Wednesday 21 March 2018

A new day of shame for troubled church

FEW institutions have taken as severe a battering as the Catholic Church. A series of reports has highlighted horrific litanies of abuse, a culture of secrecy and, most damning of all, an institution more preoccupied with preserving its own interests than the protection of children.

This is the context that makes yesterday's revelations published in the annual report of the National Board for Safeguarding Children so depressing. According to its chief executive Ian Elliott its work had been frustrated until March of this year by its own sponsoring bodies which include the bishops, Conference of Religious of Ireland and the Irish Missionary Union.

Given the black cloud that has hung over the church in Ireland since the abuse scandal first broke, this seems astonishing. The watchdog revealed that just 53 new allegations had been reported to it by church authorities until a recent 'final pro-forma check' revealed that a total of 272 new allegations had been received during the year. This is inexcusable. It calls into question the spirit of compassion that the church promised to foster to guarantee that putting victims first would be paramount.

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