Religion Sexual abuse

Bishop Kirby and the Freudian Slips

Two friends are chatting over a pint and and one of them is trying hard to explain what a Freudian slip is.

Look, he says.  It’s when you mean to say one thing, but something completely different comes out.

Give me an example, says the other guy.

All right, he says.  This morning, I was having breakfast with my wife, I meant to say  “Pass the salt, my darling”, but instead I said “You bitch, you ruined my life!”

Poor old Bishop Kirby of Clonfert is a martyr for the Freudian slips.  Only a month ago, he was telling us that he used to think child abuse was nothing more than a friendship that crossed a boundary line, when of course, what he really meant to say was I knew damn well it was a crime, but I wasn’t going to admit it.

And then he told us that he had moved an offending priest to a new parish but that he was unaware of any more child abuse happening.  But of course, as we discover thanks to the Irish Times, what Bishop Kirby really meant to say was that he knew of sixteen more children the priest had abused, nine before he was moved and seven more in his new parish, because that priest had admitted it to his face when he visited him in prison.

And of course, when the bishop said as follows:

I literally thought, and you can put it down as gross innocence and naivety, that if I separated the priest and the youngster that it was a friendship that crossed the boundary line …

What he really meant to say was this:

I wasn’t separating a priest from one youngster.  I now know perfectly well that he raped nine children before I moved him, because he told me so himself.  Sorry for the mental reservation.

But I suppose it’s an easy mistake to make when you’re as prone to Freudian slips as Bishop Kirby seems to be.

From his statement the same day, Bishop Kirby informed us that

I profoundly regret and apologise for moving the priests concerned to different parishes thereby placing others at serious risk … Whilst no further abuse has been reported, this act was a grave mistake on my part. I operate very differently now and will continue to do so in the future.

Of course, when he said no further abuse had been reported what he really meant was that he knew of 22 children who were abused, before and after he moved the priests around, including one child abused by a priest officiating at his father’s funeral.  But again, it’s an easy mistake to make.

No further abuse.  Twenty-two children abused.  You can see how a bishop might get mixed up, especially when he’s struggling to overcome a major Freudian problem.

In his special message to the people of his diocese, Bishop Kirby said  There is no question but that I made serious mistakes in the early to mid-1990s by moving two priests who had abused into different parishes.  Of course he meant four priests, not two, but that’s only a detail, right?

And then he goes on,

Whilst I am not aware of any abuse allegations from the parishes to which they were moved, it is important for you to know that I operate very differently now and will continue to do so in the future.

It happened to me earlier today. I meant to praise Bishop Kirby for his courage and honesty, but somehow ended up calling him a miserable liar.

Damn those Freudian slips.

Law Religion

Irish Catholic Priests Refuse To Obey The Law

What’s the difference between a Catholic priest and a doctor or a lawyer?

Well, apart from the fact that a priest has no practical training in anything, the main difference today is that a priest considers himself above the law of the land when it comes to reporting child abusers.  You see, if a pervert informs a psychiatrist in confidence that he is raping a child, that professional must and will inform the authorities.  So will a lawyer.  So will any other professional who receives information in strict confidence.

But the Association of Catholic Priests says that its members’ vows are superior to the law of the land. No matter what a child abuser reveals in confession, they will never tell the authorities, even to save a child from further abuse.

Here we go again.  Canon Law versus Statute Law.  The law of Rome versus the law of Ireland.  As Michael McDowell acidly observed, Canon Law in this country has the same status as the rules of a golf club.  No more than that.

Some people have tried to spin this story to suggest that the government has somehow named the Catholic church specifically in the proposed legislation.  This is not true.  What it has done is impose an obligation on every citizen, including priests, to reveal information relating to the abuse of children.

Any person who shelters, conceals or assists the actions of a child-abuser deserves to go to jail, whether priest, doctor, lawyer or anyone else.

It’s that simple.


Politics Religion

Irish Embassy in Vatican Closed

What do the Holy See and East Timor have in common?

That’s right — the Irish government doesn’t give a flying toss about either of them.  Both embassies are to close, ostensibly as a cost-saving measure, but in reality because they’ve become irrelevant.  The Vatican has disgraced itself so much that it no longer commands respect even among those Irish who still practise Catholicism, and after its haughty dismissal of concerns over child-abuse, it was only a matter of time before the once-strong relationship hit rock bottom.

Mayor of Dublin kisses bishop's ring

It’s been a long way down for an outfit whose officials once had the power to summon Irish prime ministers before them and lay down the law on government.   Many today complain that we’re now ruled from Berlin, and that might well be true, but it’s not the first time a foreign state dictated Irish public policy.  For generations, the shape of Irish education and healthcare  was defined in Rome and transmitted to obedient government ministers by the Papal Nuncio, whose word was law and who was accorded preferential treatment over all other foreign diplomats.  As recently as 1978, contraception was illegal in Ireland due to Vatican interference and the compliance of craven politicians.

Today, there is no Nuncio, since Leanza was withdrawn by the Holy See in a tantrum after Enda Kenny dared to criticise it.  And now there’s no Irish embassy either.  Instead, a civil servant in Dublin will act as ambassador to that ridiculous little statelet that presumes to instruct real countries how to conduct their business.  It’s a long way from the 1932 Eucharistic Congress where bishops and cardinals preened and strutted their way across the capital city of a country whose inhabitants were close to starvation, while politicians prostrated themselves before these dysfunctional old celibates.

John Charles McQuaid with DeValera

Seán Brady and Séamus Martin are predictably outraged.  Brady in particular seems completely flabbergasted that any Irish government would dare to disregard the wishes of his masters.  Apparently oblivious to the irony of his words, Brady said I hope that despite this regrettable step, the close and mutually beneficial co-operation between Ireland and the Holy See in the world of diplomacy can continue.

Perhaps, instead of pontificating, Brady would be better occupied contemplating his decision to impose an oath of silence on young sex-abuse victims.  Perhaps he might consider stepping down from his office and explaining to the people of Ireland precisely how far he went in covering up the crimes of his fellow priests.

Meanwhile, Garry O’Sullivan the editor of the Irish Catholic, called the move an attack on Catholic culture.  They haven’t gone away, you know.

The Vatican is reported to be stunned, as all overbearing bullies are when somebody stands up to them, but this move, while a good start, is still only a start.  Now let’s get them out of our schools and out of our health system.

There’s no room for a priest lurking at the back of a classroom or behind the screen in a hospital ward.



Politics Religion

Statement by Government of Ireland On Holy See Response to Cloyne

I can think of nothing to add to the Irish government’s statement on the Holy See’s legalistic, dishonest and self-serving comments last week.  It signals clearly that the time has passed when any Irish government will put up with the word-games, the half-truths, all the evasions and all the mental reservation of the Vatican lawyers who cobbled together that disgraceful document.

Here’s the full text.

Favourites Religion

The IF-Word. Bishop John Magee Still in Denial About Cloyne Abuse

You have to love those bishops with their mental reservation.  They never go anywhere without a spare IF or BUT in their trouser pocket just in case they find themselves face to face with embarrassing facts that need to be blurred, and John Magee is no exception.  We’d expect no less from a former Vatican insider, even if the Vatican did elbow him out fairly sharply in the end.

This is the bishop who lied to the government, lied to the HSE and wrote a report on an abuse case that deliberately concealed material facts about an abuser.

On Planet Magee, all that deceit amounts to nothing more than a failure to fully implement child-protection guidelines.  Today he issued a statement about the Cloyne sexual abuse report — a statement full of evasions and avoidances, apparently written by a public-relations firm.  In particular, Magee betrays his complete detachment from the reality of the Cloyne scandal by his use of the word failure

This is absolute dishonesty.  Failure is an honourable thing if it follows sincere effort, but Magee made no such effort.  He couldn’t have failed because he never tried.  The Commission report found that he actively lied, deceived and covered up material facts. He did little or nothing to investigate allegations of child abuse, and he appointed a man to deal with victims who believed that church law was superior to the law of the land.

This wasn’t a failure.  This was a self-styled prince of the church, placing the welfare of his organisation above the needs of rape victims, and thumbing his nose at Irish civil authority.

To compound the insult, Magee made a public statement in which he said that if his actions had caused hurt, he begged forgiveness from the victims.


Was there some doubt?  If so, it existed only in the minds of people like John Magee and his Canon-Law sidekick, O Callaghan.

As I often said before, these are the people who still control our primary schools.  This is the mindset of the people who can fire a teacher on a whim.


Previously: Magee Apologises


Cloyne Scandal — Bishop John Magee Apologises

Bishop John Magee, I see, from his secret American hideaway has issued a sort of apology for the fact that he covered up the crimes of his employees, didn’t bother to protect the children from those same employees and falsified the records he kept of conversations with the abusers.

In his apology, Magee refers to his actions as “failures”, thereby compounding his original dishonesty and seeking to repeat the lie.

Bishop John Magee did not fail.

Failure implies effort.  John Magee made no effort to deal with sex abuse by his employees.  Indeed, according to the commission’s report, he actively tried to hide their crimes.

John Magee wrote two reports about the same interview with a rapist priest.  One version was for his employers in Rome, and it told the truth : the rapist admitted his crimes.  The other version was for Irish consumption and it said that the rapist denied everything.  Which was true?  The version that went to Rome, a supposedly independent state.  Which was a lie?  The version that stayed in Ireland.

John Magee actively worked to conceal a crime from the police.  He has no business apologising for his failures, since this was not a failure.  This was a success, by his standards, and it was only because of a government decision that his actions were exposed.

Like all his fellow bishops, Magee had only one objective — to protect the Catholic church, not the children, and after that, to protect himself.

Let me keep saying it.  These people run our schools.  If a private educational contractor proved this dangerous and corrupt, it would immediately lose its State contract and its executives would be arrested.

Is that not a fact?

Yet Magee keeps spinning the truth, which is hardly a surprise.   He and his colleagues will never, ever understand that the game is up.  They’re a profoundly damaged bunch of old men with no grasp of the new realities.  Froim here on, it’s up to the government.

Forget Canon Law.  This is supposedly a republic and it’s about time we saw it being run as a republic, as opposed to the theocracy it has been for too long.





Lessons from Cloyne Sex Abuse Report — Time To Remove Power from Bishops

This is not the Lord of the Rings.  This is Ireland in the 21st century, and the Cloyne report is about events that happened, not a millennium ago.  Not even a half century ago.  The report includes events that happened two or three years back.  Today, in other words.

After all the bishops’ talk of learning curves, and nearly twenty years after the Brendan Smyth affair brought down a government, we discover not only that a bishop had no interest in protecting children, but that the man he appointed to deal with complaints has little respect for Irish law compared to Roman Catholic rules, which he regards as superior in all respects.

There is no place called Cloyne, except in the minds of the clergy.  The so-called Cloyne report is about North Cork, a real place with real people, not some demented ecclesiastical Middle Earth.   And the inhabitants of Cloyne are not Hobbits but real people, who were terrorised, unfortunately, by the fiends of Sauron Magee as he languished in his Dark Tower, aka Cobh Cathedral.

They don’t get it and they never will, these agents of a foreign state who wield so much power in our society, and who control the very places where child victims are to be found : our primary schools.

When I say that they represent a foreign state, I only repeat what the Papal Nuncio said when he refused to answer queries from the commission of inquiry.  He claimed diplomatic immunity.  And yet, this same foreign civil servant is the conduit by which Rome instructs its agents, the bishops, in this country.

Our children are our only wealth.  Why would we submit anything so precious to the control of a self-proclaimed foreign country?  Why would we cede sovereignty to foreign agents who not only have no interest in protecting our children but, as in the case of John Magee, actively lied to the government, the health service and the police, concealing vital information about the crimes committed by his staff?

Is there anything special about the North Cork diocese?  I don’t see why there should be.  I see no reason to presume that Magee was in any way unique, except in the fact that he himself is the very model of a clerical apparatchik, a private secretary to three popes and very close to the thinking of those in the Vatican. And if the Vatican’s man could have been so indifferent to the crimes of his own people, why should we suppose that the home-grown bishops are any better?

Let me repeat something that I have said many times before.  These people are in control of our schools.


Why do these people still have the power to put child abusers in control of our children?  Child abusers like the pseudonymous Father Calder, who, according to the report, threatened a school principal with loss of pay  when she refused to release children into his clutches for “private” confessions.  How could he get away with this?  Because of the medieval patronage concept whereby the local bishop becomes the patron of every school in his area.  Calder had already been identified as a danger to children, yet Magee appointed him to the position of chairman of the board of management.  In that capacity, he was able to tell the principal that he would refuse to sign her pay cheque unless she facilitated his plans to sexually abuse children.

Furthermore, Magee’s delegate, Monsignor Denis O’Callaghan tried to intimidate this school  principal when she complained to him about the priest’s behaviour.  This same character disagreed profoundly with the Irish bishops’ own child protection policy, as did the Vatican, and even today we hear Cardinal Sean Brady issuing more mealy-mouthed, empty statements of regret.

Look at the surreal moment when Brady veered into a parallel reality: “If there is one positive thing to come out of this it is the confirmation that the church structures have been proven to be effective”.  These are the same bishops who fought against their own board for safeguarding children, refusing to hand over files under the dishonest and spurious pretext of data protection, even though they knew full well this objection had no legal substance whatsoever.

They obstructed their own inquiry, and yet Brady feels able to claim that the church structures are effective.

Is there no limit to the delusion and dishonesty of these people?

Ireland has been forced to confront some very harsh financial realities over the last two or three years, and many more are yet to come.  Now is the time to face another reality, and strip power from these unstable, unqualified and dangerous men.


All posts mentioning the Cloyne diocese





Report by Commission of Investigation into Catholic Diocese of Cloyne

The Cloyne diocese report has been issued and a download is available here.

Among other findings, the commission found that

The Vatican showed no interest in helping to set up systems for protecting children from abusive clerics.

John Magee, the bishop at the time, failed to operate the agreed child-protection measures and showed no interest in dealing with complaints of sexual abuse.  He lied to the minister for children and the HSE about complying with his church’s own guidelines.

The diocese chose not to report certain complaints to the Gardai, even though it was obvious that they were police matters.

Magee deliberately hid the real facts about child abuse cases and failed to confront child abuse until he was forced to do so.

The diocese knew about sexual abuse and its consequences but still failed to provide support for people making complaints.


The Cloyne report underlines what all previous investigations have said.  When it came to sexual abuse of children, the Irish state was happy to place power in the hands of the abusers.

Instead of imposing law-driven rules on priests the same as any other human being, Ireland accepted guidelines, framework documents, assurances and voluntary commitments.

It still does.

In this country, control of our primary schools is for the most part in the hands of the people who protected paedophiles.  If the head of a primary school opposes a priest, he or she risks not being paid, even when that priest is a predatory child-abuser demanding that children be delivered to him for rape.

You think  I made that up?  I did not.  It happened and is documented in Judge Yvonne Murphy’s report on child abuse in the diocese of Cloyne, which covers all of Cork except the city.

John Magee, bishop of Cloyne, lied to the health service, lied to the government and personally behaved inappropriately to a teenager during the investigation.  A priest appointed by Magee as chairman of a school’s board of management threatened a school principal with loss of salary  if she didn’t supply him with children to abuse.

This didn’t happen 100 years ago.  This happened in the last few years.

Magee himself abdicated responsibility for child protection, handing this function to a character by the name of O’Callaghan, a canon lawyer, whose main concern was protection of the church.  These guys truly believed that the law of the land was secondary to the law of Rome, but this wasn’t in the dark ages.  This was only a few years ago, in the new millennium.

O’Callaghan was a professor of moral theology in Maynooth prior to his appointment in Cloyne and may well have regarded his role as one of confusing the police and everyone else he regaarded as his intellectual inferior.  This is a characteristic common among these frustrated celibate old men whose only pastime is to play games with the authorities.

The bishop prepared two reports on a  particular case — one that went to Rome detailing full details os a sex abuse case, and another for local consumption, with the true facts omitted, in case somebody might discover it.

It’s over.  It’s time our government removed any semblance of authority from these dysfunctional old witch-doctors.  They have no qualifications to be in control of our schools and it’s time we removed these people from control of our children.  They are not to be trusted.



Liturgy of Lament and Repentance — Bishops To Wash the Feet of Sexual Abuse Victims

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and Cardinal Sean O’Malley from Boston, are saying some prayers today, asking forgiveness for the way their church treated victims of clerical sexual abuse.  They call it a Liturgy of Lament and Repentance (as opposed to an ordinary, uncapitalised liturgy of lament and repentance) and during it, the princes of the church will wash the feet of a group of people who suffered in various ways through abuse.  This is a symbol of apology.

Diarmuid Martin is a decent fellow and I have no doubt he’s sincere in what he says, but would it not have been more appropriate to drag along a few of his fellow bishops to do the foot-washing?  After all, they’ve been pretty good at washing their hands of this filthy business for years now, so perhaps a few feet might make a welcome change.  Indeed, if anyone needs to be cleansed, it isn’t the victims, surely, but the perpetrators and those who failed to stop them.  People like Bishop Eamon Walsh, who stood up at a meeting and suggested telling the police about a notorious priest-rapist, but promptly sat back down again when he was told by a grumpy old Monsignor to shut his mouth.

In his own words:

I wasn’t a month in the job as a bishop, and I stood up at a meeting and I said that not alone should the police, who were already informed about an individual, but we should say where he was living and the number of his car, because I felt he was a danger.

Somebody give that man a medal.

Monsignor Sheehy’s views on the matter speak volumes:

I think it  important that every one of us should at this stage avoid any excessive reaction – no matter what the civil law may say.

Note: No matter what the civil law may say.

Another candidate for dragging forcibly in front of the outraged victims might be Cardinal Seán Brady, who interrogated victims of abuse, swore them to secrecy and, after much reflection, found himself innocent of wrongdoing.  Or what about his predecessor, Des Connell, who fought tooth and nail to prevent diocesan documents being given to the Murphy inquiry and to obstruct its workings?

Maybe both of these guys might benefit from being down on their knees begging forgiveness.

What do you think?

Or even Ratzinger himself, who tried to justify clerical sexual abuse by saying it was a long time ago.  As long back as 1975, when nobody knew anything because we were all too innocent. That was the year the Sex Pistols played their first gig, Monty Python made the Holy Grail, Gates founded Microsoft  and Springsteen released Born to Run.  Not exactly the Dark Ages.

O’Malley, who entered a seminary at  the age of 12, leads an Apostolic Visitation to Ireland to put the skids under the local gobshites who allowed this PR disaster for the church to happen.

Ratzinger is not happy.  O’Malley, Sie haben ze ridiculous Irish-priest name. Getten Sie over zu Irland, schnell and tellen Sie those  Dummkopf arschholes on their bike jumpen fukken pronto making.  Amen.

And that’s why Seán is here, bringing with him all the vast life-experience of a man who hasn’t lived in a normal family since he was twelve.

I think this foot-washing is going to be a tougher job than they thought.  How will they get around to washing the feet of all the victims, especially with the decline in the priesthood.

Do you know what would make more sense?  They could buy a couple of thousand electric foot-spas, and bless them all in one go.  Shazam!!  Suddenly you have an endless supply of fizzy holy water.  Then they could send the foot-spas out to all the churches in the land and install them in the now-defunct confessionals.  If you feel abused, just slip your tootsies into the healing bubbly waters of profound apology, and suddenly everything is all right again.

If they do it right, every time a foot is washed, the machines could send an automatic signal to a central church database so that Ratzo can scratch another name off the list of people he needs to apologise to.  They could set up a guilt repository for the bishops, like a bad bank, and each time a victim uses the Holy Spa of Repentance, the system could credit a standard unit of forgiveness to the bishop’s account.

What do you think?  Are we onto something here?



I asked one victim of abuse, Paddy Doyle, for his views on this and here’s what he replied:

I’ve just come back from the Pro Cathedral where I was part of a protest outside the place.

One lady who wanted to get into the Cathedral to hand the bishop from Boston a letter about the abuse she had suffered as a child – she was a Magdalene woman – asked me if I would go with her into the Church.  This lady was very upset and needed to just see this guy the Pope had sent over to sort out all our problems of child abuse!

Anyway, I went to the side door of the Cathedral with this lady. She was refused permission to enter the place but then so was I.  Some of what appeared to be the Archbishop’s henchmen and the Gardaí told me I would not be permitted to enter the church.  The strange thing is that when I was a child I used to be beaten into various churches to serve mass, now as an adult I’m deemed to be trouble and not allowed into the house of God!