So, after all that, all the Vatican has to say is that it is "dismayed'' at the "sinful and criminal acts'' of the Irish hierarchy and the abuses that same Vatican allowed it to inflict on men, women and children on this island of Ireland for decades.
As all our tribunals of inquiry show, no one is ever responsible for anything.
Former US President Harry Truman had a paperweight on his desk stating: "The buck stops here'', meaning in his role as president, he was ultimately responsible for all the decisions at all government levels in the name of his office.
Lest there be any doubt, the Irish hierarchy took its orders from Rome. The rules -- as if any were needed when basic humanity would dictate the victims should receive the full care and protection of their church-- about how to respond to victims of abuse, were decided by, among others, the current Pope and all his predecessors. Instead of showing Christian compassion they chose instead to use every means within their power to protect the abuser above all others.
I do not believe the current hierarchy can honestly claim they put the church's responsibility to the victims of abuse at the heart of their actions. Because, if they had, it is my belief that they'd have resigned and publicly stated the reason was because they could not condone the request from their superiors to force victims of abuse to remain silent and to then use the resources of the church to protect the abuser.
Nowhere in this report can I see where the religious admit the complete and utter lack of humanity they displayed for decades in their dealings with the people, who are in fact, the church. Men, woman and children who attend Mass every week, and who try their best to live their lives with the compassion their God asks of them, have experienced none of that compassion from their church in return.
The abuse was not just physical and emotional, it was financial too, because the biggest churches were usually built among the poorest communities, with the burden of the cost of the building and the maintenance of the priestly lifestyle placed on the backs of the parishioners.
It seems that this report was written by the Vatican legal team so as to ensure it could not be exposed to financial liability. This is even more shameful because of the fuller knowledge we now have about the scale of abuse. A scale of abuse inflicted with the full knowledge and active support of the religious authorities in Rome.
If the Catholic Church in Ireland really is repenting and accepting its sins then it must do so with no qualifications and acknowledge that the buck stops with the successor of St Peter himself.
Canary Wharf, London