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. Barry

    This evil is nothing new. The Apostle Paul wrote in his New Testament epistle (ca. 55 CE) to the Romans (See: Romans 1) about how the name of God was being blasphemed because of the actions of certain supposedly religious people.

    Furthermore the Apostle Paul cites an Old Testament passage, where the prophet Isaiah wrote something similar about how the actions of certain supposedly godly people of his day (ca. 8th century BCE) had also caused the name of God to be blasphemed.

    Even the opening pages of the Bible (Genesis, chapters 3-11) speak about how certain individuals—Adam and Eve, Cain, Lamech, and many, many others—had done great evil and caused great suffering to others.

    Needless to say all of this caused God great sorrow, to the point where he regretted creating humans. (See: Genesis 6:6)
    Long story short, there is nothing new under the sun.

    The good news is the Bible makes it clear that God sees and know everything, and he will judge every deed, whether good or evil. (See: Ecclesiastes, the Gospels, the epistles of Paul and Peter, etc.)

    Finally Jesus said it would be better for a person to have a large millstone tied around their neck and for them to be thrown into the sea, than for that person to cause a weaker or vulnerable person to stumble. (“to cause one of these little children to stumble”—Jesus’ words)

    This gives you some idea about what these evil individuals can expect on the Judgment Day.

    July 14, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      Cliff's notes version of Logic 101.
      Long story even shorter :
      If he were omniscient he would have known he was going to "be sorry".

      July 14, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • fimeilleur

      Ok, I'm guessing you are trying to defend the Catholic Church... then why are you referencing Genesis 3-11 when the Catholic Church doesn't believe Adam & Eve existed?
      Your Omnicient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent god CANNOT do one thing: Love UNCONDITIONALLY. Otherwise, there'd be no need for Hell, because he'd forgive me for not believing in Him.
      Sorry, your god is not worhy of praise and adulation.

      July 14, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • AvdBerg

      For a better understanding of the histroy of the Catholic Church we invite you to read the article The Mystery Babylon and Popes and the Princes of This World listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

      July 14, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • William

      fimeilleur, Don't think he is defending the Catholic Church. And if he is a certain religion that I get from reading his post, he wouldn't believe in the false doctrine of hell fire either.

      July 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Stevie7

      " when the Catholic Church doesn't believe Adam & Eve existed?"


      That's actually not true at all. The church teaches that there was one person named Adam and one person named Eve and we all descend from them. What it does teach is the garden of eden stuff was allegorical. Also, evolution is potentially valid as long as you can obviously suspend your disbelief when considering humans.

      July 14, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @William – In 1917, One of my "Imaginary friends" appeared to 3 children in Fatima, Portugal. After reassuring them that they would never go there , Our Lady of Fatima showed the children a vision of HELL. On May 13th 1917 – 70,000 mainly Communist and Atheist people followed the children to the place where they had seen Mary several times before. [Portugal was a Communist country at that time] By the power of God, Mary performed what the Portugese witnesses called the "Miracle of the Sun" [You can find the account written by an Atheist journalist in the Fatima archives – along with thousands of eyewitness accounts.] There was a massive number of converts to Catholicism after that. The miracle was performed to give authenticity to Mary's messages for the world.

      July 14, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      @ Voice of Reason, You are either misinformed or a liar. The Communist party in Portugal wasn't formed until 1923... are you trying to say it took a large population 6 years to organise into a significant political party? 2nd, the vision of Hell was never disclosed until long after 1917... significant time for some coaching to be had toward the "witness". Many ancient cultures had the ability to predict solar eclipses... again coaching could have played a role in the "miracle of the sun"...

      July 14, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  2. Christopher

    Guys, we really need to stop giving these people sympathy and ask them "If you really didn't like these encounters, why the hell didn't you IMMEDIATELY tell your parents or threaten to tell another authority figure on the person in question?"

    I will be blunt: CONSENSUAL s-exual encounters that these people are whining about today in order to get money and sympathy.

    July 14, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • William Demuth


      I hope a preacher buggers your seven year old.

      Then we can talk about consent you twisted piece of filth.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • Altruist

      They couldn't tell, because many of them were intimidated and threatened by the priests that if they told anyone about it, they would be punished. If you were a kid, you would be scared to tell.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Mikky_H

      Well said, Mr. Demuth. We're talking about children in the hands of those they are taught to trust the most. Trust that was conditioned through a lifetime of obedience to the religious establishment. These children were abused and had nowhere to turn. You, Christopher, disgust me.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • fimeilleur

      And I, as well as these others, will be blunt with you... You are a sick, depraved, hatefull individual who can't stand criticism against what you hold to be truths, chosing instead to blame the victims of crime rather than acknowledge the the culpability of the individual that perpatrated it. You aren't by chance a priest or bishop, are you?

      July 14, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Rick

      Christopher: How can a child CONSENT? Are you a member of NAMBLA, or it's European arm, The Vatican?

      July 14, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Colin

      I don't get what it is with the religious desire to minimize people who speak against them. I've seen comments just in this thread alone where a Christian person will say something like "Atheists are too angry! Whats the problem little man?" If I went around calling every Christian "little man" whenever they try to make a point, I would actually feel like I was being rude . I don't know why they don't see that they are acting rude when they do stuff like that. Then, to see this guy trying to minimize the very fact of molestation by labeling it consensual is an absurdity that scares me in it's utter lack of moral consideration. For any Christian that wonders why atheists have a problem with Christians, this guy is a perfect example.

      July 14, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • xXAnonXx

      @ Colin – Christopher never said he was christian. Prey tell how you deduced that one?

      July 16, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
  3. Altruist

    These things continue to keep happening by people who preach religion ... and it's even more unbelievable that people still continue to believe in religion regardless. Where is the logic in this?

    July 14, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  4. Ted

    So many of you say you don't believe in GOD or JESUS .Then why are you so terrified of and angry at somthing that you claim doesn't exist?What you're really angry at that some of us choose not to believe the way you do.I cannot be afraid of or angry at somthing that I don't believe exists

    July 14, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • William Demuth

      Because people like YOU bugger boys, cheat little old ladies, torment minorities and commit endless atrocities in the name of your imaginary God.

      We have the right to call you a liar, and say your church is evil and needs to be destroyed.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • fimeilleur

      And to add to WD's comment: Because you ignorant, arrogant, self serving pukes keep trying to impose your unfounded beliefs on OUR lives in the form of blocking stem cell research, killing doctors who provide abortions, stopping funding for planned parenthood, criminalizing doctor assisted suicide, etc because you BELIEVE your (unproven) God doesn't approve of these things.

      July 14, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • Rick

      Ted: It seems that the theists have no problem threatening hell to people who don't believe in it. I don't believe in god or jesus. but I do know that the church exists. That is the subject of this article, the church, not god or jesus

      July 14, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • Colin

      Yeah, honestly, we aren't mad at your imaginary friend. We are mad at YOU for imposing it onto the rest of us, using it as a tool for hate, and using it as a way to intimidate people's emotional sensibilities as a way to grab power.

      July 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • xXAnonXx

      @fimellur (sic?) – When was the last abortion doctor killed? And how often does that happen again? Oh right the 90s and maybe 1 casualty per 8 -10 years. You cry about christianity yet the followers of Muhammad get at least 8 – 10 per 1 day!! Think about them apples. You want to bring up crusades or anything else I'd be happy to offer a rebuttal.

      July 16, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      @ xXAnonXx
      ????? What? I do not lament for christians... I think you misread me (and forgot the last e in my name...) No, what I argue for is to keep religion (all of them) out of my daily life, be it christanity, judeism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddism, what ever... the first god to come down to earth and provide definitive proof of his existance gets to let society know how to act. Not some random sheep herder from 4000 years ago.

      July 18, 2011 at 3:35 am |
  5. Vic of New York

    ...and God invented Religion. And He said: "Let there be a Holy See among you who shall report directly to me. And I shall reward his piety with the pleasures of little boys. And he shall oversee my flock and keep them in line. And for his devotion, I will turn an eye periodically that he may partake in one of them to his satisfaction."

    July 14, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • William Demuth

      I believe he said "Holy Semen" and designated altar boys as its receptical

      July 14, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • AvdBerg

      @William Demuth

      You made a statement earlier that Catholic priests are God servants, That was not true! It is a deception. The whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9. How the world has been deceived is confirmed in 1 Cor. 11:13-15. For a better understanding we invite you to read all the pages and articles of our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca
      Some people have claimed that we use these messages to promote our website or book. This is not! If CNN is willing to post our articles we would not have to correct people in this manner.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • William Demuth


      Stick your website in your dogma and smoke it.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Artist

      Report Abuse

      July 14, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  6. jordan

    Catholic Church release the records from WW@ so we can all see what you really did in those days.I want to know this and so do millions of others but you won't.................
    wonder why ? got something to hide ?

    July 14, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • John

      Type Jasenovac in any search engine.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:02 am |


    July 14, 2011 at 9:33 am |
  8. Margaret

    The Catholic Church should be outlawed. It is nothing but a bunch of pagans suppposedly practicing Religion. Evil! Evil! Evil! Anyone who believes the swill they preach deserves all they get.

    July 14, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • fimeilleur

      Wow... way to blame the victim...

      July 14, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • Andy C.

      Your comment smacks of ingnorance. Nobody is more horrified by this than catholics! Why don't you go to a Catholic Mass sometime and see you find any evil there. What you will find is dedicated Christians praying to Jesus, their Savior and Lord. I'm not defending the church's actions but your comments sound like hateful, intolerant bigotry.

      July 14, 2011 at 10:04 am |
  9. Stevie7

    Learning curve? LEARNING CURVE? How much of a curve does one need to figure out that 1) se.xual abuse = bad, 2) covering up those abuses = bad, and 3) the morally responsible thing to do is to bring known or accused abusers to the authority. This actually takes time to learn?

    July 14, 2011 at 9:19 am |
  10. Odessa

    The heathen Europe needs missionaries like St. Patrick all over again! This time by the non-Western people.

    July 14, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • think for yourself

      We don't need missionaries to tell us how to act. Religion =/= morality

      July 14, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • William Demuth

      Every time a Christian says Missionary, all the altar boys bend over!

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

      The Missionaries are coming. The armies can't be far behind. "Hey Mr. soldier. They are Anathema from Christ. Wipe them out." "The church will split the proceeds with you." This is how the Catholic Church got rich.

      July 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm |

    What does that blowhard Donohue have to say about this story?

    July 14, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • Rick

      He will claim persecution. It helps with his Jesus complex

      July 14, 2011 at 9:24 am |
  12. AvdBerg

    For a better understanding of the subject issue we invite you to read the article The Mystery Babylon of the website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca All of the other pages and articles explain how this whole world has been deceive as confirmed in Revelation 12:9. How this whole world has been deceived is confirmed in 1 Cor. 11:13-15.

    July 14, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • William Demuth

      Ah, the idiot Christians have brought in Canadian Reinforcements

      July 14, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • fimeilleur

      @ WD, as a Canadian, I appologize for allowing AvdBerg the use of the internet... I will attempt to seek him out and unplug his computer... until then, I will continue to "crusade" alongside my fellow free thinkers.

      July 14, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • AvdBerg

      @William Demuth
      For a better understanding what it means to be a Christian we invite you to read Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You? on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

      July 14, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • AvdBerg


      It is easy to find us. We have provided a Contact Page on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca for that purpose.

      July 14, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • .....

      AvdBerg is just peddling their book, don't waste your time.

      July 14, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      Yeah, no I don't want to TALK to you, just unplug your computer... your contact page doesn't provide a physical address for your "ministries"... But hey, since you want to propogate your web site... try this one: http://www.thethinkingatheist.com

      July 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  13. wendy5

    just look at the perv on the picture now if he doesnt look like one well then i am a monkeys uncle; i guess to the evolotionist i am huh;;; maybe this is how the term pulling the wool over the sheeps eyes came from

    July 14, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • William Demuth

      The dresses just save the altar boys time.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:53 am |
    • justme

      wendy; as jesus would say, you are not far from the kingdom and william doesn't know it but he is already aligned with satan since he is the "RULER OF THIS WORLD" and the god of this system of things all quotes form the scriptures.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • William Demuth


      Satan? Exactly who was buggering these boys?

      YOUR preachers, may they be forever hunted and killed for what they have done.

      Justice AMERICAN style, with a 45 slug in the back of their deviant heads.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • justme

      william you did not read my comment clearly i said the bible calls satan the god of this system and ruler of the world, and that includes the catholic church who calls on god but does not even know on who they call. but he still answers.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • William Demuth


      You misunderstood me.

      I said your religion is a lie, and your God is merely an intrument used to cheat little old ladies and engage in pervisions with boys.

      Is that more clear. God is a lie, and his followers are either liars or idiots themselves.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • justme

      william; you don't understand it is not MY religion i'm just reporting the hypocrisy of the so called christians who don't even know the book they are supposed to believe in.

      July 14, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • justme

      bill; it looks like you're busy with others so i'm out of here i have another life, till later, jg

      July 14, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  14. wendy5

    and another thing no where is it written that any of us need to knell to anyone of the human kind or in a fancy church; all you need to do find a quite place and with all you heart and soul ask for forgiveness and it will be granted; you dont have to pay a dime and it will mean far more to jesus because that is the only force you can be totally honest with ; infact he is my best friend i talk to him all day he is my subconciouse; and that is the way i think he really intended it to be burned into our souls so we never forget; and when he isnt walking with me he is carrying me and yes he does punish me when i do wrong its called massive guilt; and i see no guilt or concouise with these pervs so why would i want or need any of these men blessing palllleeesse

    July 14, 2011 at 8:46 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      "in fact he is my best friend i talk to him all day"
      -- When I was four I had one of those friends too. His name was Pookie, He lived under my blankey. I grew out of that.
      "maybe this is how the term pulling the wool over the sheeps eyes came from"
      -- Inasmuch as he is wearing a pallium, he appears to have "pulled the wool" over his OWN eyes.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • Eloise Has Large Corns

      Apparently, while he's your best friend he isn't a very good spell-checker. Maybe you should get a new best friend.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • think for yourself

      Of course, when you talk to yourself, you can respond how ever you want to.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • William Demuth

      Wendy darling, it seems your meds are wearing off again.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • fimeilleur

      I find it funny, Wendy5, that you talk about quietly praying for forgiveness and all that, while at the same time, seeking accolades for having Jeebus as your "best friend". Oh the irony. You dismiss all other gods, (like Thor, Odin, Zeus, Jupiter, Anubis, etc.) based on a lack of evidence of their power or existance, but you refuse to use those same criteria for your god.

      July 14, 2011 at 9:39 am |
  15. Katie

    What do you expect from religion.... It doesn't teach peace and actions clearly speak louder than words... Duh factor here.

    July 14, 2011 at 8:43 am |
  16. scranton

    What a mess.

    July 14, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  17. wendy5

    it was a learning curve; oh man; why are these men exempt from the law and allowed to police themselves; what a joke but the biggest joke is that people stilll go and knell to these clowns and put their hard earned money in their little plates; i think that people should find a new place of worship; because i can assure you that jesus christ is disgusted with them but more disgusted with the people that keep supporting them and follow fasle idols; this is not jesus christs religion; these men way back hijaced it and have been stealing money for ages from the sheep that think if am a catholic i will get to heaven if i put my money in the plate you fools; and you still give it them and they all look like perverts;and then you come out of those doors and persucute the rest of society with your uppity goodness and you are just as guilty as the perverts you knell to; that makes all catholics hipocrites of the discusting kind; i had one of the perverts tell me before easter in confession that i would not be forgiven for devorice he looked like the perve of perves i never went back and then this all came out and i laugh everyday and pray they shut them down all priests are perves or perve protectors; i hope rome italy falls they are 2 trillion in debt if they fall so will the catholic church; maybe that will be the day jesus will shine his light on the world; he didnt give his life up to have it to hijacked by a bunch of perverts for monetary gain; in fact he threw out the money changers and that is what these people are with their phony bread and wine ; you didnt have to pay to hear and listen to jesus he gave it for FREE; and if these perverts were doing this in our countries what the h ell have they been doing in all the illerate countries i bet it would rock your world if we knew the extent of their sadistic practices in those countries; so all you chalocis that are still catholics need to look in the mirror and ask yourself what you stand for and if you stand by this phony hijacked then you are just as guilty as the pervs you knell to and i for one will never forgive you neither will jesus christ; especially since you know the truth and keep knelling to them that the worst kind of discust

    July 14, 2011 at 8:34 am |
    • PulTab


      July 14, 2011 at 8:39 am |
    • William Demuth

      If Jesus Christ is omnipotent and permits his priests to bugger little boys, not only is he unworthy of worship, he is worthy only of contempt.

      I am signing up with TEAM SATAN! If JC brings his Palestinian rear end to my neck of the woods I will crucify him again.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • Samuel

      Anyone who would abuse a child obviously worships a false Christ and is deceived. Jesus Christ did say that if anyone hurt one of these little ones it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and it be hurled into the sea. Now that Christ is very God, he owns vengeance. Anyone who takes this lightly does not know God. Deception is everywhere. But people do not seem to want to be taught of God. Therefore they drink deeply of the deceptions of the subtle Satan.

      July 14, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  18. ELH

    So long as the head of the church refuses to do what is right, that is to immediately excommunicate proven offenders, the problem will continue.

    July 14, 2011 at 8:28 am |
    • William Demuth

      So you are going to excommunicate the whole church?

      They are a cabal of baby bugerers.

      Shame their is no hell, because the whole lot of them belong their

      July 14, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • Samuel

      Excommunication as practiced in the early church was literally delivering that person to Satan for punishment and hopeful repentance. Satan will not excommunicate his own or his house is divided.

      July 14, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  19. homer

    We live in the 21st century and for the most part we are at the top of the food chain and ppl still believe in fairy tale gods???

    July 14, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • :p

      Alot of people do. Yes it is true.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:27 am |
    • GreenieInPA

      So much for evolution.

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

      But I watch cartoons, so it's all good.

      July 14, 2011 at 8:37 am |
  20. Howard

    Or, it could be something in the holy water.

    July 14, 2011 at 8:21 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
About this blog

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.