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ACP calls for repudiation of Dolan report on the Irish College, Rome

The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) protests in the strongest possible terms against the methodology and conclusions of Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s Report on the Irish College in Rome, as reported in the Irish Times (June 15, 2012). This report was carried out on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI as part of the Apostolic Visitation of the Irish Church.
The report has effectively destroyed the reputations of priests, who have given lifelong  service to the Irish Catholic Church, without giving them a right of reply to the allegations made against them.
It is unacceptable that a report to the Pope, on a sensitive issue, should be conducted in such an incompetent fashion. No court of law would treat people in such a way. Is it too much to expect even minimal rights in law for priests in the Roman Catholic Church? The Irish College staff, as clerics, are entitled under Canon Law to their good name.  Canon 220 states that;  “No-one may unlawfully harm the good reputation which a person enjoys….”
Civil law also protects a person’s good name through the laws of libel. It is ironic that it was precisely the failure of Church superiors’ to follow either Canon or Civil law in abuse cases which led to the Apostolic Visitation in the first place.
Cardinal Dolan’s report not only undermines the reputation of priests who have not been given a right of reply, it also undermines the credibility of the whole Visitation process.  It would appear that, in undertaking this particular visitation, conclusions were effectively drawn beforehand and then evidence to support them was actively sought. If this is the case, it undermines the authority of the Church, confidence in its leaders and not least the whole Visitation process.
It is disturbing, indeed frightening, that what a draft response from the four Irish archbishops called ‘a deep prejudice’ appears to have ’coloured the visitation’ from the outset and ‘led to the hostile tone and content of the report’. The judgment of the four Archbishops seems to be vindicated in the clear efforts made by Cardinal Dolan’s team to find evidence to support the college’s ‘gay-friendly’ reputation. While the report failed to find such evidence, it still persisted in giving a detailed account of specific allegations and then goes on to state that it did not find any evidence to support same.  This begs the question as to why such detail is included in the report.
The report’s conclusion that ‘the overwhelming majority of the seminarians are committed to a faithful, chaste lifestyle’ does not justify the detailed, even prurient reporting and naming of individuals and accusations. If the accusations were not substantiated, why not just say so? Is this just incompetence or perhaps homophobia? A charge of the latter could easily be justified as a result of the ‘coloured’ thinking that produced this report.
The ACP calls on the four Irish Archbishops who are the college’s trustees, and on the bishops of the priests concerned, to publicly repudiate this report in the strongest possible terms and to support the priests involved in seeking to restore their reputations.
It is very disappointing, on a number of levels, to have to conclude (as the evidence of this report suggests) that the Apostolic Visitation had very little to do with child protection but was effectively part of an ongoing process of re-making the Church in accordance with current Vatican thinking.
The ACP concludes that the injustice perpetrated on four Irish priests is completely unacceptable; that the incompetent approach of those entrusted by the Pope with such a delicate task is disquieting.  It further concludes that there is a strong possibility that the findings of this report were decided before the evidence was gathered.

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  1. Surely the person most to be blamed is whoever made this confidential report public?

  2. Students of Vatican II may recall that a Charter for Human Rights within the Church was mooted during the Council. A draft Charter was prepared. To my knowledge, the said Draft was shelved. In the light of the current Irish Times articles on the Visitation Report to the PCI perhaps it is time to look again at this proposed Charter. One notes the preoccupation within the Visitation Report of a possible confusion between orthodoxy and ideology. Ideology is the bed-fellow of power. Am I alone in seeing this connection? It also appears that the Visitors based their Report on the unquestioned replies of some seminarians in PCI. Is it not alarming , that these seminarians all appeared to ‘sing from the same hymn-sheet’? Either their comments were valid or they were well-rehearsed. Should the latter be true, one is left questioning the objectivity and agendas of both the Visitors and some of the seminarians.
    A reading of Rene Girard may offer a more healthy perspective on the motivation of the Visitors and the seminarians concerned. Girard speaks of the link between power, scape-goating and violence. This Report – perhaps it should be called “The Dolan Report” – is tantamount to an act of violence on the character of named priests and seminarians. Of course one expects priests to be men of prayer, pastoral mercy and psychologically and emotionally balanced. Such is the goal of all integrated ministerial formation.
    I commend the Irish Archbishops for their response to the “Dolan Report”. May they now follow-through and defend the reputation of all named priests and seminarians. I regard this Report as an act of violence. Its modus operandi stems from the ‘Might is Right School’. Cardinal Dolan’s background is from within the US Military. He has served as a Military Chaplain. It’s rumoured that during the Visitation to St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Cardinal Dolan commented that ‘real priests are the guys like me who accompanied our men in to Iraq. ” This military mind-set may have reflected the methodology in which the Visitors conducted their Visitation.
    Every court case and academic paper without a methodology would be thrown out of court or failed. The emphasis in the Report is on ideology rather than methodology. One is worried also about the secrecy surrounding the Report. Why the secrecy when peoples reputations are at stake? Was it not the combinations of ideology, secrecy , a thwarted view of human sexuality and unquestioned obedience which led the Church into the whole malaise of Child Abuse and cover-up? Finally , may I commend Mr McGarry for his excellent articles in this matter. In the recent past I have commented otherwise on Mr McGarry’s reports. May I now applaud him unreservedly. He has done the Church a service.

  3. Soline Humbert says:

    Bishop Pat Power of Canberra, Australia, has just resigned this week.One of the reasons he gave (besides the exclusion of women from ordination:another abuse) was his deep concern about Vatican secrecy leading to all kinds of abuses of power…We ignore the prophets at our peril when they try to awaken us to the reality of widespread institutional violence.

  4. It’s clear that Vati-leaks style leaking has gone on. These documents were supposed to be confidential (so that reputations would be protected) but some person has done this by leaking them to the media. The Pope’s cat maybe?

  5. Having had the pleasure of visiting the Irish College several times, and meeting the men named in this horrible report, I would like to say that I found it to be an institution in which Ireland and the Church ought to have enormous pride. I hope the ACP will continue to protest at this gross injustice to the reputation of four very fine priests.

  6. Susan, I think your disgust should be reserved for the person who leaked the confidential report to the media, which is a grave sin, since they will have promised confidentiality to the Church that they would not pass the details to the mass media. It shows they cared more to make hay with this report than the reputations of persons, which would have been preserved had not the report been leaked.

  7. Sean McDonagh says:

    Peadar and Martin: are you serious? So we shoot the messenger rather than challenge this totally unchristian, incompetent and dangerous way of assessing a situation and writing a report. The right of people to their good name takes precedence over any requirements of secrecy.
    The whole abuse saga in Ireland and every other country goes back to a culture of secrecy promoted across the Church by Roman bureaucrats. Fr. Marciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ, thrived under a culture of secrecy and misguided obedience for almost 60 years. He was supported and protected by senior Vatican officials who have never been held accountable.
    As Patsy McGarry writes in today’s Irish Times (June 15th 2012), “where else today would unnamed accusers be so entertained as are those who bring criticisms of priests to the Vatican where they will be listened to earnestly if not eagerly?”
    Cardinal Dolan and his crew wrote a report based on gossip and their own ideological bias and did not let those who were slandered respond. This is gulag behaviour. I’d like to see how Dolan would respond if someone did a similar “kangaroo court” job on him?
    Galileo got a better hearing from the Inquisition in 1633. At least he had an opportunity to hear and respond to the false charges. Pope John Paul II apologised for that in 1990. I hope the staff of the Irish will not have to wait as long.
    Sean McDonagh

  8. There is something deeply unsettling about this matter. A draft report has been leaked to a particular journalist who published it in the Irish Times and this now forms the basis of a response from ACP.
    Dick Cheney of the Bush administration invented a type of news manipulation on behalf of the Bush administration very similar to this. It was very clever but dishonest. A piece of information would be leaked to a particular journalist in the New York Times. This information would then be published in the New Times and Dick Cheney would then quote the authority of the New York Times when asserting the reliability of the information. Public opinion was manipulated in this way.
    I would certainly hope that the ACP have taken cognisance of this type of reporting and is not party to it.
    The Irish Times, as I understand, claims to have sight of a draft report and has published parts of its contents. It has probably not been confirmed by a second source. Have ACP seen this report or are they relying on the journalist’s published account. Why does ACP trust the published account. If ACP have the full report did they get it from the journalist?. Either way ACP have issued a far reaching statement based on the draft report itself or what they understand it to contain.
    The ACP and the Irish Times journalist have in my opinion an unhealthily close relationship which has developed over time.
    There are obvious dangers and consequences to this. I feel uncomfortable about the fact that the journalist and the ACP appear to have access to the leaked draft report but have failed to provide it to the priests who have been criticised. There is something about all of this that suggests a level of orchestration.
    I pray this is not the case.

  9. Sean McDonagh says:

    Brian: Absolute nonsense about the ACP and Irish religious affairs correspondents having an unheathy relationship. We have often been critical about the way the Irish Times covers religion. But in this case we totally agree with Patsy McGarry’s criticism of the Dolan Report. But you do not appear to have any sense of the injustice involved in this case where priests, who have given decades of service to the Irish Church, have their good name destroyed by stupid gossip. What is your agenda?
    Sean McDonagh

  10. Brendan McCarthy says:

    The tenor of Cardinal Dolan’s ‘no comment’ to the Irish Times yesterday implicitly confirms the report. From this, and from the report’s internal evidence, the Irish Times was on very safe ground in assuming its authenticity and publishing it. Why would it not? From a journalistic perspective it is a compelling story and it is in the public interest that it be told.
    There is no need for conspiracy theories about how it came into the public domain; what is needed is engagement with what its content tell us about the Visitation

  11. Joe O'Leary says:

    Cardinal Dolan is widely regarded as papabilie. Having made such an incredible mess of his seminary visitations, he is surely well equipped to deal with the Curia http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/pope-benedict-focuses-on-legacy-while-ignoring-vatican-power-struggle-a-838830.html
    There is a fundamentalist breed on the rise in seminaries and any responsible bishop would encourage them to grow up rather than act on their immature complaints. Since Cardinal Dolan sees the staff of the Irish College over the last 35 years as defective, as well as the archbishops of Ireland who oversaw them, and since he also disapproves of some of the candidates lined up to replace them, perhaps he might consider handing the College over to Opus Dei?

  12. Like Seán, in his posts above, I find it absolutely breathtaking that there are those who believe that the real scandal in this horrible episode lies in the fact that someone leaked the story to the Irish Times. Any half-sensible, reasonably intelligent person can surely see the flawed nature of this so-called Dolan Report and especially the outrageous treatment of the priests who have now had their reputations destroyed and on evidence, it would appear, that is based on nothing more than idle gossip.

  13. Jerry Slevin says:

    If cardinals and bishops continue to remain unaccountable, they can with impunity trash priests’ reputations just as they have so often trashed the reputations of so many survivors of sexual predator priests. Until Irish priests effectively unite with Irish laity as one People of God, they will remain at the mercy of a hierarchy that treats both priests and lay persons as medieval serfs with neither dignity nor rights.
    Frankly, if you do not stand up for yourselves, it is difficult to have much sympathy for you. Your remedy is within your power. You just must find the courage to pursue it or just get used to being so many serfs.

  14. Dear Brothers in Christ, the Irish College in Rome has an excellent track record in producing good priests. Cardinal Dolan is no ‘faithful son of Ireland’ or of the Catholic church. It is disgraceful that such a man was allowed to evaluate a fine institution, and to fire some of the staff. I suggest that YOU evaluate him, based on his highly subjective criteria and background. Better still,invite Pope Benedict XVI over to the Irish college for a quiet evening meal and tell him who you are. Do not allow his remarks to lower your self esteem. God Bless you all.

  15. Joe and Paddy, the reputations were ‘destroyed’ more so because of the leaking of the report than the fact that they left their posts following the visitation. Do you disagree? Secondly, would it be so surprising that the same prelates who messed up with sex abuse also messed up with the running of the Irish College and Maynooth seminary? I mean, it’s within the realms of possibility, surely? I’m sure you’ll agree that the CC in Ireland is in a right mess and that following years of mismanagement and neglect.

  16. Gene Carr says:

    Sean McDonagh says we should not ‘shoot the messanger’. But has he identified the “messenger” correctly in this case? Surely it is not the Irish Times religious corresponent, but none other than Cardinal Dolan? So should Sean he not take his own advice and not ‘shoot the messenger’?
    None or few of us have seen the full report and therefore I don’t see how people can comment so confidently about it. It is as if it could not possibly be believed? After all, surely no one could believe that any faithful Irish priest could possibly entertain ‘anti-ecclesial’ attitudes, and downplay ‘Rome’ and ‘Tradition’ and elevate scripture alone (Sola Scriptura) above tradition. No. Never. It could not possibly be so could it?
    And ‘gay friendly’? Perish the thought!
    As for the alleged negligence of oversight by the Trustees, could anyone believe such a thing? They would have carefully listened to any complaints from seminarians wouldn’t they?–like they did in Maynooth some years ago when Father McGinty blew a whistle on behalf of another group of seminarians!!
    So what to do about this fella Dolan? No Father McGinty he; he is a Cardinal no less. Maybe he should be told to go to a monastry to ‘reflect and pray’. Or better still a big stink could be raised about him in the secular press to intimidate and bully him. There are more ways than one to ‘silence’ those whose message we don’t like.

  17. Steve Edward says:

    Good old Cardinal Dolan. Listen to the students and then get all the ‘trendie’ anti-Church staff out of all the seminaries.

  18. Joe O'Leary says:

    Jerry Slevin, note that the four archbishops who are Primates of Armagh, Cashel, Dublin and Tuam are the ones protesting most loudly against Dolan’s ignorant incursion. Why not an Irish church that unites all three, laity, clergy and bishops? Some of the noises and gestures of the Eucharistic Congress and the preceding theology symposium pointed in that direction, which is of course the only way forward.

  19. Jim McCrea says:

    The Irish college was gay-friendly? How can that be! It is, after all, a Catholic institution. Gay friendly?

  20. It seems to me that this protest about the Dolan report is really an old guard unhappy that their shoddy work has been noticed. It makes it worse to try to deny it and pretend that nothing is wrong. In other words, when you’re in a hole, stop digging. And to anyone defending these four bishops’ attitude, is not this similar to what happened with sex abuse? Deny that there is a problem and carry on regardless?

  21. Thank God for the ACP and the four archbishops’ response to the Dolan Report. In my country our bishops would have accepted such a report without the slightest whimper. Like so many bishops, Cardinal Dolan didn’t work his way up the ecclesiastical ladder by failing Rome. His so-called “rock star” reputation in our country is wearing very thin.
    Any open-minded evaluator would base his report on what he found during the on-site evaluation instead of coming in with preconceived opinions and prejudices. When I was a principal, I served on many visitations of schools in our diocese; the visitation was part of a re-accreditation process.
    The re-accreditation process included the following steps:
    • The school did a self-evaluation report which covered every aspect of the school, including areas needing improvement as well as strengths. This report was given to the visitors before their on-site visit.
    • A team made an on-site visitation of the school. The visiting team was not bound by the school’s self-evaluation; however, if the school appraised itself honestly, the on-site team could verify its strengths and weaknesses. Through interviews with everyone in the school community (pastor, principal, every teacher, secretaries, and cooks), the visiting team then wrote its report which made recommendations to improve the quality of the spiritual and educational aspects of the school.
    • Here is where our visiting teams’ report and the Dolan Report differ. Before the parish and school community were given an oral report, our visiting team sat down with the pastor, principal, and chairperson of the self-report and gave them our written evaluation. The school personnel were then given the opportunity to voice any disagreements which they had with the report. The visiting team may have missed something or may have come to some conclusions which weren’t true. If the disagreements were valid, the team then made the corrections. Since the purpose of the visit was to provide the school with an instrument for improvement, it made perfectly good sense to communicate directly with the school personnel before the report went public. The visiting team left copies of its report with school administrators and provided copies for the diocesan superintendent of schools.
    • The school then took its own recommendations and the recommendations of the visiting team and came up with a five year plan of action, implementing three or four recommendations each year.
    What distinguishes our evaluation process from the Dolan Report is honesty and openness. Our bishops have demonstrated over and over that control and power need secrecy to survive. To take but one egregious example: secrecy allowed enabling bishops to protect the “good” name of the church and predator priests at the expense of innocent children. Only when this festering illness was exposed to the light did our bishops respond in a positive way.
    The Dolan Report, however, has accomplished one positive outcome, something I am sure the cardinal could not have foreseen. Both priests and bishops have joined together with one voice to protest injustice and dishonesty. Your voices reflect your love for our church, and they are needed more than ever.
    Up the rebels! Up the Irish priests and bishops!

  22. Adrian Egan, C.Ss,R says:

    Is being ‘friendly’ not a christian virtue? I commend any institution accused of being ‘friendly’!

  23. Do you not see how Rome operates? When they see something they do not like they decide to squash it.Then there is an “investigation” to support a decision already made. It will be inaccurate, shallow, based on misinterpretation and “misunderstanding”, generally with colouring from the “temple police”. Same with Bishop Morris, Irish College and the LCWR.
    Julie Mackey

  24. The new staff must ensure that the College is gay-HOSTILE.
    Problem solved. I don’t credit myself with coming up with this brilliant yet simple solution, for it is clearly implied in Cardinal Dolan’s reported antipathy to such a college being “gay-friendly”. In fact, it might be helpful — before anyone applies for the four newly vacated posts — for Cardinal Dolan et al to draw up and publish a full list of groups and types towards whom it is felt hostility and not friendliness should be shown by the College. Perhaps along the lines of, “The well-known obligation to love one’s neighbour notwithstanding, it is important that hostility and not friendliness be shown towards the following groups: gays; etc etc”.

  25. Soline Humbert says:

    At least nobody accused the Irish College of being women-friendly: A Mary of Magdala, or a Joanna, or a Susanna, or a Martha…Perish the thought!See where that got Jesus…

  26. As someone who lives in the Archdiocese of NY, I can tell you first hand, Cardinal Dolan has no room to criticize any one. His seminary ordained a whopping two priests this year, only one of them dicoesan. (The single diocesan priest celebrated his first Mass as a traditional Latin Mass assisted by an Opus Dei priest). The cardinal is very fundamentalist and ultra-conservative.
    I’m very sorry for what he is putting you through over in Ireland.

  27. Good point, Soline.
    I had contemplated getting the ball rolling by sticking in women alongside gays on the ‘hostile’ list, but resisted because I felt I had already over-stated somewhat. In fact, I probably should have quit after my opening sentence!
    But I can resist no more — beside gays and women, may I please add:
    Nuns, especially American ones.
    (And I am a different Mike from Mike in NY above)

  28. Chris (England) says:

    “Civil law also protects a person’s good name through the laws of libel. It is ironic that it was precisely the failure of Church superiors’ to follow either Canon or Civil law in abuse cases which led to the Apostolic Visitation in the first place……
    “It would appear that, in undertaking this particular visitation, conclusions were effectively drawn beforehand and then evidence to support them was actively sought. If this is the case, it undermines the authority of the Church, confidence in its leaders and not least the whole Visitation process.”

    Here we have it again – the same old story of the abuse of power and secrecy at the heart of the hierarchy with all concerns for justice and respect for the individuals thrown out of the window.”Do as we say – not as we we do” is the mantra of those who aspire to climb the greasy pole.
    I too commend the Irish Bishops for protesting about such callous disregard for transparency and justice for those concerned. Sadly, their protests are likely to be ignored by their colleagues in Rome; they are not members of the “in Club”.
    At a time when there is much talk of new evangelisation, when will the Church’s hierarchy realise that power based on secrecy, lack of fairness or objectivity serve only to drive thinking people away from an increasingly discredited institution?
    In the meantime, of course there is the butler consigned to the dungeons, but that is another story – or is it?

  29. Martin Murray says:

    I am confident many of us would want to stand up for our Irish bishops, if only they would stand up for themselves in their dealings with the Vatican Curia. But up to now there has been little evidence that they are either willing or able to rise above their own particular brand of the unhealthy deference to unaccountable power, of which we have all been guilty. Meanwhile everywhere we look, the moral and credibility of the church, both Irish and global is being gradually eaten away by the insideous inroads of unchallenged fundamentalism, such as was evidenced in this vistation report. We need leadership from the bishops to arrest this slide. Maybe the brief response of the Archbishop trustees of the Irish College in Rome to this lazy and unjust report gives us a flicker of hope. However, their challenge in this and so many other matters, needs to sustained and it needs to conducted not behind closed doors, but out in the open light of day. We are not children who’s eyes need to be shielded from a parental row. We have moved beyond the confirmation class. We are adult believers who are aware there are issues to be addressed within the church family, but we can handle it. We need our bishops to win our respect. So in regard to the Irish College, is our slogan to be ‘Justice for the Rome Four’ or ‘Justice for the Rome Eight’?

  30. Gerard Flynn says:

    The letters page of today’s Irish Times contains a well-argued response to the Dolan report on the PIC.
    It is encouraging to see that the four Irish bishops responded in such a robust manner. The question remains, if their review of the report is so negative, why did they replace the staff of the College? In doing so they appear to give credence to a methodologically defective and morally deficient document.

  31. Catholic Newsbot says:

    The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) is very unhappy with Cardinal Dolan’s report on the Pontifical Irish College.
    In a report to the Vatican after his apostolic visitation of the Irish seminaries, Cardinal Dolan reportedly said that some faculty members should be replaced. (The cardinal’s report was confidential, but—like many confidential documents submitted to the Vatican in recent months—has been leaked to the press.) In a minor masterpiece of illogic, the ACP faults Cardinal Dolan for criticizing faculty members, and then faults him for not including the hard evidence to back up his criticisms.
    The cardinal was charged with writing an honest report, and presumably he did so. Apparently he was critical; sometimes honest reports are. Would it have been better, for the reputations of those involved, if the cardinal’s report had given all the dirty details, and they had appeared in the Irish Times?) Here’s the complaint:
    ”If the accusations were not substantiated, why not just say so? Is this just incompetence or perhaps homophobia?”
    Homophobia? Homophobia? Until now we had only heard that Cardinal Dolan had detected an undercurrent of theological dissent at the Pontifical Irish College. Thanks to the ACP — which blasted the cardinal for exposing the faults of others – we now have another important detail.

  32. I completely agree with Martin Murray above — there is a silver lining to this cloud and that is the long overdue appearence of self-confidence and assertiveness from our four archbishops in their relationship with Rome. But it must continue. If they can continue I am sure that they can be assured of the overwhelming support of our church in Ireland, clergy and laity. There is an interesting piece tonight on the National Catholic Reporter website on Cardinal Dolan and his report —
    ” Irish eyes are not smiling over New York Cardinal’s Seminary probe”

  33. @Soline Humbert
    Thank you for that inspiring link.
    I suspect a list of all those silenced since Vatican II would make for interesting reading. Presumably in most cases the silencing was effective and we know nothing about it.
    A Freedom of Information request to the CDF? 🙂

  34. Eric Conway says:

    Many of the Church’s critic’s constantly call for a ” listening Church ” ; in this case it appears that Cardinal Dolan has done just exactly that, & listened to the most important people in the Irish college – the seminarians !. It definitely appears that many of the practices at the college were less than orthodox. In view of the excellent speeches of Cardinal Ouellet & the Holy Father at the Congress, surely now is the time to stand four square behind the Pope & the Magesterium. Judging from much of the grudging commentary on the Congress from the Church’s enemies ( including unfortunately from the IT correspondent ) , solidarity is required.

  35. Gerard Flynn says:

    Eric Conway: “It definitely appears that many of the practices at the college were less than orthodox.” What are you referring to?
    It would have been better if the trustees of the College had been able to nominate at least one visitor. The fact that all of them were from northern America is part of the flawed process involved. The report was discredited before ever it was published.

  36. Joe O'Leary says:

    The seminarians that Card. Dolan listened to (uncritically, it appears) complained that their formators (not professors, they study in the Greg) were too influenced by the Bible and the theology of the 1960s and 1970s, that is, the theology of the Vatican II period, which has not been replaced by anything better. This suggests that the formators have a higher level of theological culture than usual, and that perceptions of “unorthodoxy” are coming from the fundamentalistic culture that is well known to be rife among younger Catholics. Card. Dolan seems to subscribe to that same culture, and to have little vibrant interest in serious theology. His investment has not paid off, since the vast diocese he heads produced only one ordinand this year (the first time in more than a century that this has occurred).

  37. Chris (England) says:

    In response to Eric Conway’s comments, genuine solidarity is based upon trust in people and processes. Anything less amounts to simply accepting things as they are, asking no questions and questioning no answers.Was it not such blind obedience that got us (the Church) into the mess that we are in today? A “listening church” is also one that values fairness and justice for all concerned and does not simply accept everything that is said at face value. The approach adopted by Cardinal Dolan appears as amateurish and biased, looking for evidence to back up conclusions: preexisting conclusions driving the “research”, rather than research leading to reasoned conclusions.
    In respect of the Irish college, I agree that the views of the seminarians are important, but no more than those of the staff. There is always the risk of individuals and groups telling the visitor, particularly if he is someone with considerable influence, what they think he wants to hear.
    As for any organisation, I would expect the Church to be transparent in the methodology used for such reports, including a set process that all concerned know in advance. This would include dissemination of findings and a right of reply to any conclusions or recommendations made. This is not rocket science. However, without it there is unlikely to be any justice. confidence in the system, or solidarity.

  38. Cardinal Dolan’s obsession with homosexuality is well known in the USA. It’s no surprise to Americans that, despite the absence of evidence, he focused attention on an impression of the Irish College being “gay friendly.”
    Please keep in mind that as head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, then-Archbishop Dolan commissioned the John Jay Report 2011. Many naive Catholics, like Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, rely on the John Jay Report’s findings when they claim that homosexuals are to blame for sex abuse of children in the churches. One of the John Jay researchers, Margaret Smith, told the USCCB in 2009 that the research team had found no correlation between homosexual orientation of priests and priests’ abuse of children. (Previous US studies had found gay men less likely to commit sexual violence than heterosexuals.) The John Jay researchers found, in fact, that as the number of homosexual priests increased, the number of abuse cases decreased. (The Report explains this decrease in terms of the shift away from the Woodstock era of “sexual revolution.” You may have heard of the 2011 John Jay Report offering the “Rock ‘n Roll excuse”?)
    Nonetheless, under Archbishop Dolan’s watch, the $1.8 Million Report, in effect, held homosexual priests and Woodstock responsible for sex abuse in the Church! How did the Researchers accomplish that feat? Pedophiles target pre-pubescents. The researchers calculated that 78% of the male victims of abusive priests were post-pubescent. HOWEVER, they defined post-puberty as age 11 and older. As a result, the Report could claim that the majority of the allegations named homosexual priests, not pedophile priests.
    Did Archbishop Dolan realize that this manipulation of statistics would breed more homophobia among Catholics in the USA? Did Cardinal Dolan know that the Vatican would leak his report on the Irish College? I suspect that he counted on both things happening. Please stay wary. Cardinal Dolan knows how to use the press to manipulate public opinion, and he spends lavishly on PR.

  39. Sounds to me like they are just being true to form.
    Scapegoating and homophobic. So much internalised homophobia too – the deadliest kind.
    It might be a good thing it’s out in the open.
    They abuse people, cover it up, and when it hits the fan they scapegoat. They did it to someone called Jesus once a long time ago.
    Partly what seems clear to me is this being about targeting/scapegoating the LGBT community for their own lack of honesty, their lies, power hungry incompetence, lack of accountability, transparency etc – and fallout from all of that.
    The gays raped and abused all the children, young people, vulnerable adults and women. They are out to destroy the Catholic priesthood. They are diabolically intent on bringing down the RCC and Western civilisation. And their latest pursuit of pure, unadulterated evil – having the innocent ‘Tele Tubbies’ rebranded “Pink Inflatables”. I ask you.
    So the powers that be, in Rome, need a few patsys – fall guys. What these poor men are being targeted as.
    You couldn’t make this stuff up.
    I hope these men fight back and that the real, true priests, straight/gay, and/or even the chaste bisexy ones, will stand by them too. You have all got to get together and go head on with the real abusers in this Catholic Church. The real and true ‘rot and filth’ corrupt power base. You might need, paradoxically, to start at the top though.
    Hardly a detailed analysis. But if it quacks like a duck.
    Like I said, they are being true to form. By their fruits you know them.
    They put Judas Iscariot to shame.
    I’ve had the displeasure of tasting too much of their particular rotten, filthy fruit.
    This is about power and abuse. Don’t allow it. There’s been way too much of that. Some have survived to tell the tell. Many have not.
    Enough is enough.
    God bless all.

  40. Mary Cunningham says:

    An article written by the American Jesuit John Mc Neil, referred to in the link provided by Soline Humbert (n32), is posted below.
    May we all, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, work towards calm, informed dialogue on gender and sexuality issues in the Catholic Church.
    Mary Cunningham

  41. Eric Conway says:

    It seems to me that those who have taken issue with me are ignoring the elephant in the room, and are being unfair to Cardinal Dolan. The John Jay College report revealed that over 90% of the sexual abuse was predatory homosexual in nature & not paedophile. Indeed the eminent Catholic journalist Philip Lawler was critical of the recent Vatican seminar on the subject, which glossed over this important fact. If it’s not properly identified & dealt with it will recurr. Apart from that, I disagree with the other posters, while respecting their opinion. I think the opinions of the seminarians are crucial/central. They will be the foot soldiers we all depend on. It is offensive to describe the seminarians as fundamentalist. As we know only too well from the unbalanced reportage of the Irish media on the church, one could equally ( perhaps more validly ) describe many of these journalists as liberal fundamentalists. It works both ways. Hand on heart, I would have serious reservations about much of the implementation of Vatican II.

  42. Then is a house cat a non-predatory lion, Eric? “Homosexual” is not by definition a form of human sexuality associated with predatory behavior; research shows the opposite. But those who’d like us to confuse homosexuals with pedophiles rhetorically smuggle in a negative moral judgment (connotation) that we do not ordinarily associate with the word “homosexual” in the way that we associate a negative judgment (connotation) with “pedophile”: presto-change-o, we get “predatory homosexual”– as though this were an ordinary sub-category of “homosexual.” Linked with “predatory,” the word “homosexual” then evokes disapproval, with a sense of immorality becoming part of the meaning of the word—its connotation.
    It’s a common rhetorical move: “radical feminist” because “feminist” denotes someone who supports equal rights for women (what’s wrong with that?). “Unjust discrimination” to suggest that it’s sometimes just to discriminate, for example, against homosexuals and women or some other group, contrary to what we read in Gaudiam et Spes:
    “Respect and love ought to be extended also to those who think or act differently than we do in social, political and even religious matters. In fact, the more deeply we come to understand their ways of thinking through such courtesy and love, the more easily will we be able to enter into dialogue with them. . . . [W]ith respect to the fundamental rights of the person, every type of discrimination, whether social or cultural, whether based on sex, race, color, social condition, language or religion, is to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God’s intent. For in truth it must still be regretted that fundamental personal rights are still not being universally honored.”
    A man who rapes an 11-year-old boy, or 12, 13, etc., is a pedophile. As the John Jay Report, like many other such reports, makes clear, pedophiles are often sexual opportunists: a pedophile’s prey is the child who is available and vulnerable. Few little girls are allowed to become altar servers, are invited to church camps run by priests, or are sent by parents to spend time in the rectory helping Father, etc., while little boys are often available. So the fact that in the Church, the male pedophile often has a male victim should not lead us to confuse pedophilia with homosexuality.
    Phil Lawler of “Catholic Culture” habitually confuses his ideology with his religious views, a common American tendency. We separate church and state and happily mix religion and politics! ‘Gotta watch that tendency along with the slippery rhetorical moves.

  43. “John Jay College Reports No Single Cause, Predictor of Clergy Abuse
    “The researchers at John Jay College are issuing a corrected edition of the report, “The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010,” released on May 18, 2011, because the National Institute of Justice was incorrectly identified as a funder of this report. We regret this error and any confusion it may have caused.”
    The foot soldiers are hearing confessions on the way out.

  44. Joe O'Leary says:

    I think we should be sparing with the word “rapes” — many or most of the accusations against priests concern “the offence of touching” or “statutory rape”. Pedophiles usually are not into penetrative sex (according to Kincaid). Also the language about rape as a crime of violence rather than a sexual offence, drawing on Clockwork Orange scenarios or prison or wartime scenarios of vandals inflicting rape on the elderly or on women captured as war booty or on fellowprisoners should not be applied indiscriminately to child abusers. Sexual weakness, desire, obsession lies closer to hand than that.
    “A man who rapes an 11-year-old boy, or 12, 13, etc., is a pedophile.” I think that adults who take sexual advantage of children are not necessarily exclusive or predominant pedophiles. A repressed sexual-affective life that in other circumstances could have blossomed in relationships with adults might find expression in abuse of children for a mixture of reasons: emotional immaturity and sentimentalism, incapacity for intimate communication with adults, proximity to children in a given environment, etc.
    The claim that most of the abuse is not child abuse but homosexual sex with minors is based on counting 11-14 year olds as minors rather than children. I think that rather than 90% the statistic for postpubescent minors is more like 25%, if you count from 14 or so up.
    That 80% of the victims are male indicates either that the priesthood is hugely homosexual in orientation or that homosexual priests, for whatever reason, are statistically more likely to be involved in such behavior than heterosexual priests. (How much more likely? Four times more likely, if we suppose that 50 percent of priests are homosexually oriented; equally likely, if we suppose that 80 percent of priests are homosexually oriented.) Of course the vast majority of homosexual men do not abuse children, and the same is true of the vast majority of homosexual priests.
    To say that sexual orientation has nothing to do with the choice of boys rather than girls seems to me implausible in the extreme. For some true pedophiles, the sex of the object of desire is of secondary importance; it is the child as such that is desired. But I doubt if that, or the thesis of the greater accessibility of boys rather than girls, can be extended very far.

  45. Martin Murray says:

    Thank you Mary for that valuable link (Item 41 above). The article has much to say, not just about the dignity of our LGBT brothers and sisters, but also about the church’s neglect of and resistance to subjective truth. It deserves slow and careful reflection.

  46. Joe O’leary is right that we should avoid saying that sexual orientation has nothing to do with the choice of boys rather than girls. If I seemed to be saying it makes no difference, then in my zeal to distinguish between pedophilia and homosexuality, I oversimplified pedophilia. I’m aware that some pedophiles consistently choose same-sex children.
    My concern is that adding “predatory” to “homosexual” alters the connotation of “homosexual.” It colors the word with the disapproval connoted by “pedophile,” which most people think of as posing dangers of predation and child-endangerment in its worst (criminal) forms. I leave to criminologists which forms of pedophilia deserve criminal-justice treatment and which forms harmlessly express an attraction to the assumed innocence of children. But adding moral categories to the word “homosexual” creates confusion. In my youth, I encountered many a heterosexual male I would have liked to describe as “predatory,” meaning sexually aggressive, pounce-on-her-as-she walks-in, but I would have been labeled prudish, fanatical, “radical feminist.” Most important, I would have helped undermine the serious issue of sexual predation against women. Why use this word for homosexuals?
    In these matters it’s difficult to keep terms clear without oversimplifying, but we must try. Otherwise “sin” becomes “mystery,” money laundering becomes the work of “Satan,” and “homosexuality” becomes “child endangerment,” and we, mystified by metonymy, are overcome by evil–either real or imagined.

  47. Joe O'Leary says:

    “My concern is that adding “predatory” to “homosexual” alters the connotation of “homosexual.” ”
    “over 90% of the sexual abuse was predatory homosexual in nature” — is incorrect also in that only 80% of cases involved male victims (and of course in that most of the victims were children, not older teenages). Perhaps he would say that the other 20% (or 10% by his count) was “predatory heterosexual” rather than pedophile in nature.
    The whole topic is awash with confusion on every level, but it should not be too difficult to establish a correct statistical breakdown of accusations (distinguishing also between proven and unproven — perhaps people tend to make accusations of molestation of males rather than of females — another factor that could account for the huge gender disparity).

  48. I believe the sincerity and love the majority of irish peolpe have for the catholic church is as vibrant and alive as it ever was. Perhaps we need to rename our church. Roman catholic how inappropiate and indeed offensive to Jesus of nazareth. Maybe once and for all the windows of the Vatican need to be opened and let all the centuries of greed,glory,power,oppression, dominance and abuse flow out. We in ireland need to look inward as a country and refind some of the spirituality of our predessors in our country formerily known as a island of saints and scholars.All one has to do is find lists of all monastic sites and places of worship known to our forefathers
    At this stage we must all be aware the part obedience, blind odedience, has played in covering up so much rot at all levels of Holy Mother Church. We learned that Jesus was obedient even to death on a cross. Jesus is son of God. How easily we fall into the trap of thinking we are following Jesus when we follow blind obedience to a fellow human being, when it is to cover abuse. That is not obedience. Many of the troubles in the church today are as a result of so called obedience. We need to reexamine our understanding of obedience end in this will lie the core teaching of Jesus.
    The one fear I have is that the church in Ireland will turn inward away from the majority of the irish become self satified and will continue to see Rome as the Destination not part of the journey. Jesus is the way the truth and the life.

  49. It is very clear that you are writing from the perspective that a perceived “injustice” has been done to staff at the Irish College in Rome. I realise that certain interested parties have lobbied in recent weeks to have the staff’s perspective heard, especially regarding this misguided notion that they did not have a right of reply.
    Certainly, the way the departure of the current staff was leaked into the media via the Irish Catholic, was unfortunate and unfair to the three of the four named priests. One had already left last summer, but he would most certainly have been asked to leave anyway. On a human level, the means by which this news was communicated is unfair and the Church should never humiliate her priests like this. That said, it has happened on this occasion. This is largely the fault of the trustees and not anyone else.
    However, we live in the real world, so let’s deal with this in a real way!
    I think it would be important to get a few facts straight (unfortunately there are serious errors in your report and a grave misunderstanding of the reality of the situation).
    The Holy Father decided that a visitation to Irish seminaries was necessary. Did it ever occur to anyone that he might have a good reason for this? (I will let you ponder that one!) Has it ever occurred to anyone that the visitors who conducted the visitation are highly reputable men. The visitors actually stayed in the college for five days while conducting this investigation. This gave them a unique perspective of the college and its life. They met the four staff for at least one hour each or possibly longer. This was an opportunity for the staff to represent their position and indeed justify it. During this time, concerns were indeed mentioned to staff members and some were spoken to a second time and asked to clarify concerns. In fact, the rector in particular was given the opportunity to reply to particular concerns that arose in the course of the visitation. This was his opportunity to explain and justify the college’s position. As the then college rector, it is natural that he should be the representative voice for the staff in such a case. They also met all the seminarians and some of the post-graduate priests (it was optional for the post graduate priests to meet the visitors, but not for the seminarians). The Vatican issued a detailed Instrumentum Laboris two days before the visitation, which contained a battery of questions that the visitors could potentially ask any resident of the college who was interviewed. Furthermore, they interviewed many people associated with the college and not just the seminarians and some post-graduate priests. Also, many priests who studied at the college in recent years made detailed submissions to the visitation team and in some cases met the visitors during the visit to Maynooth, in the weeks after the visitation in Rome. The notion that the visitors just listened to seminarian complaints, wrote a damning report and that the visitors and seminarians simply sacked the staff is simply unintelligible. There were clear objective problems with the formation programme and the ideology of the staff.
    Furthermore, The staff did not opt to leave (as you suggest), they were told their positions were no longer tenable and it would appear that this was done in a most cruel and curt way shortly after Easter – not by Cardinal Dolan or the Vatican, but by the trustees.
    I can assure you that there are very good reasons as to why these visitations to the Irish College in Rome and Maynooth in Irelend were necessary. Has it occurred to anyone that the findings of the report might indeed be true? That the Irish Church is in shock because it’s not used to being accountable or transparent. The very fact that a seven page summary report of all the visitations in Ireland was the only document officially published, is rather telling. Are we to presume that the myriad of people involved in the other visitations throughout Ireland corroborated with the seminarians of the Irish College to tell lies? I think not. Sometimes the truth hurts. Is it time that some people within the Church wakened up and realized that they can no longer simply do as they please.

  50. ‘Many of the troubles in the church today are as a result of so called obedience. We need to reexamine our understanding of obedience end in this will lie the core teaching of Jesus.’
    A housewife and I presume a mother. The ones who can truly speak with common sense. I have been wondering for the last five years what true obedience means.
    Well said. Wife and mother and speaker of commonsense and wisdom. Bring on the women !!! 🙂

  51. Eddie Finnegan says:

    “I can assure you that there are very good reasons as to why these visitations to the Irish College in Rome and Maynooth in Irelend were necessary,” says ‘Barry’.
    ‘Barry’, we know that the visit(at)ors to the Irish College and Maynooth had names like Dolan and O’Brien, and that the trustees of the IC & Maynooth have names like Brady, Martin, Clifford and Neary; and that their predecessors back to 1975 (a date that Dolan seems to regard as some sort of watershed) had names like Conway, Ó Fiaich, McNamara, Connell, Cunnane, Cassidy, Cathal Daly etc etc.
    Now, so we can accept your insider assurances and corrections with some degree of humility, gratitude and equanimity, can you please tell us your name and role? For you speak with such an aura of omniscience and authority that I can hardly think that you have spent all these years as autista to the Rector at the Irish College, or cashier at Pugin Hall in Maynooth.
    Later we’ll ask you for details of what the butler saw.

  52. Neil Peoples says:

    Some people have made reference to there being only one ordination in New York and blaming Cardinal Dolan. Please remember that it takes 6-7 years to train a priest and Dolan has only been in New York a few years. This small number says more about his predecessor.
    Dolan as a former rector of the American college knows how a seminary should be run. After all the abuse scandals it is vitally important to review and change the training of priests. As clearly something has gone wrong!

  53. Déaglán says:

    Are the ACP and others seriously suggesting that the seminaries have done a good job?
    We have a number of priests in this country who openly defy Church Authority, dispise Our Holy Father, and disregard Church doctrine and teachings.
    If the Seminaries were run right in the first place the ACP wouldn’t exist and those who use the cover of the ACP to air their disobedient voices would be fulfiling their vocations to serve Christ and His Church in a humble obedient manner.
    I hope that the Seminaries are sorted out asap and that we can have men trained as faithful humble workers in the vineyard of the Lord.

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