In an appropriately titled article—The Wolves Roamed Freely— from Catholic World Report, the situation unraveling in Ireland within the Catholic Church regarding sexual abuse by priests and bishops is horribly reminiscent of what has been happening in our own country.
As ugly as it is for us to study this issue, as I’ve posted before, we must, as it removes the blinders from the tendency—in our deep love for Holy Mother Church—to ignore the evil that can arise, even within the sanctuary.
“For almost two decades, the Catholic Church in Ireland has struggled to come to terms with a punishing litany of revelations about sexual misconduct by priests and religious. The crisis continues to envelop Irish Catholicism and recent judicial reports have led to the resignation of four bishops, public squabbling by members of the hierarchy, and a promise of structural reform from the Vatican.
“In 1992, the enigmatic bishop of Galway, Eamon Casey, was forced to step down after it emerged that he had fathered a child with an American divorcée some 20 years earlier and was using diocesan funds to pay for the upkeep of his son. Bishop Casey fled to Ecuador and his scandal was to mark the beginning of a long dark night for Catholic Ireland.
“The recently published reports of two separate judicial commissions have shone a light on a deep rot and corruption at the heart of Irish Catholicism. The report of the Child Abuse Commission, chaired by Justice Seán Ryan, found that sexual abuse was “endemic” in Church-run care homes and juvenile institutions. The Dublin Report, chaired by Justice Yvonne Murphy, revealed that Church leaders had put the avoidance of scandal and the reputation of the Church ahead of the needs of victims of abuse.
“The reports’ findings are a blow to ordinary Catholics. Paddy McCrory, a Dublin-based Catholic youth worker at an inner-city parish, is struggling to help young people make sense of it all. “It’s like one kick in the stomach after another, just when you think you’re making some progress and young people are seeing the value of living the Catholic faith the rug is pulled out from under you time and time again,” he said.”