Tuesday, 1 November 2016





Do you remember the Bad Old Days when Bishops, as a matter course, did their utmost to prevent any hint of clerical impropriety getting into the public domain? It was not that long ago. Back in 2009 the Irish “Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse” concluded that the major “pre-occupation” of the Dublin Archdiocese, when dealing with allegations of child sexual abuse, had been the maintenance of secrecy to avoid scandal and protect the reputation of the Church. In addition, that pre-occupation was characterised also to keep safely in its bank account its vast treasury that had been gleaned from the millions of coins dropped into collection plates by humble folks’ fingers worn to the bone by daily toil and strife. Well clearly that description is a touch of my cavalier freelance status. The Commission did not put it quite like that – but it is the essence of the situation. Of course, those clerics of the Church guarding that treasure box lived like princes compared to their donors – and still do today for the most part.

The Irish saga did not end there, for after the Irish Bishops had re-written their Rules for handling cases of sexual abuse by insisting that every abusive priest was reported to the police, the Vatican Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, the notorious Cardinal Hoyos, opposed the amendments. He regarded reporting child sexual abusers to the police as being nothing short of traitorous tyranny – and he even went to the length of praising bishops publicly for refusing to report crimes of child sexual abuse to the civil authorities. Indeed, yet another Vatican spokesperson, in a Pontius Pilate gesture of “not me guv”, once stated that what happens in Catholic Church Dioceses in the matter of child sexual abuse throughout the world is nothing to do with the Vatican: child sexual abuse was not, in his words “in the competence of the Holy See”.

The Irish Bishops were not the only ones of course. No reader today can be ignorant of the name of the Boston Globe which claimed that between 1992 and 2002, the Archdiocese of Boston settled child sexual abuse claims against seventy priests “secretly” for a similar raft of reasons. Indeed, most famously, perhaps, Pope Benedict XVI himself was accused in April 2010 of covering up abuse cases to avoid scandal when he had been a Bishop in a German diocese. A year later, two German lawyers initiated charges against him at the International Criminal Court for similarly covering up allegations of child sexual abuse when he was the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. The case cited his reasons for doing so as being to maintain secrecy and cover-up in order to protect the reputation of the Catholic Church – and of course, also to protect the clerical perpetrators of those alleged crimes.

Throughout the world, from the furthest diocese to the Vatican State and in every Religious Order of the Catholic Church, it was once a common spoken and often documented policy of the Hierarchies that, at all costs, the priority in sexual abuse allegations was the avoidance of scandal, the protection of criminal clerical abusers of children from civil scrutiny and the safety of Catholic Church funds for what they saw as “plunder” by the child victims. They regarded child abuse as a “sin” that once forgiven in the confessional should have no further implications. The fact that child sexual abuse was a Civil Crime and was an act of heinous moral debasement and cruel physical and psychological “torture” – as the United Nations rightly describes the sexual abuse of children – was of no interest to their dark hearts, minds and souls.

We went from that darkness gradually into an era of increasing light, humility and acceptance by the princely clerics of the Catholic Church (not all I add hastily – but I leave that for another day) that the bad old days were really very, very bad – and should not be repeated in the future. So, by a couple of years ago in the 2000-year-old sordid history of the Catholic Church, we had arrived at a situation that the world was full (well, perhaps only half full) of ‘measured” hope of an enlightened change in the Catholic Hierarchical action in respect to allegations of Child Sexual Abuse. This was given impetus by Pope Benedict XVI, against whom allegations of past collusion in failing to take action against paedophile clerics remained very much unanswered, suddenly resigned. His replacement, Francis, took the bull by the horns, for want of a better expression, and declared that there was no place in the Catholic Church for those clerics who had abused children. Despite the rearguard action by the dogmatic, died in the wool, narcissistic clericalists against Francis’ more enlightened role in the issue, there was, by that point, truly new hope that better was to come. Well, take it from the humble me, this is no time to relax.


Enter upon the scene , stage New York, is Cardinal Timothy Dolan – yes, the very same Cardinal who recently was referee at that New York ‘bun fight” between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. He said, on 6 October 2016, that he had hopes that a new Archdiocesan policy to provide compensation to survivors of clergy sexual abuse will “help bring a measure of peace and healing” to victims. He stated that the new “Voluntary Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program” for those who had been victims of child sexual abuse by priests or deacons of the archdiocese “has made great strides” in addressing abuse. He commented, “we continue to hear from victim-survivors that more needs to be done to reach out to those who have been hurt in the past.” In a News Release, he was quoted as saying that the new program is “another step to respond to the past scourge of sexual abuse of minors by clergy.”

To quote the National Catholic Reporter (NCRonline) the archdiocese said it has already begun reaching out to victim-survivors who have previously notified the archdiocese that they had suffered abuse by a member of its clergy, and they have been asked to participate in the first phase of the program. “Anyone bringing forward a new allegation will be required to follow the policy of the archdiocese to notify the appropriate district attorney’s office, so that they might determine if a crime has been committed. Such allegations will also be investigated by independent professionals and examined by the Archdiocesan Lay Review Board,” the Archdiocesan spokesperson has stated. To cover the cost of compensating victims, the archdiocese said it will take out a long-term loan. “It will not use money given by the people of the archdiocese to support parishes, schools and charitable works,” and none of the funds to be paid to victims will be taken from any money given by a donor “for a specific ministry or apostolate.”

So far so good – but only so far! Anne Barrett Doyle is co-director of BishopAccountability.org – and she is not wholly impressed! As a researcher of the Catholic abuse crisis, Anne sees Cardinal Dolan’s plan differently. Anne says that, “While the fund certainly will help some victims, its biggest beneficiary will be Dolan and his management team. This is a legal strategy in pastoral garb – a tactic by the powerful archbishop to control victims and protect the church’s assets – and its secrets”.

On the face of it, Anne continues, the plan is reasonable. A victim submits a claim form with documentation about rape or molestation by a priest or deacon. If deemed credible, the victim receives an award, which the Archdiocese promises to disburse quickly. But there are two catches. Victims must sign a legal agreement to abide by “all requirements pertaining to privacy and confidentiality,” and they must release the archdiocese from future liability. In other words, they must never sue the Archdiocese about any related matter in the future.
So, what is the real consequence of signing up to Cardinal Dolan’s new enlightened plan? He has a strategy as Anne has said. The Cardinal knows full well that a “Child Victims Act” will be presented to the New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, in 2017 – and Cuomo has promised to give it priority.  If any Victim Survivors take up Cardinal Dolan’s “enlightened” and seemingly “generous” new “Voluntary Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program”, the wily old Cardinal Dolan will have already flushed them out and shackled them into silence. 

None of those Victims who might have been able to file a suit against Dolan’s Archdiocese under the new “Child Victims’ Act” will be able to proceed with further claims – no matter how rightful they are.

In effect, the victims in Dolan’s program will be signing releases without the benefit of any information about how their perpetrators were managed. They will not be able to sue the Archdiocese in regard to any archdiocesan officials who knew or had suspected that an abusing priest was a risk to children before any subsequent victim suffered abuse? Nor whether the abusing cleric concerned had abused any other victims. Nor what happened to the abusing cleric after the archdiocese learned of his crimes. Nor whether children are protected from him now? Under Cardinal Dolan’s plan, all of this will remain hidden and future actions against the Catholic Archdiocese, saving probably many millions of dollars as well as hefty doses of scandal and reputation -will have been prevented.

Under the gloss of his new and generous plan for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse, this Cardinal Prince Dolan of the Catholic Church has shown that he is steeped in the practices of the “bad old days” of the wholesale protectionism of clerics from civil justice jurisdictions. He knows the truth, most likely, if anyone does, that some of these will be men who have failed in their Christian remit. His strategy assists both himself and them by avoiding the consequences of a litany of erroneous Archdiocesan decisions of the past.

Last, but of course, not least, this wily wolf in sheep’s clothing Cardinal Archbishop, is ensuring that his money stays in the bank – and he will be able to continue to live like a prince and be hailed as a “decent sort of chap” by all the white tie celebrities who recently surrounded both him and the 2016 Presidential hopefuls at the high table.

[Credits are due to the National Catholic Reporter, the Boston Globe – and Anne Barrett Doyle who is co-director of BishopAccountability.org, an independent non-profit based in Waltham, Mass., founded in 2003, to research child abuse by priests and religious and on the management of those cases by bishops, religious orders and the Holy See.]


  1. Church has basically three options: 1. Fight every claim in court; 2. Roll over and concede every claim; 3. Some middle option like this one.

  2. Omg what a response 10.08

    Shocking reading
    Ann Barrett Doyle....keep up your good work

    1. You disagree? What approach do you suggest which allows genuine victims to receive some recompense and recognition and prevents liars and frauds from ripping us off? It is our money after all.

  3. And AB Martin doing more hidden appintments these past few weeks protecting the grindr and sexually active clerics in Dublin.

  4. 11. 49
    Why put money as the main criteria....money is only money
    Truth surpasses all monetary Issues
    Genuine victims getting SOME recompense

  5. Does one get the impression that money is the Bostons God

  6. There is a fourth option (but it would never occur to such righteous figures as Catholic bishops): Do the right thing...come Hell or high water.

    1. Easy to say. What is the right thing? Do we simply believe every accusation and hand over money? Do accused priests have no rights? Fed up hearing "it's not about money". Of course it is, otherwise the grovelling apologies energy bishop has made would do. As for truth, how do we determine truth without some sort of process. And when we create a process we get articles like this one attacking the process. Personally I'd leave it all to the police and courts and the laws.

  7. Looking back the church always had a sort of "boys club" sometimes this was harmless enough. I remember being told of a pub in sligo where Fr would go for a wee dram. There was even a wee snug window to shield Fr from the masses. On another level there was the weddings. If Fr took a drink he was an alcoholic. If he did not he was a poor sport. Point being there were rules of engagement between clergy and people. On a deeper level things became more sinister and strategies more devious. This blog is full of testimony. So where do we go from here? A whole new eclesiology. The church needs to be reformed from the ground up both clergy and laity. Wrongs need to be addressed. The law of the church should not be a hiding place and the pound euro or dollar should not be venerated as God

  8. Sean, the Roman Catholic Institution is a business - a multi national conglomerate.

    Its all about power, control and money.

    There are a few good people in it here and there.

    But it is rotten from the top down.

    Those who serve it and make excuses for it are enablers of evil.

  9. 'Francis the hero of the hour'- Don't you read the papers?


    - ROME — Laypeople in Chile opposed to Pope Francis’ appointment of a bishop with ties to the country’s most notorious abuser priest have occupied the local cathedral, demanding the bishop’s resignation. The demonstration came on Saturday, the anniversary of the day Pope Francis announced the appointment one year ago. The choice of Barros a year ago sparked nationwide protest, since he’s been accused of concealing sexual abuse allegations against the Rev. Fernando Karadima, a well-known local priest with strong ties to the country’s elite. In 2011, Karadima was sentenced by the Vatican to a life of “penance and prayer” after being found guilty of pedophilia and abuse of his ecclesiastical position.

    Some of the alleged victims claimed that the new bishop was a spectator on some occasions. Please look for the facts when making wild generalisations about Francis (to his undeserved benefit) and Benedict (to his undeserved discredit).

  10. Pat

    I was told and shown by a friend of a notice in his local parish bulletin indicating that November Dead Lists were now available for completion and that all donations would be much appreciated!!!! Donations for what? Is the practice of paying for Masses still on-going? Is the PP not already getting paid for saying a daily Mass? Btw the November Dead Masses are NOT additional Masses in this Parish. Confused..... please explain

    1. MourneManMichael1 November 2016 at 22:54

      Along the same lines, I share the concerns of one of my neighbours. An 80+ tradititional devout Catholic, he goes down for mass and lunch with his family in Newcastle. He and his wife, are pensioners of limited income.
      Knowing my views on the RC church, he has confided to me his long term disenchantment with his church, its clergy, and in particular its obsession with money.
      This 80+ year old showed me his Newcastle church's latest parish bulletin.
      For purpose of this comment I've just been to borrow it. I quote:
      Offertory collection£3105: Mission Sunday £1910
      Feast of All Saints: There will be a Holy Day collection at both masses.
      Pipe Organ Fund: Donation of £10 gratefully received
      Loose Change Fund:£1000 sent for Allepo:many thanks for your support.
      Parish Draw: ......seven lines of winners and their prizes!
      World Missions Ireland: ....thank you for very generous contributions to last week's Mission Sunday collection, etc etc.
      This 80+ year old who has probably contributed substantially to his church over many years is now telling me, in confidence (on condition I say nothing to his wife!), that he now has little faith, trust, or reliance on anything to do with the RC church.
      So if this is an increasingly common perception among the elderly traditional staunchest church supporters, what must inevitably be the attitudes of the younger generation?

  11. November list money was split between the priests in my day. Proceeds to the A P account. (arse pocket)

  12. We suppose to put a tenner in for the dead in November
    Although we weren't exactly told how much, just a donation
    I put my relatives name in the list in the graan where no donation required, but I did give a fiver...because I like going to Brian darcy's mass.
    He inspires me to live a more Christian life.
    Actually I do like my Local priest now, but I don't like my dioceses and I think the dioceses get most of our money

  13. Sean are you now a Church of England Pastor now?
    I like and visit sligo often, but have never been to the chapel there yet
    I don't stay overnight, just like walking around it, much the same as I like walking around Belfast

    1. No I have not yet been elivated to the role of Pastor but do serve voluntarily as Authorised Lay Minister (Worship). In reality I can do everything on a Sunday except preside at eucharist. This permission is linked to my parish church but who knows what may happen down the line. I dont know if Church of Ireland has the equivalent of Authorised Lay Minister

  14. Dolan is a huge con job - a grinning, glad-handing, cheerleading, pompom-waving buffoon.

    It was he who "investigated" Gaynooth. In other words, he sat on his big fat arse and had his gigantic ego massaged by knaves and courtiers, as he shovelled fancy dinners down his big fat gob!

    With that fixed fake "smile", he doesn't give one of his enormous big shits about the lives ruined by clerics, as his behaviour towards victims shows.

    A despicable jackass of a man. He makes my skin crawl.

    1. Did you see his Maynooth report? It was very good before the Irish archbishops gutted it.

    2. Has ANYONE seen his Gaynooth report???

      Where is it? Did you see it, anon at 23:53?

      And WHY, in the name of God, did he, a Cardinal commissioned by the Pope himself to carry out an apostolic visitation, ALLOW the Irish archbishops to "gut" his report????

      Furthermore, WHY, after the appalling Gaynooth scandals recently exposed, of Grindr priests and seminarians, of prurient "formators", etc., etc., has Dolan NOTHING TO SAY????

      Why is he not raising hell?

    3. The Pope said, in 2010, that sexual scandals of child abuse did more harm to the Faith in Ireland than centuries of persecution.

      Part of his response and reform is to appoint Cardinal Timothy Dolan to conduct an apostolic visitation of Maynooth and the Irish College, Rome.

      Dolan's report on Maynooth is "gutted" by the Irish archbishops.

      A torrent of scandal erupts out of Maynooth (which many now call Gaynooth) beginning in the late spring/early summer of 2016.

      Anyone see the irony in all of this?

  15. What is an A P account Sean?

  16. I don't buy into this November Dead List anyway. How does writing the names of my relatives and putting them in a brown envelope change anything and I would never put money in. That seems to close to a bribe to me. I pray for my relatives anyway. I don't need this weird ritual in order to do so. It does smack of income generation to me.

  17. What would you make of a family that barred a bishop from attending a funeral in October 2016. Jaysus that is a scandal

  18. I am seriously thinking of packing in Roman Catholicism. I'm repulsed by the very idea of hierarchy with clergy at the top of the pile.

    Can anyone suggest a Christian fellowship WITHOUT such a hierarchy?

    1. MournemanMichael2 November 2016 at 00:37

      My very good friends, intelligent, educated and very caringly responsible and moral, belong to the Unitarian persuasion. I've read some of their beliefs and discussed it with them. Perhaps you'd find it interesting to check it out.

    2. Not one that was established by Jesus Christ, no.

  19. What would you make of a family that barred a bishop from attending a funeral in October 2016. Jaysus that is a scandal

    1. I would think that they made a very good decision 23.54

    2. My family barred Bishop John Buckley from a removal/funeral. He showed up during the removal and took over mid-service standing down the local curate. As a family we were left with a choice, make a scene or try to be dignified Afterwards I wrote to his office and the reply was that he felt he had done nothing wrong and had nothing to apologise for.

      This bishop forced himself on us spiritually, violating us when we were most vulnerable.


    3. So he is a pompous A H to put it bluntly.
      Are you still a priest C. R? Or did you give up?

  20. Pat,

    Any follow up to last Thursday's blog about the Maynooth seminarians still using Grindr? All they still there? Have you contacted them, the seminary, their bishops?

  21. 23-54. Where did this happen that a bishop was barred from a funeral. Have I missed something?

  22. As a cc or pp can't say all the masses they sign cards for, they can ask a foreign mission priest to say the mass....provided the local priest gives to the foreign mission priest the exact amount of money he was given by the his parishioner
    I wonder how many do that ?????

  23. MourneManMichael2 November 2016 at 12:06

    Mass cards are a con!
    They are available pre-signed, in many 'religious' shops.
    Some religious congregations sell mass cards, and while the prevailing impression being given to 'purchasers' is that a card represents a priest saying a specific mass for a specific deceased individual, in reality masses are said "for the souls of the departed", in other words, all lumped in together.
    Anyway what's the point? According to orthodox RC beliefs once you're dead your 'lot is cast' to go 'up to heaven', or 'down below', so what is the special mass supposedly for?
    Unless you believe in purgatory! That could mean St Peter marking up how 'many cards' you've got to knock off a few years in that moderately hot 'in-between' world. On the other hand maybe the cards are some sort of retrospective 'advance guarantee' of admission to heaven. But then that opens up the contentious matter anathema to RC beliefs of pre-destination, but in 'reverse', if such is possible!
    Sorry folks, but I do have to laugh at some of these mind boggling RC charades.

  24. I think you are just too cynical MMm

    Most Mass cards State they they just a communal
    mass for deceased souls and ony cost 2 quid, well at least in the Graan, and one can add a relatiVe name for a communal mass for 1.50 without a card.,which I do often.

    State that a mass

    1. MournemanMichael2 November 2016 at 16:48

      Is there any discount for bulk purchases?
      What about buy one get one free offers?
      Of course I'm cynical.
      It's just all too unbelievably ridiculous to be otherwise.