The Catholic Church in Ireland — 23 Comments

  1. This is a very emotive topic and it can be difficult to determine the facts in such instances. With this in mind I’d like to ask a very honest question with a view to learning some facts myself (which I freely admit I am not in possession of): how do you know the church’s liability is limited to 10% of the actual cost? Indeed, how do we quantify the total actual cost is in the first place?

    I certainly agree that criminals should be chastised in a manner fitting of their crime. I do think however that we must be careful that we don’t a) punish the innocent by their inadvertent association to the guilty and b) in meeting out justice we do more long-term harm than good.

  2. What I’d like to add is that it boggles the mind that the government don’t just demand the catholic church to pay up.

    They say there is a legally binding document there capping the payments and stopping names from being named.


    We, the people, decide what the law is, and it’s whatever serves us best.

    At the moment, what serves us best is that the guilty parties pay for the damage they have done, and /not/ just a piddling part of it.

    If the church demands that names be hidden, then I would say that they are guilty of obstruction at the least, and collusion as well.

    Personally, I hope that this will reduce or remove all influence that the church has over Ireland. It’s about time we grew up and left the 12th century.

  3. Steve – Welcome! Indeed it is emotive, but the facts are quite plain.

    Under the terms of the 2002 agreement, the Church is liable for a maximum of €127m. However, the majority of that was to be paid in assets, some of which had already been passed into state ownership, and the rest are tied up in legal problems. I may be open to correction here, but I have heard that the total cash that has changed hands is €24m, out of a total bill of over one billion.

    I think there is little change of punishing the innocent, as the guilty are well known to the victims. The same names kept cropping up throughout the Tribunal [they were given pseudonames, to ‘protect’ them!], but under the terms of the 2002 act, their real names cannot be published.

    And how can we possibly do harm by punishing a paedophile?

  4. Kae – You have echoed my sentiments exactly. The government has the power to make a law. They have the power to change it again. Our illustrious government seem to forget that they are supposed to represent the will of the people, and I think it is a safe bet that the people of Ireland would want that contract/act anulled.

  5. As he says the money is not the issue. My personal view is anyone who is cruel in any way to a child should be taught a very very harsh lesson. If I’d my way the individuals responsible for the acts in that report would start with having their legs broken, after that, well, I’d see how imaginative I could be with some caustic soda.

    It needs to be made completely clear with no ambiguity, just how cruel selfish, sick perverted people should be dealt with. No tollerance. At all. Ever.

  6. Grandad – thanks for the reply.

    I’m still unclear where the figure of a cost of one billion comes from. Is that a bill the Government have had to foot in compensation claims, therapy etc?

    Re my comment about doing harm in the long run, I’m referring to the institution of the Church, rather than individual paedophiles. Though I expect to be slated for this view, the Church (and indeed to my mind the very concept of organised religion – but that’s a separate debate) has done a lot of good in this country over the years too. I went to a Catholic school where thankfully none of this happened (to my knowledge) and I still remember the many inspirational teachers and figures there that helped me. If we bankrupt the Church in Ireland (which is effectively what I guess we’re talking about here), do we risk this “good” no longer being done? Is that the best thing in the long run to resolve an historic problem? I’m not suggesting for a minute we don’t hunt down the Guilty here like the dogs they are, but I’m suggesting that we let the fog of our anger lift before deciding how best to gain retribution.

  7. Thrifty – It is one of the thinks that is puzzling me at the moment. All they are talking about is the money, while the perpetrators langush away in their homes. Weird.

    Steve – The cost of the compensation claims, legal fees, therapy and all the rest has already exceeded one billion and is still rising.
    Regarding damage to the Catholic Church, the report deals with the institutions that were run by various ‘religious’ orders and not the Church itself. For example the main offenders were the Christian Brothers. As far as I am aware, none of these has any real input into society these days, so if they were all to shut down the impact would be minimal.
    The Catholic Church in Ireland is a different matter, and they remain relatively innocent of the abuse in the institutions. However, we are shortly to hear the results of the investigation into Diocesan abuse by the Church which is a separate matter altogether. I’m afraid this is all only starting.

  8. The extent of the evil bastards conniving was evident last night when it was demonsrated how The Christian Brothers have been moving their assets into trusts for years. They have little or no assets in their own name now and so are protected to a degree. They knew this was coming up, they planned and executed the movement of assets well in advance. Incidentally this was shown to be happening in their institutions in Canada as well, but the Candians have balls and siezed the school anyway.

  9. Thanks for elucidating an important point which seemed to be escaping most, namely what on earth was the State doing capping a fine when they didn’t know the extent of the crime?

    And what grounds do the other parties in the agreement have to complain, given that they knew the extent of the crime all along?

    And given that the Government must have known that the religious orders knew the extent of their crimes, was it not a bit suspicious when they agreed to pay the E127m?

  10. Grandad,
    Giving the man on Q&A the opportunity to tell his story and give Noel Dempsey et al his pure and unedited thoughts was the first thing that I have seen on television in many many years that made paying my TV licence worth it. My heart was breaking for the tragedy and pain that this man has survived.

    It is completely shocking that the organisations that allowed and propogated this abuse and criminal activity over many years and then apparently tried to cover it up, are allowed to continue in existence. If any of the organisations involved were a company, they would have been shut down without any doubt – for the life of me, I cannot understand why these organisations are allowed to continue in existence! They should be shut – there may have been some good people in them but regardless of whether they knew or didn’t (and I find it hard to believe that any involved in them didn’t know what was going on) the organisation should be quashed. The CAB should be allowed to take their assets!

  11. King Bob – I saw that. Talk about the bile rising in my throat! And then they had the gall to talk about making restitution once their own needs were looked after. Fuck that. The CAB should go after them and sieze all their porn magazines.

    Ronan L – Welcome! No. I’m not surprised at the government agreeing to capping the fine. All you have to remember is that Woods [who brokered the deal on behalf of the government] is a suspected member of Opus Dei, though he denies it. Why else would they exclude the Attorney General from the deal? This is yet another classic example of Fianna Fail cronyism in action.

    Lileeny – Welcome to you too! Every now and again [though all to rarely], something comes on television that makes the whole medium worth while. Last Monday was such a moment and I doubt there was a person watching who wasn’t moved. For once, even Dempsey was struck dumb. I agree about the institutions involved. I find it very hard to believe that any member of those organisations was unaware of what was going on, so they are all, to a greater or lesser extent culpable. I am still baffled as to how the most heinous criminal acts were comitted and all they talk about is apologies and financial restitution.

  12. No decency, no morality.

    The ‘representatives of God’ in Ireland are hiding criminals, hoarding riches, ignoring the needy, and giving us all a pious two finger salute.

  13. What a brave man, my heart bleeds for all of those children who had a horrific time under the ‘care’ of the church. There are members of my own family affected by this and it wasn’t just the Priests or Christian brothers, the Nuns played their part too.
    In the words of all priests ‘the truth outs itself’!! It would be cheaper for the Catholic Church and the government to sort this openly and honestly and I don’t mean for monetary purposes!
    I understand you can’t paint all people with the same brush in this ‘regime’, but it’s a swelling balloon that’s gonna pop at some point and so they best come forward and make these people face upto their disgraceful actions. Otherwise the church condoning this will be just as bad as the abusers and they could pay the ultimate price in loosing generations of believers. Could it bring the Vatican ‘to it’s knees’ and not just to pray for forgiveness?
    The Irish government need to stand up and be a government the people can for once in a long time be proud of and show that the church hasn’t got them by the balls!
    What other country predominantly Catholic or not is going to knock Ireland for this, if anything we will be forever fools not to bring it all out in the open. How many other countries children are being abused whilst we play cover up! In twenty years we want their suffering on our hands too? It’s not on and time to do the work they told us God wanted us to do and stop this!

  14. It was revealing to hear Dempsey talking about the fact that even though there was no legal means of getting more money from the religious communities that they had maybe a moral duty. This from a Government and a Party that has long ago lost its moral compass. What would they know about moral duty. God help us…

  15. At least in your country you are trying to rectify the past crimes (at present not in a way that is fair and just), but you are trying and the majority of Irish citizens are concerned about the “solution”. Here in the “USA” there isn’t even a conversation and no one really cares about the victims and what should be done for them and their families. My heart still hurts and always will!

  16. Nothing can make up for what this man and thousands of others, and their families have to live with on a daily basis. Money, apologies, the shut down of “religious orders”, nothing.

    A government that allowed this to happen failed it’s people. A government that hides behind a questionable legal document instead of trying to right the past wrongs fails itself.

    We don’t live in a democracy, we live in a land ruled by money, corrupt power, secrecy and greed. The religious orders hold all four, in my mind the government is scared of what the orders can do with what they have and are afraid to challenge them.

    Why else would a government ask instead of demand that they do more?

  17. The bottom line is that the church is guilty of knowing that these crimes were taking place and is refusing to accept full and unambiguous responsibility for fear that they would be made bankrupt. If the church in Ireland can’t compensate victims then the Vatican should do so. Enough is enough, too many lives have been ruined by an organisation that is supposed to act as the moral guardians of the people.

    Please join this group:

  18. I saw today the Irish Government (ever quick off the mark) have asked the church to declare it’s assets. Thats going to be a revelation as the only thing registerred to them directly is probably a small potting shed in Cavan. Its going to take a great deal more intelligence than this government possesses to track down the ownership of assets of the catholic church in Ireland.

  19. I see the pressure is mounting. Mary McAleese is now calling on the orders to hand over the perpetrators. Something has to give soon.

  20. The Redress Board was never about redress. It was about protecting the abusers.

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