George V. Reilly

Child Abuse in Ireland

Irish Reformatory

Nine years ago, the Ryan Commission was set up to produce a report on physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of children in Catholic Church–run re­for­ma­to­ries in Ireland. This week, they released a 2600-page report detailing abuse to tens of thousands of children from the 1930s to the 1990s. The abuse and violence were systemic and in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized, if not universal, and they were hushed up and overlooked for decades. The stories of the abused, in their own words, make for horrifying reading. It’s a national disgrace.

The Christian Brothers come off the worst of the many religious orders who are implicated. Even in their day schools, they long had a reputation as brutal and thuggish. Most of the religious orders are still trying to evade re­spon­si­bil­i­ty and show little appetite for serious reform.

By no means every priest, nun, or brother was a paedophile or a sadist, but there were so many of them for so long with so little done to stop them, that it’s clear that there’s something rotten in the Catholic Church. Part of it is surely the chastity re­quire­men­t—the Protestant churches have fewer pae­dophiles.

Fie on them.

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