Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Reports of systematic abuse of Irish children by Priests and Nuns

I just read an article about children who were routinely humiliated and victimized by Catholic priests and Nuns in Irish reform schools.

To call this a travesty is little comfort and shows the inadequacy of the English language in times such as these.

From Huffington Post:

DUBLIN — A fiercely debated, long-delayed investigation into Ireland's Roman Catholic-run institutions says priests and nuns terrorized thousands of boys and girls in workhouse-style schools for decades and government inspectors failed to stop the chronic beatings, rapes and humiliation.

Nine years in the making, Wednesday's 2,600-page report sides almost completely with the horrific reports of abuse from former students sent to more than 250 church-run, mostly residential institutions. But victims' leaders said it didn't go far enough particularly because none of their abusers were identified by name.

The report concluded that church officials always shielded their orders' pedophiles from arrest to protect their own reputations and, according to documents uncovered in the Vatican, knew that many pedophiles were serial attackers.

The investigators said overwhelming, consistent testimony from still-traumatized men and women, now in their 50s to 80s, had demonstrated beyond a doubt that the entire system treated children more like prison inmates and slaves than people with legal rights and human potential.

"A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys. Children lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from," the final report of Ireland's Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse concluded.

...The report, unveiled by High Court Justice Sean Ryan, found that molestation and rape were "endemic" in boys' facilities, chiefly run by the Christian Brothers, and supervisors pursued policies that increased the danger. Girls supervised by orders of nuns, chiefly the Sisters of Mercy, suffered much less sexual abuse but frequent assaults and humiliation designed to make them feel worthless.

"In some schools a high level of ritualized beating was routine. ... Girls were struck with implements designed to maximize pain and were struck on all parts of the body," the report said. "Personal and family denigration was widespread."

wtf? I just don't understand how someone could hurt children on this sick sadistic level.

And with government funding no less.

Unfortunately, as horrific as the findings are, this report will not be used for criminal prosecutions. That article claims that, “the Christian Brothers successfully sued the commission in 2004 to keep the identities of all of its members, dead or alive, unnamed in the report. No real names, whether of victims or perpetrators, appear in the final document.”

The article doesn’t explain it anymore then that, but I think that's the most disheartening part of all this (and how people can still sit in the pews of Catholic churches boggles the mind).

Hopefully, the general outrage this information should generate will make the Irish government think twice about letting these crimes go unpunished.

Because I don’t know about you, but a government that can’t protect it’s own children is a government that shouldn’t be around.

-You can read the full article here.


  1. This is a massive news story over here too! From what i know of it, Bertie O'Hern the old pm did apologise on behalf of the government for this nine years ago at the start of this investigation. As it was so obvious then how bad all this had been.

    But i would like to say here is that we are talking about two different Irelands here, that country has changed so much over the last ten years that we can talk about new Ireland and old Ireland.

    Todays Ireland will im sure seek justice for those who suffered in the old Ireland.

  2. When I heard this story on NPR this morning my first reaction was, sadly, "I'm not surprised."

    Who thought the clergy sex abuse was only an American problem? Not me.

    But in the church's defense, I went through 12 years of catholic school education and was never mistreated in any way. Except being told condoms were evil, which I suppose could be construed as abuse.

  3. Haworth: I really hope so. The fact that no names were mentioned in the report has me worried about any hope for justice.

    Primavera: It isn’t the sex abuse I found surprising, but the systematic abuse and degradation. Those are two very different levels of disgusting.

    I’m glad Catholic school treated you nicely. I don’t blame all of Catholicism for the treatment of these children, but until the church truly tries to make amends for all the children that have been abused, it’s hard not to feel disdainful towards them.

  4. It's this kind of shit that pisses me off even more when it comes to the Notre Dame thing. As if the Catholics are really in a position to judge anyone.

  5. Well fetuses are very very important. Breathing hurting human beings? Not so much.

    The hypocrisy is so thick I’m surprised the Catholic Church hasn’t strangled itself yet.


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