Who knows about Father Marmion's crimes? Who covered it up? The truth is coming out and a house of cards may come crashing down.
If there is one august institution in Irish high school education it is Belvedere College, located near Dublin’s city center, which boasts James Joyce and Eamon de Valera as past pupils among a plethora of graduates influential in the major professions.
As the college’s own website boasts, “Many past pupils have become leaders in medicine, politics, the church, law, finance, academia, as well as in the arts, drama, and literature.”
Graduates of “Belvo” are usually primed for higher achievement, and the Jesuit school with 1,000 or so pupils is a privileged bastion in Irish education with an old boy network second to none.
But now Belvedere has been rocked by a major clerical sex scandal that took place in the 1970s when a pedophile priest freely operated and was covered up for.
The sex scandal was an unwelcome visitor from a filthy past. Questions now being asked include how deep will this latest scandal go and who was involved in the cover-up even up to recent times before an inquiry was finally established.
Perhaps it is fitting that a school which claims on its alma mater list both de Valera, who did so much to perpetuate the power and the glory of the Catholic Church and Joyce, who once was prefect of the Holy Sodality there but later told his wife Nora Barnacle that during his time at Belvedere, in around 1898, he "left the Catholic Church, hating it most fervently," should have a pedophile scandal.
As the temperatures cooled in Ireland from the recent heatwave, the mule kick of this scandal hit home with the admission by the Jesuits that a priest had run amok in the 1970s abusing young boys, but credible allegations against him in 1977 had been ignored.
Father Joseph Marmion is now dead, but his wicked deeds have suddenly sprung to life as a result of a long-overdue investigative probe.
The sting of such a major pedophile scandal will penetrate very deeply into the Irish establishment.
Even the Jesuits, the one order many would expect better from, are now finally entrapped in the never-ending roll of shame involving sexual abuse of young boys and girls by members of the clergy.
The Irish Times lead story on Monday reported, “Last night, the Jesuits said the sexual abuse of pupils at the Dublin school was a ‘shameful’ chapter in the order’s history, following the disclosure of some of the draft contents of an inquiry into the affair.”
The statement made clear the Jesuit order accepted that Marmion had abused boys sexually, emotionally, and physically while he was on the teaching staff at Belvedere College in the 1970s.
Even worse, after the allegations were made, Marmion was reassigned to a plum job with the Jesuit order in France and came back to Ireland where he completed his career as a hospital chaplain and died in good standing.
The question is who enabled the pedophilia, who covered it up, and who on the highly influential school board of directors knew and said nothing down through the years to the present day.
Yet again, another dirty little secret from within the bowels of the church has come to light, considered so significant it was the lead story in The Irish Times.
As always for too long, the abused victims were shunted aside for the greater concerns of the high and mighty. But that particular house of cards cover-up has now come crashing down.
Somewhere James Joyce is nodding in approval that the truth is coming out.