The Irish Church moving toward light

The Irish have been badly served by the church they embraced as a comfort in times of British oppression, and later as something close to national identity.  Not surprisingly, as the orphanage and child abuse scandals kept drenching the hierarchy in shame, the Irish are becoming Catholics in memory or in name only.  They will never again be priest-ridden, but may be priest-served, with a viable Catholic presence, if the church keeps on moving in the direction this rather moving event indicates.

Finally, the denial, excuses, “a few rotten apples”, circling wagons, and secrecy are put aside and mirabile dictu, the Archbishop of Dublin is saying

On behalf of the Holy Father, I ask forgiveness, for the sexual abuse of children perpetrated by priests, and the past failures of the church’s hierarchy, here and in Rome — the failure to respond appropriately to the problem of sexual abuse. Publicly atoning for the church’s failures is an important element of asking the forgiveness of those who have been harmed by priests and bishops, whose actions — and inactions — gravely harmed the lives of children entrusted to their care….there is still a long path to journey in honesty before we can truly merit forgiveness.

Wow. A long path, and let us pray it quickly reaches the place  (for example) where criminal priests are judged and punished by the civil authority, but I think this is a step along it.

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

3 thoughts on “The Irish Church moving toward light”

  1. I am not a Roman Catholic, or even a Christian. If anyone considers my views irrelevant on those grounds, fine.

    But I think the church needs to go well beyond allowing criminal priests to to be judged and punished by the civil authority. At a minimum, it needs to:

    1. Open all records of abuse.
    2. Punish the bishops and other members of the hierarchy who knew of the abuse and covered it up, even if that implicates Benedict himself.
    3. Stop letting dioceses use bankruptcy to avoid meeting their obligations to victims. I understand the legalities, but an organization that pretends to operate on a higher moral plane ought to step up and meet its obligations. Does the Vatican really lack resources?

    Then I’ll be impressed by foot-washing.

  2. I absolutely agree, more needs to be done. For one thing, they should make a rule that priests aren’t allowed to be alone with minors. We could have frosted glass confessionals and what-all. It would protect children and also the priests’ reputation going forward. There also needs to be a full-on examination of the church’s attitude towards sex and women and the whole she-bang.

    At least someone is finally opening up though.

    I worry the most about people who live in countries with no free press or who are very poor. There is often a very sick game of “seduction” that goes on. Abusers usually pick on neglected and desperate children. Really, really foul stuff. The leaders keep wanting to think this is isolated, when it’s probably going on everywhere there are people.

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