The apology from Monsignor Denis O’Callaghan this week only made things worse for the Irish Catholic Church this week. It also illustrated the attitudes which allowed the sexual abuse of children to become such a massive problem in Ireland.
O’Callaghan stated that he “should have resigned” because he did not agree with the 1996 guidelines on child protection. He went on to say that he felt whether or not allegations of sexual abuse should or should not have been reported should have been left to his discretion.
He said that some of the priests who were being accused were terminally ill and the abuse had occurred 30 or 40 years ago. In other words he was voicing the opinion that everyone now knows was the Church’s attitude for decades in Ireland.
They believed they were above the law and they could police themselves. The very fact that so few of these priests have ended up in jail just shows how right they were.
For a cleric to have the nerve to come forward and voice these kinds of views shows what arrogance there was within the Church and that these attitudes continue.
Thankfully the Archbishop Dermot Clifford, who is now at the head of the Cloyne diocese, came forward after the publication of O’Callaghan’s letter in the Irish Catholic newspaper and essentially put a gagging order on the Monsignor.
In his statement he said that O’Callaghan’s take on the matter was “not a sufficient response” and does “not provide for a proper investigation of the complaints whether by state or church authorities."
He also warned O’Callaghan to “refrain from any further public comment on this controversy.”
Most importantly he also said O’Callaghan’s comments were causing “distress and hurt to victims of child sexual abuse and their families.”
To think that this is meant to be the beginning of reform within the Church and priest who should be charged with endangerment to children and for concealing evidence from the police sees no qualms in voicing these view shows just how far the Catholic Church in Ireland has to go.