Tag Archives: Catholic Church

This morning.

An independent inquiry into alleged sex abuse of minors by French Catholic priests, deacons and other clergy has found some 216,000 victims from 1950 to 2020, a “massive phenomenon” that was covered up for decades by a “veil of silence.”

Via The Local:

The landmark report, released on Tuesday after two and a half years of investigations, follows widespread outrage over a string of sex abuse claims and prosecutions against Church officials worldwide.

When lay members of the Church such as teachers at Catholic schools are included, the number of child abuse victims climbs to 330,000 over the seven-decade period.


The report, at nearly 2,500 pages, found that the “vast majority” of victims were pre-adolescent boys from a wide variety of social backgrounds.

“The Catholic Church is, after the circle of family and friends, the environment that has the highest prevalence of sexual violence,” the report said.

Commission president Jean-Marc Sauve had already told AFP on Sunday that a “minimum estimate” of 2,900 to 3,200 paedophiles had operated in the French Church since 1950.

Yet only a handful of cases prompted disciplinary action under canonical law, let alone criminal prosecution.

French Catholic Church inquiry finds 216,000 sex abuse victims dating back to 1950s (The Local.fr)


From top: Pope Francis; Irish Catholic Bishops Conference in St Patrick’s College Maynooth in 2013

This morning/afternoon.

Via The Irish Times:

It is “morally permissible” for Catholics to accept a Covid-19 vaccination which involves the use of cell lines derived from aborted foetuses, the Irish Catholic Church has said.

The Catholic Church traditionally teaches that it is unethical to use stem cells derived from aborted fetuses in medical research.

However, in a statement on Wednesday, the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference said Catholics could accept vaccines using these stem-cells if a more “ethically acceptable” alternative is not available.

“Questions have arisen that human foetal cell-lines, which have their origins in abortions carried out in the past, are used in the development and production of some of the vaccines for Covid-19,” the statement said.

Good times.

‘Morally permissible’ for Catholics to accept Covid-19 vaccine which uses aborted foetal cells (Irish Times)

Getty/NUI Maynooth

Martin and Mary McAleese

This morning.

Patsy McGarry, in The Irish Times, reports that former President of Ireland Mary McAleese has threatened to leave the Catholic Church.

It follows an inquiry concluding that the founder of  L’Arche Community Jean Vanier, who died aged 90 in Paris last May, sexually abused at least six women between 1970 and 2005.

Mr McGarry reports that Ms McAleese is threatening to leave if it transpires that the Vatican failed to act to protect members of the L’Arche Community, which assists people with disabilities.

He reports:

She said people should have been alerted to “the known predatory activities” of the community’s founder Jean Vanier and his mentor, Dominican priest Fr Thomas Philippe.

“I have to say that this will be my final line of least resistance. I could not in conscience continue to support an institution capable of such gross negligence,” Mrs McAleese said in the letter.

…She asked “what steps if any did the Holy See take to interrupt the growth of the powerful cult of Vanier by warning the many good men and women who trusted him in good faith that he had an alarming past?”

“I am one of those who regarded Vanier as inspirational for decades,” she said. “Hearing last week the awful story of his sexually and spiritually abusive conduct was devastating. Even worse was learning that the Holy See had been aware since the 1950s of his malevolent proclivities and those of his colleague Pere Thomas Phillippe.”


McAleese threatens to leave Catholic Church if Vanier story not explained (Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times)

Previously: The Magdalene Report: A Conclusion


John Waters

‘For more than a hundred days I have been ill with a condition called Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, a rare and unpleasant viral thing—dormant chicken pox that reactivates in a hapless few, years after being forgotten.’

This opens an article [in full at link below] on the First Things website by John Waters about recently falling ill with a life-threatening neurological  condition.

Awaiting the results of a CAT scan, he writes:

[my] symptoms seemed to be a physiological dimension of the condition itself. My body was rebelling against my being, and I was cast between the two, unable to stand, speak, hear, or see properly. The dizziness was a kind of disintegration of my self, and the result seemed to be that no previously existing principle, conviction, theory, value, or belief had stability within me.

I could not help feeling that these reactions bespoke a diminution of faith, which had seemed strong when I was strong, but now was dissolving with my strength. The substance of my beliefs remained but, with my reason shot to pieces, could no longer find traction. In this new and unfamiliar place,

I felt spiritually alone; marooned, without an external source of support. I had lost my spiritual equilibrium. My illness made it clear that something had shifted in me, without my knowing, to render my steps on the spiritual path less sure-footed. Sometimes, doubt and unease can remain as undetected as a latent virus.

For a long time (to take an example in a different category), I had held that Catholics who claimed to have lost their faith because of clerical sex abuse were hiding behind an alibi with little basis in reason. Why should the sinfulness of others weaken one’s faith in God?

But more recently, I have felt sympathy with such people, realizing that such a fundamental breach of trust by someone who has spent years studying the vital questions of faith is not an incidental matter, but affects the core of belief.

By the same token—and this may have been a factor in my own case—when we see the elders of Christ’s Church engaging in behavior that denigrates the Church’s most fundamental teachings, can we be surprised if we find ourselves doubting first of all their faith and, perhaps, the reliability of our own?

This had not occurred to me before my Ramsay Hunt nightmare, but I have since come to believe there may be something in it. {more below]

The Terror Of Goodbye (John Waters, First Things)

The location of the hostel in Eccles Street, Dublin 1. It was demolished when the Mater Hospital was built

The Irish Mirror yesterday revealed that Gardai believe they’ve uncovered a paedophile ring run by clerics while investigating a hostel for boys which operated in the 1960s and 1970s

The half-way house – which opened under the name “The Boys Club” in Eccles Street, Dublin 1 – is the subject of an investigation by the Sexual Crime Management Unit.

Via The Irish Mirror:

More than 700 vulnerable teenage boys passed through the hostel over the space of a decade and it’s feared most were preyed on by clerics….

…A man who was was born in a mother and baby home and was sent to the hostel from an industrial school where he was raped from a young age.

He said: “The abuse that took place in the hostel was an extension of the abuse I suffered in the industrial school but it was far more intense and pressurised.”

He added priests used the home as a “hunting ground” and “passed boys around like pieces of meat” bribing them with cigarettes and money to keep quiet.

The man claims he was also warned on several occasions to “keep his mouth shut” or he would “end up in the lunatic asylum in Dundrum”.

A typical ploy used by senior clerics was to send their car and chauffeur to the hostel to collect a particular boy who would then be driven to a nearby location and abused.

The victim, who is now 65, said: “A priest or seminarian tended to come with somebody who knew the hostel… they might depart with a boy.

“The seminarians would chat me up. If there was a disco going on I would dance with them and I would be groped. This happened even in the toilet.

“In hindsight there was a selection process. There were a lot of B&Bs in the area, it was close to Gardiner Street and nobody would dare stop a priest.

There seemed to be a constant stream of priests and student priests coming in, this was normal to me.

“I get it now – it’s beginning to hit me. I denied it for years.”

The Mirror adds that several of the priests who are implicated “are still alive and are expected to be interviewed by gardai”.

Gardai probe claims of clerical sex abuse at Dublin hostel of horrors (Sylvia Pownell, The Irish Mirror)

Pic via The Irish Mirror

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster

The Archbishop of Westminster was focused on protecting the church’s reputation over the welfare of children, an inquiry into child sexual abuse has found.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols is the current leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales and was archbishop of Birmingham between 2000 and 2009.

More than 130 allegations of child sex abuse have been made against 78 people associated with the archdiocese since the mid-1930s, but the true scale of offending is likely to be far higher, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) concluded.

The panel found the church had “repeatedly failed” to alert police to allegations, and said the consequences of those failings “cannot be overstated“.

The Roman Catholic Church Case Study: Archdiocese of Birmingham Investigation Report

Archbishop of Westminster put church’s reputation before children, says abuse inquiry (Sky News)

Pic: Sky



This morning/afternoon.

Ireland’s European Commissioner Phil Hogan meets Pope Francis at the Vatican.


From top: ‘The Death of Wolf Tone’ by Walter Mills (1897); Michael McDowell in last night’s ‘Rome Vs Republic’ documentary on RTÉ 1

‘Our starting point was in Paris. We wanted to challenge the viewer to see the revolutionary era in Europe, beginning in the French capital in 1789 with the Declaration of the Rights of Man, as the starting point of the bloody birth of the modern relationship between the Catholic Church and the Irish state.

Why was this?

Theobald Wolfe Tone, a man of the Enlightenment and one of the leaders of the United Irishmen, had come to Paris in 1796 with a bold and daring plan to create a Republic along French lines…

…This was the decisive moment in church-state relations in Ireland. Both the British Crown and the Catholic church reviled the notion of a republic, and now the threat of revolution reconciled these age-old enemies. The French did land in Ireland but Tone was arrested, court-martialled and sentenced to death. His dream of a republic died with him.’

Niamh Sammon, director of Rome Vs Republic, RTÉ 1.


‘Niamh Sammon’s historic revisionism reaches incredulity when she writes that the British brutally suppressed the Wolfe Tone led rising of 1798 ‘with the support of the Church ‘.

The ’98 rebellion was suppressed brutallly by the forces of the Crown and the Crown alone. Catholics, including celebrated priests like Fr Murphy of Co Wexford, were among the rebel ranks.

It is true that the Church, having witnessed the excesses of the French Revolution, did officially oppose the movement. In this they were prescient as it quickly descended into sectarian strife between Protestant and Catholic rebels, leading to the slaughter with fork and pitch cap of many Catholic supporters. The Act of Union that quickly followed the failed rebellion excluded Catholics from participation in Parliament.’

David Quinn, Iona Institute.

The making of ‘Rome v Republic’: How a senator came to examine church-state relations in Ireland (Niamh Sammon, RTÉ)

Yet another exercise in Church-bashing (David Quinn, Iona Institute)

Pic: RTE

Further to ongoing scaremongering in Catholic schools in north Dublin.

Emer O’Toole, in The Guardian, writes:

Incomprehensibly, the state all but handed over administration of the divestment process to the church.

The result? Catholic schools denied parents any objective information on alternative patrons, then warned them that if they voted for divestment there would be no opportunity to reconsider once they learned details of the proposed replacement.

Who in their right mind would vote for change under those circumstances?

Not only would divestment protect the rights of Ireland’s non-Catholic children, who are currently excluded during religious instruction, and of non-Catholic teachers, who can be discriminated against in the hiring process,

it would also help to complete the separation of church and state. While over 90% of children undergo near mandatory Catholic faith formation in state schools, the church simply has too much power in the Irish Republic.

Why do state schools continue to teach Irish children to respect the moral authority of the Catholic church, when most Irish adults, aware of the lessons of the Ryan report, the Ferns report, the Cloyne report and too many others, know that such respect is dangerous and misplaced?

Why do we continue to show children that it is normal for the church to play a privileged part in public life, when generations have lived the tragic effects of such indoctrination?

If we continue to keep children ignorant of any religious belief but Catholicism, and teach them that children of other faiths are deviations from the norm, will we act surprised when these seeds grow into intolerance and division in our newly diverse Ireland?

And will we continue to ignore the misogyny and homophobia of the Catholic church, and to pretend that this has no effect on the children in its schools?

Ireland’s attempts to secularise its schools have turned to farce (Emer O’Toole, The Guardian)

Previously: Hello Diversity, Goodbye Grandparents

Pic: RTÉ

Thanks Bebe

Raymond Newton (right) claimed Pell (left) asked him if he had “enjoyed” the abuse he suffered at school.

Tomorrow, Former Archbishop of Sydney George Pell will be sentenced for child sexual abuse offences in a hearing broadcast live from an Australian courthouse .

Pell, who served until this year as the Vatican’s Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, is the world’s most senior Catholic to be found guilty of such crimes.


No one thought Cardinal George Pell could fall any further from grace, but victims of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church who reported it to the Cardinal have spoken to A Current Affair about his alleged shocking response.

Raymond Newton was left shocked when in 1996 he detailed to Pell the sickening sexual abuse he suffered at a Melbourne Catholic school in the early 1970s.

“Cardinal Pell looked at me and said, ‘Did you like it?’” Mr Newton told  [Australian TV show] A Current Affair.

“Cardinal Pell, shame, shame. Absolute shame.”

Mr Newton took reporter Martin King on a harrowing journey to the basement below the primary school’s church where he was repeatedly abused by a priest.

“(He would say) it’s God’s way. God’s teachings,” he said.

“Do it, put up, or go to hell.”

‘Did you like it?’ Cardinal Pell accused of heartless response to Church abuse victims (9News)

World will be watching as George Pell sentenced for child sexual abuse (The Age)