Monday, 1 June 2009


Cardinal denounces 'shameful' critics of Church

By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
Last Updated: 1:35AM BST 04 Sep 2002

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the head of Roman Catholics in England and Wales, yesterday denounced liberal critics of the Church as ridiculous, feeble and shameful.

Liberalism in society and the media was "a pretty thin affair" and the Church was under repeated assault because it remained a potent force against it, the Cardinal said in a scathing attack on much of secular culture.

But he warned that if the clergy became demoralised and their teachings were seriously undermined, they were in danger of being reduced to social workers or political advocates.

The Cardinal, who was preaching at the annual National Conference of Priests in London, referred to a speech last year in which he said that the influence of Christianity was close to being vanquished in Britain.

The phrase had "touched a nerve" and had been used to attack and diminish the Church's doctrines, he said.

In contrast, liberalism was much easier to believe, but its claims about the relativity of values were "feeble" and it advocated "ridiculous, indeed sometimes highly shameful programmes" for social and moral living.

"So we should not be surprised if the attack on the Church today is a subtle one," he warned.

"And we are not to be too discouraged by our weaknesses, our shame or the changes which the media think are obvious for the Church of the future.

"For Catholicism and the witness it displays, at its heart, is the force that confronts contemporary liberalism."

Earlier, Fr Timothy Radcliffe, the former head of the Dominican order, acknowledged that many priests felt depressed and demoralised, and this undermined their role as communicators of the gospel.

He also rekindled the debate about married priests, saying the arguments to abolish priestly celibacy were "overwhelming".


Rift deepens between Government and Church of England
Relations between the Government and the Church of England reached a new low on Sunday as Labour figures angrily hit back at criticism of the party's economic policy from several bishops.

By Jon Swaine and James Kirkup
Last Updated: 9:35PM GMT 28 Dec 2008

Anglican leaders led by Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, the Bishop of Manchester, accused Labour of being "morally corrupt" and "beguiled by money".

Rev McCulloch described Gordon Brown's plan for Britain to borrow its way out of recession as "scandalous". The Bishops of Carlisle, Durham, Hulme, and Winchester also used interviews with The Sunday Telegraph to voice strong criticism of Labour's policies on the economy, poverty and social justice.

The unprecedented public attack on the Government's record triggered co-ordinated Labour retaliation.

Liam Byrne, the Cabinet Office minister, said: "I don't think the bishops have done justice to some of our hard-fought achievements. We've lifted half a million kids out of poverty, a million pensioners out of poverty."

Mr Byrne declined to criticise the bishops, but privately, senior Government figures reacted with fury.

One senior source accused the bishops of a "totally unjustified political attack that is unrepresentative of the views of their dwindling congregations."

John McFall, a senior Labour MP and the chairman of the Commons Treasury committee, said he agreed with the bishops' call for more personal responsibility in financial matters.

But he rejected the clergymen's attacks on Labour's record in office. He said: "I don't know if at the bishops' palaces there has been too much mulled wine passed around over the past few days."

The Rt Rev Stephen Lowe, the Bishop of Hulme, said that Labour's economic strategy was a cynical ploy to win re-election.

Sir Stuart Bell, a Labour MP and the Church of England's representative in the Commons, said that was "nonsense."

Sir Stuart said: "The Church of England should be a unifying force, since all sectors of the community will be affected by the economic downturn and must come through this together. The imbalanced bishops' criticisms do not help to achieve this."

The latest row comes after a war of words between Mr Brown and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, over the economy.

The Archbishop compared the Government's plan to "the addict returning to the drug", prompting Mr Brown to invoke the parable of the Good Samaritan in arguing the Government "would not walk by on the other side" while families suffered.

Dr Williams had the last word in an article for The Daily Telegraph, in which he invited a comparison between what he saw as Mr Brown's stubborn attachment to ideology and Nazi Germany.

Earlier this month, several Labour MPs, including three former cabinet members, said they wanted the Government to press ahead with disestablishment of the Church, following separate comments by Dr Williams, who said the separation of church and state "would not be the end of the world".

The Conservatives offered their support for the bishops' criticism. Chris Grayling, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said: "What the Bishops are highlighting is that Britain has suffered a wasted decade.

"So much more could have and should have been done to tackle our broken society and Gordon Brown was fundamentally wrong to build up a mountain of debt.

"The bishops were right to say what they did about Gordon Brown, the trouble is he's now making the same mistakes all over again."


Church leader seeks end to British expenses leaks

LONDON (May 24, 2009) : The head of the Anglican church urged a halt on Saturday to "systematic humiliation" of British members of parliament in an expenses scandal, warning it could undermine faith in democracy.

Media revelations of extravagant expense claims have infuriated recession-hit Britons and fuelled pressure for an early parliamentary election, with growing numbers of voters appearing set to reject mainstream political parties.

Claims made by more than 200 of parliament’s 646 MPs have now been exposed in a series of reports by the Daily Telegraph newspaper based on information passed on by a former British army officer from an unnamed source.

"Many will now be wondering whether the point has not been adequately made," said Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual head of the Anglican Church.

"The continuing systematic humiliation of politicians itself threatens to carry a heavy price in terms of our ability to salvage some confidence in our democracy," he wrote in The Times newspaper.

Hours after his comments were published, two further members of parliament (MPs) said they would be standing down at the next election, which must be held by June next year.

The Independent newspaper joined the criticism of the continuing exposures, saying they risked eroding Britain’s democracy if all MPs were tarred with the same brush.

"What began as a justified critique of MPs’ behaviour has degenerated into crude bullying," it said, dismissing as naive the idea the row had reengaged the public with politics.

"The public is engaged with the pillorying of MPs. A public flogging will always attract an audience," it said.

The speaker of the House of Commons has resigned, a minister has stepped down, two MPs have been suspended by the ruling Labour party and now six have declared they will not run in the next election.

MP Andrew MacKay, a former senior aide to opposition Conservative leader David Cameron, said on Saturday he would stand down to avoid becoming a distraction during the campaign.

MacKay, 59, had already quit as Cameron’s senior political adviser after confirming he and his wife Julie Kirkbride, also a Conservative MP, had claimed "second home" expense allowances on both their residences.

Former Labour government minister Ian McCartney, 58, said he would be standing down from parliament for health problems.

A party spokeswoman said the decision had nothing to do with the expenses row and McCartney had not been forced to go. But the MP’s move came days after he announced he had voluntarily repaid £15,000 (RM83,000) of expense claims last year for refurbishing his second home after the rules were tightened.

European and local elections to be held on June 4 are expected to reflect the level of popular disgust, with lower voter turnout and a move towards fringe parties predicted. – Reuters


Irish report details ‘endemic’ child abuse

By John Murray Brown in Dublin

Published: May 20 2009 16:23 | Last updated: May 20 2009 16:23

A report into child abuse in children’s homes run by Irish Roman Catholic religious organisations found that sexual abuse was “endemic”, even though the Church knew about it.

The report of a government-appointed commission, published on Wednesday said children taken into care in the so-called industrial schools were subjected to “pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment.”

The findings, which have taken 10 years to compile, found that when evidence of abuse was discovered by the institutions it was “managed with a view to minimising the risk of public disclosure and consequent damage to the institution and the Congregation.”

It said the abuse ranged “from improper touching and fondling to rape with violence.”

A spokesman for one of the victims group said the report would not end their search for justice.

The report investigated institutions over a 10 year period from 1936 onwards, receiving testimony from more than 3,000 victims including those in schools for young offenders and institutions for children with disabilities run by the Christian Brothers and other Roman Catholic orders

The findings allege the Catholic Church was aware there were long term sex offenders in the orders running these organisations but it says “when confronted with evidence of sexual abuse, the response of the religious authorities was to transfer the offender to another location where in many instances he was free to abuse again.”

The inquiry, which is believed to have cost €70m, was launched in 1999 when Bertie Ahern, then the prime minister, apologised to victims following an RTE television documentary report.

Ms Justice Mary Laffoy who was appointed to chair the inquiry resigned in 2003 in protest at the lack of cooperation from the department of education, which from the early days of the state, had delegated the task of looking after these schools to the religious orders in order to save money.

Her replacement Mr Justice Sean Ryan said the commission no longer intended to name anyone responsible for abuse, other than those already convicted.

There were angry scenes at the launch of the report in a Dublin hotel when some victims were refused admission.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009


May 30, 2009
Irish Catholic child abuse: was English rule ultimately to blame?

Images A senior Spanish government minister has criticised the Spanish cardinal Antonio Canizares who said 'What happened at some schools cannot be compared with the millions of lives that have been destroyed by abortion.' Canizares is Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship. A full translation of his original remarks is provided by Chris Gillibrand of Cathcon has today written a guest essay for this blog, below, in response to the terrible events in Ireland. He makes clear how truly complex the roots are of institionalised child abuse and offers reassurance that even for the dead abusers, there is judgement at the hands of God. Read also a superb article in The Tablet describing the true horror against humanity of what went on in those institutions. One victim reports: 'They raped me on a Saturday, gave me an unmerciful beating afterwards, and then gave me Communion on Sunday. My God.'

Chris Gillibrand writes:

The universal law of the Church is the salvation of souls and Jesus makes entirely clear in the Gospel of Matthew how certain the punishment is for those who abuse children, even given the fatalism of Verse 7.

Matthew 18 At that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying: 'Who thinkest thou is the greater in the kingdom of heaven? 2 And Jesus calling unto him a little child, set him in the midst of them, 3 And said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me. 6 But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh.'

Given the enormity of the crime detailed in the report of the Irish Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, it could be said that it is irrelevant to point to all the magnificent work which the Church does throughout the world.

A child abuser could not mitigate his crime by pleading in court that otherwise he or she had an excellent charecter.

Some years ago, I visited Romania to help in a feasibility study for developments at an orphanage. While much work in Romania was being done at the time in good faith, the really effective work was being done by four nuns and a solitary Jesuit who lived the situation day by day.

But if the Church herself is found guilty, can any amount of good works make reparation, especially in a society for whom reparation is an alien concept?

Cardinal Pell, as ever, hit the right tone in response to the Commission's report,. However, one has to be careful as to who the guilty party or parties really are in this case. Many of the abusers and quite a number of the abused are now long dead. The former have gone to meet the sure judgement of God. Society has problems coming to terms with these cases, not least because we are more convinced of God's love for us all than for his judgement on each of us.

One could be tempted to say that there are two churches under condemnation here, pre- and post-Vatican II.

The post-Vatican II Church talks much about bringing justice and peace to the world, even to the extent of abstracting both from either the Gospel, tradition or the magisterium of the Church. The rhetoric becomes even more hollow as the victims of the scandals in Ireland have received little or no justice from the Church. Two nuns negotiated a cosy deal with the outgoing Irish education minister in 2004, a minimal financial contribution to damages and legal immunity for the perpetrators.

The deal is so outrageous that more robust people than myself have speculated whether the negotiators were in some sense holding politicians to ransom.

How can victims then find peace?The two nuns are avery modern type of nun, more wordly wise than pious, in full flight from the glorious past of the Church as for their religious orders, a past that was not glorious but full of shame. Just to emphasise the psychology, the Presentation Sisters (which one of the nuns heads) hasset up a Centre for Policy and Systemic Change.

One also has to say that this is a very Irish problem. The Christian Brothers (not to be confused with the altogether more admirable De La Salle Christian Brothers, also a teaching order) is a uniquely Irish institution, an unusual position for such a large order to be in within the Catholic Church. The international governance of most orders places checks and balances on national idiosyncrasies (better to say in thiscase, obsessions and peculiarities.) The female orders are of their nature less internationalised but in Ireland, rather than living by the rule of charity,they became a law unto themselves. No wonder the head of the Irish Church finds the deal over tea and biscuits unacceptable.

What makes thisreport so important is that it emphasises the centrality of the Irish educational system in the abuse scandal that has enveloped the churchworldwide.

In the book "Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church" writtenby the investigative staff of the Boston Globe describing the childabusescandal in Boston, one Irish name after another roles off the pages.

As abused turns into abuser, the roots of the abuse can be found in the barbarities of the Irish educational system right back in the nineteenth century. From the emigration, the malign influence of abuse spread to the US and Australia.

The borderlines that divide disciplinary from sexual abuse are the darkest of all possible gray areas, even the perpetrators themselves not knowing at what stage they went from one evil to another. Returning to these roots is the key to addressing the guilt of the pre-conciliar church. There is the Hollywood stereotype of the authoritarian, even quasi-Nazi church waiting in travail to be liberated by Vatican II, Mrs Blair and her kind of Catholic.

It is not dissimilartothe parody of the Catholic Church presented by the newspapers of England in the 19th century of beatings, imprisonment and even torture in the cellars of nunneries. The Times of the day compared to other newspapers was indeed rather restrained in its treatment of Catholicism.

John Henry, later Cardinal Newman mocks these slanders and libels in his Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics in England.

In both cases, false memories abound, the greatest scourges of justice and truth.

In the final analysis, the Irish tragedy is nothing to do with the abuse of power by hierarchy in the pre-conciliar church. Rather the Irish educational system was the exception that proved the rule that for the most part a Catholic education has always been second to none, even now with self-expression being put at a premium.

Absolute self-expression is at the opposite extreme to the Irish system which by beating out individuality and personality, dehumanised. One ends with children who grow up knowing no boundaries in both cases. There is amedieval distinction between cause and occasion for an act, the forgetfulness of which causes much confusion to modern understanding of the moral acts in particular and the world in general.

So when did it all start? In the country hedges of Ireland where Catholic schoolchildren had to be educated and disciplined as a result of the barbarities of English rule, which was itself an abuse of the whole Irish nation.

Anger, passed on from one generation to another, can express itself in so many different ways but the abuse of children remains a sin crying to heaven for judgement. One could say that the once most Catholic of all nations has brought shame on the Catholic Church but the past reveals something altogether more complicated."

Technorati Tags: Canizares, Catholic Church, child abuse, Christianity, Holy See, Ireland, religion, Spain

Posted by Ruth Gledhill on May 30, 2009 at 08:46 AM in Child abuse | Permalink


The latest child abuse scandal is as Irish as it is Catholic
Posted By: Damian Thompson at May 28, 2009 at 17:14:00 [General]
Posted in: Religion

One of the most delicate questions surrounding the wicked child abuse by Irish Catholic clergy, brothers and nuns is this: how much of the abuse was Irish and how much of it was Catholic?

The question of Irishness has been hovering over the Catholic abuse scandals for years, ever since journalists noticed (but scarcely dared point out) that they seemed concentrated among the Irish Catholic diaspora of the United States, Canada and Australia. We always knew that terrible things happened in Ireland, too, though it was not until the publication of a 2,600-page report last week that we realised their extent.

The New York Times describes the horror of what happened in the reformatories run in the Irish republic by Catholic orders:

Tens of thousands of Irish children were sexually, physically and emotionally abused by nuns, priests and others [ie, brothers, the major offenders] over 60 years in a network of church-run residential schools meant to care for the poor, the vulnerable and the unwanted ... The 2,600-page report paints a picture of institutions run more like Dickensian orphanages than 20th-century schools, characterized by privation and cruelty that could be both casual and choreographed.

“A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions,” the report says. In the boys’ schools, it says, sexual abuse was “endemic.”

I've held off commenting on this subject. For one thing, I've been too angry at the way The Times of London decided to preface its coverage of Archbishop Nichols's installation with a report of a manufactured row over his (good) response to the Irish scandal. Granted, the Times's misjudgment is a very small matter compared to the decades of sadistic abuse to which Irish children were subjected; but I wasn't alone in detecting a vein of anti-Catholicism in the paper's reporting that further obscured matters. This is, after all, the organ whose religion correspondent earlier this year began a paragraph with the following words (which I have only just come across): "Note to His Holiness, not that he'll ever read it, isolated within his dark and painted necropolis atop the ancient pagan tombs of Rome ..."

The Times also keeps describing the Irish brothers who abused children as "clergy" or "monks". This ignorance matters enormously, because the fact that Christian Brothers and other lay religious are not clergy is crucial to understanding the vicious character of their reform schools.

Back to the original question: how Irish was the abuse and how Catholic? It should go without saying that these crimes are an utter perversion of Catholicism - but unfortunately it has to be said, because the hierarchical structures of the Church made it easy to conceal them, and religious arrogance and paranoia persuaded the authorities that they should be concealed. As the Child Abuse Commission concludes:

The documents revealed that sexual abusers were often long-term offenders who repeatedly abused children wherever they were working. Contrary to the Congregations’ claims that the recidivist nature of sexual offending was not understood, it is clear from the documented cases that they were aware of the propensity for abusers to re-abuse. The risk, however, was seen by the Congregations in terms of the potential for scandal and bad publicity should the abuse be disclosed. The danger to children was not taken into account.

No surprises there, I'm afraid. The Catholic authorities in America and Britain carried on moving around known sex offenders in the 1990s, after the scandal of paedophilia was in the public eye and the likelihood of re-offending was well established. The cases documented by the Irish report occurred at a time when bishops and Congregations of religious were a law unto themselves, because very few people cared about abuse and the Irish government allowed the Church to do pretty much what it liked.

I've just asked a well-informed commentator on Irish affairs about the respective influence of Irishness and Catholicism in this scandal. His reply was deliberately provocative: "The violence was Irish, the sex abuse was Catholic," he said.

He explained that Ireland has for centuries tolerated levels of domestic violence and alcoholism that are much higher than those in other Catholic cultures. There's no single, neat explanation for this - but the brutality of English colonial oppression certainly rubbed off on society. Rural Ireland until the 1970s was basically a Third World country; it still had a peasantry (thanks in part to the English) that was, by definition, very badly educated. We'll never know for sure how many fathers of families were violent drunks, but the proportion was high compared to most of Europe. And this is the culturally and intellectually impoverished class from which many of the Christian Brothers were recruited.

It's not just a liberal cliché to say that the cycle of violence works down the generations: the brothers from several Congregations were raised among violence and booze and behaved like their fathers, or their own abusive teachers, once they were in positions of authority themselves. Many of them were not particularly bright: if they had been, they might have become priests, though the chances of them joining the Jesuits - the main teaching order of priests - would have been slim. The Jesuits were middle-class and their discipline, although severe, was less purely sadistic and stupid than the corporal punishment handed out by the lay Congregations.

What did my colleague mean when he said that "the sexual abuse was Catholic"? It's an over-simplification, and he's referring to a Catholic problem rather than any aspect of authentic teaching, but here's one interpretation of the statement. The chief villains of the report are (mostly long dead) brothers who took vows but were not allowed to feel any vocation to the priesthood. Like many Irish priests, they were pushed by their families into celibacy, but enforced celibacy was not an aspect of Holy Orders. A sexually unstable brother was not restrained by a high religious calling, because in the eyes of society he had none. He was doubly trapped by the Church.

Of course, there were many priest abusers, too - and here we face the horrible paradox that the high religious calling, the unique prestige of the priesthood, enabled unscrupulous priests to abuse mostly teenage boys. But here my colleague's Irish violence/Catholic sex abuse theory does begin to break down, because clergy from Irish backgrounds are over-represented among priest abusers throughout the English-speaking world.

Last night I had supper with a distinguished American priest-scholar and made this point rather nervously. To my surprise, he agreed immediately. He said that the Irish didn't leave their legacy of domestic violence and alcohol behind them when they arrived in America; the phenomenon of the weak, drunken father persisted, and this reinforced the towering status of the priest in the Irish diaspora, enabling a minority of clergy - and it was never more than a small minority - to abuse spiritual power for sexual ends.

He added: "There's a particularly Irish Catholic culture of secrecy, too, partly rooted in a history of persecution, but also not unrelated to the corruption and back-room deals of Irish political life. That culture enabled abuse to happen, and to keep happening."

What a mess. I can't say that the consequences for the institutional Church are a high priority for me, or for any Catholic who has read this horrifying report. One of my friends is an Irish lady in her 60s whose life has been profoundly scarred by various forms of addiction - and no wonder: at the age of eight she was put into an "orphanage" where she was known by a number. She might as well have been in a concentration camp.

On the other hand, I was educated by Irish brothers (not Christian Brothers), most of them lovely men. Some of their predecessors may have been violent and ignorant, but not one of the brothers who taught me fitted that description. Their order once ran some brutal institutions in Ireland, and it will take courage for my old teachers to face up to the inevitable besmirching of their reputation and the wiping out - in the eyes of the public - of so much of their own good work. Which is precisely what Archbishop Vincent Nichols said last week.

But his main point was that the interests of the victims come first. Absolutely - and if, in the process of restitution, the Church is taken for a ride by a few con-artists, that's just too bad. For most graduates of these prison camps, this scandal has come to light far too late.

Abuse report: State officials stood by as thousands were raped

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Irish State officials stood idly by as thousands of children were subjected to a horrific litany of physical and sexual abuse in institutions run by religious orders.

The damning report by the Ryan Commission, published yesterday, found the Irish Department of Education did nothing to prevent a staggering cycle of abuse spanning more than half a century in the Republic.

But the findings failed to satisfy many victims who criticised the report for concealing the identities of abusers.

More than 1,000 victims also refused to give evidence or cooperate with two key committees set up by the commission amid claims that it was too adversarial and legalistic.

The report found government officials were aware of widespread physical, emotional and sexual trauma inflicted on children by Catholic priests, brothers and nuns. But instead of tackling the problem, complaints by parents and others were not properly investigated by the department.

The €60m report follows almost 10 years of work by the commission which dealt with complaints from former residents of predominantly Catholic institutions dating back to 1936.

More than 200 institutions and 1,800 reports of abuse were examined by the commission chaired by Mr Justice Sean Ryan.

But the inquiry was hampered by the unexplained disappearance of files on almost three-quarters of the children admitted to the institutions under investigation.

The report found:

l More than 25,000 children were sent to 55 industrial and reformatory schools — for ‘crimes’ such as missing school, committing offences or mainly because they were needy or poor — in the years between 1937 and 1978.

l Files related to 18,000 children sent to these schools and other church run institutions are missing from the Department of Education.

l Sexual abuse was endemic in boys’ institutions. It was identified as a “chronic” problem in industrial schools in Artane, Dublin and Letterfrack in Co Galway.

l Corporal punishment was widespread at institutions throughout the country and used in the belief that instilling fear in the pupils was essential to keep order.

l The “deferential” and “submissive” attitude of the Department of Education towards religious orders allowed the abuse to continue unchecked.

l The most vulnerable children — the poor, the abandoned, the neglected — suffered “disturbing” levels of abuse.

The commission also called for a memorial — inscribed with the words of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s 1999 apology to the victims of abuse — to be erected as permanent public acknowledgement of their experiences.

The launch of the report was marred by chaotic scenes at a Dublin hotel where some of the victims and groups representing them were denied access to the press conference launch.

The commission found the harshness of the regime was ingrained in the culture of the schools.

Corporal punishment was the option of first resort for breaches of discipline.

“Prolonged, excessive beatings with implements intended to cause maximum pain occurred with the knowledge of staff management. Individual brothers, priests or lay staff who were extreme in their punishments were tolerated by management and their behaviour was rarely challenged,” the commission found.

Children who absconded and were caught ended up being severely beaten, sometimes publicly. Some also had their heads shaved.

Neither the Department of Education nor the schools investigated the reasons children ran away — leading to cases of absconding related to chronic sexual or physical abuse going undetected.

The commission found that instead of investigating complaints the department “sought to protect and defend the religious congregations and the school”.

Department officials had a deferential and submissive attitude towards the religious orders which compromised their ability to carry out statutory monitoring and inspection of schools runs by the religious orders.

The report also found the system of funding of industrial schools helped perpetuate the problems. It found sexual abuse was “endemic” in boys’ institutions, but not in girls’ schools.

Documents uncovered by the commission found that sexual abusers were often long-term offenders who repeatedly abused children wherever they worked.

When confronted with evidence of sexual abuse, the response of the religious authorities was to transfer the offender to another location.

Religious orders covered up cases and were more worried about the potential for scandal and bad publicity than the danger to children.

Additional reporting by |Dearbhail McDonald, Eilish O’Regan and Fergus Black

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