The announcement that the offer of resignations from Bishops Eamon Walsh and Raymond Field have not been accepted by the Vatican comes as no surprise. Since the Murphy Report was published the Catholic Church in Ireland and at Vatican level has failed to take responsibility for the findings of that Report, in particular the finding that sexual abuse of children by priests was covered up by Archbishops and Bishops for decades.
We have also seen attempts by Church leaders to blame others for what they refer to as ‘the scandal’ including blaming gay men, the loss of faith, secularism and even the children themselves.
Pope Benedict and Cardinal Brady both failed to protect children from priests they knew to be abusers and in both cases those priests went on to abuse more children – in that context today’s announcement should come as no surprise to anyone.
Today’s announcement also shows how utterly meaningless was the instruction that Pope Benedict gave to Irish Bishops (Papal Letter to Irish Catholics) to identify steps that would bring healing to victims of clerical child sexual abuse – victims asked for those who were part of the governance of the Archdiocese when sexual abuse was being covered up to resign, and this is ignored.
In Ireland to day both bishops and government ministers sing from the same hymn sheet, recently complaining about a culture of blame because those of us with a genuine interest in the safety, welfare, protection and rights of children seek accountability and the taking of responsibility from people whose actions or inactions put children at risk or worse have been shown in the past to have caused the abuse of children.
It is hard to believe that after all we have learned from both Church and State failure to protect children, that such failures, whether past or present, should still invoke in some people the desire to put their own interests above the needs or welfare of others.