So, This Was Not a Paedophile Ring?

By Liam Collins
Irish Independent
November 29, 2009

[For links to related articles, see Martin: Is there a paedophile ring? by Maeve Sheehan, Irish Independent, November 29, 2009.]

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 horrible activities.

Their advisers took on the Church & General Insurance company from 1987 and ran rings around them. For a premium of about 50,000 a year they got about 50m 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 of power.

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 investigation.

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 of children.

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.


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