Church in a state of deep denial

NO sane and rational person could listen to Msgr Maurice Dooley justify what Cardinal Brady did without being agog (RTÉ, March 15).

But we should not dismiss the monsignor’s ravings as he personifies just how deep the level of denial is within the church about what it has done and what it needs to do to regain people’s respect.

Like a cornered rat, the church will now strike out at anyone who dares to try hold it to account.

The real tragedy for so many of its victims is that, in a properly functioning democracy like, say, France, where quite rightly there is a separation between church and state, those victims might have at least expected the state to protect them.

No such protection would be afforded to them in Ireland. Even if someone had gone to the gardaí in 1975, all that would have happened was that they would have gone to speak in secret to the bishop who would have told them what to do and the they would have accepted their orders. Ditto for the nuns.

We can be sure what we know is only the tip of the iceberg and until all church files are handed over to the state without exception, we will never really know the scale of abuse that was covered up. Unfortunately, the politicians are so flawed Taoiseach Cowen can’t even muster the dignity to recognise his office has a responsibility to fill some of the void exposed by the church’s defence of child abusers. Cowen’s own political DNA is so flawed he can’t understand the concept that those in positions of power must be held responsible for their actions ... he even lacks the moral authority to call on someone like Brady to resign.

If Irish people have learnt anything over the past few years, as every pillar of society was shown to be rotten to the core, it must be that there is no one to lead the country in finding a new dignity.

Such a journey has to be taken by each Irish citizen because as hideous as the abuses and corruption are, the cold truth is they get away with it because we let them get away with it.

So next time you hand over money in a church or think there’s nothing wrong with supporting a Fianna Fáil candidate, look at the emotional, financial and physical wreckage all around you if you doubt the consequences of such actions.

Desmond FitzGerald

Canary Wharf

London

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