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)
  1. JustThinkinOutloud

    Perhaps to be human is to be corruptible. Maybe the secret of humanity is to be ruined by the drive for more. I'm just wondering.

    July 14, 2011 at 8:16 am |
  2. Pastor Evans

    Catholism is a religion that man created, it is not GOD created and has nothing to do with the Kingdom of GOD.

    July 14, 2011 at 8:09 am |
    • Lee

      That's because there is no such place as a Kingdom of God, or perhaps you meant Dog.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:13 am |
    • Lee

      But then again, I only post comments in the religion section to entertain my otherwise lonely, pathetic self.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • :p

      Yes there is. We all have the chance to experience the Kingdom. You can't see a microbe, but you know that it is there. Look inside, you may stand a better chance of finding your path.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:20 am |
    • well

      So pastor, when did the church become not of God? Was it before or after the Church compiled the Bible you use in your church? Was it before or after the Council of Nicea? Was it before or after Paul began to run things out of Rome?
      If you use the Bible compiled by the Church, say the Nicean creed or quote St. Paul, these are questions you should ask.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:21 am |
    • Fred Evil

      😛 – Actually, you CAN see a microbe. There are these cool things called microscopes. Still waiting on the first tangible shred of evidence of any god(s) though...

      July 14, 2011 at 8:27 am |
    • Fred Evil

      When I poop in my pants, I have the evidence I need that I need help.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • JT

      All religions are created by man, even yours. If you are really a pastor and assuming you are a protestant christian then you should already know that Catholicism predates your branch of Christianity.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:51 am |
    • Glades2

      Pastor Evans,

      What was outside God's Will was the PROTESTant church, created because Henry VIII wanted to side-step God's Divine Will and marry though already divorced – the Catholic Church, was obedient to God and refused to grant Henry authority to do so, and in the end the scism began...

      July 14, 2011 at 10:15 am |
  3. Reality

    The Irish RCC scandal adds more credence to the following:

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity by the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" will converge these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

    July 14, 2011 at 8:07 am |
  4. Michele

    Colin, it's funny that you would spend so much time spouting sarcasm and creating your so-called "ten signs" list. If you and all others who disagree with the faith spent a fraction of the time doing something good for humanity that you spend blowing hot air, the world would be much better off– don't you think?.Face it, you'll never change one mind about the Church– it's just hilarious that you think your list could change 2000 years of reality. Now look who's dreaming about some pie in the sky theories!?! Plus, I've just said a prayer for you– and that's something you can never capture in your diatribes or hate. Have a great day!

    July 14, 2011 at 7:56 am |
    • Colin

      Hey Michel. I actually think that I am doing some good by pointing out the flaws in Catholic doctrine. I feel that the more minds I can at least open to question some of the things they have been taught (and warned never to question) since infancy, the better. Perhaps if more folks were prepared to stand up and think for themselves against the weight of these theological bullies, less little boys would have been violated.

      Anyway, thank you for your post. You go ahead and pray for me, and I’ll think for both of us.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:05 am |
    • John Richardson

      @Michele Heaping ignorant criticism on someone and then "saying a prayer for them". How special – and how typical of the ever hypocritical Christian cultists. If you think that 2000 years of moral inertia can't be changed, you are in for surprise!

      July 14, 2011 at 8:13 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      "you'll never change one mind about the Church"
      -- All it takes it a small tiny crack of doubt, and eventually the whole thing crashes down.
      "it's just hilarious that you think your list could change 2000 years of reality."
      -- "Reality" includes the subject of this article, as well as countless other examples. One may not be able to change much, but at least one can recognize it.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • William Demuth


      We try and change things.

      I mean we DID manage to kill your savior once.

      We just need to keep trying until we get it right.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:39 am |
  5. teremist

    Religion is of men, and therefore flawed, Faith is of the Lord God, and therefore not. Be sure that the wheat shall be separated from the tares.

    July 14, 2011 at 7:55 am |
    • William Demuth

      Faith is the smile on my dog.

      Alas it is also the basis of the philosophy that permits grown men to bugger little boys without punishment.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:47 am |
  6. Unbelievable

    I would be so ashamed to be catholic right now. I have so many holier than thou friends who are catholic that look down on other branches of Christianity. I don't know how they can defend their faith. I would not want to admit I was a catholic. They had better clean up their church or people will continue to leave it in droves.

    July 14, 2011 at 7:46 am |
    • lalo

      Every branch of the Christianity looks down on on other Christians with the holier than thou. I get the distinct impression you are doing just that right now.

      July 14, 2011 at 7:57 am |
    • :p

      Well, what do you call the Christians who attend the United Church? I do believe they let all Christians in their door. Learn more, before you react.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:04 am |
    • Trashcup

      My Catholic teachers told us we were the ONLY religion – all others couldn't get into heaven unless they were Catholics. Religion was created by men to impose rules and regulations on other men. These Catholic priests are no different than any other criminal except they continue to be protected by the Catholic Church. Time for the Catholic church to let justice happen and send these priests to prison to pay for their crimes. The Catholic church will never be the same again.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:07 am |
    • lalo

      Point taken

      July 14, 2011 at 8:08 am |
  7. Doug

    To Colin. The Universities and Scientist are just as corrupt as the Churches. Get a grip. Doug.

    July 14, 2011 at 7:25 am |
    • Colin

      Wow, another brilliant observation by Doug. It's a wolrwide conspiracy against Doug's "talking monkey paradox". Sure must be tough being the only person who can see this world wide conspiracy. Hear voices much?

      July 14, 2011 at 7:42 am |
    • Doug

      I also comment as douglas5937. Doug.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:28 am |
    • fimeilleur

      So, you're confirming that you have multiple personalities? Or that you hear voices? what?

      Please follow the nice men in white jackets as they escort you to your new home... and don't drink the kool-aid.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:56 am |
  8. Odessa

    Things are seriously wrong with Europeans and Americans to hate the Christian Church. Sodomites.

    July 14, 2011 at 7:22 am |
    • Dave Dawkins

      Yeah, the ONLY reason is that people "hate" your barbaric little cult. It has nothing to do with the fact that they had huge numbers of perverts raping and molesting little boys, or that they then shielded those perverts from justice.

      July 14, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • demetri

      Seriously Odessa!

      July 14, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • lalo

      You are a sodomite if you criticize someone of buggering young boys? How do you conclude that?

      July 14, 2011 at 8:03 am |
    • :p

      Can someone say troll.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • Fred Evil

      I don't hate xtians, I pity them. You guys are pathetic.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:24 am |
    • Fred Evil

      Then again, I am a sociopath.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:32 am |
    • William Demuth

      The church calling other people sodomites?


      July 14, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • Jake

      Fred Evil – I have been reading your comments. I'd like to have a beer or two with you.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • Rick

      Sodomites? Oooh....I suppose I should be worried.

      July 14, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  9. clarke

    This is disgraceful and they get off scott free. What is wrong with this picture.

    July 14, 2011 at 7:20 am |
    • :p

      you just said it

      July 14, 2011 at 8:24 am |
  10. Odessa

    Catholic Church should tax Europeans for all the benefits they get by what all the Christians have built and created right until decades ago there.

    July 14, 2011 at 7:18 am |
    • Dave Dawkins

      Yeah, sure...let them try! Nothing would kill off that dying beast faster.

      July 14, 2011 at 7:48 am |
    • William Demuth

      I say we gas the whole lot of them.

      Then we nuke their holy lands, and crucify their leaders amidst the rubble.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:50 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      Wow Ody, that is the first thing you have ever said I actually agree with. Churches exists as corporate structures in the midst of civil society, and as such reap all the benefits of that society. They SHOULD all pay taxes, as they receive the all the benefits.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • Rick

      Well, Odessa, when your church becomes government, they can tax until then, they will just have to be happy with their tax free donations

      July 14, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  11. Chris Twigg

    Pass me another choir boy cardinal, this one's split.

    July 14, 2011 at 7:14 am |
  12. Odessa

    Days were cute when Ireland had the most violent problem on earth 1-2 decades ago. Catholicism needs cleansing and renewal within by going back to the Bible. Non-religious is increasing rapidly just as some other European nations. Real dark days lie ahead for Ireland. WW2 did not save Europe.

    July 14, 2011 at 7:11 am |
    • :p

      Catholicism doesn't need to have a make-over, it needs to stop totaly.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:09 am |
    • Fred Evil

      I agree, we need to cleanse ourselves of catholicism....

      July 14, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

      If Catholicism went back to the bible it wouldn't BE Catholicism. "Sacred Tradition" changes all the time don't-ya-know.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  13. Doug

    You just have to look at the funny looking outfits they wear to realize that something is off with these folks. Doug.

    July 14, 2011 at 6:52 am |
    • douglas5937

      Do men in high heels count? Doug.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:35 am |
  14. AvdBerg

    We have been informing mankind that the whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9. How the whole world has been deceived is confirmed in 2 Cor. 11:13-15. For a better understanding we invite you to read all the pages and articles on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca especially those that are relevant to the subject issue.

    July 14, 2011 at 6:50 am |
    • amused123

      oh yes..... let's head to that website and get slammed with a computer virus. Thank you, no.

      July 14, 2011 at 7:27 am |
    • William Demuth

      A Christian virus!

      Like gonorhea!

      July 14, 2011 at 8:51 am |
  15. Rich

    When you believe crazy things, you do crazy things.

    July 14, 2011 at 6:42 am |
  16. Rich

    Religion is delusion.

    July 14, 2011 at 6:41 am |
  17. batchoftruth

    There hasn't been a day in history where religion didn't mess up the life's of people, they should be dismantled like the criminal organizations that they are.

    July 14, 2011 at 6:39 am |
  18. Colin

    Ten signs you are a Catholic.

    1. You believe that the pope has personal conversations with God (that nobody else ever hears) and is infallible when speaking on matters of Church doctrine. You then wistfully ignore the fact that Church doctrine changes and that former popes therefore could not possibly have been “infallible”. Limbo, for example, was touted by pope after pope as a place where un-baptized babies who die go, until Pope Benedict XVI just eradicated it (or, more accurately, so watered it down as effectively eradicate it in a face saving way). Seems all those earlier “infallible” Popes were wrong – as they were on Adam and Eve v. evolution, heliocentricity v. egocentricity, and a host of other issues that required an amendment of official Church doctrine. You also ignore the innumerable murders, rampant corruption and other crimes committed over the centuries by your “infallible”, god-conversing popes.

    2. You reject the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours. You are blissfully (or intentionally) blind to the fact, that had you been born in another part of the World, you would be defending the local god(s) and disdaining the incorrectness of Catholic beliefs.

    3. You begrudgingly accept evolution (about a century after Darwin proved it and after accepting Genesis as literally true for about 2,000 years) and that Adam and Eve was totally made up, but then conveniently ignore that fact that your justification for Jesus dying on the cross (to save us from Original Sin) has therefore been eviscerated. Official Church literature still dictates a belief in this nonsense.

    4. You disdain native beliefs as “polytheist” and somehow “inferior” but cannot explain (i) why being polytheistic is any sillier than being monotheistic. Once you make the quantum leap into Wonderland by believing in sky-fairies, what difference does if make if you believe in one or many?; nor (ii) why Christians believe they are monotheistic, given that they believe in god, the devil, guardian angels, the holy spirit, Jesus, many demons in hell, the Virgin Mary, the angel Gabriel, thousands of saints, all of whom apparently make Earthly appearances periodically, and all of whom inhabit their life-after-death lands with magic-sacred powers of some kind.

    5. You bemoan the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don`t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees or the 3,000 Israelites killed by Moses for worshipping the golden calf (or the dozen or so other slaughters condoned by the bible). You also like to look to god to for guidance in raising your children, ignoring the fact that he drowned his own – according to your Bible.

    6. You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that God impregnated Mary with himself, to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to “forgive” an ”Original Sin” that we now all know never happened.

    7. You disdain gays as sinners, but have no problem when Lot got drunk and committed father-daughter in.cest (twice) or offered his daughters to a mob to be gang ra.ped, or when Moses, time and again, offered his wife up for the “pleasures” of the Egyptians to save his own skin.

    8. You believe that your god will cause anyone who does not accept your Bronze Age stories to suffer a penalty an infinite times worse than the death penalty (burning forever in excruciating torture) simply because of their healthy skepticism, yet maintain that god “loves them”.

    9. You will totally reject any scientific breakthrough that is inconsistent with your established doctrine, unless and until it is so generally accepted as to back you into a corner. While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you of the deep inanity of your silly faith, some priest doing magic hand signals over bread and wine is enough to convince you it is thereby transformed into the flesh and blood of Jesus because of the priest’s magic powers (or “sacred powers” to the extent you see a difference).

    10. You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to Lourdes, Fátima and other magic places and prayers in general. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. The remaining 99.99% failure was simply “god moving in mysterious ways”. The fact that, if you ask for something repeatedly, over and over, year after year, sooner or later that thing is bound to happen anyway, has not even occurred to you. A stopped clock is right twice a day.

    11. You accept the stories in the Bible without question, despite not having the slightest idea of who actually wrote them, how credible these people were or how long the stories were written after the alleged events they record occurred. For example, it is impossible for Moses to have written the first five books of the Old Testament, as Catholics believe. For one, they record his death and events after his death. In fact, the chance of the Bible being historically accurate in any but the broadest terms is vanishingly small.

    Heavens, I could not fit them into ten. Maybe, if they pray hard enough to their sky-fairy, the Catholics can turn them into 10.

    July 14, 2011 at 6:01 am |
    • shinden58

      Great post. It just blows my mind that people still believe in these silly stories and continue to support the thugs at the top. John Paul II for patron saint of pedophiles.

      July 14, 2011 at 6:24 am |
    • pugs

      1 sign you are an attention-craving atheist with far too much time on their hands =)
      Not that the Catholic church doesn't deserve to get some prodding after dealing with this serous in far too light of a manner.

      July 14, 2011 at 6:25 am |
    • jane

      God is merciful and forgives. Every knee shall bow....

      July 14, 2011 at 6:38 am |
    • RCinAL

      11 signs you clearly do not know what the Church teaches...

      I am a Roman Catholic, and I must say that everything you just spoke of in this post is false. I encourage you to learn what the Church really teaches before you take a sledge hammer to her. Pick up a Catechism of the Catholic Church and read what she really teaches.

      July 14, 2011 at 6:54 am |
    • Doug

      I am an athiest/agnostic but Darwin hasn't proved anything to me. If his theory was true we would be competing with talking monkeys right now. End of theory. Doug.

      July 14, 2011 at 6:55 am |
    • Chris Twigg

      Brilliant. Thanks

      July 14, 2011 at 7:11 am |
    • Colin

      Wow Doug, you're right! The talking monkey paradox. We never saw it. All of the most sophisticated universities and centers of biological research in the World are worng! Doug just pointed out their error. Let's spread the word.

      July 14, 2011 at 7:12 am |
    • minkakross

      the only thing Doug proved is he doesn't know or hasn't read Darwin's works.

      July 14, 2011 at 7:35 am |

      Colin, finally someone with some brains here.

      July 14, 2011 at 7:56 am |
    • Reality

      Going beyond the RCC with a poster for all mosque, church and synagogue doors:







      Added details upon request.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:10 am |
    • John Richardson

      Actually, Doug, if there were talking monkeys, we almost surely would not be competing with them, but would have made a symbiotic bond with them. But thanks for playing!

      July 14, 2011 at 8:19 am |
    • Colin

      John, actually, that is a good point – and very perceptive. We no doubt would have, probably using them as we do other large mammals.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • mb2010a

      This list can be applied to ANY of the Christian cults, not just the Catholics. Widen you view to include all religions and you would be right on the money...

      July 14, 2011 at 8:29 am |
    • Colin

      MB – agreed, except 1.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:32 am |
    • Ava

      Pedophilia in the Catholic Church is the problem of society, not of doctrine. Approximately one out of four girls and one out of six boys will be abused before 18 (CDC or any other source you trust confirms these stats). There is no defense or excuse for harming a child, nor covering up or protecting the people who have done or do so.
      While creative in it's effort to convert people to his way of thinking, Colin's basis for information is false, and constructed to match his hate speech. If you ruminate over a subject, add some balance to your argument by reading varied resources from all sides. When someone reacts this vehemently to something, there is deeply felt hurt there.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • Stevie7

      "Colin's basis for information is false"
      two posters have no claimed Colin's information to be incorrect. I've studied the catechism of the RCC fairly thoroughly and can't find any issues, except that the RCC stance on #3 is even more absurd. So, if anything, Colin is giving the RCC and it's teaching a bit too much credit. Can someone, anyone, please point out any examples in the catechism that shows that any of these points are incorrect?

      July 14, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      Actually he just re-posted this, and your assumption that it took more than a few seconds to do that is unfounded. The fact that this subject keeps reappearing speaks volumes.
      re: your talking monkey comment
      WE ARE the talking monkeys, and the other branches of our family DO have language.


      July 14, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • Rick

      Jane: Every knee shall bow? Spending a lot of time on your knees, are you?

      July 14, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Patrick

      Nice work, Colin! I've seen different variations of this, as it pertains to fundy Catholics/Christians/Muslims, etc., but this is one of the better ones...Bravo!

      I will share this with others, however, I will post a link to this article/discussion to give you full credit.


      July 14, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Colin

      Thanks Patrick. As to creidt, in fairness, I adopted and expanded an earlier list I saw (which was, I believe an adaption of an even earlier list).

      Darwin would be proud.

      July 14, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  19. YBP

    Brady should have said, "Another dark day in the histoy of the church." Period. It's a dark and profoundly violent history, and no decent human being should have any part of it.

    July 14, 2011 at 5:49 am |
  20. JohnJohn

    What the HELL is wrong with the Catholic Church??!!??

    July 14, 2011 at 5:35 am |
    • Howard

      The presence of pedophilia and child abuse is evidence of an inherent structural flaw in the Church's recruitment of men and women to serve as priests and nuns. While the vast majority of them are not pedophiles and abusers, there is no denying that the very nature of the profession is an ideal and apparently safe harbor for anyone who is. The Church has had no effective mechanism for psychologically screening out these undesirables, and once they're in, everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, good and bad feels compelled to look the other way because to openly disclose the horrifying truth would be destructive to the Church.

      July 14, 2011 at 6:48 am |
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