Child Abuse – PR Guidance for Bishops

This briefing document was sent by the Catholic Communications Office to every Catholic diocese in advance of the publication of the report on child abuse. Pay special attention to the bullet points where bishops are advised how to react to the report. Clearly this is in case they wouldn’t have thought of these points on their own.

  • Welcome the report.
  • Children should be loved and cherished.
  • Victims deserve justice and support to bring about healing.
  • The truth must be established concerning abuse.

Have a look at the last couple of points in the document emphasising the responsibility of wider society and the inadequacy of State services. This is designed to deflect attention from the church: the real perpetrators, the rapists and torturers.

There is no changing the mind-set behind the Catholic church. They don’t get it. Today we have reports of a statement by the incoming head of the Catholic church in England, Archbishop Vincent Nichols who congratulates clerical rapists on having the courage to face up to what they did in the past. Courageous rapists, torturers and abusers. Courageous destroyers of innocence. Courageous murderers.

This entire church is rotten to its foundations.

Hypocrites. They make me sick.


Briefing Document

The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse will publish its report at 2.30 pm tomorrow, Wednesday 20 May 2009, on the Commission€s website I understand that, simultaneously, Mr Justice Ryan will chair a press conference in the Conrad Hotel, Dublin.

We can expect separate press statements to be issued tomorrow by CORI, the Mercy Sisters, the Christian Brothers and Cardinal Brady. The CCO will issue these to you as soon as possible.

There is international media interest in this story and RTÉ’s Joe Little will cover it on the news tomorrow. Prime Time is dedicating part of its programme on Thursday evening to the story. Prime Time will have a package prepared and hope to have three representatives in studio drawn from victim groups, politics and the religious orders.

The main news angle will focus on criticism of the level of contribution made by the 18 CORI members to the Government€s Redress Scheme. The background to this is:

In 2002 the Conference of Religious in Ireland facilitated 18 of its congregations in entering into an indemnity agreement with the Government on a Redress Scheme for victims of institutional abuse.

An agreement was reached in good faith, between the 18 congregations and the Government, that a contribution of €128m be made by the 18 congregations to the Redress Scheme which had been previously announced and established by Government.

You may be asked to comment on the Ryan Report by local media, especially if an industrial school or reformatory was based in your diocese. Please see some bullet points below to assist you should you consider responding to media queries:

  • Welcome the report.
  • Children should be loved and cherished.
  • Victims deserve justice and support to bring about healing.
  • The truth must be established concerning abuse.
  • Many of those who attended institutions speak about the isolation and the suffering from fear, brutality, cruelty, physical and sexual abuse, hard working and living conditions not fit for children.
  • Clearly large institutions are bad environments to care for children. The industrial school system should not have been the model used to care for children. Such institutions could never replace a family environment.
  • The report highlights Church failing to protect those children in our society who most needed help. Abuse of children, especially if perpetrated by a priest or religious, is not only a serious crime but a betrayal of a sacred trust.
  • In the past Irish society often institutionalised its problems. To that end Church, State and indeed wider society must share the blame for failing to protect the most vulnerable of children during this period.
  • The State today must adequately resource its social work services in order to protect children who are or may be abused either physically or sexually (e.g. Monageer). We owe it to those who have suffered in the past to deal comprehensively with the reality of abuse in our society today.
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3 thoughts on “Child Abuse – PR Guidance for Bishops

  1. The Catholic Church have provided education in ireland since the time of the Hedge Schools.
    They have saved the State billions since the inception of the Free State.
    In return the state abrogated their responsibility for children in the schools run by Religious
    All children who escaped were reported by the general population and in most cases were
    held by their reporters until the guards came to return them to the respective institutions.
    Because of their obligation to the Church the State no complaint was ever seriously considered.
    Bertie Ahearne, Michael Woods and the Clergy have a lot to answer for.
    No Religous Order could do anything without the express permission of the bishop in their
    In all cases brought by victims it is the Bishops who obstructed the the release of vital documents
    both to the Guards and the courts.
    It was absolutely disgusting to see Batt O Keefe stuttering through his response to Six One News.
    Mary Hannafin before him made shit of similar attempts by victims of abuse to obtain redress.
    These politicians have no decency or honesty and will come to their just desserts sooner or

  2. The clergy raped and physically abused the children placed in their care.
    They were assisted by politicians, judiciary, medical practioners, the dept of education,
    not to mention the pharmasutical companies who comissioned clinical trials on
    child vaccines.
    It was always about money.
    Child slave labour, illegal adoptions for cash. industrial laundries, clinical trials, all money

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