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No Wall Between Church and State: Ireland and The Largest Child Abuse Scandal in History

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Silence is golden? Sometimes it's just pernicious.

 - Catherine Devene, Unseen Scotland, 10 May, 2009

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By the time you read this, it may be 20 hours old (very old in blogger time), but if you've ever read any of my posts on the Magdalene Laundry and Duplessis Orphan scandals, you'll know that I'm fated to write this post.

The (arguably) largest child abuse scandal in history has resurfaced. It came to light about 9 years ago and only the local Irish media carried it. Now, thanks to the rise of information on the internet, it has become headline news: the kind of news that goes beyond scandal, goes beyond belief and goes beyond perspective.

Thousands beaten, raped in Irish reform schools

Shawn Pogatchnik, Associated Press Writer – 6 hrs 11 mins ago

DUBLIN – A fiercely debated, long-delayed investigation into Ireland's Roman Catholic-run institutions says priests and nuns terrorized thousands of boys and girls in workhouse-style schools for decades — and government inspectors failed to stop the chronic beatings, rapes and humiliation. Nine years in the making, Wednesday's report sides almost completely with the horrific reports of abuse from former students sent to more than 250 church-run, mostly residential institutions. But victims' leaders said it didn't go far enough — particularly because none of their abusers were identified by name. The [2,600-page] report concluded that church officials always shielded their orders' pedophiles from arrest to protect their own reputations and, according to documents uncovered in the Vatican, knew that many pedophiles were serial attackers..

Thirty thousand children were abused. 30,000. Ten times three thousand. Three times ten thousand.

These institutions were "industrial schools" "reformatories" and "orphanages"; in other words, the children were considered outcasts and, therefore, expendable. It is a stupendous irony that the chief orders committing these crimes were named "Sisters of Mercy" and "Christian Brothers."

For further reading/viewing click HERE... HERE...and HERE. (There is also an old post of mine about the Iraqi Orphan Scandal featuring the Duplessis scandal)

While the public in general will be horrified by the extent of the abuse, let's look at some other key points:

1. During the years of abuse, there was literally no "wall of separation between church and state." Government officials turned a deaf ear to complaints and were blind during inspection. Why? Simply because BOTH the inspectors and the institutions were Catholic.

2. As with sex abuse cases in America, the Roman Catholic Church hid accounts of such cases by transferring known repeat offenders to other schools.Also in hiding: reputations. The title of "Sr.", "Rev." or "Bro." insured that there could be no question about the morals or ethics of a priest, nun. or brother. They were, of course, beyond reproach. To question otherwise was (and is still) "sacrilegious."

3. These were government subsidized schools over which the public (taxpayer) had little or no control. In today's terms, think extremely autonomous "faith-based" charities. Legislation of regulations for such schools was considered "insulting" to the Catholic faith. When the Iraqi orphan scandal broke, people were horrified. Mentally disabled children were starved and abused, after all. The media was notified immediately. But was it considered a singularly Muslim offense? Did religion have any role in the abuse? No.

Abuse like this can be taken further (although now of the media has asked questions): the Magdalene Laundries scandal in England and Ireland were uncovered due to the discovery of GRAVESITES. There are unmarked gravesites as well of the Duplessis Orphanages. Of the 200 institutions included in the report, have there been any such gravesites reported?

In conclusion: even when religion and government are intertwined to the point of being indistinguishable, one of them must rule over the other. In Ireland, the Roman Catholic Church ruled.

Now think of the kind of rule our own "Social Conservatives" want.

Just a thought.

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Rev. Dan Vojir is has been writing/blogging on religion and politics for the better part of ten years. A former radio talk show host (Strictly Books éČ" Talk America Radio Network) and book publisher, Dan has connected with some of the most (more...)
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