faith & begorra

Atheism in a land of fairies and piseogs

What's this nonsense you're going on with, Enda?

July 27, 2011

As I read the letters pages of various Irish newspapers, I'm struck by the number of commentaries in defense of the Catholic church that are not impressed by the "crude and intemperate language of the Taoiseach’s Dáil speech".

Now personally, I don't think there are limits to how far the Taoiseach or any other representative can go - but I would say that, wouldn't I.  However, it might be possible that the Taoiseach did just rattle his sabre in order to curry favour with the mob.  I think I'll check for myself.

First, what did Enda say that was so bad - well I think we can all agree that this is the problem text:
a report into child sexual-abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See, to frustrate an Inquiry in a sovereign, democratic little as three years ago, not three decades ago.

And in doing so, the Cloyne Report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism....the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day.
This criticism is at the start of the speech, and is really all anyone could complain about.  The rest is either not very critical - or deals with the specific abuse case in Cloyne and how that was handled so badly locally.

So the question is: had the Taoiseach and his advisors based the speech on the report or was it, as one letter writer puts it, "embarrassingly clear that Mr Kenny had not done so".  

According to the Cloyne report, did Rome itself frustrate the enquiry three years ago?  And are there examples of disconnection and elitism? (Dysfunction clearly exists as, if one element of the church is dysfunctional, as Cloyne diocese was, then that charge applies to the church as a whole and as to being narcissistic, this clearly refers to an elitist stance when considering the church as a group).

Now to read the Cloyne report for examples of these.... I haven't read it yet - because, frankly, it wasn't going to make me more appalled by the evils Catholic church and also I didn't want to prejudice this post.

Right, so three years ago Enda says.  What happened three years ago?

Firstly, on reading the report you will see that Catholic church in Ireland implemented various models for dealing with child abuse.  Initially, the "Framework Document" in 1996 and then "Our Children, Our Church" in 2005. There have been other models.

In response to the Framework Document and its insistence on mandatory reporting, the church originally said (section 1.18, Cloyne report):
In particular, the situation of ‘mandatory reporting’ gives rise to serious reservations of both a moral and a canonical nature
This was confirmed in a secret ("strictly confidentially") communique in 2005 by the Papal Nuncio (section 4.21, Cloyne report):
The Congregation wishes to emphasize the need for this document to conform to the canonical norms presently in force
There's the elitism right there.  The Framework Document must conform to canon law - not necessarily the law of the land.  But as mandatory reporting (of any crime) is the law of the land and canon law has "serious reservations" - the law of the land is clearly superseded from the church's point of view.

And if you are in any doubt, the commission confirmed this in section 4.22:
There can be no doubt that this letter greatly strengthened the position of those in the Church in Ireland who did not approve of the Framework Document as it effectively cautioned them against its implementation.
But did this still apply three years ago in 2008. Well Monsignor O'Callaghan clearly seemed to hold disdain for the requirements:
The Bishops rolled over under pressure from the media.  And they expected Rome to endorse the new policy!
To be fair though, as long it doesn't affect how the church treats abuse cases - it doesn't mean he did anything wrong, or that he frustrated the enquiry.  Or did it, in section 1.21, the report lists as one of the failures:
The failure to report any complaints to the health authorities between 1996 and 2008
So before 2008, despite the requirement to report abuse cases - none were reported to the enquiry.  That doesn't mean abuse was going on in 2008 - but there were cases from previous years that O'Callaghan was required to report.

And based on his on own letters - his failure to report was wilful.

And, most importantly, the Catholic church in Rome actively supported this failure.  In fact, they had made it clear that:
If such procedures were to be followed by the Bishops and there were cases of eventual hierarchical recourse lodged at the Holy See, the results could be highly embarrassing and detrimental to those same Diocesan authorities. 
There can be no doubt that the Catholic church in Rome frustrated the enquiry, and that they did it wilfully because of the elitist view that the privileges of the church out-weigh the needs of the victims of child abuse within the state.  And the Taoiseach was not only justified in his comments, but as one of the highest representatives of the Irish people, he was actually obliged to make the statement.

But then I would say that - I'm biased.

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