A leading Catholic lay figure I know who is a deeply compassionate and caring man gives a different read on the church crisis in Ireland than you will read anywhere else.

His points are thought provoking.

Essentially, he says the reason the matter of child abuse got out of hand can be found at the very kernel of the meaning of being a Catholic priest.

"The entire philosophy is based on forgiveness, whether it is confession or in daily life" he says." They are thought first and foremost in the seminary that Jesus forgave even the most dreadful of sins."

He argues that when fellow priests and bishops were faced with men who had abused children, their initial response was to forgive, as they had been trained to do all their church lives.

He says, categorically, that it was the wrong response, However, he says the fact that they knew the guilty men, that the men probably pleaded for forgiveness, that, as in any body of men attracted to the same mission, they felt deeply about them, then forgiveness seemed a viable and often best option.

He is not denying that was not the motive of many who feared the damage for the church first and foremost not the victims.

But he believes many who allowed the priests back into practice were motivated by the aspect of the church's teachings, most stressed by the teaching of Jesus, the ability to forgive.

However, he believes it may come down to the American church to save the Irish one, which essentially created the American church from their own history of priests emigrating here.

Several bishops from America, including Egan in New York and O'Malley in Boston have been called in to staunch the tide.

The heart of it my friend says must be the American principle of no more cover ups, but he says it is vital that the aspect of forgiveness not be overlooked as a factor in the massive scandal that has ensued.

"I think many were not bad men, but misguided, who had the aspect of forgiveness as their main reason for allowing bad priests to continue. I do not believe they covered up in order to endanger children but they believed the offending priest could be made to see the error of his ways and change his life."

There you have it, interesting and thought provoking as I said.