Posted by Niall O'Dowd at 6/5/2009 11:36 AM EDT
The Irish Bishops have met the pope in Rome today to discuss the horrific child abuse scandal in Ireland. I wouldn't hold my breath that much will change.
This pope has his own issues on the topic, notably allowing Cardinal Bernard Law who oversaw rampant abuse in Boston to come to the Vatican and take up an exalted position there.
In fairness, he spoke out passionately in Australia and America in recent visits about the shocking behavior of his fellow priests who disgraced the cloth -- but there is still a lurking sense that the church does not quite "get it."
Let me introduce them to someone who does -- a close relative in Ireland, a lifelong Mass-goer and communicant who has just given up the Holy Ghost. He no longer is attending Mass, so disgusted was he about what came out in the past few weeks.
He and many others suddenly realize just how dangerous a place Ireland was growing up in the fifties and sixties -- pedophilia and physical abuse of children among the clergy was rampant. The idyllic Ireland of "The Quiet Man" masked a deep and terrifying secret for thousands of Irish children.
The cover-up has now gone right to the top in the Vatican because the truth is too hurtful to face. In Ireland it is now clear over 1,000 pedophiles in clerical garb preyed on children who were the most vulnerable in society, those without parents or from broken homes.
The religious orders at least did the decent thing after Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen forced them to this week -- when they agreed to make much more money available as compensation for the victims.
But there will be more revelations, including I believe, testimony that actual murders occurred, not surprising when you think of the merciless beatings that young children took.
The sad part, as I can attest to, is that there were very many fine brothers, nuns and priests who will be forever tarred with this hideous brush.
Even the pope himself can not wash away that stain.