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July 14th, 2011
05:11 AM ET

Irish report damns Catholic Church abuse response

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

The Catholic Church in Ireland did not take serious steps to stamp out child abuse by priests even after the scandal blew up worldwide and the Irish bishops put rules in place to stop it, a new report says.

The report demolishes claims by the Catholic Church there that policies it put in place in 1996 have enabled it to get a handle on the problem.

The Church's explanation that it was on a "learning curve" in handling allegations of abuse "could not have had any basis or relevance in Cloyne," said the report, which focuses on the diocese of Cloyne around Cork in southern Ireland.

Ireland's top churchman, Cardinal Sean Brady, called the report "another dark day in the history of the response of Church leaders to the cry of children abused by Church personnel."

Ireland's Foreign Ministry summoned the Vatican representative in the country, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, for talks with Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore on Thursday following the publication of the report.

The report accuses Bishop John Magee, who was responsible for policing abuse in his diocese, of not backing the policy himself and failing to take action against abusers.

"Magee took little or no active interest" in child sex abuse cases for 12 years after the new policy was put in place, the report says, and Monsignor Denis O'Callaghan, who ended up in de facto charge of policing abuse "did not approve of the requirement to report to the civil authorities," the comprehensive report says.

Allegations of abuse within the diocese of Cloyne were so worrying that the Church appointed a special administrator to oversee it.

That archbishop, Dermot Clifford, said he accepted the findings of the report and "humbly apologized" to victims and their families.

And he expressed horror that the church did not act on its anti-abuse policies.

"It appalls me that, up to 2008, 13 years after these procedures were put in place, they were still not being implemented in the Diocese of Cloyne" Clifford said in a statement.

Clifford said Magee and O'Callaghan "accepted full responsibility and apologized for their failures."

Pope Benedict XVI accepted Magee's resignation as bishop of Cloyne in March 2010.

The report also details allegations against Magee himself.

A man referred to by the pseudonym "Joseph" reports that Magee held him in "protracted" embraces, asked him if it "felt good," kissed him on the forehead, told him that he loved him, and said he had dreamed about him.

"Joseph" considered the attention paternal at the time, he told the report's authors, but later reconsidered in light of reports into abuse and raised the issue with another priest.

"I began to think that maybe it wasn't as innocent as I originally thought or assumed it was," he says. He says the events occurred when he was 17 and 18 years old.

The priest to whom Joseph complained reported the matter to the church's own child protection authorities, who considered it "inappropriate" but ruled it did not constitute abuse.

They did not report it to the police but did tell Magee about the accusation and reported it to church officials as high as Cardinal Brady and the Vatican's representative in Ireland, the report says.

Joseph took the issue to the police, who also told him it did not constitute abuse, the report says.

The Vatican also failed to back Irish anti-abuse rules introduced in 1996, saying they were not official policy, according to the report, which was released Wednesday.

While it focuses on the diocese of Cloyne, it follows four earlier independent reports into abuse by Catholic priests and officials in Ireland going back decades.

The 421-page report, which is partially redacted, details complaints against 19 clerics in the diocese between 1996 and 2009.

CNN's Carol Jordan and Journalist Peter Taggart contributed to this report.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Ireland • Scandal • Sex abuse

soundoff (624 Responses)
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  7. Jill D

    The Jehovah’s Witnesses have a policy within their religion that protects pedophiles. The official policy is that the elders of the “Church” are supposed to handle the matter internally, without contacting the police. They do this so that shame will not be brought on the religion.

    It’s important that they keep a squeaky clean image to the public. Remember they believe they are the only “True” religion and all other Christian Churches are under the control of Satan. JW’s are not supposed to sue other JW’s or involve the police or courts. They believe these are Satan’s organizations and any crime by a JW should be dealt with internally.
    The elders will contact the police ONLY if they’re forced to by state law. Otherwise they are forced to follow official policy from headquarters. Some states require that “priests” or “pastors” report child abuse to the authorities. If they are not forced to report them than they cover it up.

    You might actually get a unreported pedophile knocking on your door next time they show up peddling pamphlets and selling “Eternal Life”.

    July 24, 2011 at 5:48 am |
  8. The truth

    it is not religions nor beliefs in gods that enable man to perform good deeds. It is simpy good men, atheist included, who perform good. It is the same who tame the religions, all, from harming the innocent.

    The USA, comprised of all people without the banner of religion, do more good in this world well beyond what religions do. In fact religions use our tax dollar too, grant money, and that must stop now!.

    July 18, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • Chris

      They might not own the flag...but the own the pledge and our money. They want this country to be theirs.

      July 20, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  9. A Victim of

    Catholic church child victim of gang sod–om–my at age 9, the first at age 8

    The scandal is larger in the USA. We victims of abuse know the abiusers from all walks. However the catholic church is the one organization that lobbies to stop exposure, to protect the pedo-philes first. All families and victims lose, no matter who abused.

    The difference is that the Irish were strong enough to hold the catholic church accountable. The US politicians protect this organization to preserve catholic votes. One politician in Syracuse NY, Senator Defransisco, knew the bishop abused me at age 8 and this bishop protected other pedos. Yet he gave the pedophile bishop a plaque PAID for by New York tax payers, maybe to help deflect from the truth. This plaque praised this pedo-philes work. Meanwhile many victims are mentally ill and others committed suicide due to the abuses. A Bill in New York to expose pedos, no matter who the pedo, was squashed in a committee by this same NY senators participation.

    One mother of a suicide victim in the same diocese as the bishop cried to her dead, she fought hard to expose laws, but lost.

    The catholic church lobbies to stop laws that would expose all pedo-philes. New York senators cater to the catholic church over the truth of victims. The truth is the greatest healer, the catholic church denies victims and families healing, with the help of a few senators. Two of those pedo-philes held a camp for disadvantaged boys, we could do nothing and the parishioners praise them – not knowing the truth.

    Watch those who protect the curch post against this one, rather than to demand the truth exposed. Why not ask for truth exposed? Is asking for the truth so anti-jesus?

    July 18, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Liz

      I grew up Catholic, my dad worked in an Archdiocesan School administration office. The higher up you go in church hierarchy, the more they do not care about Jesus or truth or protecting children or the innocent. They just want the power.

      July 19, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
  10. ForestSound

    Catholics should kick out secularists from Europe; secularists don't deserve to live in Europe.

    July 17, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • ForestSound

      I'm living on the wrong planet. Ura-nus would be better for me. I spend a lot of time with my head in mine.

      July 17, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • ForestSound

      The second ForestSound is a fake, though it made me laugh loud. I was reacting to Ginamero in my first comment.

      July 17, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
  11. Ginamero

    Catholics are just NASTY thinking they are above the law and not wanting to report to civil authorities...they are just wrong...wrong....wrong.

    July 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  12. SnowVeil

    More Catholics must read the Bible and truly dedicate themselves to Jesus alone, to none other. All falsehood will be exposed sooner or later and only Truth stands till the end.

    July 16, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Reality

      Some words of wisdom for posting on SnowVeil (and her many aliases) refrigerator:

      SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:
      THERE NEVER WAS AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR

      SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
      THERE WAS AND NEVER WILL BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY

      SAVING 15.5 MILLION ORTHODOX FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM:
      ABRAHAM AND MOSES PROBABLY NEVER EXISTED.

      Added details upon request.

      July 16, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      explain machpelah

      July 16, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • SnowVeil

      Reality, too late. Christianity kept 7 billion humans alive and safe including you.

      July 17, 2011 at 4:15 am |
    • Reality

      Added details:

      1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      "New Torah For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment.

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.
      earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      3., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:

      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      4. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

      This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

      And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

      Current crises:

      The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

      5. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

      The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

      Current crises:

      The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

      6. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

      "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

      Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

      Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

      Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

      July 17, 2011 at 7:57 am |
    • Ginamero

      Christianity has also killed 7 Billion....go eat those numbers.

      July 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Reality

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:

      http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u

      o The Muslim Conquest of India

      "The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      Rank <<<Death Toll <Cause <<Centuries<<<Religions/Groups involved*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagans and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Pagans)

      18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      *:" Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?

      A: No, of course not – unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century – Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union – no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion."

      Q: So, what you're saying is that religion has never killed anyone.

      A: Arrgh... You all-or-nothing people drive me crazy. There are many doc-umented examples where members of one religion try to exterminate the members of another religion. Causation is always complex, but if the only difference between two warring groups is religion, then that certainly sounds like a religious conflict to me. Is it the number one cause of mass homicide in human history? No. Of the 22 worst episodes of mass killing, maybe four were primarily religious. Is that a lot? Well, it's more than the number of wars fought over soccer, or s-ex (The Trojan and Sabine Wars don't even make the list.), but less than the number fought over land, money, glory or prestige.

      In my Index, I list 41 religious conflicts compared with 27 oppressions under "Communism", 24 under Colonialism, 2 under "Railroads" and 2 under "Scapegoats". Make of that what you will."

      July 17, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • ForestSound

      The West had neither functioning brain or goodness if Christianity did not educate them to be civil.

      July 17, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  13. SnowVeil

    Now is the good time for all Irish to read and study on St. Patrick. Villains can never overcome good Christians, as darkness cannot overcome the Light. John chapter 1.

    July 16, 2011 at 9:27 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.