Abuse of children by priests


Sir, – The findings of the inquiry in Pennsylvania that hundreds of priests abused thousands of children in six diocese ministering to just over half of Pennsylvania’s Catholics rather puts a dent in the “a few bad apples” excuse commonly wheeled out when such abuses come to light (World News, August 15th). The male celibate nature of the Catholic priesthood combined with an authoritarian culture that facilitated the grooming of children and the suppression of reports of abuse had to be contributory factors.

However, is their something much more fundamentally wrong with the theology of a church which focuses on the maleness of Christ and his disciples, the subjugation of women, and the accumulation of institutional and societal power over others?

The recent resounding victory of the Yes side in the abortion referendum here may have been as much about the rejection of such a culture and church as it was a vote in favour of abortion.

If Pope Francis does not address these issues it will be the final nail in the coffin of a church that has lost all social, political, and dare I say it, spiritual authority.

Pope Francis aspires to be a transformational leader, but he needs to match fine words with deeds. His first action should be to release the Vatican files of abusers to enable their prosecution here. The abused, and indeed the Irish people deserve no less. – Yours, etc,


Blessington, Co Wicklow.