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The Confessions of a 14-year-old child.
Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been a week since my last confession. During the week I used the curse word a lot of times but I didn’t mean to, and I took another boys jam from the press in the dining room. I also said a lie to my friend and went up the town without permission on Saturday. I also smoked some cigarettes up at the handball alley.
The (possible?) Confession of a Catholic priest.
Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been a week since my last confession.
During the week I lost my temper on at least two occasions. The first time, one of the pupils was playacting during breakfast and I felt the need to discipline him. I picked him up by the ear and slapped him across the face twice, just after I let go of his ear. When I walked back up the dining room I noticed that his nose was bleeding into his breakfast cereal, so I asked him to go to his room. The second occasion was somewhat more serious. I was having a meeting late one night in my rooms with a number of other clergymen and as there were none of us free to patrol the dormitories the Pupils decided to run wild, knowing that I and the rest of the priests were otherwise engaged. As soon as the meeting broke up I went to the dormitories to discipline the students and while there I noticed a smell of tobacco smoke emanating from the fire escape. When I went down to the end of the fire escape I found three pupils smoking.
Considering what they have put me through that night and the embarrassment that they caused to me as head of the school, I decided that I would discipline them. Fortunately, I brought a piece of plastic orange gas tubing with me. I disciplined the boys but may have punished them to severely. It was only on reflection that I realised that I beat them with the tubing for over 10 minutes. On one of the boys, I actually drew blood from his leg due to the skin being broken.
Whether are not the priest concerned in the above abuse ever made an act of confession I do not know but ,I know that the details contained within it are actual fact. Unfortunately, I have no doubt that the above scenario has played out tens of thousands of times in this country over decades. In my previous post I said that members of the church in Ireland had knowingly covered up the truth in relation to the abuse of children in their care. Sadly, with the release of the recent report on the Dublin diocese this has proved to be an accurate representation. What is even even more shocking is that the reports that has been released only covers a scientific sample of priests in the diocese, does not extend to the rest of the country, and yet contains hundreds of examples of how this trust was betrayed and contains details of the brutality with which these men operated with.
I’ll accept that they were indeed different times but what I cannot accept is that members of an organisation that bases itself on trust and almost laughably on the premise of promoting love and peace could so cruelly carry out these acts. I acknowledge that the perpetrators of such actions were probably a very very small minority of the members of the church but I cannot understand how the hierarchy covered up the details and not only denied the victims justice also allowed the perpetrators to continue for as much as 20 years. All the time being aware of what exactly was going on.
I have met several fantastic priests in my time, men who have devoted their entire lives to the service of others. They have been an example and inspiration to me and continue to be so, father Peter McVerry springs to mind as one of these people. I feel sorry for people like him today, as thier name and their ministry is being dragged through the dirt ,because of the actions of a few. That being said, the people who are responsible for carrying out such acts of brutality on children must be named, shamed and locked up.
This scandal, is just another in a long list of failures of the society in which we live. One in which there are so many culpable parties that it becomes nearly impossible to unravel who did what to whom and when. The trouble is, that we the people of this country in our naivete placed our trust in the institutions of the state and of the Church itself. We willingly gave away our power to these people believing that somehow they were infallible and we must believe what they say without question. This goes for the bank manager, the priest, the local sergeant, the doctor and last but not least the government.
Whatever else comes of this, what we need to do is to carefully consider those in which we place our trust. We must never be afraid or fearful. We must remember that there is never a bad time to ask the right question. We must have the courage to stand up to anybody who dares to violate the values or rights of ourselves and as or more importantly, the values and rights of others.
I know the confession of the 14-year-old boy above is the truth, because I was that child and it took my leg six weeks to heal. I also know that the events described in the fictitious confession of the Catholic priest involved are also the truth, because I will never forget that night as long as I live. And neither should the priest, who the Bishop of Derry , Most Rev(?) Dr Seamus Hegarty.