This article was first published in November 2006
Isn’t there some big Catholic thing coming up soon, in early December? The Immaculate Assumption, or the Holy Dispersal. Something of that sort, anyway. The Blessed Emulsification, maybe.
In the past, it was the day when all the farmers used to head for their nearest urban centre to get completely blunted in the pub while the missus noodled around the shops buying cocaine and vibrators, but those days are long gone. Now, in the new Celtic Aardvark Ireland, rural people no longer need to visit their local town in huge hordes on the feast of the Unmissable Contraction. Certainly not. These days, rural people are all over in Dubai with their accountants in early December, trying to figure out how much their patch of mud is worth now. Bastards.
It wasn’t always like this. It wasn’t always money money money. Oh no.
Actually, that’s not true. It was always about money. Let me give you a case in point.
Recently, the Comptroller and Auditor General issued a report about the payments by the Residential Institutions Redress Board to victims of clerical abuse. The latest figure is 1.2 billion euros. Let me repeat that. One thousand two hundred million euros.
Now, what do you think this money is for? Is it because the government think these people deserve a holiday and could do with a few bob to help them go to Malaga?
Is it because the people who claimed are so damn nice you couldn’t refuse them?
No, it isn’t.
Well, maybe it’s because the Catholic Church has decided to share some of its vast wealth with poor people, in line with the teaching of Jesus?
Ah come on now! You have to be joking surely? The Catholic Church follow Jesus’s teaching?
No. It’s none of the above. The people have been awarded the money to partially make up for the fact that they were physically, sexually and psychologically abused by priests, nuns and monks. Read that again carefully. Abused by priests by priests, nuns and monks. Not, you will notice, by postmen, police, nurses, dog wardens or any other employee of the State. Children were raped, beaten and psychologically abused by nuns, priests and monks.
You’d imagine therefore that they would be compensated by the organisation their abusers belonged to, wouldn’t you? Of course you would. So how much did the Catholic church pay towards the one thousand two hundred million euros so far paid out to victims?
Most of it, I hear you saying.
Half of it, you suggest.
A quarter, you shout, in despair.
I stand up and wave my arms at you in dismissal. No, no and no again.
The Catholic church paid a tenth of the cost. The Catholic church paid 127 million euros and no matter how high the awards go, that is all the Catholic church will ever pay.
You heard me right. Even though the children were raped, beaten and psychologically abused by nuns, priests and monks, the Catholic church will never pay more than 127 million euros.
So what uncritical benefactor has ridden to the assistance of the Catholic church? What kind and decent person has decided to rescue the church from the penury it brought upon itself by its abuse of children? Who could possibly be so generous? Well, look no further. Look in the mirror, for this wonderful benefactor is you. Your taxes are paying one thousand two hundred million euros to make up the shortfall, and this is the result of an agreement signed by a government minister.
Michael Woods, PhD, agreed this deal with the Catholic church, including Sister Helena O’Donoghue of the Sisters of Mercy, of whom more anon. Dr Woods, you might remember, was once Minister for Health, and did nothing at the time to dispel the belief that he was a medical practitioner when in fact he had a doctorate arising out of some research on tomatoes. Dr Woods is also a well-known member of Opus Dei. Dr Michael Woods concluded a deal whereby your money and mine was used to underwrite the Catholic church without limit. Can you imagine that? These guys paid in 127 million and that was an end of their obligations, even though they were the ones who had committed the abuse. Even though the claims are currently at one thousand two hundred million and rising, the church will never have to pay an extra penny. Our money will be used to pay the rest, no matter how much the bill comes to.
Now, who is Sr Helena O’Donoghue? Sr O’Donoghue is a member of the community that controls the Mater Hospital in Dublin. The Mater Hospital has recently been designated the location for the National Children’s Hospital, even though it is completely inaccessible for children coming from outside Dublin, and for their parents. The location was chosen even though a suitable site was offered at no cost to the government on the periphery of Dublin. (A site which was easily accessible from the N7).
The Mater is also the hospital whose ethics committee attempted to prevent cancer patients from using contraception. A truly Christian institution.