Church 'fatherhood' is an empty one, robbed of humanity and understanding
This 'desexing' may lay at the heart of an inability to make reparation for the past, writes Emer O'Kelly
The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC) published eight audits last Tuesday. The board is the organisation within the Catholic Church charged with ensuring that the sexual abuse horrors of the past are never repeated. The audits covered six dioceses (including Armagh), the order of St Patrick's Missionary Society (the Kiltegan fathers, based in Wicklow) and the Christian Brothers' day school sector.
And it could be said that the overall impression is a good one. Lessons, as Cardinal Sean Brady said in reaction to the audit findings, are being learned. That statement, from a man who witnessed two children sworn to secrecy concerning their abuse by the late Brendan Smyth, in itself is progress. The defensive tone has gone.
The acting head of the NBSCCC, Teresa Devlin, said the progress being made was "heartening". And after the years of self-justification and cover-up, nobody could deny this in the cases of all six dioceses under review, although there are alarming gaps.