So, This Was Not a Paedophile
By Liam Collins
November 29, 2009
[For links to related articles, see Martin:
Is there a paedophile ring? by Maeve Sheehan, Irish Independent, November
There was Masonic-style secrecy involved in covering up the shocking abuse
in this country over the years, writes Liam Collins
So where were the dirty deals done? It is impossible to believe that covering
up for deviant priests was organised in casual conversation between the
aristocrats of the Church, the senior policemen and the civil servants
who colluded in hiding the scandal of clerical sex abuse from the public.
Of course, these people were meeting on State occasions, they mixed socially
and on sporting occasions. But there was nothing casual about this cover-up.
This was highly organised.
It is clear from the Murphy report that the cardinals, archbishops and
the top echelons of the Catholic Church had access to the best legal,
medical and financial advice when it came to dealing with a tsunami of
deviants and paedophiles who were using the Church as a cloak for their
Their advisers took on the Church & General Insurance company from 1987
and ran rings around them. For a premium of about ˆ50,000 a year they
got about ˆ50m to compensate the victims. You don't do that without corporate
planning, and that corporate planning was done on a 'need to know' basis
by churchmen and their friends in high places.
But it went deeper that that. There were 'connections' -- funny handshakes,
meetings in dark corners. The tentacles of the Catholic Church reached
far beyond the dark aisles of the archbishop's palace and into the corridors
If this weren't Ireland we could say there was a Masonic-style ring operating
at the highest echelons in the Church and the State. But there was serious
planning involved in covering up the scandal, in moving deviant priests
from one parish to the next, in sending them abroad, in organising secret
compensation for their victims. And it is this cover-up that needs further
Many ordinary priests were themselves unaware of what was going at the
highest level in the Church they worked for.
"We were told 'we have heard what you are saying and we will deal
with it'," says Fr Brian D'Arcy, "that was shorthand for saying
we will do nothing and it will all blow over."
But Fr D'Arcy was going to get the truth. The whole culture and structure
of the Church was to protect its reputation, its majesty and its pomp.
The cynical leaders of the Catholic Church took a decision that how they
were seen in the eyes of the faithful was more important than the innocence
Priests were told not to ask the names of abusers when mothers came to
complain; the priest offenders 'disappeared' on the orders of Church leaders,
to new parishes where the abuse would start all over again. And they also
used Jesuitical phrases and political answers to protect themselves, fooling
themselves into thinking that they were telling the truth when they knew
that it wasn't the 'real' truth.
"What I think is that the powers that be convinced themselves that
the children would get over it and that by hiding this they were protecting
the Church and the faithful from scandal -- they were protecting the image
of the priesthood," says Fr D'Arcy.
"Some priests even believed that by going to confession they could
change everything -- it might have changed things for the priest, but
it does not change the damage done to the children or the abuse."
We now have all the evidence we need of a cover-up among senior churchmen
and among senior figures in the State. The Church is not the only institution
that should bear the brunt of public anger and revulsion: those who allowed
it to continue are equally to blame.