Perhaps it is a case of dementia, perhaps it is a case of a man who devoted his life to an institution being unable to cope with it crumbling away, perhaps it is just a matter of a bloody-minded old man who cannot accept he was wrong – but former-Pope Benedict is still telling lies.
The BBC report on Benedict’s latest attempt to evade responsibility for the heinous crimes of many of his clergy, and his stubborn refusal to accept that the problem lay with the systemic corruption of the church, can only be a cause of further hurt for those who suffered at the hands of vile clergy.
Benedict’s contention that the social revolution of the 1960s was responsible for clerical abuse is a palpable piece of nonsense. Someone who pursued the relentless logic of power as Cardinal Ratzinger surely realizes that his arguments are simply not credible? The briefest reading of the findings of the commissions of inquiry into abuse in Ireland demonstrate that Benedict’s claims are untrue, the inquiries dealt with abuse from the 1930s onward. Abuse was nothing to do with the 1960s. The publication in Dublin of the report of the Ryan Commission in May 2009 brought one of the bravest appearances on a live television programme that many people will ever see.
Michael O’Brien appeared RTE television’s Questions and Answers, the video recording of him speaking brings tears to the eyes. O’Brien attacked the church for its vile crimes, and the political establishment of the Irish state for tolerating such a church. Michael O’Brien’s testimony alone discredits the absurd contention of Benedict.
“Michael O’Brien: Mr. Chairman, I’m surprised at the minister there now.
First of all Mr Minister (directed at Minister Noel Dempsey) you made a bags of it in the beginning by changing the judges. You made a complete bags of it at that time, because I went to the La Foy commission and ye had seven barristers there, questioning me and telling that I was telling lies, when I told them that I got raped of a Saturday, got a merciful beating after it, and then stuffed…
… he came along the following morning and put holy communion in my mouth.
You don’t know what happened there. You haven’t the foggiest, you’re talking through your hat there. And you’re talking to a Fianna Fáil man, a former councilor and former mayor you’re talking to, that worked tooth and nail or you, for the party that you’re talking about now. Ye didn’t do it right, ye got it wrong.
And apologize for doing that. Because you don’t know what I feel inside me. You don’t know the hurt I am.
You said it was non-adversarial.
Throwing questions at us.
I tri.. attempted to commit suicide, there’s the woman who saved me from committing suicide, on me way down from Dublin, after spending five days at the commission. Five days I spent at the commission. They brought a man over from Rome, ninety odd years of age, to tell me I was telling lies.
That I wasn’t beaten for an hour, non-stop by two of them.
By two of them.
Non-stop from head to toe without a shred of cloth on my body.
My God minister.
And could I speak to you (comment directed to Leo Varadkar, Fine Gael), and ask your leader, would you stop making a political football of this.
You hurt this when you do that.
You tear the shreds from inside our body.
For God’s sake, try and give us some peace.
Try to give us some peace and not to continue hurting us.
That woman will tell you how many times I jump out of the bed at night with the sweat pumping out of me. Because I see these fellas at the end of the bed with their fingers doing that (gestures) to me. And pulling me in to the room, to rape me, to bugger me and bate the shite out of me. That’s the way it is.
And you know what?
You know what, sometimes I listen to the leader of Fianna Fáil. I even listened to the apology. T’was mealy mouthed, but at least t’was an apology.
At least t’was an apology.
The Rosminians said in the report, they said they were easy on us. The first day I went to them. The first day to Rosminians in my home which is Ferryhouse in Clonmel, ’cause its the only home I know. He said “you’re in it for the money”.
We didn’t want money.
We didn’t want money. We wanted the pr… someone to stand up and say “yes, these fellas were buggered, these people were ra…”
Little girls. My daughter, oh sorry, my sister. A month old when she was put in to an institution. Eight of us from the one family, dragged by the ISPCC cruelty man. Put in to two cars, brought to the court in Clonmel. Left standing there without food or anything, and the fella in the long black frock and the white collar came along and he put us in to a van.
Not a van, a scut truck, I don’t know what you call it now. And landed us below with two hundred other boys. Two night later I was raped.
How can anyone…
You’re talking about constitution. These people would gladly say “yes” to a constitution to freeze the funds of the religious orders.
This state, this country of ours, would say “yes” to that constitution if you have to change it.
Don’t say you can’t change it.
You’re the government of this state. You run this state. So for God’s sake stop mealy mouthing. ‘Cause I’m sick of it.
I’m sick of it.
You’re turning me away from voting Fianna Fáil which I have done from the first day that I could vote. Because. And you know me. You know me Mister Minister. You’ve met me on a number of occasions. So you know what I’m like”.
If Pope Francis has any respect for the countless people like Michael O’Brien, if he has any integrity, he will unreservedly condemn Benedict.