It’s taken nine years and the final 2,600 page report goes into detail on the systematic abuse and rape of children living in reform schools run by the Catholic church in Ireland:
Wednesday’s five-volume report on the probe — which was resisted by Catholic religious orders — concluded that church officials shielded their orders’ pedophiles from arrest amid a culture of self-serving secrecy.
“A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys. Children lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from,” Ireland’s Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse concluded.
Victims of the abuse, who are now in their 50s to 80s, lobbied long and hard for an official investigation. They say that for all its incredible detail, the report doesn’t nail down what really matters — the names of their abusers.
“I do genuinely believe that it would have been a further step towards our healing if our abusers had been named and shamed,” said Christine Buckley, 62, who spent the first 18 years of her life in a Dublin orphanage where children were forced to manufacture rosaries — and were humiliated, beaten and raped whether they achieved their quota or not.
The Catholic religious orders that ran more than 50 workhouse-style reform schools from the late 19th century until the mid-1990s offered public words of apology, shame and regret Wednesday. But when questioned, their leaders indicated they would continue to protect the identities of clergy accused of abuse — men and women who were never reported to police, and were instead permitted to change jobs and keep harming children.
The Christian Brothers, which ran several boys’ institutions deemed to have harbored serial child molesters and sadists on their staff, insisted it had cooperated fully with the probe. The order successfully sued the commission in 2004 to keep the identities of all of its members, dead or alive, unnamed in the report. No real names, whether of victims or perpetrators, appear in the final document.
It’s outrageous enough that the abuse took place for multiple decades in an institution that likes to claim itself as a moral authority, that the Vatican itself knew of the problem, and that the church as a whole covered up the crimes without ever removing the people involved in them from their positions, but to then publicly admit that you’re going to continue to protect the guilty from being revealed?!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: How anyone can continue to be a Catholic after these revelations is just beyond my understanding. At the very least you should be at the Vatican with pitchforks and torches demanding to know how this was allowed to happen for so long and who’s going to be held accountable for their actions. There’s a lot to account for such as:
The report found that molestation and rape were “endemic” in boys’ facilities, chiefly run by the Christian Brothers order, and supervisors pursued policies that increased the danger. Girls supervised by orders of nuns, chiefly the Sisters of Mercy, suffered much less sexual abuse but frequent assaults and humiliation designed to make them feel worthless.
“In some schools a high level of ritualized beating was routine. … Girls were struck with implements designed to maximize pain and were struck on all parts of the body,” the report said. “Personal and family denigration was widespread.”
A second damning report, due to be published by the end of June, will detail the abuse of hundreds of children in the Dublin archdiocese from 1940 onwards. More than 100 priests are facing allegations and 400 people have been identified as victims.
For the moment it doesn’t appear that anyone involved in the abuse over the years will so much as be named, let alone prosecuted, and the Irish government has now called upon the Vatican to continue the investigation further. How likely do you think that is? I’m not holding my breath in anticipation.