Catholic teachings on sexual morality In and before the accepted norm in the Irish Church was that its priesthood was celibate and chaste , and homosexuality was both a sin and a crime. Therefore, it came as a considerable surprise when the Irish media started to report allegations of lapses in these aspects of the priesthood itself.
The Church's high stated standards had also led on in part to the Ann Lovett tragedy and the Kerry Babies case in A series of television documentaries in the s and s, such as "Suffer the children" UTV , ,  Suing the Pope or The Magdalene Sisters , led on to the need for a series of government-sponsored reports and new guidelines within the Church and society to better protect children.
In — the emergence of the same problem in the USA led to the view that the Church had attempted to cover up abuse and misconduct, and was not limited to sexual abuse see Catholic sex abuse cases in the United States. By the late s the misconduct was recognised as a worldwide scandal. Ledwith was promoted to President of St Patrick's Seminary despite the allegations. He subsequently resigned as President in when allegations of sexual abuse resurfaced.
In June , the bishops commissioned Denis McCullough to investigate allegations reported in The Irish Times that the bishops had not responded adequately to complaints of sexual harassment of seminarians at Maynooth College in the early s. McCullough's report, published on 16 June , found that, while the seminarians had not complained directly to the bishops regarding Ledwith's alleged sexual abuse, "concerns of apparent propensities rather than accusations of actual crime or specific offences" had been communicated to the bishops by the senior dean of the college.
McCullough concluded "that to have rejected the senior dean's concerns so completely and so abruptly without any adequate investigation may have been too precipitate, although, of course, to investigate in any very full or substantial manner, a generic complaint regarding a person's apparent propensities would have been difficult".
Smyth was wanted for prosecution in Northern Ireland and took refuge in a monastery in the Republic of Ireland.
He was arrested in ; however, Ireland's Attorney General did not immediately comply with a request from the Royal Ulster Constabulary for Smyth's extradition. The church's subsequent failure to deal with Smyth gave him the opportunity to abuse more children. In the s, a series of television programs publicised allegations of systemic abuse in Ireland's Roman Catholic-run childcare system, primarily in the Reformatory and Industrial Schools. The abuse occurred primarily between the s and s.
Sex in a Cold Climate and Sinners". Response of the Irish government to the scandal[ edit ] In response to the furore aroused by the media reports, the Irish government commissioned a study which took nine years to complete. On 20 May , the commission released its page report,[ citation needed ] which drew on testimony from thousands of former inmates and officials from more than church-run institutions.
The commission found that Catholic priests and nuns had terrorised thousands of boys and girls for decades and that government inspectors had failed to stop the chronic beatings, rapes and humiliation. The report characterised rape and molestation as "endemic" in Irish Catholic church-run industrial schools and orphanages.
Most of the money was raised from church property transfers to the State. The agreement stipulated that all those who accepted the monetary settlements had to waive their right to sue both the church and the government. The identities of the abusers was also to be kept secret. In the Church set up the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland NBSC to suggest ways to safeguard children, improvements in policy and to monitor practices and observance of policy.
In the Health Service Executive had required a child safety audit which the Bishops felt unable to co-operate with for legal reasons, and in they asked the NBSC to perform this role. In its report on —11 to the end of March the NBSC complained that it had also been denied the same information, also for legal reasons, and that Church funding for its training programmes in child protection had ended in The —11 report listed new allegations of abuse, mainly "of a historical nature", up from allegations in its —10 report.
The film followed Colm O'Gorman as he investigated the story of how Fortune was allowed to abuse him and countless other teenage boys. On 1 April , Brendan Comiskey , Bishop of Ferns , resigned over charges that he had failed to deal adequately with allegations that Fortune and others were sexually abusing children.
Cardinal Secrets which charged Dublin's Cardinal Desmond Connell with mishandling the sex abuse scandal and accusing him of participating in a deliberate cover-up of facts.
The Murphy Report found that Connell had handled the affair "badly" as he was "slow to recognise the seriousness of the situation". The investigation was established in the wake of the broadcast of the BBC Television documentary, titled "Suing the Pope". O'Gorman, through One in Four , the organisation he founded to support women and men who have experienced sexual violence, successfully campaigned for the Ferns Inquiry. The Ferns Inquiry recorded its revulsion at the extent, severity and duration of the child sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated on children by priests acting under the aegis of the Diocese of Ferns.
Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse A lengthy report detailing cases of emotional, physical and sexual abuse of thousands of children over 70 years was published on 20 May The report drew on the testimony of nearly 2, witnesses, men and women who attended more than Catholic-run schools from the s until the s.
Their abusers' identities are also kept secret. Response of government[ edit ] Ireland's national police force announced that they would study the report to see if it provided any new evidence for prosecuting clerics for assault, rape or other criminal offences.
The report, however, did not identify any abusers by name because of a right-to-privacy lawsuit by the Christian Brothers. Shamed by the extent, length, and cruelty of child abuse, Ireland's former Prime Minister Brian Cowen apologised to victims for the government's failure to intervene in endemic sexual abuse and severe beatings in schools for much of the 20th century.
He also promised to reform the Ireland's social services for children in line with the recommendations of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse report. Ecclesiastical response to Catholic sex abuse cases The highest-ranked official of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin slammed Irish Catholic orders for concealing their culpability in decades of child abuse, and said they needed to come up with much more money to compensate victims.
The bishops spent a major portion of their 8—10 June meeting discussing a report from the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, published 20 May under chairman Sean Ryan. The commission found that church institutions failed to prevent an extensive level of sexual, physical and emotional abuse and neglect.
In a joint statement, the bishops said that, "the Ryan report represents the most recent disturbing indictment of a culture that was prevalent in the Catholic Church in Ireland for far too long. Heinous crimes were perpetrated against the most innocent and vulnerable, and vile acts with life-lasting effects were carried out under the guise of the mission of Jesus Christ.
This abuse represents a serious betrayal of the trust which was placed in the church. Sadness over the "suffering of so many for so long. The intention to respond as pastors "despite the inadequacies at times of our previous pastoral responses. Response by religious institutes[ edit ] Following a 4 June , meeting with the Irish government, the 18 Irish religious institutes implicated in the abuse have agreed to increase their contribution to the compensation fund for victims.
The religious institutes also agreed to an independent audit of their assets, so that their ability to pay further compensation can be determined.
In a joint statement following the meeting, the religious institutes said they were willing "to make financial and other contributions toward a broad range of measures, designed to alleviate the hurt caused to people who were abused in their care.
And the control was really all about sex. It's not difficult to understand how the whole system became riddled with what we now call a scandal but in fact was a complete culture. Collins was later told that McGennis had admitted abusing children. McGennis was nevertheless convicted and gaoled.
Collins subsequently received an apology from Connell. In November , an independent report  commissioned by the Irish government investigated the way in which the church dealt with allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests over the period to All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities. The Archdiocese did not implement its own canon law rules and did its best to avoid any application of the law of the State".
Diocese of Ferns[ edit ] Main article: Ferns Report On 22 October a government-commissioned report compiled by a former Irish Supreme Court judge delivered an indictment of the handling of clerical sex abuse in the Irish diocese of Ferns. Archdiocese of Tuam[ edit ] Main articles: Elizabeth Healy and Dr. Eleven brothers and seven other staff members were alleged to have abused intellectually disabled children in residential care in the period — A review  that was published on 30 November , into the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations in the Diocese of Tuam has praised Archbishop Neary for his actions.
The report said serious harm was done to children by a few priests of the archdiocese but Dr Neary met allegations "with a steadily serious approach, taking appropriate action under existing guidelines, and rapidly assimilating the lesson of the necessity for the removal of the priest, where there is a credible allegation, pending investigation. The report added that "It is also a fair reflection to say that the archbishop has met resistance in asking a priest to step aside from public ministry.
Neary said "This is an enormous tribute to all working in this area. It is very encouraging to see that their work has been recognised, affirmed and appreciated in the report. Sexual abuse in Cloyne diocese In , bishop John Magee found himself at the centre of a controversy surrounding his mishandling of child sex abuse cases in the diocese of Cloyne.
It transpired that he had failed to implement self-regulatory procedures agreed by the bishops of Ireland in In February , the Irish Government had referred two allegations of child sex abuse to the National Board for Child Protection, an independent supervisory body established by the Irish bishops.
When the chief executive of that body made contact with the diocese on the matter, he was met with lack of co-operation. Meetings held with him and representatives of the diocese in March failed to elicit his full co-operation with the National Board for Child Protection's investigation. Magee said that he would use the time to "devote the necessary time and energy to cooperating fully with the government Commission of Inquiry into child protection practices and procedures in the diocese of Cloyne".
On 24 March it was announced by the Holy See that Bishop Magee had formally resigned from his duties as Bishop of Cloyne and was now bishop emeritus. Hegarty's replacement Bishop Boyce , and the Irish hierarchy, criticised a media article that claimed that "There were hundreds and hundreds of victims, and they were abused again and again while the church actively prevented investigations by the civil authorities".