Bruce Arnold: Murphy Report failed to address our absurd laws
Canon Law was a concept affecting Ireland by influence rather than application -- and the influence was huge
When the Murphy report was published, Justice Minister Dermot Ahern made his pithy but pointless remark that "a collar will protect no criminal". He also asked us to reflect on how the culture of deference to the Church came about. He did this, knowing that neither statements would be tested. He also knew that no one in power would reflect meaningfully on the culture of deference.
Within 48 hours, it became clear the State would play a limited role in the disciplining of the Church, through further investigation of the protection given to abusing priests, since the legal framework for this was inadequate.