Clerical Sexual Abuse — Irish Times Article Defends The Indefensible

If you want to see a classic example of intellectual dishonesty by someone purporting to be a professional, you should read Dr Marie Keenan’s article in today’s Irish Times.

It was written following a conference of clergy about something the Pope wrote: Deus Caritas Est, which translates to God is Love: not an unreasonable proposition for a bunch of clerics to be discussing, but not something to be overly certain of either, considering the state of the world.

Entitled Church must also extend compassion to clergy abusers, Dr Keenan’s article argues for more compassion to be shown to abusers:

… some of these men are met, just as the victims once were, with cold disregard by some church leaders and a harshness that is often hard to endure.

Have another look at that phrase: just as victims once were.

What does that mean, exactly? Are the abusers and the victims equivalent? Do the abusers deserve the same support as their victims? Is there no difference?

In my opinion, there’s at least one major difference: the victims were innocent, whereas the abusers are vicious criminals who attacked and defiled helpless children. This seems to have escaped Dr Keenan’s attention, but of course, Dr Keenan is a sociologist and psychotherapist — professions that have given the world the concept of neutral value-free language. The same insipid, bloodless outlook that gave us the recent notorious report on the Brothers of Charity.

Just to help Dr Keenan focus a little bit, I’ll be more blunt. Child victims deserve support. Perverts deserve jail.

Now, is that better?

The article goes on to say A little compassion would go a long way also with clergy offenders, especially when they have taken responsibility for their offences, engaged in treatment and served prison sentences.

Reality check coming up, Dr Keenan.

They didn’t take responsibility for their actions. They were caught.

They didn’t freely engage in treatment. They were forced to.

They didn’t voluntarily serve prison sentences. They were jailed.

You see, what sickens me about Marie Keenan and other apologists for criminal behaviour is their attempt to create an equivalence between abuser and abused. This, in my opinion, simply multiplies the original insult, and leaves victims feeling a bit more soiled than they already were.

At the end of the article, Dr Keenan asks, can someone please explain to me why the Dublin archdiocese has now decided to employ a retired detective sergeant to police its clergy, when these men are very obviously in need of care and compassion?

I didn’t know the diocese had made such an appointment, but it’s a welcome development, and I would have thought the answer to Dr Keenan’s question is obvious: the diocese had to hire the detective because their priests raped hundreds of children. Not a difficult equation for somebody with a big “Dr” in front of their name to work out, I would have thought. Especially a therapist who works in a church-run treatment centre for abusers.

The piece ends on a plaintive note: Does this development represent a new departure in the Dublin archdiocese’s approach to showing love?

Yes, is the answer.

And about time too.


Marie Keenan’s article

20 thoughts on “Clerical Sexual Abuse — Irish Times Article Defends The Indefensible

  1. The dr. seems to be observing a certain lack of forgiveness from the archdiocese of dublin whose love is more appropriately shown to the children, marie keenan should remind her affected clergy to pray to jesus for forgiveness for he is the truth,the way and the light and only he can wash away their sins,miracles can happen. Although those clergy may never find a cure for their sickness they could try to find some compassion with god through jesus. yep, they should pray more often and thank their sick and twisted lucky stars!

  2. Well considering Child rape is one of the new Mortal Sins ,they are all going to hell anyway .do not pass go ,do not collect €200….
    But i suspect given their past deeds ,most of them dont really believe all that Christian mumbo jumbo…

  3. And where you have your molesting clergy and continued scandals and cover ups and the general white washing of history, here we have Mr. Ethics making seminal deposits for pay with girls young enough to be his children….oh my!

  4. My God, they still don’t get it do they? I mean they really can’t if they’re claiming paedophile priests who hid from the law behind their vestments and perpetrated the most disgusting abuses of trust and decency there are, deserve similar “care and compassion” as their victims. No! They deserve their disgrace and punishment and they deserve to bear it without the church – and hence church-goers, of course – paying to soften it with care and compassion.

    These people still do not understand what they have done.

  5. It’s worse than that. This person isn’t a cleric at all, but a sociologist and psychotherapist. OK, I know she’s therefore not qualified in anything useful, but still, she’s a member of the general public, and you’d think she’d know better than to be speaking up for child-rapists.

  6. The doctor has worked for the Granada Institute for Sexual Offenders which runs workshops apparently to do with child protection and treatment of those who have sexually abused, and child sexual abuse prevention. For these particular workshops Clinicians, Social workers and child protection professionals, Gardaí, Barristers, Solicitors, Judges, Directors of Intellectual Disability services, Programme managers, Psychologists, Social Workers, Policy Makers and Frontline Staff are asked to participate ………. but there’s no mention of Mums or Dads being invited to these workshops!

    Dr K’s assertion that CHILD SEXUAL TERRORISTS should be treated with compassion is an insult to survivors.

    These PREDATORS are NOT “in need of care and compassion.” They need to be WATCHED.

  7. It’s along the lines of ‘Inside Hitler there was a little boy who just wanted to be loved… etc etc,’ ad nauseam. All of these men had to study moral philosophy, the ten commandments, Canon Law and so on. One couldn’t claim they had no understanding of right and wrong. There is indeed a strong whiff of Opus about the Phd’s article.

    And the Grenada Institute is a private institution run by a division of the Catholic Church. Who monitors it? It’s the equivalent of Limerick jail being franchised out to be run by the Keane clan.

  8. In the interests of accuracy Bock the correct translation is “God is Truth”. I suffered at the hands of a Presentation Brother, cane across my young upturned hand, (everybody aaaawwh), when declining Amo Amas Amat, (Love), in first year a long time ago when the classics were still taught in our schools.

  9. Is there some sort of odd, twisted, amoral school of thought gaining respectability in the public domain that says effectively: “sex has no boundaries. It’s all ok, whatever you’re in to; no boundaries, no respect, just whatever you want is ok. Is this the way of the future?

  10. also, yes, the use of the word predator in Andrew’s is accurate. These men, like mr o’ searcaigh are not peadophiles really; they are predators who happen to have a homosexual disposition in the mainly. not that this makes paedophiles more respectable – only a different kind of perv.

  11. I don’t much like the word “paedophile”.

    I prefer “paedophobe”.

    Either way, there’s no evidence that Cathal has abused under-age children, only that he has abused his position.

  12. People in positions of trust and authority should be held to a HIGHER standard than the average person. So, for instance, child abusers who are priests or cops deserve no sympathy, loads of contempt, and twice the ordinary prison time.

  13. What are you talking about? Marie Keenan looks at child abuse from a classic feminist point of view (“blame the Patriarchy/Patriarchal power structures”). If you’re trying to say that she sympathises with the Catholic Church and the Clergy then, by virtue of the fact that she is feminist, you are wrong.

  14. Dr Marie Keenan is a pioneer into very important research into child sexual abuse by cleargy in Ireland. Dont shoot the messenger! Unless we understand the source of sexual abuse and try to prevent it it will continue. No one is suggesting that the horror of child sexual abuse and its long term effects should be minimised. But what are we going to do to prevent it? We have to understand it not in a sympathetic way in an analytical way and plan prevention. Only research will give the knowledge we need. Joseph

  15. Joseph. This post is not about Dr Keenan’s research, but about the subjective personal opinions she has published. There was nothing analytical about those opinions and nothing that helps us to understand the nature of abuse. Dr Keenan is fully entitled to hold any view she wishes, but nobody is obliged to respect opinions they consider to be nonsense.

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