A fiercely debated, nine-year 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 that
government inspectors failed to stop the chronic beatings, rapes and
But most leaders of religious orders have rejected the allegations as
exaggerations and lies, and testified to the commission that any abuses
were the responsibility of often long-dead individuals.
Having come up through excellent Catholic schools, I am more familiar with the Catholic Church than any other sect or faith. The Catholic Church also combines the protections of religious belief with institutional (indeed nation-state status) power. As a dogmatic religion, the statements of church leaders are great sway over church members. Therefore, what they say and do matters a great deal.
"Contrary to the congregations' claims that the recidivist nature
of sexual offending was not understood, it is clear from the documented
cases that they were aware of the propensity for abusers to re-abuse,"
the report read.
Religious orders were chiefly concerned about preventing scandal, not the danger to children, it said.
-Shawn Pogatchnik, The Associated Press