'Pastoral Letter of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to the Catholics of Ireland'
It is curious that the Pope has a swipe at secularisation and Vatican II as contributory factors for priests adopting ‘ways of thinking…without sufficient reference to the Gospel’, as though all ages have not been antithetical or downright hostile to the Christian message. If the Hellenic world did not offer greater temptation to pederasty (to give it its proper name), it is difficult to blame the ‘liberal’ reforms of the 1960s and encroaching secularisation for the present manifestation of the phenomenon.
The Pope appears to suggest that
Were there no priestly pederasts prior to 21st November 1965?
The Pope talks of shame and remorse, doubtless with great sincerity, but it is a hollow apology which leaves the innocent victims still yearning for justice. There is passion and conviction in his words, but no action beyond the intention to dispatch a sort of curial Ofsted inspection team to visit unspecified dioceses.
And with a worldwide tsunami of allegations of child rape and torture, it was unfortunate that the Pope did not catholicise the problem. When he referred to the ‘inadequate response… on the part of the ecclesiastical authorities in your country’, he placed the blame squarely with the priests and bishops of Ireland: there are no deficiencies in the Vatican: in this instance, not so much as a solitary back-road leads to Rome. It is the Irish bishops and they alone who were obsessed with ‘a misplaced concern for the reputation of the Church and the avoidance of scandal’.
Addressing his ‘brother bishops’, he says unequivocally that some of them ‘failed, at times grievously, to apply the long-established norms of canon law to the crime of child abuse’. He talks of their ‘serious mistakes’, ‘grave errors of judgement’ and ‘failures of leadership’. All this, he says, ‘has seriously undermined (their) credibility and effectiveness’.
How can there be holiness, purification, reconciliation and ‘ecclesial and individual renewal’ while Cardinal Brady remains in charge? What would the Chief Exec of any other institution do to a fellow board member who had made ‘serious mistakes’, ‘grave errors’ and manifested such ‘failures of leadership’ that his credibility and effectiveness were ‘seriously undermined’?
How can Cardinal Brady not posses the humility to see that his mere presence is now hindering the mission of his church?
And how can the Pope demand that the bishops of Ireland cooperate fully with the civil authorities there when he does not despatch Cardinal Law back to Boston to face his long-delayed Missa Solemnis? Why are the bishops of Ireland thrown to the secular authorities while the erstwhile bishop of Boston continues to sing his Angelus three times a day like an innocent songbird in a gilded cage?