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‘Catholic Church is woefully incapable of policing itself’

‘Catholic Church is woefully incapable of policing itself’

That was the reaction of  lawyer Richard Scorer to a report published today about the ‘appalling’ abuse inflicted on pupils at two Catholic schools – Ampleforth in North Yorkshire and Downside in Somerset – over a period of 40 years.

The report, published by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), exposes a shocking cover-up culture at the two institutions which sought to protect the reputation of the Catholic Church.

In this BBC report, Scorer said:

This familiar and shameful story of cover-up has been told time and time again, and is a devastating indictment of an organisation guilty of gross failures on child protection. It is clear the Catholic Church is woefully incapable of policing itself.

That is why we urgently need a mandatory reporting law to prevent the perpetuation of the abuse of vulnerable children.

Professor Alexis Jay, chairwoman of the inquiry, said:

For decades Ampleforth and Downside tried to avoid giving any information about child sexual abuse to police and social services. Instead, monks in both institutions were very often secretive, evasive and suspicious of anyone outside the English Benedictine Congregation.

Safeguarding children was less important than the reputation of the church and the well-being of the abusive monks.

The report says:

For much of the time under consideration by the inquiry, the overriding concern in both Ampleforth and Downside was to avoid contact with the local authority or the police at all costs, regardless of the seriousness of the alleged abuse or actual knowledge of its occurrence.

The inquiry also heard that in about 2012 then headmaster of Downside, Dom Leo Maidlow Davies, burned wheelbarrows full of files from the school. QWhile it was “impossible to say” what information was in the documents:

It adds to the perception of a cover-up on the part of Downside.

Both Downside and Ampleforth have issued statements apologising to the victims. A Downside spokesman said:

The Abbey and School fully acknowledges the serious failings and mistakes made in both protecting those within our care and responding to safeguarding concerns. We have reflected deeply and will continue to listen with the ear of the heart going forward to ensure that the mistakes of the past are never repeated.

A spokesman for Ampleforth said it had publicly accepted responsibility for:

Past failings on many occasions. The Ampleforth of today has never been afraid to learn difficult lessons. We remain completely focused on the safety and well-being of those entrusted to our care and our commitment to implement meaningful change.

Father Christopher Jamison, Abbot President of the English Benedictine Congregation, said the report highlighted:

How flawed many of our past responses have been. Once again I apologise unequivocally to all those who were abused by any person connected with our abbeys and schools.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

16 responses to “‘Catholic Church is woefully incapable of policing itself’”

  1. Broga says:

    I think the C.of E. is becoming increasingly twitchy in England.

  2. AgentCormac says:

    I wouldn’t say the RCC is ‘woefully incapable’ of policing itself, it actually has no interest whatsoever in policing itself.

    Despite Frankie’s spurious assertions to the contrary, this is an institution which will do everything it possibly can to protect its own financial position and political influence. Occasionally lip service will of course be paid to the suffering of those who have been abused by RCC employees, but I guarantee you that those humilities and apologies are uttered through gritted teeth and that the primary objective of this loathsome cult is, above any other consideration, to protect its own interests.

    The RCC should have been shut down years ago and its management sent to prison. But it’s a religion, and that gives it privileges which no other institution on earth enjoys.

  3. Robster says:

    Next advertised job for this unsavoury mob: “Professional Apologiser”. This person could spend his (usually a he) entire working life apologising for the church, it’s staff, it’s morality and moral failures, their care for children and while he’s at it, an apology for the dogma would be well timed too.

  4. 1859 says:

    The sexual crimes of these monks against children in their care, has robbed these children of ever having a truely happy life – the scars will be with them forever. These monks should therefore be imprisoned – forever.

    Every time I post I have the-enter my ID credentials?

  5. barriejohn says:

    I would go further than AgentCormac, and say that, like most religious organizations, the RCC is spectacularly efficient when it comes to policing itself: it makes darned sure that everything’s hushed up and that no prosecutions are forthcoming (in order to protect its “reputation”). Of course, we now know that similar abuses were covered up for years at secular institutions, but religious bodies are holding out as long as possible against having the searchlight shone upon the appalling abuses which have taken place upon their premises. They must realize, surely, that the game’s up now.

  6. barriejohn says:

    @1859 et al: I am also asked to subscribe to articles, even though I am already receiving notifications!

  7. Broga says:

    Same here. Every time.

  8. Steve says:

    Why do we let the RCC operate in this country. Enough is enough. The RCC has throughout its history been directly responsible for the actual planning and execution of crimes against humanity … and is still doing so today. Think of a crime and the RCC Bears the guilt of organising it and committing it. And the RCC clerics are responsible for countless crimes to which their heirarchy have turned a blind eye. The RCC is rotten to the very core and yet we don’t bring it down. We pay, actually pay big money, to the RCC to ‘educate’ our children when we know that it is a grave risk to commit children to the ‘care’ of priests. Rape and indoctrination of children paid with my taxes. It’s beyond my understanding. Genocide, child trafficking, sale of stolen babies, child rape, extreme cruelty to unmarried mothers, transiting of Nazi war criminals to safe RC establishments in South America, demonisation of jews for centuries culminating in the Hollocaust, money laundering, wilful obstruction of police authorities, withholding evidence, enabling the spread of AIDS, enforcement of overpopulation and poverty, retardation of medical research, retardation of scientific progress, extortion, interference in government, bribery, corruption, theft, destruction of criminal evidence etc etc etc etc. Name the crime and the RCC is guilty of it. Name the crime and someone in the RCC is probably committing it right now. Why do governments and international bodies let this go on?Why?

  9. andym says:

    How bad must this crime syndicate have been in the past,when there was little risk of exposure?This sort of behaviour was almost certainly the norm until very recently. I’ve said before that I think the key to its longevity compared to , say Mafia clans, is the lack of a familial structure. But celebacy is not a good recruiting sergeant, so sex somehow had to be on offer. Not so much”don’t get found out,”as,”be discreet, but tell us if there’s a problem,and we can help.’

  10. andym says:

    @ Steve. Your post didn’t appear on my screen until after I’d posted. They dovetail well. People are still seeing this as a lapse from normally high standards. This is the norm,being properly uncovered for probably the first time in history. Don’t forget many of these people are/were historians. They know what to hide from future generations and how to do it.

    A fairly comprehensive list. There’s also use of its phoney status as a state (just remind me:who gave them that?) The UN do not recognise access to contraception as a human right because the Vatican vetoes the proposal.

  11. Terry says:

    And the RCC uses seeming impregnable CONCORDATS to legally bind governments into horrific concessions. Go google ‘Concordat Watch’. Read the contents and you will come to realise the depth of the calculating power hungry evil of the RCC .
    http://www.concordatwatch.eu/

  12. Angela_K says:

    I have an acquaintance who was sent to Downside by his very religious parents in the 1970’s. He is damaged goods, a repressed gay man who has never had a relationship with either sex, a social misfit who is very difficult to talk to. He won’t have anything said about his former school even though he once alluded to “going ons”. He won’t discuss with religion with me since I ask difficult questions about his belief that he can’t or won’t answer. He is probably one of many whose life has been ruined by religion being beaten and buggered into them.

  13. StephenJP says:

    Angela_K, that’s very distressing.

    Downside, Ampleforth and the like are bad enough. Yet these are independent, fee-paying schools, towards which the warning “caveat emptor” should apply.

    What is much more insidious is the number of Catholic schools in the state sector (10% of all schools), paid for from all our taxes, which insist on Catholic proselytisation in the classroom, and are still demanding to be allowed to take more than 50% of their pupils from Catholic parents. I await a Government with the sense of justice, or indeed the balls, to adopt a properly secular approach to education, and get rid of these anachronisms.

    And Scotland is even worse: http://www.sconews.co.uk/news/56145/mps-comments-on-catholic-education-very-disappointing/

    Still having to fill in the ID fields afresh on each post!

  14. Angela_K says:

    OT. BBC Radio 4’s Today programme had John Humphries talking to the idiotic Giles Fraser about religion being a sacred cow, Mr Humphries quite rightly gave Fraser a hard time especially about Though for the Day. You can listen again on the BBC Iplayer, the interview starts at about 1Hr 40mins in.

  15. CoastalMaineBird says:

    I don’t accept the premise “RCC is incapable…”.

    They are CAPABLE of doing big things in big ways, even if it costs big money.

    They are UNWILLING is a more appropriate term, IMO.

  16. andym says:

    Perhaps it should have said: “RCC incapable of pretending to police itself.”

    I think some of it comes from the ingrained belief that they are above the Law. They just don’t think they should be answerable. It was able to set itself up as a parallel authority as the Roman Empire declined , and that’s become its default.

    You see something similar with cornered Mafia dons. They often seem outraged that they’ve been held to account by society