOCA or Survivors Of Child Abuse Limited had an official address of their registered office at 52, Parnell Square West which later became 95, Capel St Dublin 1. That place was sponsored separately by the HSE from the Education board. The company here does not have any capital. (Mr. Waters home address is given in England but in order to protect his privacy I’ve decided it would not be appropriate to publish it)The total income of the company has derived from its past and present principal activity wholly undertaken in Ireland. It is registered as a charity, and its number is: chy16633.
    Income for 2006 was €40,000 with administrative expenses of €42,578 leaving just €2,578 for income tax purposes ,leaving him with a tax bill of zero. After auditors fee it is left with a deficit of 2,420.
    The following year Income for 2007 shot up to €105,100 with an administrative expense bill of €105,945. This left Soca with a surplus of €I,155 not accounting for the accountant.
    There was no stated employees or rent outlay for buildings for either of the above years, and apart for very minor expenses this is all income for somebody. Cash in the bank went from a high in 2006 of €699 to a low in 2007 of €525. I’m am still wondering where has all the money gone. (Source Freedom of Information Act)
    Mr. Waters, you have a very public platform on Paddy Doyle’s website to explain the issues raised above.
    Barry Clifford email: bgclifford@iol.ie

  5. barry clifford

    I take your comments on board and agree with them whole heartedly. From here on in I will not be engaging under or in any forum with Jim, though on who’s side he is on is a matter of conjecture. I do not on the other hand wish to become a leader in any form of any group except in manner of representation and in a very limited capacity. If on the other hand we, and I do not mean Jim but I do mean the Noel Barry’s of this world, along with a few more that will soon be named, were all on the same side we would not have the level of disunity and betrayal that is now a cancer among most of the support groups. The facts as they emerge will be presented and one can do with them as they will.
    I do not offer hope unless I passionately believed it was there myself and try as best as I can to nurture that seed of hope in others. As a force hope itself goes beyond hoping and can convert into real action.
    Yes, I let my emotions run away with me and will not be distracted again but to preach that there is no hope at this most pivotal of moments raises more than a few red flags for me for that was our bible for far too long. People will get upset even more along the way for this not a battle for those that do not wish to be hurt, at this stage.
    On this day alone that hope that I carry was given more than a boost in its natural conversion to action by the news by a top legal eagle and law firm that we have more than a legal chance in winning our case against the Government. For now, I want to hear more before others do. On thing I know is that I cannot win a popularity contest but and as long as we win everything else in our fight for justice along with reflective compensation that is all that matters.
    Barry

  6. Hanora Brennan

    A question for Paddy Agnew – what planet are you on?

  7. Hanora Brennan

    Barry has posted his email address on all of his postings so if you care to admonish him why not use his email address?

  8. Kathleen. While I agree in that people should be allow to express his/her opinion I do feel strongly that there is nothing to be gained by personalising comments particularly between people who are supposed to be on the same side so to speak. Paddy.

  9. Kathleen O'Malley. "Childhood Interrupted".

    Dear Barry.
    Is it necessary to become so personal with Jim. Surely if you wish to be a Leader you must have an open mind and listen to all points of view, not dismiss one with insulting words. Respect is relevant to each and every one, yes’ I know we were never shown or given this, but lets leave their (Religious) wicked example behind us now. You both as all of us have our own points of view and bickering amongst ourselves is just what the religious and their followers enjoy.
    Kathleen O’Malley.

  10. It seems to have escaped his notice that over a thousand priests “left” Ireland to abuse children in the US and that cases of child rape and torture at the hands of his fellow clerics spans the globe with the attendant cover up from HQ in Rome.

    This is not some problem that originated in Ireland. It is a poison that spread out from the Vatican.

    The Roman Catholic Church has produced sexual predators and perverts in every century it’s been in existence.

  11. Strange (not really) that they would think abuse rare to Ireland. I was in one of the catholic slave labour camps in LA County, California, U.S.A. and it was pretty bad there. Beatings, torture, malnourishment, etc., were the norm. Never saw a smile or received a compliment in all the years I was there. Maybe it’s because the nuns and priest were all from Ireland?

  12. Kathleen O'Malley, "Childhood Interrupted"

    To quote the Cardinal “Priests are decent people, ready to give or lose their lives for the gospel”. They were adults and choose to make their lives within the Church. We were Children and forced to comply with their demands. From the Irish experience it was not just one rotten apple but the entire box. Even if all were not Paedophiles, the remaining were as bad for condoning their criminal activity and in some cases moving those monsters around the Country and around the world. The Vatican has not made the wrong doing in Ireland a priority as he said I quote “It is undeniable that painful episodes have happened but we are talking about a limited number of cases which, according to the numbers, are proportionately modest.
    Where is the accountability here, still in denial. They insult the Survivors, one case is a destruction of an entire Family, how many Families were destroyed.
    To little to late.

  13. “”The painful Irish happenings – which by the way have seen some bishops assume their responsibilities and resign”” Interesting quote that : SOME bishops have assumed their responsibilities …. a sly dig at Drennan?

  14. barry clifford

    AN OPEN LETTER TO JIM BERESFORD
    Jim, I feel I know you in an abstract way in that you remind me of the Horseman Hogan’s of the world. That is as good as it gets for you Jim. Judging by your latest rubbish to Paddy’s site you actually sound alarmed at the prospect of this coming battle between the State and against those that it imprisoned. You should actually read what I write instead of trying to sound like somebody that actually knows what he is talking about. We do not need the Ryan Report at all and if we do we are not banned from doing so. Even if we were it would be quite easy to reverse that ruling on many grounds starting with precedent. You outlined one case as a form of precedent and of course you got it wrong as always.
    That was way back in 1989, and if they had only known then what they know now then the outcome would have been very different. You asked and advised ‘Raymond’ that if he was serious about taking a case rather than someone who only jumps up and down, then there was more than one way to skin a cat and even hope.
    Jim, it seems you rather perversely like to take away Raymond’s hope while also showing that you are nothing more than a big bag of wind. Long ago you started down that road. Also according to legal opinion and those in the profession, I have been informed that not only do we have a case for the State to answer but we also have a case that we can WIN.
    Conversely speaking, though I do not want to speak to you in person for we would both find that we have nothing to say, I have one last question to put to you. Where does it say in the Ryan report that: its legal remit is to exonerate the delinquent and relieve the state of its liability. If this is not true then why say it or do you just like to oscillate just opinion rather than hard facts. You seem dogged in your determination anyway for us to fail in our actions or else you suffer from a twisted bitterness that has rendered you useless in any fight, save for saving your own skin.
    In closing Jim, my determination is no less than yours for us to win, and win we will. I will do everything in my power to do so and under any rules that the enemy wants to fight under whether be it clean or dirty. In short, I intend to die with my boots on and sword in hand. I suggest you go back to reading your comics now, Jim, and lights out by 9:30 pm.
    Barry Clifford email: bgclifford@iol.ie

    Email:bgclifford @iol

  15. Paddy, just had to do a bit of research in order to make sense of it.

    http://one-evil.org/acts/acts_ritual_sexual_human_sacrifice.htm

    The priests of Dagan wore fish dress , the archetype of the Mitre (fish) hats of Christian bishops. The Mitre hat of Dagan was always worn over the Kippa of Ashtoreth/Cybele as it is still done today in the Roman Catholic Church.

    The history of religious and systematic abuse of children

    To date, the Roman Cult, otherwise known as the Vatican is the only organization in history to orchestrate as a “sacred” religious ceremony the systematic and widespread encouragement of its clergy to abuse of children from as late as the 14th Century.

    The physical and mental abuse of tens of millions of children for 700 years by the clergy of the Vatican is the largest unbroken “child abuse ring” of all time, still in complete operation today.

    The motivation for such evil remains the dedication of the innocence of children to the demon god of sacrifice- Moloch either consciously or unconsciously by the Roman Catholic and some Christian clergy.

  16. “The bishops are good fathers for their priests,” he said.

    Well, the bishops can parent the priests then and leave the rest of out of the family.

    We did not ask for them to be our fathers, did we?

    Also I invite Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes to court and let us see if he is prepared to say that so many of the priests have committed no crime- He cannot do so, without being in contempt- as he has not been with each priest 24-7 to know truth as an absolute fact.

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