Erkebiskopen av Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, har uttalt seg vedrørende den nylig publiserte rapporten om fysisk og psykisk mishandling (The Ryan report) i irske katolske institusjoner. I en kronikk i avisen Irish Times, sier erkebiskop Martin at Kirken i Irland må legge bort “fornektelsen” og aldri bagatellisere ofrenes lidelser. Han advarer samtidig de skyldige ordener og slår fast at de nå står ovenfor en “siste sjanse” til å fornye sine særskilte kall.
Slik skrev katolsk.no i går, og de fortsetter: Erkebiskopen uttaler at dette ikke er situasjonen for de lettvindte unnskyldninger, men slår samtidig fast at “unnskyld” er det første ord som må ytres.
Martin skriver at rapporten har sjokkert, men ikke overrasket ham. Som student jobbet han selv i et internat for tidligere foreldreløse og vanskeligstilte elever ved katolske skoler i Dublin. Senere jobbet han også ved et senter for tidligere straffedømte i London, mange av disse tidligere elever ved de katolske institusjoner.
“Anyone who had contact with ex-residents of Irish industrial schools at that time knew that what those schools were offering was, to put it mildly, poor-quality childcare by the standards of the time. The information was there”, skriver erkebiskopen, og bemerker at en geistlig og enkelte journalister tidligere har forsøkt å skape oppmerksomhet rundt misbruket.
“The first thing the church has to do is to move out of any mode of denial. That was the position for far too long and it is still there”.
Damian Thomson prøver også å finne ut hvorfor misbruk av barn og unge (seksuelt og på andre måter) var så spesielt stort i Irland: One of the most delicate questions surrounding the wicked child abuse by Irish Catholic clergy, brothers and nuns is this: how much of the abuse was Irish and how much of it was Catholic?
The question of Irishness has been hovering over the Catholic abuse scandals for years, ever since journalists noticed (but scarcely dared point out) that they seemed concentrated among the Irish Catholic diaspora of the United States, Canada and Australia. We always knew that terrible things happened in Ireland, too, though it was not until the publication of a 2,600-page report last week that we realised their extent. … …
I’ve just asked a well-informed commentator on Irish affairs about the respective influence of Irishness and Catholicism in this scandal. His reply was deliberately provocative: “The violence was Irish, the sex abuse was Catholic,” he said.
He explained that Ireland has for centuries tolerated levels of domestic violence and alcoholism that are much higher than those in other Catholic cultures. There’s no single, neat explanation for this – but the brutality of English colonial oppression certainly rubbed off on society. Rural Ireland until the 1970s was basically a Third World country; it still had a peasantry (thanks in part to the English) that was, by definition, very badly educated. We’ll never know for sure how many fathers of families were violent drunks, but the proportion was high compared to most of Europe. And this is the culturally and intellectually impoverished class from which many of the Christian Brothers were recruited.
It’s not just a liberal cliché to say that the cycle of violence works down the generations: the brothers from several Congregations were raised among violence and booze and behaved like their fathers, or their own abusive teachers, once they were in positions of authority themselves. Many of them were not particularly bright: if they had been, they might have become priests, though the chances of them joining the Jesuits – the main teaching order of priests – would have been slim. The Jesuits were middle-class and their discipline, although severe, was less purely sadistic and stupid than the corporal punishment handed out by the lay Congregations. … …