Irish bishop savaged over clerical abuse

AN official report into clerical child abuse in the Irish Catholic diocese of Cloyne stingingly criticises  Bishop John Magee, saying:

It is a remarkable fact that Bishop Magee took little or no active interest in the management of clerical child sexual abuse cases until 2008 … It became clear during the course of this investigation that Bishop Magee had, to a certain extent, detached himself from the day to day management of child sexual abuse cases. Bishop Magee was the head of the diocese and cannot avoid his responsibility by blaming subordinates who he wholly failed to supervise.

Bishop John Magee

The Commission of Investigation report also said Rome’s decision to brand a document on child sexual abuse as “unofficial” allowed individual bishops “the freedom to ignore” strict guidelines on protecting children.

The authors of the report said the Vatican’s actions:

Can only be described as unsupportive in relation to the civil authorities.

The 431-page report, launched this week by the ministers for justice and children, examined allegations made against 19 priests in the diocese between 1996 and 2000.

Magee, who resigned last year, was an extremely powerful figure not only in the Irish church but also in Rome, where he had been a private secretary to three popes, including John Paul I and John Paul II.

The report follows other damning reports in other dioceses that found a culture of cover-up and denial in the church hierarchy.

The inquiry, led by judge Yvonne Murphy, said the fact that some child sexual abuse allegations were not reported to police was the diocese’s “greatest failure”. There were 15 cases between 1996 and 2005 which “very clearly” should have been reported. Yet police were not told about nine cases.

Andrew Madden, a victim of sexual abuse while an altar boy in the Dublin archdiocese, said the report proved that:

With occasional exceptions, Catholic bishops cannot be trusted with allegations of child sexual abuse.

The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre described the Cloyne report as a “terrible indictment” of the way the church handled the allegations. Ellen O’Malley Dunlop, of the centre, said:

Here is another report which makes for unbelievable reading in relation to how the Catholic church dealt with allegations of child sexual abuse … in the diocese of Cloyne.

There is no excuse of being on a ‘learning curve’ this time. The church’s own child protection guidelines were in place from 1996, yet the report tells us time and time again that the implementation of the policies and procedures was inadequate and inappropriate. It was not until 2008 that the diocese began to follow proper procedures.

She concluded:

The publication of this report will again reopen the wounds of the victims involved and other victims around the country who had similar experiences. It may also trigger people’s memories for the first time.


16 responses to “Irish bishop savaged over clerical abuse”

  1. This is bigger than just the Bishop.

    There’s (serious) talk of expelling the Papal Nuncio – and it’s possible that the Pope’s visit here next year will be cancelled.

    On top of that the Catholic church is desperately trying to hold onto control of the primary schools and is in talks with the government – but this has seriously undermined their case (if they ever had one).

    This could cripple the church.

  2. tony e says:


    I’ve definately got out of the wrong side of bed this morning.

    BUT. This smacks of whitewash to me. I’m sure this report will be full of PC friendly sound bites like ‘lessons have been learned’ ‘new guidelines are being issued’ ‘disciplinary proceedures are now in place’ and all the other woolly phrases that are used when official reports are published.

    Let’s get to the chase. How many, if any, priests/nuns will face charges of systematic child abuse?

  3. Har Davids says:

    It’s amazing to see how certain groups of criminals and their supporters can get away with anything and, if caught, get a very light slap on the wrist after promising to change their ways. I don’t understand why it’s just clergy who get this treatment; something to be explained by politicians, police and prosecutors. Over here in Holland, files were apparently ‘misplaced’, until the cases were really cold.

  4. Denis Watkins says:

    @Har Davids: Yes, extraordinary, isn’t it? War crimes, dodgy dossiers to provoke the Iraq conflict, the Pope lecturing the rest of us, largely at our expense, on our moral failures, slaps on the wrist for expense thieving MPs and the current News International scandal where the only real losers so far have been the sacked foot soldiers. Unless, of course, you include the egregious Archbishop Carey, who has lost his Sunday pulpit in the News of the World.

    I think the Top Cats are able to play the long game. Kick the ball into the long grass, a report takes years to complete and makes fortunes for lawyers, and by the time it appears feelings have cooled. There also appears to be a far more benign attitude to the big crimes as if they were not “real” criminality.

  5. fester60613 says:

    Note that the Vatican still has not complied with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights order to report on how it gas handled, does handle and plans to handle sexual abuse of children.

    Note that the majority of American Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals who systematically covered up the wide spread rape and sexual abuse of children have received cushy jobs in the Vatican.

    Note that the cathedral in Boston had less than 30 people in attendance at Easter mass.

    Note that the Irish government had no choice but to seize properties of the Catholic Church and sell them at auction in order to gain the promised funds for recompense to victims that never materialized from Rome.

    The Irish would do well to expel the papal nuncio, and to either ban the Pope from Ireland, or to arrest him on conspiracy charges as soon as he sets foot on Irish soil.

    I’m still waiting for a Bishop or Archbishop or Cardinal to be dragged out of his church in chains. This international conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse of children must be brought to justice. The Vatican is unwilling to address the situation – other than offering empty platitudes and insincere apologies.

    The hierarchy of the Catholic church is rife with filth, lies, deceit and evil. There is no moral authority remaining in the halls of the Vatican.

  6. Stonyground says:

    On the serious side, I can’t really understand why every single Catholic has not left in disgust. Why would anyone want to associate with such a vile organisation? Then again, we are talking about people who turned out on mass to worship a tree stump which apparently looked a bit like someone that no one has ever seen.

  7. David Anderson says:

    To add insult to injury, the rat is coming to Spain in August for the celebrations of World Youth Day. How anybody can contemplate such an association is beyond me. The Spanish goverment should be ashamed to let the bastard in.
    In conection with the above, an advertising campagn timed to coincide with the rat´s visit has been banned. The advert shows a picture of a girl and boy embracing with the text;
    Creemos en Dios. (We believe in God)
    Creemos que el sexo es sagrado. (We belive sex is sacred)
    Creemos en cuidar el uon al otro. (We believe in caring for each other)
    Creemos en el uso del condón. We believe in condom use)
    Surprisingly, this campagn was organised by a North American group called “Catholics for Choice”. Apart from the “We believe in God bit, there might be hope on the horizon.

  8. AgentCormac says:

    David McNerney

    Like you, I’ve also been reading stories and hearing rumours about the papal visit being cancelled because of the ongoing scandal surrounding child abuse.

    Utterly unimaginable a decade or so ago, but it just shows you how much shit the church is in, in what was one of its most unshakable strongholds. If it can go down the pan in Ireland, anything is possible. (Here’s hoping!)

  9. tony e says:

    I think a major reason why the RC church will slime it’s way out of this latest scandle is simple – indoctrinated fear during childhood.

    I was very lucky as a child, though my parents went to church, I was never forced nor encouraged to believe in a diety.

    However, most of my relatives are RC, and they are completely incapable of criticizing priests. In fact, when I state that they should do life, at least, with chemical castration thrown in, for their crimes, amazingly, they get defensive! If I had a pound for every time I have heard one of them say ‘Well you can’t tar them all with the same brush’ I could retire. That’s not acceptable – even the rare priest who has not physically attacked a child, has, by inaction, condoned the offense of those who have.

  10. Denis Watkins says:

    @Stonyground: News Thump – really funny. Including bit about five bishops getting Bosman free transfers.

    Interesting that Ireland is tackling the priest and nun abuse with a vigour and concern that shames the UK. I wonder if the Vatican has paid the overdue £6 million that it owes the UK for the Pope being able to traipse around telling us about our moral deficiency?

    The Papal trip to Spain, if his usual financial impositions are true to form, will put a dent in that country’s already strained budget.

  11. barriejohn says:

    I think you’ve posted an image of the wrong comedian there, Barry!

  12. Robster says:

    Is a “Papal Nuncio ” a pope or popelike creation that wears a bad habit? the catlick church is staffed by an evil mob of old men (no disrespect meant for mature folk), divorced from law and reality that pretend to be the upholders of a strong morality and pretend to be in a position of being able to judge those deemed by their stone-age belief system to be less moral than they are. The fact that they subscribe to the sky fairy suggests that intellectually at least, these leery old men in dresses are in no position to judge anything more that “vatican’s got talent”.

  13. AngieRS says:

    Fester, the halls of the vatican have never had moral authority over anyone. It has merely claimed it has and a bunch of suckers have swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

  14. […] Irish bishop savaged over clerical abuse […]

  15. Not to diminish the high crimes of the RCC but please examine the Jehovah’s Witnesses who go door to door and come on our property.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses pedophiles.

    Many court documents and news events prove that Jehovah’s Witnesses require two witnesses when a child comes forward with allegations of molestation within the congregation. Such allegations have customarily been treated as sins instead of crimes and are only reported to authorities when it is required to do so by law, (which varies by state). It has also been shown that child molesters within the organization usually have not been identified to the congregation members or the public at large.
    These people engage in a door to door ministry, possibly exposing children to pedophiles.

    Although the Watchtower Bible Tract Society claims that known pedophiles are accompanied by a non-pedophile in such work, there is no law stating that such a practice must be followed.

    The Watchtower corporation has paid out millions in settlement money already.

    Danny Haszard abuse victim