Submission of Thomas Patrick Doyle

Abuse in Care - Royal Commission of Inquiry [Auckland, New Zealand]

March 9, 2021

By Tom Doyle

[With thanks to Tom Doyle for providing the full text of his submission, including document exhibits.]

On January 3, 1988, an American bishop wrote to Archbishop Pio Laghi, Papal Nuncio to the United States. The purpose of his letter was to complain that a colleague and I had been speaking to the secular media about the clergy sexual abuse issue that was rapidly developing at that time. His closing remarks are reflective of the attitude then
and still apparent among some clergy and lay people in the Catholic Church:

“I am afraid that such articles [referring to one in which I was quoted] will continue to flow from time to time. The Church has weathered worse attacks, thanks to the strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit. So too will the pedophile
annoyance eventually abate.
” (Letter of Bishop A. J. Quinn to Archbishop Pio Laghi, January 3, 1988; emphasis added.)

Two years prior to this I was in a conversation with an American archbishop whom I knew and respected. We were at a reception at the Vatican Embassy in Washington D.C. The sexual abuse issue, which had been catapulted into the public eye by the case of Fr. Gilbert Gauthe in Lafayette, Louisiana, was a major topic of conversation among the bishops present that evening. The archbishop made a comment to me that I have never forgotten: “Tom, don’t get too excited about all of this. Nobody is going to sue the Catholic Church.”

It is now 2021. The “pedophile annoyance” has proven to be an annoyance of global proportions that has changed the Catholic Church in ways and to an extent that no one could have imagined back in the second half of the 1980s. The archbishop who assured me not to worry about lawsuits has since passed from this life to the next. His prediction was not only wrong but was a kind of reverse prophesy. From “nobody is going to sue” we have gone to $US 4 billion in compensation to victims in the United States alone in 30 years and the end is not near.

[Full text of the submission available here.]