Clerical abuse – prosecutions needed

FOUR CATHOLIC Bishops have resigned in the wake of the Murphy Report into clerical sex abuse of children and the cover up of that abuse in the Dublin Diocese. The four –  Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Jim Moriarty, Bishop Raymond Field and Bishop Eamonn Walsh  –  remain within the Irish Catholic Church Hierarchy with the title of “Bishop Emeritus” and with full pension entitlements.
The fifth Bishop named in the Report, Bishop Martin Drennan of Galway, stubbornly refuses to resign stating that the “major decisions” which resulted in a cover up of child sex abuse by priests within the Diocese were made by Cardinal Desmond Connell.
What is needed now are prosecutions not resignations. The priests who abused children and the people higher up the Catholic Church ladder who covered up for them and moved them to other parishes should answer for their actions in a court of law.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said on the day that the Report was published:  “Justice, even where it may be delayed, will not be denied.  A collar will protect no criminal.”  These fine words, however, are contradicted by the action, or rather the inaction, of the State down through the years.
An extremely revealing finding of the Murphy Report was the fact that the Gardai referred reports of clerical abuse to the Church authorities rather than pursuing cases through the legal process.
Despite the fact that this approach is now meant to be ended, the so-called God Squad of 20 detectives set up in 2002 to investigate clerical abuse claims has not brought forward a single case for prosecution.
And why have reports only been held into allegations of abuse in two dioceses, Ferns and Dublin?  Is it not clear that abuse occurred in every diocese?  Every diocese, therefore, should be investigated.  And, unlike the cases of Dublin and Ferns, prosecutions should be aggressively pursued when abuse of children and cover up of that abuse is suspected.
The craven attitude of the capitalist establishment to the Catholic Church hierarchy was graphically shown in the Dail when Taoiseach Brian Cowen mumbled excuses for the Vatican in their refusal to reply to correspondence from the commission of enquiry by “explaining” that the Vatican is a foreign state which had not been approached through “diplomatic channels”.
If that is the case why does Cowen’s government allow the agents of a foreign state to run the primary school system in this country?  Catholic Church Bishops are appointed by the Pope and are the patrons of 3,200 primary schools in this State. They have the power to appoint the boards of management who are, in turn, answerable to them.
The scale of this power is shown by Maynooth Statute 262 which states:  “To avoid prejudice against the managership of schools, clerical management is forbidden to appoint any teacher or assistant, male or female, in national schools until he shall have consulted and obtained the approval of the Bishop.”
The clerical caste which covered up the sexual abuse of children should not be allowed to control our schools. The Socialist Party stands for the complete separation of Church and State and this must include removing all schools funded by the taxpayer from the control of the Church.