Thursday, December 18, 2008

Government will not publish report into sex abuse claims in diocese

THE Government is not going to publish a report into the mishandling of child sex abuse claims in a Cork diocese, Minister for Children Barry Andrews has confirmed.

Mr Andrews was given the report five months ago and has been under sustained pressure from child abuse campaigners to publish its findings.

The report investigated the handling of allegations of abuse in Cloyne made to the Catholic Church between 15 and 20 years ago.

Mr Andrews said neither the department nor the Government commissioned the report and responsibility for publication of the potentially explosive report lay elsewhere.

In response to a Dáil question, he said “there was no commitment to lay the report before the Houses of the Oireachtas”.

It is understood the report has not been given to the gardaí.

However, the Diocese of Cloyne and the author of the report — the Church’s National Board for Safe- guarding Children (NBSC) — have challenged the minister, saying the report was initiated by the Department of Health and Children.

It is understood a number of abuse victims met with current Finance Minister Brian Lenihan when he was the children’s minister and following that meeting, the report was commissioned.

Fr Killeen, a spokesman for the Cloyne diocese — which is overseen by Bishop John Magee — last night reiterated that the diocese did not commission the report.

When asked if he wanted to see the report published, he said: “The decision to publish it is not ours. We didn’t commission it. My understanding is that the report was requested after representations were made to a minister for health by two individuals.”

Chief executive of the NBSC Ian Elliott said the investigation and report were carried out following an “alert” by the Department of Health.

The report has been seen by the Diocese of Cloyne, which has accepted its findings and begun to implement recommendations.

The HSE also has a copy of the report and is formulating a second report based on the original NBSC findings, which will be issued to the minister by the end of the year, said a spokesperson.

Youghal priest Fr Joseph McGuane, who is calling for the publication of the report, said: “It hangs like a sword around the neck of the diocese.”

East Cork Labour TD Sean Sherlock has accused the Government of “washing its hands” of the matter.

“Why is the minister abdicating his responsibility? A former minister asked for this report to be carried out after speaking to victims. The victims involved want natural justice and don’t want to see clerical sex abuse brushed under the carpet. Has the Irish state learnt anything from Ferns?”

One in Four chief executive Maeve Lewis said: “It is vital following the Ferns inquiry that such reports are made public if people are to feel confident in the Catholic Church’s handling of such issues.”

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The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

(Source: IE)


Anonymous said...

This is no surprise at all.

The Church sweeps all its unwanted secrets under the carpet and will continue to do so until the end of time.

There is no accountability or transparency.

As long as their deep dark secrets are hidden the victims of the Church continue to suffer the trauma of their mistreatment be it physical, psychological abuse, bullying or otherwise.

The publishing of the details cannot make things much worse than they already are because it would be hard to make anything worse than the continued suffering of the victims who need the exorcising of the ghosts out in the open, naming the 'bad guys' and so maybe they can then get an apology and lay the ghosts to rest. Why should the wrongdoers have their names or misdeeds protected by anyone, especially the Church which is meant to stand up for peoples rights and justice but from what most can see it does anything but this.

All we get are promises to do the right thing but until there is full accountability, transparency and the publication of all the past injustices nothing will change and those in high office within the Church who continue to brush the truth under their carpets should hang their heads in shame. They are still thinking of only themselves and damage limitation when all of that is far too late because the damage has been done and the victims have suffered enough. More compassion from the Church is needed but most unlikely to be forthcoming.

Anonymous said...


The document came to light because it was referenced in a footnote to a May 18, 2002, letter from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Vatican's doctrinal congregation, to the bishops of the world regarding new procedures for sex abuse cases.

Crimen sollicitationis is a secret document issued by the Holy Office of the Vatican (now the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) in 1962, instructing bishops about how to handle cases in which priests were accused of using the privacy of the confessional to make sexual advances to penitents. The document also instructs bishops on how to handle cases of the "worst crime", in which a priest is sexually involved with an animal, child, or man. Canon lawyers disagree about the extent to which the document is still in force.

The document calls for such cases to be handled in secret, and extends that secrecy to the document itself. The document imposes secrecy even upon victims of sexual abuse. Extreme penalties for violations of secrecy, including excommunication that can only be dismissed by the pope himself, are imposed. Perhaps as a result, some bishops claim not to have known of its existence.

Crimen sollicitationis came to light in 2002, in the context of new procedures for handling accusations that priests had sexually abused minors. Lawyers involved in cases against the church have argued that the document is evidence of obstruction of justice. In response, defenders of church policy have argued that the policy of secrecy extended only to Canon law actions up to and including defrocking of a priest, and would not have prevented a bishop from reporting accusations of child molestation to the civil authorities. They also argue that, because the document was a secret, it is unlikely to have influenced the actions of church officials.

Posted by The Knitter at 1:09 AM Links to this post
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Anonymous said...

This is the link to read the full English text of the document.