Retelling a story of abuse

Madam, – I was surprised by the tone of some of the comments in Eamon Delaney’s review of Colm O’Gorman’s book Beyond Belief…

Madam, – I was surprised by the tone of some of the comments in Eamon Delaney's review of Colm O'Gorman's book Beyond Belief(Weekend Review, May 9th) According to Mr Delaney "O'Gorman seeks to punish, in ever-widening circles, the upper echelons of the Catholic Church. . . . this is why O'Gorman's story is embraced by people like Mary Raftery . . . for whom it seems no amount of repentance or compensation by the church will suffice for the actions of those priests who abused". He goes on to say how the church gave its critics "valid ammunition, with its gross breach of trust and the continuing dithering of certain old-style personalities, such as Bishop Magee recently in Cobh." He would have the reader believe that with the exception of the odd eccentric priest, the church has acknowledged the bad stuff, righted its wrongs, and that all is well, only isn't it a pity the likes of Colm O'Gorman can't get over it all?

His use of the past tense makes me wonder if, in fact, he read Mr O’Gorman’s book at all.

Did he read about how in 2006 O'Gorman travelled to Brazil for the Panorama documentary Sex Crimes and The Vatican? If he had, he would have read about the many current cases of abuse, with paedophile priests being moved from parish to parish in a pattern we have become all too familiar with here at home.

He would would have read about how in 2002 Donna Elza reported a Roman Catholic priest to the authorities for raping her five-year-old grandson and how the church, instead of helping the child, or helping to bring the perpetrator of this awful crime to justice, instead tried to get her to drop the allegations.


He would have read about how The Ferns Report, published in 2005 told of the horrific rape and abuse of more than 100 children in the diocese of Ferns and of its criticism of the Vatican's policy of sworn secrecy in cases of clerical child abuse and how the Vatican has not, to this day, responded to the findings of this report.

The truth remains that the Vatican has operated a policy of secrecy since 1962 when a document called Crimens Sollicitationis was sent by the then Cardinal Ratzinger to every catholic bishop in the world. I, for one, am grateful that people continue to highlight this, especially as Cardinal Ratzinger is now the Pope.

Let’s be really clear about this; we’re not talking about a few minor misdemeanours or a couple of financial irregularities here. We’re talking about the rape of children.

It’s worth pointing out that Colm O’Gorman only went to the gardaí to report Fr Seán Fortune in order to protect other children from abuse.

He had, mistakenly, assumed that he had been Fortune’s only victim. It was only at the age of 29 when he was living in London that his sister told him that she had seen Fortune at a function and that he “seemed to have a lot of young boys with him” that he felt compelled to act.

His courageous actions will have saved many children from abuse, but as Mr O’Gorman himself says, this was a battle he should never have been forced to fight. – Yours, etc,


Co Wexford.