Sunday 30 April 2017

Long history of State's failure to act on child abuse

CONOR CRUISE O'BRIEN

I have been reading with some care the current number of Studies, featuring 'Scandals in the Church: the Irish Response'. 'Scandals in the Church' consists of an Editorial followed by six articles, all interesting but of uneven merit.

The impressive Editorial sets out the reasons which led the Editor to devote so much attention to the painful subject.

Having considered the argument that the problem may have been exaggerated, the Editorial goes on: "However, what has angered people as much as the sexual abuse itself is the manner in which the Bishops and religious superiors dealt with the issue and their attitudes towards the activity itself that seemed to take no cognizance of the damage that physical and sexual abuse inflicted on the victim. It was as if the abuser was the person who sustained damage because he sinned by indulging in illicit sexual pleasure. This theology did not help the Church to respond adequately to the situation as it paid too much attention to the impact of sin on the sinner and too little to the damage done to the person sinned against."

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