Sunday 18 March 2018


Marie-Louise O'Donnell


You did your duty

Was not that what you said

'I did my duty'

And what was your duty? I ask

'To take notes'


Was that the limit and the boundary of your duty?

Was that the world of your canon law duty?

Was that the universe of your moral duty?

Was that the sky of your human duty?

To take notes like a runner with a pen and a satchel.

'I was dispatched to take notes'

But was that a duty at all?


Can you re-imagine re-member,

Or do you ever re-imagine or re-member the writing down of such notes?

Notes carefully scribed in your long hand.

Notes made in fountain pen in the big heavy signed silenced room.

Notes written across the table from the young boy.

Full stops and commas at the ecclesiastic ready of the young boy's life.

Full stops and commas that would become the young boy's life.

'I was the notary'

But what were you writing down, Cardinal?

I ask you once again

What were you writing down?

You may have forgotten or decided not to remember.

Let me help you remember, and it is the reason you must resign.

You were writing down profound evil carried out against innocence.

You were writing down the violation of children.

You were writing down the burial of spirit.

You were writing down the death of youth.

You were writing down wanton violence.

You were writing down power perverted.

You were writing down human desecration.

You were writing down the burial of beauty.

You were writing down hell.

You were writing down the antithesis of what your great church

is meant to be

is meant to represent.

You were writing down A Paradise Lost.

If you did not know

the enormity of such dark decadent and brutal crimes

against the innocent at that time

You cannot know it now.

You cannot know it now,

despite all your canonical laws,

church education

and decades past.

Neither time nor age nor experience teaches you this eternal sin against children.

The veined and bloodied order of your human heart and mind and imagination does.

In some way Cardinal you are still writing it down.

So great were these crimes against the lives and heartbeat of children that

No definition of duty

No ecclesiastical caste system

No hierarchical man-made robed structures

No ringed or mitred power

could have

should have

or would have

stopped you

from breaking down a thousand carved mahogany doors

to end forever

The very evil you had written down.

You were writing down a kind of death and you did not know it.

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