22 4 mins 9 yrs

The words in the above title includes the actual length of a BBC Documentary. Now normally, given the present state of the total left-wing bias  within the BBC as a so-called Public Service Institution, I would be either tearing the words and statements within apart, or encouraging the sneers and attacks which I would hope to be generated by my writing. But there is a very strange dichotomy within the BBC, and singularly within the non-News and Political Commentary side of things, in that occasionally the BBC does produce or broadcast a remarkably un-biased Documentary upon the strangest of subjects. Whether it be Enoch Powell, Carl Sagan, The World at War or Alistair Cooke’s America, one has come to expect brilliance in production, narration and content without the expected smearing veneer of BBC values and Lefty diatribes.

The Documentary, as mentioned in that same title, was called ‘This World, the Shame of the Catholic Church’, and those 58 minutes and 54 seconds exposed the shame, the sin and the extraordinary squirming of the most senior Catholic in Ireland, Cardinal John (Sean) Brady. If you did not watch it when broadcast, I urge you to watch it in the BBC iPlayer. Watch it because there aren’t many theatrics, not too much moody backing music; but simply because it details the shoddy political manoeuvring of senior people within the Catholic Church in the island of Ireland to protect those who did not deserve protection, whilst allowing abuse of an industrial nature to be carried on by the men who stood in pulpits and moralised to their flocks.

This is an uncomfortable post to be writing, because I have two relatives in Religious life at the moment; one of whom is a priest in Northern Ireland, the other, a dearly-loved and elderly aunt overseas. But it has to be written, because the Truth must always be brought forth, no matter who is indicted, no matter how high that person may have risen. I have written before of the abuses rained down on the small bodies of the kids who attended Bindoon in Australia, of the tens of thousands who were ‘given a new life’ in the former Colonies of the British Empire, now known of course as the Commonwealth, but nowhere has there been such cynical manipulation as with this same Catholic Church with their constant movements of peaedophile priests, and the equally-ferocious attempts to conceal the truth in order to protect the reputation of their Church

The Catholic Church used to have tremendous sway over the lives of all the Catholics both in the Republic and in the Province; but one must ask, in all sincerity, if that authority has been diminished or smashed apart by its own inaction; what has taken its place?


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22 thoughts on “Decline and Fall in 58 Minutes & 54 Seconds

  1. Brady and his bunch appear to have aided and abetted criminals of the worst kind. People are calling for his resignation.

    Huh? Were his bunch a secular organization we’d be demanding their INCARCERATION.

  2. Another awkward question arises when you consider how relatively recently most of these abuse charges are – most around the 1980’s when the church’s authority in IRL was already breaking and when people were much more willing to speak out and fight back.

    Therefore – either it was much worse in the darker days of the 40’s and 50’s when church authority was supreme and almost the entire population intimidated,
    or this kind of abuse really rocketed in the latter part of the 20th C, when respect for the traditions, fear of god and 100 sexual thresholds were falling by the day.

    It would be very interesting to have some kind of data on how frequent these crimes were up to the 60’s – that also applies of course to the broader society, but would be especially relevnat for the mini-state that was the CC in Ireland.

    Good post, Mike.

  3. Noel,

    If Brady is guilty of the crime of concealing criminality do you believe he should be jailed?

  4. Richard, he should be treated no better and no worse than anyone else who did what he did (if he did).

    (I hadn’t followed his story at all, but just checked it out after your question). He was present in St Patrick’s boarding school in Cavan when – incredibly – pupils were ordered to sign an oath of secrecy (you can imagine the hellfire that was threatened if they ever broke it) regarding allegations against Fr Brendan Smith. – that’s bad enough.

    On the other hand, I think a normal priest should be expected to tell civil authorities of certain crimes that come to his attention to the same extent as, say, a soldier is.
    He should lbe obliged to pass the info up the “chain of command”, so to speak. If he is then satisfied that the matter will be dealt with properly, he will have done his duty. Like a soldier, he is part of a closed and hierarchial organisation. If you were to jail every solider or policemen who failed to blow the whistle on some in-house wrongdoing he noticed, the prisons would be full; same is probably true for priests.

  5. I have had quite a few Catholic friends in my time, (none on ATW, but elsewhere..)
    What always struck me about those friends ,was how reverent they were towards the Church -even those who no longer believed.
    Such is the power of an organisation run by celibate? men who used that most primitive of emotions to control their congregations: fear.

    At the end of the day, the Bible (not Priests) teaches that God is both Holy and Compassionate. That Jesus came into the world not to set up a Church hierarchy, but to give salvation to all who accepted that He died on the cross for their sins.
    You don’t need a Priest to act as a middleman..

  6. BTW, you’ve got a good way of communicating religious faith, Agit8ed. Seriously, your modesty and sincerety makes your message very credible.

    You should do something with that talent! 🙂

    (How about you start by trying to convert Troll to Christianity?)

  7. Agit8ed don’t pay any attention to Noel.

    When he grows up he’ll realise that religion was invented by the few in order to control the many.

  8. Noel,

    All well and good but Brady appears to be lying now to cover his arse. He claims to have been merely a “notary” at that meeting in Cavan. But the journalist who made the docu has proof in Brady’s own handwriting that he was sent to investigate the allegations of sex abuse. If that’s the case then he’s the worst kind of liar.

    The kid’s father wasn’t even allowed to be present so it was a child being intimidated by three priests—and this was a child who’d been raped by one of their sort.

    Not sure that military men behave in that dispicable way, certainly not in civilized countries. Brady could not have been unaware that the paedophile Smyth was allowed to continue his crime spree for years to come. Yet he did nothing and now he’s apparently lying about his complicity in silencing a victim. Despicable.

  9. Noel,
    However loaded your compliment was towards gently mocking my admiration for Mahon’s literary talents, I will take it at face rather than arse value…
    Troll is American through and through. Were we neighbours I am sure that we would fall out eventually, because whereas he might be satisfied with “My country, right or wrong.” I would be questioning the logic of that statement.
    There are qualities I admire about Troll, but I fear we woukd eventually drive each other mad.
    He is St. Peter whereas I am more like St Thomas.. 😉

  10. Keeping on in this vein, we will soon be calling you ‘Rev’, instead of Agit8ed!

  11. The kid’s father wasn’t even allowed to be present so it was a child being intimidated by three priests—and this was a child who’d been raped by one of their sort.

    A procedure meant to protect the institution, not reform it, and certainly not to protect or seek justice for any child.

    These ” men of God ” knew the exalted position they had in the not distant past, and they exploited it fully. It is quite amazing that anyone had the courage to speak of.

  12. Good post Mike.

    I had a conversation along these lines with work colleagues and as the token catholic it fell to me to somehow explain but of course I could never condone.

    As a kid holidaying with family in Ireland in the 60’s and 70’s I was very much aware of the hold the church had on everyone there, you missed mass on pain of the disapproval of the local clergy. Attendance was fairly close to 100%. Bring it forward to now, a few people rattle about these days in the chapel.

    There is nothing one can say to condone the disgusting abuse of trust and the heirarchy, right to the very top, have lost their flocks through their self-serving protection of “their own”, for the covering up of terrible crimes and moving the perpetators to pastures new, rich in new victims.

    I’m glad this hasn’t become sectarian here on ATW, it’s a sensitive issue and one can only imagine what the victims have had to come to terms with.

    Inspired by your post I’m hoing to make a point of watching it on the Iplayer, I’m sure it won’t make nice viewing.

  13. I’m glad to see that Amnesty International is on the case:


    Amnesty International has called on the Police Service of Northern Ireland to launch an investigation into the potential cover-up of criminal acts of child abuse detailed in a BBC programme earlier this week.
    The programme uncovered fresh information about serious acts of sexual abuse of children, living in both jurisdictions , by Fr Brendan Smyth, and suggested that a number of people within the Church hierarchy in Ireland may have failed to report those crimes to the appropriate State authorities. It is alleged that, as a result, the abuse of these and other children continued for a further period of years.
    Amnesty International has called for the PSNI to investigate whether Church officials and others failed to report the alleged criminal offences against children ito the relevant authorities in the North.
    Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International, said:
    “The protection of the rights of children is one of the most precious responsibilities carried by the State.
    “Following the very serious allegations carried in this BBC programme, it now falls to the relevant State authorities to investigate whether any criminal laws have been breached.   
    “In short that means that the PSNI must investigate whether individuals failed to report a crime, an offence under Section 5 of the Criminal Law (NI) Act 1967, and whether any other offences – such as perverting the course of justice or conspiracy to pervert the course of justice – have been committed under Northern Ireland law.
    “There can be no hiding place for child abusers, nor for those who have colluded, covered up or facilitated the abuse of children. The authorities must now live up to their responsibilities to show that no individual and no institution is above the law.” 

  14. Richard, of course he’s a liar and a scoundrel.

    The church is like so many other – possibly all – large organisations – it more obsessed with self-protection and self-promotion than with advancing any messasge or cause.

    However, I do think this opens up a broader question. The state recognises certain bodies within the state, whose members are given certain protections by virtue of their membership. I mentioned the army (and perhaps they sometimes do things worse than rape), but there’s also the police, the family unit, employer-employee relationship, etc. In all of these the state recognises a certain higher loyalty to the body, .e.g. a man is not expected to inform on or testify against his father/son, a solider is not expected – on pain of imprisonment – to report to the police any illegality he encounters – reporting up the chain of command is enough. If it were otherwise the prisons would be full and police and army barracks would be empty.

    The church is another such “body”. It’s obviously nasty when you see the results of this immunity, but the fact that the situation is more or less the same in all countries for a whole host of organisations suggests there must be some reason for it.
    A state that demands and receives total and exclusive loyalty from all its people isn’t a very nice place either.

  15. Noel,

    Yes, you’re right of course about the army and other orgs. I guess I was so upset by the documentary that I wasn’t thinking straight 🙁

    What those poor kids went through! Hardly bears thinking about. Yet we must think about it, and continue to do so, otherwise it’ll keep happening.

    Only today I was speaking to a friend who works as a counsellor for victims of incest (and no, I’m relieved to say I’m not among them). I asked her whether, in her experience, things had changed since the 1970s—if we had fewer cases of incest now. She shocked me by saying that it appears to be on the increase.


  16. Noel,
    All human organisations have chains of command in order to fulfil their purpose.
    From a social perspective this can also be seen as a hierarchy, in which our role determines our status.

    All organisations are open to becoming oppressive, repressive or abusive. An all male hierarchy especially so.
    It is hardly surprising that an organisation which denies the balancing influence of women, can become abusive of children. Without wanting to sound judgmental, it is the authoritarian nature of the Church which makes it more likely that not only could that paedeophilic abuse of children flourish, it would do everything in its power to hide it.
    What is sad is that there are many kind and gentle Catholic people who have been imbued with a sense of reverence and submission to that authority.

  17. I remember reading some years ago that the organistion known as NAMBLA had much support from the Church with many priests being members or supporters. It has its own website and has had regular publicity from the media for a very long time.

    I will let you find what those initials stand for. I have always found the very idea to be totally repulsive on several levels – but hey! that’s me, just another old reactionary.

    They seemed to have reached a similar level of acceptance as ‘gays’ once had, and, as we now see, that group have practically reached being acceptable and almost ‘normal’.

    Perhaps asking heaven to help us all, might be in vain, given the apparent support given it by the church, – should the same acceptance occur with this bunch of perverts.

    The vast increase in information available from all sources, has made such practices seem almost normal, especially to the weak minded. That pornography and deviancies of all sort consume much of the internet resource, is hardly surprising.

    We all know it has always happened, but for such practices to be on the increase, surely cannot be considered in any way as ‘progressive’, – aggressive, – may be, but certainly nothing to be happy of or happy about.

  18. I don’t believe that a priest’s duty upon learning of abuse is reporting it up the “chain of command” to his bishop.

    The duty is to report it to the police, immediately. Full criminal prosecution for any crime should be the norm.

  19. I don’t believe that a priest’s duty upon learning of abuse is reporting it up the “chain of command” to his bishop.

    The duty is to report it to the police, immediately. Full criminal prosecution for any crime should be the norm.

    That’s not the way it’s been done, but too bad.

    The old way was a way that benefited the molesters and harmed the youth, so it had better change.

  20. The whole thing is just revolting. In my view, there are far too many young men who are deliberately training to become priests/ministers/vicars precisely because they know it’s a “closed society” in which they’ll have free reign to carry out their perversions in this manner.
    Having said that, I’ll recognise that the majority of clerics are decent sorts who are doing their best.

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