The new 2,600-page report on physical, emotional, and sexual abuse in Catholic-run Irish schools is “a map of an Irish hell,” said the Irish Times in an editorial. The numbers speak for themselves: 800 abusers, 200 schools, 35 years, many thousands of victims. But it’s worse than that—this was a deliberate system of “torture” and “slavery” at the hands of the powerful church, with the knowledge of the state. This is part of the Irish identity now.
Unforgivably, the actual priests will neither be named nor shamed for their “torture, rape, and beatings,” said Ruth Gledhill in Ireland’s Evening Herald, due to a 2004 lawsuit won by the main “perpetrators,” the Christian Brothers order. If there’s a “ray of light” in this horrible story, it’s that, at least in North America and Europe, the “abuse has now stopped.” Just not in time to save the victims.
It’s also worth noting that, in the United States:
The John Jay report indicated that some 11,000 allegations had been made against 4,392 priests in the USA. This number constituted approximately 4% of the 110,000 priests who had served during the period covered by the survey (1950-2002). The report found that, over the 52-year period covered by the study, “the problem was indeed widespread and affected more than 95 percent of the dioceses and approximately 60 percent of religious communities.”
There have been only a handful of criminal prosecutions.
The truth is, that If Roman Polanski had been a priest, there is very, very little chance that he ever would have been prosecuted in the first place. And that’s wrong — not for Polanski, who deserved prosecution, but for the thousands of victims of sexually predatory priests who had their complaints ignored for years.
The lack of shame among Amy Sullivan and her ilk never ceases to amaze me.
Update. A bunch of you say that I am misreading Sullivan’s point. Perhaps. But what she and the others I linked to are saying is just plain wrong: it’s just not true that priests are at all likely to be prosecuted for raping children. As I said above, if Polanski were a priest, it is very, very unlikely that he ever would have been prosecuted to begin with. The statistics don’t lie.