November 08, 2005

Report chronicles abuse, cover-up in rural Irish diocese


Dublin, Ireland

The Catholic church in Ireland is in free fall after the first government inquiry into its internal affairs has revealed that in the small rural diocese of Ferns in Country Wexford on the southeast coast between 21 and 28 priests raped and sodomized young boys and girls over a 40-year period.

The report, released Oct. 25, says that priests used their access to primary schools to prey on defenseless victims. In one instance, the late Fr. Jim Grennan sat near the altar molesting 10 submissive girls as they knelt before him to make their pre-confirmation confessions. One editorial writer here, in the wake of the report, described the diocesan seminary as “an academy of debauchery.” Two bishops covered up these heinous crimes because they put loyalty to Rome and its Code of Canon Law above the welfare of children, the report claims.

The core of the 271-page report of Justice Frank Murphy catalogs a litany of abuse that reads like pornography. It tells how when the late Bishop Donal Herlihy, a former rector of the Irish College in Rome and a man famed for his Romanitas and for his knowledge of the classics and fine wines, discovered that the priest science teacher in St. Peter’s College had been abusing boys, he arranged with the archdiocese of Westminster in England for Fr. Donal Collins to spend two years there for his “penance” -- and did not alert the Westminster authorities to the priest’s pedophilia. On his return, Collins was promoted by Herlihy to the vice presidency, and later by Herlihy’s successor, Brendan Comiskey, to the presidency of the college.

Posted by kshaw at November 8, 2005 07:53 PM