Friday, December 17, 2010

Chapter 19 Murphy Report

Chapter 19 Murphy Report

I have read many reports in the last few years detailing the Catholic Church’s cover up of the sexual abuse of children by many priests in different dioceses all around the world. Such reports always cause me huge sadness, so many children experienced so much sexual abuse at the hands of people they should have been able to trust. I feel so much anger too, because so many of those children were sexually abused by priests who were known to so many to be sexual predators and a danger to children. Chapter 19 of the Murphy Report, detailing the handling of allegations against catholic priest Fr Tony Walsh, follows the same pattern.

Tony Walsh was already sexually abusing children when he was a seminarian at Clonliffe College in Dublin during the 1970s. At that time he had a key to the house of another priest, Fr Noel Reynolds, who also sexually abused children, Walsh took children there and sexually abused them. As a seminarian he also sexually abused altar boys that he took to Clonliffe College. After his ordination in 1978 he was appointed to Ballyfermot in Dublin and within 48 hours of his arrival the first allegation of child sexual abuse was made against him. Nothing was done. Another allegation was made in 1979. It was hushed up. All through the 1980s allegations of child sexual abuse were made against Fr Tony Walsh yet he remained free to continue his activities. It was 10 years before the Archdiocese of Dublin even sent Walsh for assessment by anyone in the medical profession, but not before they had transferred him to a new parish in Westland Row, Dublin. This was done to avoid any further scandal and no priest in Walsh’s new parish was informed of his past.

Once parents or Gardai started asking questions of the Archdiocese Monsignor Alex Stenson engaged in the well rehearsed Church practice of being very economical with the truth. The parents of one child said they were concerned that Fr Walsh would suffer because of one misdemeanour; Stenson’s note on file read ‘I did not indicate that there was a history of this behaviour’. When the Gardai were investigating Walsh in 1991 on foot of a complaint from a parent they asked Stenson if he (Walsh) had a record; Stenson’s note on file read ‘I evaded that’.

We are also reminded in Chapter 19 that on at least two occasions the issue of reporting Walsh to civil authorities arose at meetings between the Dublin bishops in 1990 and 1991, on both occasions it was decided not to report him.

The behaviour of the Gardai at that time is also unforgiveable. One Garda informed Monsignor Stenson in 1990 that there would be ‘no question of prosecution’ of Walsh and the Murphy Commission conclude that it is unacceptable that Gardai who had concerns about Walsh failed to pursue a thorough criminal investigation.

At times like this many people express shock that none of the people who covered up for people like Walsh are being prosecuted – it is worthy of note that to this very day such people are under no more legal obligation to report than they were in the 1960s, 70s, 80s or 90s.


  1. Reading the chapter, the right course of action is so clear - and the Catholic Church's hierarchy refused again and again to take it. Money, and preserving their public esteem, seems to have been the main concern when they dealt with the families whose faith had been betrayed by people like Walsh. It seems we need to replace the letter of canon law with morality. Your honour and courage are an inspiration.

  2. Three Year Old Brides

    Second century Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, one of Judaism’s very greatest rabbis and a creator of Kabbalah, sanctioned pedophilia—permitting molestation of baby girls even younger than three! He proclaimed,

    “A proselyte who is under the age of three years and a day is permitted to marry a priest.” 1
    Yebamoth 60b,
    Subsequent rabbis refer to ben Yohai’s endorsement of pedophilia as "halakah," or binding Jewish law. 2 Yebamoth 60b
    Has ben Yohai, child rape advocate, been disowned by modern Jews? Hardly. Today, in ben Yohai’s hometown of Meron, Israel, tens of thousands of orthodox and ultra-orthodox Jews gather annually for days and nights of singing and dancing in his memory.
    References to pedophilia abound in the Talmud. They occupy considerable sections of Treatises Kethuboth and Yebamoth and are enthusiastically endorsed by the Talmud’s definitive legal work, Treatise Sanhedrin.

    The Pharisees Endorsed Child Sex

    The rabbis of the Talmud are notorious for their legal hairsplitting, and quibbling debates. But they share rare agreement about their right to molest three year old girls. In contrast to many hotly debated issues, hardly a hint of dissent rises against the prevailing opinion (expressed in many clear passages) that pedophilia is not only normal but scriptural as well! It’s as if the rabbis have found an exalted truth whose majesty silences debate.
    Because the Talmudic authorities who sanction pedophilia are so renowned, and because pedophilia as “halakah” is so explicitly emphasized, not even the translators of the Soncino edition of the Talmud (1936) dared insert a footnote suggesting the slightest criticism. They only comment: “Marriage, of course, was then at a far earlier age than now.” 3

    In fact, footnote 5 to Sanhedrin 60b rejects the right of a Talmudic rabbi to disagree with ben Yohai's endorsement of pedophilia:
    "How could they [the rabbis], contrary to the opinion of R. Simeon ben Yohai, which has scriptural support, forbid the marriage of the young proselyte?" 4
    1 Yebamoth 60b, p. 402.
    2 Yebamoth 60b, p. 403.
    3 Sanhedrin 76a.
    4 In Yebamoth 60b, p. 404, Rabbi Zera disagrees that sex with girls under three years and one day should be endorsed as halakah.