“We have to take an honest look at all the things that are in play. Is mandatory celibacy wise or even theologically sound?”
The two reports on abuse published in Ireland run to over 2,500 pages. The Ryan report examined the abuse which took place in institutions, while the Murphy report focused on the abuse that took place in the Diocese of Dublin. The details are graphic, violent and gruesome. T
The Times article describes that parts of the reports “read like a cross between Charles Dickens and Dan Brown: ‘I was beaten and hospitalized by the head brother and not allowed to go to my father’s funeral in case my bruises were seen’ and ‘I was tied to a cross and raped while others masturbated at the side.””
Pope Benedict’s plan for rebuilding the Catholic Church in Ireland as well as the visitation from outside Ireland includes prayer, fasting and engaging in “Eucharistic adoration.” The “Times” article asks, “Do the church authorities get it?”
They illustrate this point through Marie Collins’ case. Collins was abused, during the 1960s, when she was 13-years-old while in hospital.
She said, “I had no idea what he was doing, but I knew it was wrong. He might abuse me one night, then give me communion in the morning.”
Now 64, she spent years dealing with depression, anxiety and agoraphobia. When she finally spoke out about the abuse in her late thirties she was told that “she may have tempted the other priest.”
She eventually wrote to the then Archbishop of Dublin Desmond Connell. She was told not to “ruin his life.”
With help from the police her abuser, a Father McGennis, was imprisoned. The publication of the Murphy Report proved that the church knew about McGennis’ behavior over the years. Collins wanted the church to be held accountable.
Last year it was revealed that Cardinal Sean Brady, the head of the Irish church, participated in the 1975 cover-up of the notorious Fr. Brendan Smyth. He was not forced to resign. Collins said, “That means the church here in Ireland is being led by a man who will not be accountable.”
Referring to Pope Benedict’s Pastoral letter and rebuilding the church she said, “Prayer and adoration of the eucharist is fine…but we have had the Pope on a number of occasions saying how shocked he is by revelations of abuse around the world. It’s hard to take that seriously when we know that as Cardinal Ratzinger, in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he saw the abuse reports.”
She continued, “I don’t practice as a Catholic anymore. It’s so hard to reconcile what the men at the top do with what Jesus preached.”