Church sexual abuse cover-up

Separate church from all public services Over a ten year period, Derry priest John McCullagh, abused a young girl who was a member of a family he had befriended. With a horrifying regularity, more and more of these stories are being uncovered across the island North and South and internationally.

These disgraceful instances have been compounded by the official policy of the Catholic Church, which systematically covered up the actions of abusers in order to preserve the control and authority of the Church. By simply moving paedophile priests to other areas, the Catholic Church hierarchy facilitated the abuse of even more children.

However, this cover up didn’t stop at relocating the abuser. It also involved pressurising victims, some still children, into enforced silence about what had happened to them. Cardinal Brady procured signed vows of silence from two teenagers aged 14 and 15 to facilitate the cover up of sexual abuse by Fr. Brendan Smyth. Instead of reporting Smyth, this cover up allowed him to continue abusing until 1993 – 28 years after Cardinal Brady first uncovered Smyth sexually abusing children!
These confidentiality clauses were also extended where the victims had been willing to take the issue to court. In one case, in Brady’s own diocese of Armagh, Fr Joseph Quinn raped a woman in 1997. The case was settled out of court with no admission of guilt with the victim bound to silence. Under canon law, Quinn was stripped of the ministry – an obvious indication they were fully aware that he was guilty.

The hypocrisy of politicians like Martin McGuinness who called on Brady to “consider his position” while Sinn Fein has also effectively covered up cases of sexual abuse is itself nauseating.
What is needed is a full and open public enquiry with an end to all secrecy or confidentiality clauses on victims and their families. The notes and records of canon trials carried out by the Church should be handed over to this enquiry. Victims of abuse should be compensated for the trauma they were forced to endure. Compensation should be paid from the assets of the Church, not the state. Resignations of clergy involved in covering up abuse are not enough. Religious institutions should be kept separate from all public services and the state. While guaranteeing people’s right to religious freedom, services such as education should be run democratically by staff, parents and students, free from religious institutions.

UNITE – Lift the gag!
While the Catholic Church is being forced to lift the gagging clauses on victims of sexual abuse, the sacked Belfast airport shop stewards who fought a marvellous battle against their employer ICTS and their union leadership for justice, continue to be legally forbidden to speak out about their case after being forced to sign a gagging clause insisted on by Tony Woodley and Jimmy Kelly. Shop steward and Socialist Party member Madan Gupta, has now called on “Unite joint General Secretaries, Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson, to remove the gagging clause on Gordon McNeill, Chris Bowyer and myself and reinstate our right to free speech.”

Total
0
Shares
Previous Article

No school closures

Next Article

Eurozone crisis, capitalist conflicts and class struggles

Related Posts

Privatisation and cuts to blame for water crisis


The crisis surrounding NI Water (NIW) that unfolded over Christmas rocked the Assembly Executive. While the Socialist Party has been vindicated in warning this type of fiasco would occur as a result of the creation of NI Water and the process of privatisation of the water service, we take no pleasure from the suffering it caused to thousands of ordinary people. The Socialist Party has consistently argued that the back-door privatisation of the service via Public Private Partnerships (PPP) greatly increased the potential for such a crisis.

Hundredth anniversary of International Women’s Day

A century of struggle

At its very beginning, in the early 20th century, International Women’s Day – the 8th of March - was a day of struggle for working women. Nowadays it has largely been hijacked by the capitalist establishment as a ceremonial and sometimes highly commercial affair. Much has happened over time, providing welcome proof that women’s oppression can be fought and pushed back, but despite this, the oppression rooted in society continues. Indeed, in the past years many earlier conquests for women have been lost as a result of the crisis of capitalism.

Copenhagen cop-out – “a historic failure that will live in infamy”

The UN conference on climate change (Cop15), held in Copenhagen 7-18 December, was a fiasco. The Independent called it “a historic failure that will live in infamy”. After years of preparation, the representatives of 193 countries discussed and wrangled for two weeks. In the closing hours, leaders such as Barak Obama and Wen Jinbao (and Gordon Brown) flew in, supposedly to break the deadlock. All of them accepted the urgency of reaching agreement. Unless global warming is limited to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, the planet faces catastrophe. But no agreement was reached, let alone the framework for a binding international treaty, Cop15’s original aim. Backroom discussions between the US, China and a handful of neo-colonial states (Brazil, India, South Africa, etc) produced an ‘accord’ – a brief memo of vague aims and even vaguer pledges. Completely sidelined, the Cop15 assembly merely ‘noted’ the accord. Almost immediately, China’s representative, Su Wei, announced that, as it was not a formal UN agreement, China reserved the right to repudiate even the accord.