The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland has clashed with the religious orders involved in child abuse over the amount they are willing to contribute towards compensating victims. Eighteen Catholic congregations defied calls from Cardinal Sean Brady to be more generous in their dealings with those who suffered abuse.
This is one that won’t go away, and the people of Ireland are livid.
The nine-year Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, headed by Mr Justice Sean Ryan, published its conclusions last week, and the Irish Justice Minister, Dermot Ahern, said yesterday that a senior garda officer was examining the report to see whether criminal charges could be laid. “The report identifies about 800 abusers,” says The Times, “among them nuns, priests and monks, principally members of the Christian Brothers. Only a handful have been prosecuted and convicted.”
You’d think there would be a means of seizing all assets. Perhaps there is, but the authorities have not yet shaken off Ireland’s historical sense of misplaced reverence for the priesthood.
And things could get nasty:
Public anger over the deal has increased. Thousands of people have queued to sign a “solidarity” book at Mansion House, Dublin, with some signatories angrily declaring that the guilty priests, nuns and monks who raped and tortured children in their care for decades should be hunted down “like Nazis”.
If this affair doesn’t totally discredit the Christian Brotherhood for ever, nothing will. It ought to be declared an illegal organisation.
How not to cooperate with the law