A massive, 2600-page report on child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Ireland was published in May 2009 by an independent commission, the Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse, after listening to evidence from victims given over a nine-year period. The commission was established by the Irish government in 2000 to hear evidence from people, now in their 50s to 80s, alleged to have suffered abuse at institutions since 1940. These institutions, which were funded by the state but usually run by Roman Catholic religious orders, included schools, orphanages, hospitals, children’s homes, and other facilities.
The report (known as the Ryan Report) stated that physical and sexual abuse, including rape, was endemic in government institutions for boys that were run by Roman Catholic religious orders, chiefly by the order known as the “Christian Brothers”, between 1940 and the late 1970s. Literally thousands of boys were abused during this period. It said: “A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys.” Children lived in daily terror. And although girls supervised by orders of nuns, chiefly the order known as the “Sisters of Mercy”, suffered much less sexual abuse (although it certainly did occur), they suffered frequent assaults and humiliation designed to make them feel worthless. “In some schools,” the report stated, “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. Personal and family denigration was widespread.” Witnesses not only described being hit and beaten, but being flogged, kicked and otherwise physically assaulted, scalded, burned, and held under water. They described being beaten in private, as well as in front of other staff, residents, patients and pupils. One man described everyday humiliations he had suffered as a boy in “Christian Brothers” institutions, such as being forced to wrap his urine-stained sheets around his neck and parade in front of other children when he had wet his bed.i
Proper spanking, of course, has been used since the beginning of the world and is a very biblical form of chastisement (Prov. 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13,14; 29:15); and unfortunately in today’s world, psychologists and others have convinced many that any form of corporal punishment is wrong, which is nonsense. But flogging, kicking, scalding, burning, and being held under water! Such things are methods of torture. The report said the overwhelming, consistent testimony from the victims had demonstrated beyond a doubt that the entire system treated children like prison inmates and slaves. It stated: “It was systemic and not the result of individual breaches by persons who operated outside lawful and acceptable boundaries.”
It also said that sexual abuse was reported by approximately half of all those who testified before a confidential committee of the commission. And sexual abusers were often repeat offenders. Furthermore, it was clear from the documented cases that monks and priests were aware of the propensity for abusers to continue to abuse – despite the religious orders’ claims that the recidivist nature of sexual offenders was not understood. The report uncovered previously secret Vatican records which showed that “Church” leaders knew of the child sex abusers in their ranks, going as far back as the 1930s. And not only did “Church” officials do nothing about it, but they deliberately and knowingly shielded such sex abusers from arrest! They simply shunted the offenders off to new parishes or locations where they continued the abuse.
The Ryan Report is full of horrifying detail. But it does not name the abusers. The leaders of the religious orders, despite claiming to have co-operated fully with the investigation, were adamant that the identities of the perpetrators be kept out of the report – and they indicated that they would continue to protect their identities even now. The “Christian Brothers” order claimed to have co-operated fully with the investigation, and yet in 2004 it successfully sued the commission to keep the identities of all its members, dead or alive, unnamed in the report.ii Partly for this reason the report will not be used for criminal prosecutions. This was very disappointing to the victims of the abuse, who strongly believed that the guilty should have been named and shamed. As one of the victims, John Walsh of Irish Survivors of Child Abuse, said, “It has devastated me and will devastate most victims because there are no criminal proceedings and no accountability whatsoever.”iii
Officials of the Roman Catholic institution in Ireland claimed to welcome the report, and to express sorrow about the incidents it documented. And yet, as always, the sincerity of these high-ranking ecclesiastical officials is to be seriously doubted, especially when the president of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Sean Brady, the Romish cardinal of Armagh, Northern Ireland, said that “the report throws light on a dark period of the past”.iv The past? What a lie! This is not a dark period of the past, it is still going on right now! Thus, even while professing sorrow over these shocking crimes, he chooses his words carefully so as to give the impression that it’s all over now, it’s in the past, it isn’t happening anymore, and it won’t happen again. He hereby continues to do his best to cover up the truth, and push it all into some “dark period of the past”.
A.W. Richard Sipe is an ex-Benedictine monk and priest, who is involved in full-time research into the sexual and celibate practices of the priests and bishops of Rome. Not a Christian and moreover sadly a psychotherapist, so that he sees the problem and the solution in terms of the unbiblical muddy waters of psychotherapy, which can never help anyone, Sipe nevertheless has ripped the veil off much of the goings-on of priests, caused by the doctrine of priestly celibacy. Commenting on the claim that these sins had been committed only “in the past”, he wrote (italics added): “Apologies from the hierarchy continue to be offered as if the problem of sex abuse is ‘now behind them.’ News Flash! The problem of sex by Catholic clergy and religious is very much alive and well within the clerical system. Sexual distortion… is endemic to the clerical culture….Most are not actually interested in understanding or practicing celibacy…. The system of authoritarian ecclesiastical control fosters and protects secret sexual expression – homosexuality and a double life. The power structure colludes to cover up the facts about clergy sexual activity. Sexual failings by bishops and priests are relegated to the confessional wastebasket where all is forgiven and forgotten…” He went on: “The problem is over? Is there anyone who thinks that Irish and American bishops and priests have lost their sexual drive – or their orientation, or their habits and relationships? In what ways has the clerical system of education or culture changed?”v As a psychotherapist and not a Christian, Sipe speaks of “sexual orientation”, and this of course is nonsense; but nevertheless he is absolutely correct in stating categorically that the abuse of children continues. It is most certainly not “in the past”. These men have not suddenly all undergone a moral change. They are evil men, with evil desires.
Getting back to the Romish cardinal, Brady: commenting on the report, he said moreover: “The publication of this comprehensive report and analysis is a welcome and important step in establishing the truth, giving justice to victims and ensuring such abuse does not happen again.” Another lie, for the Romish hierarchy certainly does not welcome this report or any other into these crimes. For centuries these things have been going on, and yet they have always been hushed up by the Roman Catholic leadership. The priests, bishops and cardinals of Rome have done their utmost to prevent the truth from ever being known. The only reason they now say such a report is “welcome” is because they have no choice, it has come to light and been exposed and there is nothing they can do about it, so they have to go into damage-control mode and try to make the best of a terrible situation. If it was up to them, they would never, ever have either issued such a report, nor done any investigation in the first place. It is as Jesus said: these men “loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (Jn. 3:19,20).
Brady said, “This report makes it clear that great wrong and hurt were caused to some of the most vulnerable children in our society. It documents a shameful catalogue of cruelty – neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse – perpetrated against children.” And: “I am profoundly sorry and deeply ashamed that children suffered in such awful ways in these institutions. Children deserved better, and especially from those caring for them in the name of Jesus Christ.” It all sounds good, and contrite – but it’s all a sham. For years now, it has been solidly documented all over the world that Roman Catholic bishops and cardinals knew about the abuse going on right under their noses – and did nothing. They simply shunted the guilty priest off to another parish where he could continue to abuse children; they turned a blind eye. And this is what Rome has always done, when its priests have been caught out in any crime, as ex-priest Charles Chiniquy shows in his classic work, 50 Years in the “Church” of Rome.vi
That the hierarchy deliberately shielded these predator priests was even admitted in an editorial of the Roman Catholic southern African weekly, The Southern Cross, which said (italics added): “The culpability, however, does not reside only with those who committed these abuses… but also with those who could have taken action to prevent these, but failed to do so. Witnesses before the commission testified that they were intimidated and silenced when they sought to bring these abuses to the attention of Church leaders. This suggests very strongly that the cover-up went to the top of the Irish Church, to superiors and bishops.” vii Of course it did, as indeed it did all over the world, not just in Ireland. This has ever been Rome’s way. Perhaps the fact that this particular editor, although a Papist, is not a priest, made him more forthright than many. He added that the betrayal was “in the interest of an institution that clearly was inebriated with the hubris of its unchallenged power.” Strong words from a Roman Catholic editor, and true ones as well. Yet this man remains a Roman Catholic all the same.
Brady also said that the Papal institution “remains determined to do all that is necessary to make the Church a safe, life-giving and joyful place for children.” The “Church” of Rome has never been safe for children, as history testifies. Its priests have abused children, and its abominable confessional has been the means of corrupting youth through the centuries.viii
Another high-ranking Irish ecclesiastic, the Romish archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said that the victims’ “stories of horrible abuse are, in many cases, stomach-turning; their courage in telling their stories [is] admirable.”ix Hollow words, once again. This is a religious system that has condoned this kind of abuse for much of its history. By the time a man reaches the position of archbishop, if he has not personally been involved in such abuse himself he is well aware of the fact that a great many priests, bishops, archbishops and others have been. But it only becomes “stomach-turning” once it is made public.
He went on to say that all “Church” organisations involved in the report should seriously examine “how their ideals became debased by systematic abuse.” The answer is as plain as can be, but sadly these organisations will not admit to it. This is a religious system which forbids its priests, monks and nuns from marrying, which is called a doctrine of devils in 1 Tim. 4:1-3. It is a system that, by its very nature, encourages a huge percentage of sodomites to enter the priesthood, for priests, not allowed to marry, spend large amounts of time in very intimate all-male company, and then through the confessionals are given access to young children in a secretive, private setting. It is a system which is so concerned with appearing outwardly holy to the world, that it covers up any scandals emanating from its priesthood, pushing them under the carpet and glossing them over. It is a system of diabolical evil.
He then said: “We must find ways of ensuring that the cries and anxieties of children are heard and listened to. This is not a report to be put on a shelf – it’s a real cry for a new look at the way we care for our children. If we truly regret what happened in the past, we must commit ourselves to a very different future.” The cries and anxieties of Roman Catholic children stem from the fact that they are forced into intimate, private proximity with sodomite priests who can get away with almost anything because of the high regard in which the children’ parents hold priests of Rome. And as for not putting this report on a shelf, when the dust settles down (if it settles down) that is precisely where most predator priests will put it. This Romish archbishop can prattle on about regretting the past and committing to a different future, but in practical terms, what will actually change? Nothing. The system is an abomination, and that is not changing.
Both Brady and Martin met with the Roman pope, Benedict XVI, for 45 minutes to brief him on the findings of the commission; this after a series of meetings to discuss the report with Vatican officials, including cardinals. And they claimed that Benedict was “visibly upset” to hear of the abuse suffered by the thousands of Irish children in the care of religious orders. Martin said Benedict was saddened to hear “how the children had suffered from the very opposite of an expression of the love of God”, while Brady said, “The Holy Father listened very carefully, very attentively and very sympathetically to what we had to say”. He added, “He said in reply that this was a time for a deep examination of life here in Ireland in the Church.”x
A Roman Catholic man in Ireland, writing in a Roman Catholic newspaper, summed up Benedict’s crocodile tears perfectly when he wrote: “The media in Ireland have said much about Pope Benedict’s ‘sadness’ about the abuse when he was briefed about that, but the pope’s sadness means nothing without action. The pope granted exile in Rome to Cardinal Bernard Law, who was the archbishop of Boston when he was implicated in moving rapist priests from parish to parish where they continued their abuse of children. Why is Cardinal Bernard Law not being handed over to the authorities in the United States so that he can answer for his involvement in the abuse of children in Boston? Why does the pope not call for the criminal prosecution of bishops and heads of religious orders who knowingly put children at risk of predators?”xi He hit the nail right on the head. It is a conspiracy to cover up the truth which goes right up to the pope of Rome himself. Benedict’s “sorrow” is a sham. It is worthless.
What must always be borne in mind is that the pope of Rome has risen through the ranks to get to where he is now. He was once a priest, then a bishop, then a cardinal, and finally pope of Rome. Thus there is simply no way that Benedict was ignorant of these goings-on. Until recent times they may have been hidden from the general public, but they have always been well known within the fraternity of the Romish priesthood. There, behind closed doors, sexual abuse of children, as well as of women and men, was never a secret. The history of the Papal system is full of these wicked goings-on. Benedict, then, may now express “sorrow” over the suffering of these thousands of children; but the abominations committed by so many members of the priesthood, and which have always been so well known within the system, did not deter him from his ambitions within the system; and he was perfectly content to stay within it, to turn a blind eye to it, and to rise up through the ranks so as to eventually become pope of Rome. His expressions of sorrow, then, can hardly be accepted as genuine.
Others issued their own “apologies”. Eight chapters of the report were devoted to institutions run by the “Christian Brothers” order, whose schools cared for more boys than all the other Roman Catholic-run institutions put together. And a spokesman for the order, known to Papists as “Brother” Edmund Garvey, said on May 20: “We apologise openly and unreservedly to all those who have been hurt – either directly or indirectly – as a result of the deplorable actions of some brothers or by the inaction or inappropriate action of the congregation as a whole. We are deeply sorry for the hurt caused. We are ashamed and saddened that many who complained of abuse were not listened to. We acknowledge and regret that our responses to physical and sexual abuse failed to consider the long-term psychological effects on children.”xii
Please note, even while issuing the “apology”, the attempt to give the impression that only “some brothers” were guilty of this abuse. Some? The report shows that this abuse was committed by hundreds and hundreds of priests and monks! Yet over and over again, these wicked institutions try to make the public believe that there were just a few “rotten apples” in the basket. What a lie.
And this man admits that many who complained of abuse were not listened to. Well then, this alone shows that there was a deliberate conspiracy to keep the truth hidden, and that it must have been known by many more men in these orders than even the many who actually committed the abuse!
The “apology”, then, is meaningless, as all such “apologies” are.
The editor of The Southern Cross, despite voicing his disgust at the priestly child abusers, still wrote that “the dignity of the priesthood has been diminished by the crimes of a small number of priests, and by bishops who covered up for them.”xiii A small number? The number of those who have been exposed already runs into thousands – is this a small number? About a decade ago, Roman Catholic priest Andrew Greeley estimated that priests in the United States had abused at least 120 000 minors.xiv This was a conservative estimate – the true number was far, far higher. And another decade has now passed, so that the true number is even higher still.
The Roman pope, himself, has made the same claim – that although “some” priests have done great harm, the majority have been exemplary. After praising priests who work under the threat of persecution and endure much suffering, Benedict added, “there are also, sad to say, situations which can never be sufficiently deplored where the Church herself suffers as a consequence of infidelity on the part of some of her ministers.”xv There’s that word, “some”, again. It’s only some priests who do these things – this is the continual message we’re hearing. But it’s a lie.
This constant refrain we are hearing from the hierarchy of Rome – that only a small minority of priests have been guilty of such abuses and that the vast majority are decent, upright, godly men – is Rome’s subtle way of covering up the full truth of the matter. As they say, tell a lie, tell it often enough, and the people will believe it. For example, a Brazilian cardinal, Cláudio Hummes, said that people must recognise that the vast majority of the world’s priests have never been involved in any kind of abuse.xvi But how can he be so sure? How can he possibly know? As already many thousands of priests worldwide have been exposed as child abusers, who can say how many more will be exposed in the future? The system itself is wicked, and makes it easy for such abusers to find a home within the priesthood. Rome’s priesthood has always been stuffed full of such men, and there is absolutely nothing to indicate it’s suddenly going to change now.
Although some priests and bishops have issued “apologies” and expressed shock and dismay at the revelations of the Ryan Report, others have dismissed the report and rallied to the defence of Rome; and the real attitude of Rome to such reports and revelations is revealed by these priests, not by those who sanctimoniously issue “apologies” and wring their hands. When William Donohue of the Catholic League called the reaction to the Ryan Report “hysteria”, ex-priest Richard Sipe came out with guns blazing and wrote, “Donohue is a Bozo. I don’t know any other appellation that can adequately describe the uninformed, unintelligent, and frankly stupid reaction of a man who responds thus to the facts of abuse by supposedly responsible and trusted religious”. He went on: “As one reviews the list of clerics who support Donohue and the League – Egan, Mahony, Chaput, O’Brien, O’Malley and others – with encomiums for ‘the protection of the faith, the defense of victims, courage to speak up candidly, teaching the hard truths of the Gospel’ – one is struck by the oppositional, obstructionistic, and arrogant way all of the clerical Donohue supporters still operate…. Those like Donohue who minimize and distort the real picture of clergy abuse of sex and power continue to do a huge disservice to the Catholic Church. Every U.S. Grand Jury investigation into clergy sexual abuse of minors came to exactly the same conclusion: the church has colluded to cover up facts, protect offenders and preferred institutional image and the avoidance of scandal above the safety of children. Hundreds of thousands of Catholics know the truth even if many are too intimidated or tired to say so aloud. There is nothing hysterical – over emotional or attention seeking – in the Irish Report or in reactions to it. Only a Bozo would think so. Facts, even painful facts, are still facts – the truth remains solid even after attacks or dismissals from powerful coalitions. Truth silently prevails, Bozos don’t.”xvii
Just how “sorry” the priests and monks really are is shown by the reaction of many to the anger displayed by Diarmuid Martin, the Romish archbishop of Dublin, when the details of the Ryan Report became known. Martin claimed that he was so angry over the documents in his archives that he threw them to the ground. Perhaps he did, perhaps not. But the Irish religious orders accused him of “throwing us to the wolves” (their phrase) after the revelations came out – and they were furious with him. A Redemptorist priest named Tony Flannery revealed that many members of religious orders felt “terrified”, “ashamed”, “hurt” and “betrayed” by the actions and public statements of Martin and other members of the hierarchy who led the public criticism of members of the religious orders of Ireland. He said “there is enormous anger among religious [members of religious orders]. They feel that they have been scapegoated, particularly by one member of the hierarchy, the Archbishop of Dublin.”xviii
This just shows that many of the men in these orders were more concerned with their own reputations than with the abuse that had been committed against thousands of children. At the same time, of course, one can understand their anger over the fact that high-ranking ecclesiastical leaders put on pious faces and express shock and horror, when there is simply no way they did not know that these things were going on right under their noses, and no doubt many of them are guilty of abuse as well. They are indeed making scapegoats of those under them, when they are just as guilty and utterly hypocritical to express sorrow and dismay over the report. As journalist Damiean Thompson correctly observed: “underneath all his [Martin’s] public soul-searching and the sound of documents hitting the archiepiscopal floor, I think we can hear the sound of nifty footwork.”xix
What, then, should be done for the victims?
The report recommended that “counselling” and educational services should be made available to victims, as many of them never received a secondary school education.xx Tragically, in these times, psychology is always recommended, but this is not the answer at all. Psychologists have become the high priests of the new religion of psychotherapy, but psychotherapy is utterly unproven, unscientific, and cannot possibly help. The real solution for those who have been abused by priests and monks of the Roman Catholic institution is to come to the Lord Jesus Christ and find salvation and everlasting peace in Him.
A solution put forward by Christine Buckley, a leader in seeking to expose the abuse, is for the religious orders to provide 50% of all their assets, estimated to be 20 billion euros, towards compensating the victims. She suggested that 5 billion euros be used to increase compensation to those who presented evidence to the commission, with the remaining 5 billion euros being set aside to compensate survivors who have not yet come forward.xxi And indeed, leaders of eighteen religious orders implicated in the abuse agreed to increase their contribution to a compensation fund, although no amount was set. An Irish government-appointed panel paid 12000 victims of the “Church”-run schools, orphanages and other institutions an average of $90,000 each, on condition that they surrender their right to sue either the Roman Catholic “Church” or the state. Thousands of other claims are pending.xxii
This has become the preferred solution worldwide, but it is far from ideal. The main reason being that knowing there is a lot of money to be made from testifying could very easily induce people who were not abused to come forward and pretend to have been, and accuse perhaps innocent people. This is a great danger. Still, by way of restitution the courts do not have many options available to them other than some form of financial compensation to the victims. Most important is for those individuals who committed the abuse, or who were accessories to it, to be punished by the full weight of the law. And yes, the religious institutions themselves should be punished too, wherever it is proved that they knew about the abuse going on within their structures and did nothing about it.
And where to, now, for the Roman Catholic institution in Ireland itself? Does it have a future in Ireland? The crisis for Rome in that once-so-Romanist country is truly immense in scale. This was admitted even by the Romish archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, who publicly conceded that the scandals had seriously damaged the image and credibility of the Roman Catholic institution in Ireland.xxiii And writing in The Irish Times, historian and journalist Brendan Ó Cathaoir described the Irish Republic as a state of “unbridled clerical power”, where the Romish “Church” possessed “unrivalled authority”, but stated that the Ryan Report has now consigned the triumphalist Roman Catholic “Church” in Ireland to the dustbin of history.xxiv
The following quotation from the editorial in The Southern Cross is worth quoting, as it is (for once) extremely honest about what has happened there:
“After a series of abuse scandals and the rise of secularism in Ireland – which in part is a reaction to inordinate ecclesial power in secular affairs – the Irish Church is at a nadir. For all the good it has done among the bad, the Church in Ireland as we know it is broken. Where its vocations were once so rich that Ireland lavishly sent priests and religious to the missions, today few men and women enter the consecrated life. Where its priests once were honoured, they are often publicly disrespected, to the point that some don’t even wear their clerical garb in public so as to avoid being maligned. And where once trust in the Church was implicit, it is now lost.”xxv
The numbers of men and women joining Roman Catholic religious orders in Ireland are in serious decline today. Michael Kelly, editor of the Irish Catholic newspaper in Dublin, said: “Most of these orders will literally die out in Ireland within the next generation or so. Many of them are already in wind-up mode. They lack the confidence even to seek new vocations (recruits), due to the stigma associated with their members’ shocking, scandalous behaviour.”xxvi
Large numbers of Irish Roman Catholics are shocked, hurt, disillusioned, and very angry with their priests, and with their “Church” in general. One, writing from Dublin to the southern African Roman Catholic newspaper, said: “Archbishop Martin has not acknowledged in full the conspiracy of the hierarchy in covering up the abuses…. Until all victims are properly compensated and all the perpetrators are prosecuted, his fine words amount to very little. The Catholic hierarchy and orders have failed to show that they are really serious about this. It seems rather that they want to pay out as little compensation as possible, and to keep the abusers out of jail. It is insulting of the Catholic leadership to pretend that they never knew about the physical and sexual violence. When individuals complained, they were intimidated into silence, and seldom was any action taken…. What the Church doesn’t understand, it seems, is that people are not angry only with the abusers but also with the whole Catholic Church that tolerated and covered up the violence against children, and now refuses to pay proper compensation. In my opinion, the whole hierarchy of Ireland should resign in shame. That includes Archbishop Martin. What a statement of solidarity with the victims that would be!”xxvii
He went on: “You [the editor of the Romanist newspaper] say that the Catholic Church in Ireland must now rebuild itself. This ignores the anger among Ireland’s people. Most want nothing to do with the Catholic Church after years of collusion with the government and the abuse scandal…. Many Irish people, probably the majority, have had enough, and the Catholic Church will never recover from this. It has forfeited its moral authority…. Many Catholics in Ireland have lost their faith not in salvation, but in the Church which claims to represent our Saviour, but then allowed evil men and women to commit evil acts against defenceless children.”
An article in the Irish Post was entitled “Where to now for Catholicism in Ireland?” The author, Joe Horgan, voiced precisely the sentiments of so many shocked and disillusioned Irish Roman Catholics when he wrote: “It is hard to know what to do now with all of that residual Catholicism. What to do with that reflex that wants to make the sign of the cross on passing a grotto. What to do when a priest passes by in the street. Still catch the eye and say hello, Father? What to do when a nun passes by in the street. Still catch the eye and say hello, Sister? Still? Now? After the Ryan Report? After being given full knowledge of what the institutions of that Church did? What to do with it now?”xxviii
He went on: “If you were writing a short history of the Catholic Church in Ireland now how would you assess it? Would you say it supported and helped the people through an often grim, difficult history? Or would you say it oppressed and manipulated the people?…. Or would you say that, on the shocking, overwhelming evidence of the Ryan Report that the Catholic Church has been a malign, divisive force in Irish life? Has been the one consistently proven force for evil?”
But perhaps the most damning indictment of all came from an Irish American Jesuit priest, known online simply as “Father Tim”. He has seen the handwriting on the wall as far as the Roman Catholic institution in Ireland is concerned, and he sees no future for Rome in that once staunchly Papist country after the Ryan Report revelations. Astoundingly, this is what he wrote, entitled “Memo to: Catholic Church/ From: Irish people/Re: Your services are no longer needed”:
“For the Catholic Church in Ireland, the game is over.
“The Irish people, and I am convinced it is the majority, no longer wish to have the Catholic Church in their country, or in their lives, and possibly not in their faith.
“I cannot blame them. The Church is solely to blame for this, from front to back, start to finish. It is reaping what it sowed. Although running away from a fire rather than toward it is not the example many of us in the Church believe should be our service to God and His Children, it may be best for all that we settle up our debts, hand over our criminals, and catch the next plane out of Dublin. I am sure that, after a transition period, many of the services the Church provides in Ireland can be contracted to others, and I would hope whatever damage settlements we must and should pay will smooth that changeover.
“Ireland is strong, and it will live on, and heal. Yes, it can and will do this without us. And, assuming it has learned anything, the threads that were once the garment of the Irish Church will heal too, and not repeat the horrible mistakes and misdeeds that have doomed its work in ‘the land of scholars and saints.’ Perhaps, in some tomorrow, the Church and Ireland will again be together. That is a prayer worth saying and a dream worth having – but not a reality worth expecting, not now or anytime soon.
“There is simply no way that an institution so horribly tainted and so utterly mistrusted can or should speak in the name of Jesus Christ in Ireland, nor attempt to project spiritual and moral leadership. So many of my dear online friends have written me with the same question, which I cannot answer: ‘How can we ever trust the Church again?’ While the Church can and must surrender its criminals and the highly placed conspirators who made the crimes possible and policy, it will never be enough in Ireland. The rage is too strong, a dam has burst. No matter what it does or says, the Church cannot and will not be believed anymore. Without that, its ministry is finished, at least for now.”xxix
As this was written by a Jesuit priest, one must always be very cautious and seek to discern any ulterior motive behind it, for the Jesuits are always wily, subtle, and seeking to promote Romanism in whatever way they can, by fair means or foul. But in this case, it is difficult to believe there is any ulterior motive behind this man’s article. It is a brutally frank acknowledgement of the Roman “Church’s” sins, and one would struggle to find any good coming to Rome through it. It would appear that this man is genuinely convinced that Roman Catholicism in Ireland is finished as a result of the priestly sex scandals. Perhaps he is simply (despite being a Jesuit) a decent man, committed to his “Church” but aware that the damage done in Ireland seems to be irreparable for now, and is deeply sorrowful over it. There are a few such priests within the Roman religion. Not many, but a few. True Christians should pray much for such men, that they may have their eyes opened by the Lord to see the Papal system for the demonic institution it is, and “come out of her”, coming to the Lord Jesus Christ, repenting of their sins and believing on Him alone for everlasting salvation!
This man had even more to say, however. “There never was much reason to expect that Benedict XVI or his legion of Roman red hats would rise to this or any occasion requiring Divinely-inspired leadership. They are better examples of the problem than the solution. Of course, the sorrow from Rome IS genuine, the contrition IS real. But it doesn’t really matter. Many readers have rightly said that, if the Church was a corporation (and it is), all those responsible would have been locked up in prisons or hospitals by now, and the company would have been driven out of Ireland on a rail. The best the Irish Church can do now is to buy its one-way tickets. All the Faithful, or what’s left of them, can only pray that Our Loving Father will find a way to restore a pure Church to Ireland, and that Ireland will want it back.”
From this we see that he is still a faithful son of Rome; he honestly believes there is genuine sorrow and contrition in the Vatican over what has occurred. In this he is very sadly deceived. But even so, to write this way about his pope and his cardinals is extraordinary, and certainly we can be sure that if one priest feels this way, many others do too. And this is a good thing. Let the disillusionment continue!
He ended his article forcefully, by pointing out that “few churches ever exerted such domineering social power as the Irish Catholic Church”, and that it was a religion of hate and fear, in which Irish priests supported fanatical Irish Roman Catholic murderers (without naming them, he meant the IRA); and he said: “They helped teach Ireland to hate, to never forgive, to fear, to be suspicious. Now, they are the hated, and the ones who can never be forgiven, not even by their own people and not even in spite of many, many, many good and Godly works they have done for them. It is the life they made for Ireland, and ultimately, for themselves.”
Truly, a profound change is occurring in Ireland, the likes of which has never been seen before. The times are not slowly changing, they have already changed, and the world has witnessed a once-staunchly Papist country become a very different place from what it was before. Perhaps the Jesuit priest quoted above has over-stated the case; perhaps many Roman Catholic Irishmen still believe in their “Church” and their priests and want them to stay; perhaps Ireland will not cease to be Papist after all, despite what has occurred. Rome has an amazing ability to bounce back from the brink of disaster. And Ireland has always had fanatical Papists, including fanatical terrorist madmen in the form of the IRA, who were supported fully by their priests in their murderous deeds.
But perhaps after all, the game really is over for Roman Catholicism in Ireland. Perhaps we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the enormous power that Rome has always exerted in that country. It has happened to nations before. In Roman Catholic France, described as “the elder daughter of the Vatican”, the priests ruled with an iron fist for centuries; but finally it all became too much for the French people, and, spurred on by anti-clerical revolutionaries, the French erupted in an orgy of horrific violence against the “Church” of Rome during the French Revolution. Centuries of cruel oppression at the hands of their priests led to the destruction of Roman Catholic power and influence in France.
But even there it was only for a time. Rome again made strides there, and regained much of its old power. Still, France is not what it was prior to the French Revolution, and it never will be. Rome was never again as all-powerful there as it had once been.
Perhaps, in fanatically Papist Ireland, the once all-powerful “Church” has now suffered a blow from which it will never fully recover. Perhaps Joe Horgan, quoted above, is correct when he writes, “In many ways I suppose, we are living in a post-Catholic Ireland. Coming generations are hardly likely to show the mass devotion that existed in the past. The power of the Church, the ideological power, has diminished enormously. The Church still has huge power in education and health but it is hard to see how that can survive. How can the Church be allowed to wield such power in a society that no longer shares its prayers? Quite simply, it can’t.”xxx
If this is indeed so, then we are witnessing something extraordinary. Certain countries have always been known as staunchly, even fanatically, Roman Catholic; and Ireland was one of them. If this is now changing as a result of the disgust of the Irish Roman Catholic people themselves, it will be astounding. Time will tell.
But if indeed Ireland does an about-face and ceases to be as Papist as it was until recently, it would be a huge mistake for anyone to assume that the worldwide sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Papal institution for years now signals the beginning of the end of this giant religio-political institution. If only it were so! But no – Rome will survive it. It has been, and continues to be, a major blow, one of the greatest blows Rome has suffered since the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century. Millions of Roman Catholics have left their “Church” in disgust; perhaps millions more will follow. But this is an institution of over one billion members. Almost one in six of the world’s population is Roman Catholic! Even if Rome shed a hundred million followers as a result of these revelations (and it won’t), it would still survive and prosper in the long run. Bible prophecy does not indicate that the Great Whore that sits on the seven hills will be destroyed by a scandal like this. Prophecy tells us that it will continue to exist, and work its evil, until the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. As the editor of the Papist weekly, The Southern Cross, put it, although Roman Catholics are angry and hurt, they “will have to find ways of reminding themselves that the salvific mission of the Church is not diminished by the abject failures of human individuals acting in its name.”xxxi And they will indeed find such ways, sadly. The vast majority of the millions of Papists are simply too enslaved to their “Church” to ever even consider leaving, much less to actually do so. As far as they are concerned, their eternal salvation depends upon their membership in it – and they are not going to risk losing that for anything. Even the terrible abuse of thousands of children by thousands of priests and monks the world over is not enough to make them forsake it. When it comes down to it, for them it’s a matter of “My eternal salvation, or the good of untold thousands of children”. The children come off second best, no matter what evils have been perpetrated against them. It has always been so, throughout Rome’s long history. The attitude is, “Turn a blind eye – my priest holds my salvation in his hand, and at the end of the day that’s all that really matters.”
Already Rome is consolidating and strengthening again. As the editorial in The Southern Cross, from which we have already quoted, put it: “The release of a 2600-page report detailing physical and sexual abuse perpetrated against minors in Catholic institutions over decades has profoundly humbled the Church [we would say it has embarrassed the “Church”, but not humbled it! – author]. At the same time, from its immediate position of weakness it can now emerge more solidly to truly serve Christ and the People of God.”xxxii
And for the true Christian, it must always be remembered that even if millions of Roman Catholics ultimately rejected their religion, this is not the same as conversion to Christ! They are disillusioned, shocked, disgusted – and so they leave Rome. But unless they turn by faith to Christ, they remain as lost, as dead in their sins, as ever. And this is the greatest tragedy of all. Their experience of Roman Catholicism may make them leave Rome, but their eyes remain blinded, their hearts remain hard. To them, all religion is now suspect – including, tragically, the truth as it is in Jesus.
And this is the great challenge for true Christians! – to seek to show these poor disillusioned people that the “Church” of Rome is not the Church of Christ! It is a false religion, no different from Hinduism, Islam, or Buddhism. Its “christ” is not the Christ of God, its priests are not the ministers of the Lord, its way of salvation is not the biblical way of salvation. The differences between Romanism and Christianity are as between night and day. And Christians must show Roman Catholics that although their false “Church” is a work of darkness, the Lord Jesus Christ is the light of the world! Although their pope is a deceiver, Christ is the way, the truth, and the light! Their false “Church” has failed them, but if they come to Christ, He will never fail them!
Their Romish priests may have abused them, but the Lord Jesus Christ is the one true great High Priest (Heb. 3:1), who is holy, harmless, and undefiled (Heb. 7:26). The priests of Rome claim to possess the power to forgive sin, but only Christ truly has such power. Neither priests of Rome, nor psychological “counselling”, can help them; but if they come to Christ the Lord, He will save them to the uttermost! Here is good news indeed, the very best of news, glad tidings of a true Saviour and Friend!
For further reading by Shaun Willcock (available from Bible Based Ministries):
1) Child Sexual Abuse by Priests: Revelations of Shocking Crimes and Sinful Cover-Ups
2) Homosexuality in the Roman Catholic Priesthood
(See under “Drawing Aside the Purple Curtain” on the website: www.biblebasedministries.co.uk)
Shaun Willcock is a minister of the Gospel, and lives in South Africa. He runs Bible Based Ministries. For other news articles (which may be downloaded and printed), as well as details about his books, audio messages, pamphlets, etc., please visit the Bible Based Ministries website; or write to the address below. If you would like to be on Bible Based Ministries’ electronic mailing list, to receive all future articles, please send your details.
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i.Associated Press, 20 May 2009. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090520/
ii.Associated Press, 20 May 2009.
iii.BBC News, May 20, 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk.
iv.The Southern Cross, May 27 to June 2, 2009.
v.Irish Report on Sex Abuse, May 21, 2009. www.richardsipe.com.
vi.50 Years in the “Church” of Rome, by Charles Chiniquy. The Protestant Literature Depository, London, 1886; reprinted 1981 by Chick Publications, Chino, California.
vii.The Southern Cross, June 3 to 9, 2009.
viii.The Priest, the Woman, and the Confessional, by Charles Chiniquy. Chick Publications, Chino, California, USA.
ix.The Southern Cross, May 27 to June 2, 2009.
x.The Southern Cross, June 17 to 23, 2009.
xi.The Southern Cross, June 24 to 30, 2009.
xii.The Southern Cross, May 27 to June 2, 2009.
xiii.The Southern Cross, June 24 to 30, 2009.
xiv.Irish Report on Sex Abuse, May 21, 2009.
xv.The Southern Cross, July 1 to 7, 2009.
xvi.The Southern Cross, June 24 to 30, 2009.
xvii.Irish Report on Sex Abuse, May 21, 2009.
xviii.The Telegraph, July 1, 2009. http://blogs.telegraph.uk.
xix.The Telegraph, July 1, 2009.
xx.The Southern Cross, May 27 to June 2, 2009.
xxi.The Southern Cross, June 17 to 23, 2009.
xxii.Associated Press, 20 May 2009.
xxiii.The Independent, June 29, 2009. http://www.independent.ie.
xxiv.The Irish Times, June 30, 2009.
xxv.The Southern Cross, June 3 to 9, 2009.
xxvi.Associated Press, 20 May 2009.
xxvii.The Southern Cross, June 24 to 30, 2009.
xxviii.Irish Post online, undated, http://www.irishpost.co.uk/tabId/321/itemId/4219/Where-to-now-for-Catholicism-in-Ireland.aspx.
xxix.Irish Central, 4 July 2009. http://www.irishcentral.com.
xxx.Irish Post online.
xxxi.The Southern Cross, June 3 to 9, 2009.
xxxii.The Southern Cross, June 3 to 9, 2009.