Gerald Warner (Telegraph Blogs)
... A spin is being put on the shocking revelations in the report on abuse in the archdiocese of Dublin [CLICK HERE FOR FULL REPORT] to implicate the “pre-Conciliar” Catholic Church in the wrongdoings of post-Vatican II pederasts. In the process, the name of a good man has been dragged into the cesspit, for political purposes.
The Most Reverend John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin (1940-1972) was a great Catholic prelate. Under his pastoral leadership, the numbers of clergy and religious increased by more than 50 per cent, he created over 60 new parishes and built over 80 new churches and 350 schools. But he was a Vatican II sceptic who implemented reform conservatively, in accordance with what would now be called the “hermeneutic of continuity”. So he is a bogey figure to radicals.
Most unjustly, his name has been dragged into this scandal. The official Commission’s Report states: “During the period under review, there were four Archbishops – Archbishops McQuaid, Ryan, McNamara and Connell.” Not so. The “period under review” is set out in the Commission’s Terms of Reference as “the period 1 January 1975 to 1 May 2004”. Archbishop McQuaid retired in 1972. The Report very misleadingly claims that by 1987 three Archbishops – McQuaid, Ryan and McNamara – had between them complaints against 17 priests.
But only one of them, the anonymous “Father Edmondus”, was suspect during McQuaid’s watch and even the report concedes that, of the 320 complaints relating to those priests, only three dated back to the McQuaid era, presumably against “Father Edmondus” and in a period prior to that covered by the Commission’s Terms of Reference. On the basis of that isolated allegation they attempt to align Archbishop McQuaid with his negligent successors.
Revealingly, the Report says: “As is shown in Chapter 4, canon law appears to have fallen into disuse and disrespect during the mid 20th century.” Yes; and we all know why – the post-Vatican II anarchic denunciations of “legalism”, of “oppressive” sexual morality and Church teaching generally, promoted by the modernists. As regards implementing canon law against abusers, the Report concedes that Archbishop McQuaid “set the processes in motion but did not complete them [difficult to do when you are dead]. Archbishops Ryan and McNamara do not seem to have ever applied the canon law.”
Well, who ever did, in the trendy, let-it-all-hang-out 1970s and 1980s? The image that has sedulously been propagated is of Irish child abuse perpetrated by priests in soutanes and birettas, cowled monks muttering Latin incantations and nuns in starched wimples and mediaeval habits.
On the contrary, the nightmare orgy of relentless mortal sin recorded in this report was committed by modern priests, with a strip of white celluloid in place of a Roman collar – if they deigned to wear clerical dress – devastating their church sanctuaries as badly as they devastated childrem’s lives, abolishing all the devotions such as Benediction, the Rosary, regular confession, devotion to saints, etc that had sustained Irish faith for centuries. One priest admitted to abusing over 100 children. For that he was indulged; but if he had celebrated the Latin Tridentine Mass his feet would not have touched the ground.
The BBC (to turn to light relief) has exploited this scandal in a style that vindicates its claim to have succeeded Pravda as the leading disseminator of disinformation. A radical priest was produced on Radio 4 to testify that an excessively strict code of sexual morality in the Church was to blame: one shudders to think what excesses would have been committed if the code had been more lax.
Was clerical celibacy the problem? prompted a BBC interviewer. Of course it was. We all know that what a priestly abuser of boys (and this is mainly a homosexual scandal – the Report records a ratio of 2.3 boy victims to 1 girl) needs is a wife – ask any of the Anglican vicars who have provided a living to the red-top tabloids for generations.
Let us set the record straight. This filthy abomination was a scandal of the post-Vatican II, open-windows, relevant, touchy-feely (often, it seems, inappropriately so) Catholic Church. So let the ecumaniacs, the liturgical animators, the Easter People take ownership of it and desist from blackening the reputation of a decent prelate and, by implication, of the unchanging Church that sustained Ireland through centuries of oppression.