Thursday 18 January 2018

Only legal sanctions can change culture of church

HAS the Catholic Church met its match in our new Government? It's too early to say, but it certainly sounded as if a new era had dawned yesterday in the protecting of children from clerical sexual abuse.

We've heard a decade-and-a-half of shocking revelations about what Irish children have endured at the hands of Catholic priests. Every report from Ferns to Murphy would appear, at that time, to have been the straw that broke the camel's back. But then you'd hear that the bishops were up to their old tricks of obfuscation and refusal. The cat and mouse games simply continued. But as of yesterday it would seem that things are going to change.

Cabinet ministers Alan Shatter and Frances Fitzgerald made it clear that the old days of reports being published -- all and sundry expecting shock and horror, words of sympathy being expressed to the victims, and then words of assurance from the church authorities (which would subsequently prove to be empty) -- are over.

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