Response to Pope's pastoral letter


Madam, – This issue is not about mistakes, sickness or even the criminality of individuals, it is about the fact that the Roman Catholic church is profoundly wrong in all its understanding and teaching about human sexuality. Just look at its record on medical ethics, the churching of mothers after birth, contraception, divorce, Aids in the third world, or homosexuality. The church boasts that its dogma is based on the works of St Augustine – who advocated prostitution in certain circumstances – and Thomas Aquinas – who believed that sperm contained a fully formed tiny human.

In what other area of life would people accept the ignoring of scientific and philosophical advances in order to “canonise” the views of medieval minds? At the time that the leaders of that church were enabling the criminal activity of some of their clergy, as well as criminally frustrating the course of justice themselves, they were secretly pressurising the British government to maintain the criminality of private homosexual love-making in Northern Ireland. The abuse did not end with the victimised children. – Yours, etc,


Ebenezer Terrace,

Donore Avenue,

Dublin 8.

Madam, – We waited in much expectation, believing the Vatican might have at last had an eureka moment regarding clerical sexual abuse. What we received gave me a feeling of lost opportunity and lost hope.

The pontiff says he apologises for abuse suffered, that he felt betrayed; he calls on prayer and exposition of the Eucharist as a way to move forward as a good church. He says bishops need renewal also by prayer and repentance for “mistakes” they made. He addresses survivors and urges them to stay close to the church.

We did not hear that the “cover-up” came from the Vatican. There were no apologies for worldwide hierarchical vilification of victims who reported.

The word “mistake” crops up again to taunt the victims as if bishops were children blotting their copy book rather than protecting sex offenders and drowning the children.

The Pope mentions nothing about clerical power or structural failings, rather he says it is we who put priests on pedestals. But he does this in the letter too.

All I see in the letter is a yawning gulf between survivors’ hurt, betrayal and pain and what they expect of the church hierarchy and the Pope’s views. Simply a fog of piety rather than practical, radical and implementable directives from the Vatican which would change the culture of secrecy, denial, power and privilege. I am disappointed almost to despair. – Yours, etc,


(Survivor and specialist on

clergy sexual abuse),

Proby Park,


Co Dublin.

Madam, – I belong to the church because I need salvation. Although I am distressed at the dreadful crimes committed against children by clerical abusers, this fact has not changed. I would have been happier if the abusers had also recognised their need in this regard. Perhaps those who are intent on destroying the church do not believe they need redemption of any kind. However, it is usually the case that those who shout the loudest at others’ sins do so to hide their own crimes.

There is a very thin line between what these abusive clerics did and what any person is capable of doing if pressed hard enough. It is time to at least want to forgive if forgiveness itself is too much for the present. The Pope’s letter is a beautiful opportunity to begin again for those who are willing. – Yours, etc,


Prince Circle,




Madam, – The Pope is quite correct that the clerical sexual abuse scandal is a result of secularisation. Without it there would have been no revelations and children would still be suffering. – Yours, etc,


Brook Road,

Reboge, Limerick.

Madam, – Roma locuta est, causa non finita est. – Yours, etc,


Springhill Avenue,


Co Dublin.

Madam, – The Vatican strategy, as shown in the Pope’s letter, is to sell the Irish Catholic hierarchy down the river, by making it seem it was acting independently of the Vatican when it covered up abuse. That is a lie. And in fact, the letter is a study in the fine art of lying and betraying one’s own people.

The fact that the Irish hierarchy is allowing itself to be sold down river and is leaping in front of bullets for the Vatican, makes me wonder if it is living under abusive and bullying circumstances. It seems the hierarchy reveres and fears the Vatican more than it fears the God it is supposed to believe in.

Why is the hierarchy not telling the truth? Which is that it, like Nazis, was following explicit orders? That fact does not exonerate it, but is simply something we all need to understand.

I know an old man who lately has gone a bit dotty. He has money, but has been caught three times stealing small items from Tesco. Last week he was handcuffed, arrested and spent a day and a night in jail. Meanwhile, not one member of the clergy the world over, who were involved in following Vatican orders to cover up, have even been questioned by the police.

The Pope’s letter repeatedly suggests that for the the healing of victims and our nation, we should return to the church, and claims the church is the only avenue through which we may be in a relationship with Christ, which is a blasphemy in my opinion.

We are in an extremely dysfunctional relationship with an organisation which is actually still abusing all of us.

All of us know someone who is or has been in an abusive relationship. We would advise our loved ones to walk away. Yet we stay in this relationship with men who care so little for the victims, or the rest of us, that they see fit to lie to us and treat us like fools.

What victims deserve, the world over, is a full confession from the Vatican, that it ordered the cover-up. And that it is now trying to cover up the cover-up.

The only way the victims or the rest of us will get that confession is by boycotting them in order to bring them to their knees. And not go back unless they fully confess.

If they don’t confess they are finished. It is only a matter of time.

The fact is, we don’t need them to get to God, or to have a relationship with Jesus. We never did need them.

And the beautiful position we are now in, is that they need us.

We should illustrate this fact, all caring Catholic people, by boycotting them until they confess and show palpable remorse. – Yours, etc,


Strand Road,


Co Wicklow.

Madam, – In reply to Brian O Cinneide (March 22nd), may I suggest that much of the destruction to the Irish Catholic Church has been inflicted by the Vatican and the hierarchy.

As far as putting something in its place, I find it hard to believe that we need the Catholic Church in its present form. Much of the wonderful work being done, both here and worldwide, is being done by people of all religions and none, including Irish people. – Yours, etc,


Howth Road,

Killester, Dublin 5.