Tag Archives: Cardinal Sean Brady

Bears and woods

There in a scene described in the New Testament where Jesus, having been asked who will be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, calls a small child to him, and tells his disciples “This kid is, and you guys need to become more like little kids, and furthermore, anyone who hurts little kids should have a big stone hung round his neck and dropped into the deepest part of the sea, am I clear?”

(I’m paraphrasing.)

Pope FrancisNo one knows how many priests in the Roman Catholic Church have abused children and are still active as priests in their communities. In each diocese, there are files on the priests who worked there which would make that clear if all of them were opened up, but the Catholic Church has steadily refused to do that.

Four hundred priests who have been accused of child molestation by the secular law authorities have been defrocked. I know of no instance where the Church has defrocked a priest and turned him and the evidence they had uncovered of his abuse of children over to the secular law authorities so that the legal authorities could act.
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Our bodies, our choices

Seven thoughts about abortion:

  • All prolifers I’ve ever discussed abortion with, live in countries where women have access to safe legal abortion.
  • No prolifer who’s ever given me their views on abortion has had any informed views on what would happen if women in their country no longer had access to safe legal abortion.
  • The best person to judge if an abortion is necessary is almost invariably the woman who is pregnant.
  • In the rare exceptions to point three, the better judges of whether an abortion is necessary have medical training and are medically responsible for the health and wellbeing of the pregnant woman as their patient.
  • No woman who knew she needed an abortion ever refused to have what she needed.
  • No man who cared for a woman ever wanted her to be hurt or die doing without what she needed.
  • Prolife arguments for making abortion illegal are never about preventing abortions: only about making abortions more difficult, expensive, and dangerous.

Abortion was decriminalised in England, Scotland, and Wales in 1967. No one much younger than sixty can have direct personal memories of what it was like to live in a country where the law said that unless a girl or a woman was going to die when she was forced to have the baby.
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Making invisible the victims of child abuse

Cardinal Sean Brady In June 2012, Cardinal Brady – who in 1975 had let a child abuser loose to prey on further victimspublicly if not very personally apologised:

Cardinal Sean Brady has said it is “a matter of deep shame” that the Catholic Church did not always respond properly to victims of child abuse.

The Catholic primate of all Ireland was delivering a homily at the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin.

He said he wanted to ask for the forgiveness of abuse victims.

He said the church had “first betrayed their trust and then failed to respond adequately to their pain”.

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When is an abortion not an abortion?

Twenty years ago the Irish government, in the person of Attorney General Harry Whelehan, sought to take custody of a child made pregnant by rape, because she needed to have an abortion and the Irish government thought it entitled to prevent that: their intention was to force the child to have the rapist’s baby.

This became the “X” case, and on appeal, the Supreme Court of Ireland ruled that the Irish government did not have the right to force a woman through pregnancy/childbirth at the risk of her life – and that risk to her life included her suicide. (Note: edited substantially. I’d misremembered the chronology quite seriously. My apologies.)

Nothing has been done in the twenty years since: the Irish government claims there are no lawful abortions in Ireland, prolifers claim this proves abortion is never medically necessary, and women silently vote with their feet.

The ECHR has ruled:

  • first, anyone may leave their prolife country to have an abortion if they wish and the prolife government is not allowed to prevent them; and,
  • second, that the Irish government must take steps to be sure that a pregnant girl or woman whose life is in danger can have an abortion in Ireland.

The first part the Irish government couldn’t stop, but the second – this the Irish government still refuse to do. Action on X is a campaigning group trying to bring about a change in the law in Ireland. Cardinal Sean Brady, who cares so much for children, is against it.

(There is an agreement that Northern Ireland, while part of the UK, will not pass legislation that would put it significantly out of step with the Republic of Ireland. As I understand it, it’s this agreement that makes it improbable that Northern Ireland will make abortion legal so that women living in NI can have abortions where they live, on the NHS, as they would if they lived in any other part of the UK. Put simply, if abortion was legal in Northern Ireland, women in the Republic of Ireland who needed an abortion would head north to the Six Counties, much cheaper and much less inconvenient for them than going over to London or Liverpool – but also very openly, Northern Ireland would be doing for the women of all Ireland what the Irish Republic will not do for their own citizens – though many think they should.)

how not to be a ‘legitimate’ rape victim:

When I was in eighth grade, a classmate – let’s call her Anna — said that she’d been raped. She told me during lunch at our desks, tipping her chair until it seemed she might fall over. It happened on a rocky lakeshore. The man came off a boat that was anchored nearby and she could hear voices yelling to him in the darkness. She was freezing. When it was over, he threw her jeans in the water and said, “I hope you get pregnant.”

Abortion has been legal in Ireland only on the most tightly-defined grounds, but where it is legal, it is obtainable. Only when an Irish hospital can be absolutely certain that the woman will not survive unless the abortion is performed and the fetus will never be viable.
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The Eucharistic Congress and the cardinal cover-up

There is a ring around the world

Today, the 50th Eucharistic Congress begins in Dublin. From the Catholic Free Press:

The Vatican official who will act as papal legate for the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin defended marriage based on the church’s traditional teaching and urged Catholics to use the resource of the family to confront the challenges of secularized societies.

That’s Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Canada, who’s head of the Congregation for Bishops as well as the Pope’s representative to this Congress in Ireland. (L’Association des Victimes de Prêtres, in Quebec, says that Ouellet has been consistently silent about the victims of abusive priests, despite repeatedly being asked to help repair the damage. Oellet is of course willing to speak out to protect “unborn” children. Once they’re born, though…)

It ensnares the little Ones

From the Irish Times:

In relation to the most painful of those issues, the sex abuse crisis, Cardinal Ouellet was unsure whether he would be meeting abuse survivors while in Dublin, saying it was a delicate, sensitive issue.

Recently, the Italian bishops’ conference affirmed that a bishop had no legal obligation to report a paedophile priest to police. But is there not a “moral” obligation?

“Regarding sexual abuse of children, the main concern of the church is the protection of children. For this reason, full co-operation between church and civil authorities is a moral obligation when concerning the protection of minors. This co-operation has to be developed according to the laws of each individual country.”

As these priests and bishops fall

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Cardinal Brady is shocked

In 1975, Father Sean Brady had no idea what to do when an 11-year-old boy told him that an adult man had had sex with him, because “no State or Church guidelines for responding to allegations of child abuse existed in Ireland”. Apparently none of the Church hierarchy above Father Brady, now Cardinal Brady, had any idea what to do either.

According to Monsignor Charles J. Scicluna, speaking in 2010 as the “promoter of justice” or the prosecutor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which was once called the Holy Office or the Inquisition, very clear guidelines had existed since 1922, republished and distributed in 1962: the responsible clerical authority should order an investigation and if the accusation of delicta graviora was proved well-founded (the Congregation’s job is to investigate delicta graviora, which include sexual crimes committed by a cleric against a person under the age of eighteen) then the clerical authorities should refer the priest to the Congregation.

Reading Cardinal Brady’s statement exculpating himself, I was reminded of Monsignor William Lynn, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Downingtown, Philadelphia, who was arrested in February 2012, indicted in mid-March and is now on administrative leave.

From Rolling Stone:

At 60, Lynn is portly and dignified, his thin lips pressed together and his double chin held high. In a dramatic fashion statement, he alone has chosen to wear his black clerical garb today, a startling reminder that this is a priest on trial, a revered representative of the Catholic Church, not to mention a high-ranking official in Philadelphia’s archdiocese.

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