The principles, the authority and the reality of the Catholic Church

Prior to last week, as part of an organized effort to to derogate the present Obama administration and its policies, the Cardinal Newman Society,  an extremist corner of the American Catholic community with  ties to the Republican party and the conservative movement mounted an aggressive media campaign against Notre Dame’s invitation to Obama to give the commencement speech.

Nearly 65,000 people have signed an online petition protesting President Obama’s scheduled May 17 commencement address at the University of Notre Dame, saying the president’s views on abortion and stem cell research “directly contradict” Roman Catholic teachings.

“It is an outrage and a scandal that ‘Our Lady’s University,’ one of the premier Catholic universities in the United States, would bestow such an honor on President Obama given his clear support for policies and laws that directly contradict fundamental Catholic teachings on life and marriage,” the petition at notredamescandal.com reads.

One might fairly ask, given yesterday’s publication of an investigation of the Catholic Church in Ireland, just how those “fundamental Catholic teachings on life and marriage” are actually instantiated within the Church itself.  One might also fairly ask for comment on this matter from the Cardinal Newman Society and from conservative movement luminary, Brent Bozell III, who sits on the board as director.

Catholic Church shamed by Irish abuse report

By SHAWN POGATCHNIK
The Associated Press
Thursday, May 21, 2009 2:24 AM

DUBLIN — After a nine-year investigation, a commission published a damning report Wednesday on decades of rapes, humiliation and beatings at Catholic Church-run reform schools for Ireland’s castaway children.

The 2,600-page report painted the most detailed and damning portrait yet of church-administered abuse in a country grown weary of revelations about child molestation by priests.

The investigation of the tax-supported schools uncovered previously secret Vatican records that demonstrated church knowledge of pedophiles in their ranks all the way back to the 1930s.

Wednesday’s five-volume report on the probe _ which was resisted by Catholic religious orders _ concluded that church officials shielded their orders’ pedophiles from arrest amid a culture of self-serving secrecy.

“A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys. Children lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from,” Ireland’s Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse concluded.

Victims of the abuse, who are now in their 50s to 80s, lobbied long and hard for an official investigation. They say that for all its incredible detail, the report doesn’t nail down what really matters _ the names of their abusers.

“I do genuinely believe that it would have been a further step towards our healing if our abusers had been named and shamed,” said Christine Buckley, 62, who spent the first 18 years of her life in a Dublin orphanage where children were forced to manufacture rosaries _ and were humiliated, beaten and raped whether they achieved their quota or not.

The Catholic religious orders that ran more than 50 workhouse-style reform schools from the late 19th century until the mid-1990s offered public words of apology, shame and regret Wednesday. But when questioned, their leaders indicated they would continue to protect the identities of clergy accused of abuse _ men and women who were never reported to police, and were instead permitted to change jobs and keep harming children.

The full ugly story here

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