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Ireland’s Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Report Volume One Part Two Chapter 6 The Congregation of Christian Brothers

Chapter 6
The Congregation of Christian Brothers


6.01This preliminary chapter deals with topics that are of general application to the consideration of abuse in industrial schools run by the Christian Brothers.


6.02Edmund Ignatius Rice (1762–1844), a wealthy import and export trader in the city of Waterford, opened a school for poor children in that city in 1802. He began recruiting men who shared his ambition to provide a free education for the poor Catholic children of Ireland. By 1803, a monastery was built in the city and more young men joined. In this way he founded the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, which became known as the Irish Christian Brothers.

6.03His inspiration had come from a remark made by the sister of the Bishop of Waterford, with whom he was discussing his ambition to become a member of a religious Congregation. A band of ragged boys passed by and, pointing to them, she exclaimed, ‘What! would you bury yourself in a cell on the continent rather than devote your wealth and your life to the spiritual and material interest of these poor youths?’ Inspired by these words, Rice talked to other friends, all of whom advised him to undertake the mission to which he was being called. He settled his business affairs in 1800, the most profitable year he had known, and two years later opened his first Christian school.

6.04The schools were open to all comers and were free to the poor. He developed a system whereby one Brother, sometimes with a monitor as assistant, would teach about 150 boys who were graded not by age but ability. He was adamant there should be no physical punishment, which he found contrary to his own spirit. In 1820 he wrote, ‘Unless for some faults which rarely occur, corporal punishment is never inflicted’.

6.05His schools were a success and, as Edmund Rice’s reputation spread, his Community grew rapidly in numbers. By 1806, schools were established in Waterford, Carrick-on-Suir, and Dungarvan, and by 1808 the Community had Houses in Dublin, Cork and Limerick. Initially, they adopted, with modifications, the Rule of the Presentation Order of nuns and, like them, were subject to their local bishops. In 1820, however, the Order now known as the Christian Brothers became the first Irish Community of men to be granted a charter by the Holy See1 and to be recognised as a Papal Institute. This new status meant that the Brothers were no longer under the authority of local bishops, and could develop their own internal management, under the overall authority of the Holy See, through the Secretariat of State for Religious. Br Rice was unanimously elected Superior General, and all the Houses were united under the new regime except for Cork, as the local bishop there refused his consent. In 1826, they too joined the greater Congregation, although one member, Br Austin Reardon, opted to remain under the old Order and founded the teaching Congregation of Presentation Brothers.

6.06From 1802 to 1868 the Christian Brothers remained a small group of men who managed only day schools for poor Catholic boys. It was the introduction in 1858 of the industrial school system into Ireland that led to the Congregation moving into the management of residential schools. The new industrial schools fitted in with their charism of educating and helping the poor. Moreover, the schools were being subsidised by the State, through a capitation system, whereby a sum was paid for each boy placed in the school. It was a system that for the first time would provide the Christian Brothers with a guaranteed income to feed, clothe, house and educate the boys.

6.07The Brothers opened their first industrial school in Artane in 1870. It was a purpose-built school for 825 boys, built to the highest specifications. From that date, there was a rapid expansion of the Christian Brothers throughout Ireland and Great Britain. In 1868 a small number were sent to Australia, and the Congregation rapidly flourished there. In 1875 they moved to Newfoundland, where they opened another school. By 1900 there were Christian Brothers’ schools in Ireland, Britain, Australia, Newfoundland, Gibraltar, New Zealand, India and Rome. Soon after that, the Congregation developed in Africa, the USA and later in South America. The Brothers are today a worldwide organisation with institutions in more than 26 countries on all populated continents.

6.08In Ireland, the Christian Brothers soon occupied the dominant position in the industrial school system. Between 1868 and 1894 they had control of six industrial schools spread across the country, certified to take in a total of 1,750 boys. In 1831 the residence of the Superior General of the Irish Christian Brothers and the centre of teacher training was moved to North Richmond Street (O’Connell Schools) Dublin from Our Lady’s Mount (North Monastery) in Cork. In 1874 it was transferred to Belvedere House in Drumcondra, now the residence of the President of St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra. In 1875 the Brothers moved to Marino House, on the original Lord Charlemont demesne, and established their Generalate there. They recruited boys for their novitiates in schools across the country and sent them to their boarding schools, such as the one in Baldoyle, where they studied for the Leaving Certificate.

6.09In 1956 the Irish Province divided into two, St Helen’s Province and St Mary’s Province.

6.10The growth in numbers of Christian Brothers was remarkable. In 1831, there were only 45 Christian Brothers. By 1900, there were almost 1,000; and by 1960, there were 4,000 Christian Brothers in Ireland.2

6.11The six Christian Brothers’ industrial schools in Ireland were as follows:

Name of SchoolYears of operationCertified number of boys
Artane Industrial School for Senior Boys1870–1969825
St Joseph’s Industrial School for Senior Boys, Tralee1870–1970145
St Joseph’s Industrial School for Senior Boys, Salthill1871–1995200
St Joseph’s Industrial School for Senior Boys, Glin1872–1966190
St Joseph’s Industrial School for Senior Boys, Letterfrack1887–1974165
Carriglea Park Industrial School for Senior Boys, Dun Laoghaire1896–1954250

6.12The Congregation operated, in addition, two day/boarding schools, for orphans – namely, The O’Brien Institute and St Vincent’s, Glasnevin – and a school for the deaf, St Joseph’s School for the Deaf, Cabra, as well as over 100 primary and secondary schools.3 While the Sisters of Mercy managed a much greater number of industrial schools than the Brothers, they were diocesan congregations that were not under central management until the mid-1980s and were in effect independent institutions until then. The Brothers, by contrast, were a unitary organisation under central management and control from 1820.

6.13The Christian Brothers became a powerful and dominant organisation in the State and were responsible for providing primary and post primary education to the majority of Catholic boys in the country. Their greatest involvement was with non-residential education, and only a minority of Brothers were involved in industrial school work at any time.

6.14The extent of the Congregation’s involvement in residential care was reflected in the number of complaints (over 700) received by the Investigation Committee from former residents of its institutions, and in the number of hearings held (149) and interviews given (220).

6.15The Investigation Committee conducted full investigative hearings into four of the institutions: Artane, Letterfrack, Tralee and Carriglea Park. Limited inquiries by way of analysis of discovered documents took place into the remaining two industrial schools, Salthill and Glin, and St Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys, Cabra.

The Christian Brothers’ mission

6.16In 1923 the Christian Brothers set out a new Constitution and Rule that reiterated the mission of the Congregation:

The main end of the Congregation is that all its members labour for their own sanctification by the observance of the Evangelical Counsels and of these Constitutions. The secondary end is that they endeavour to promote the spiritual good of the neighbour by the instruction of youth, especially the poor, in religious knowledge, and their training in christian piety.

The Brothers conduct Schools in which they teach the poor gratuitously; Institutions for orphan and neglected children; Day Schools and Boarding Schools which are maintained by the fees of the pupils; and other educational works.4

6.17The majority of the Brothers who had worked in the industrial schools and who gave evidence made the decision to join the Congregation when they were 13 or 14 years of age. Some spoke of having joined the Christian Brothers at such a young age out of a spirit of adventure and a desire to do good in the world. They received instruction in theology and philosophy, and believed in the message of salvation through good works that was the cornerstone of the Christian Brothers’ mission.

Organisation and management

6.18Supreme authority in the Congregation is vested in the General Chapter5 which is held every six years. It is composed of former senior office holders, former Superiors General and delegates from each Province. The General Chapter is also the Congregation’s legislative body whose statutes are known as Acts of Chapter. Outside the periods when the General Chapter is in session, authority is vested in the Superior General and his Council as the governing body.

6.19The General Chapter elects the Superior General and four assistants to serve for a period of six years on the General Council. The Superior General may serve for no more than two consecutive terms. The assistants remain in office until a new General Chapter is convened.

6.20The General Council appoints the Provincials and their assistants, who in turn appoint Superiors to Communities. The basic organisational unit is the Community. Each Community is headed by a Superior, assisted by a Sub-Superior and a local council, all appointed by the Provincial Council. The Superior is appointed for a three-year term and may be reappointed, but, like his superiors, he may only serve two consecutive terms.

6.21When a Community of Brothers operated an industrial school, the Provincial Council ensured that their Superior was also the Resident Manager. These dual roles are relevant when considering the statutory demands of the position of Resident Manager. The practice also made it difficult for the Brothers to accept the recommendation of the Cussen Commission6 that the Minister for Education should control the appointment of Resident Managers. The Congregation was obviously going to guard its right to appoint Superiors of its own Communities.

6.22Brothers appointed to the position of Superiors, who thereby became ex officio Resident Managers of the institutions, assumed a very large responsibility but received no training for the role, even though the calibre of the manager affected the whole institution. A good manager not merely ran the school well, but improved the living conditions for staff and boys. A poor manager had a serious impact on an institution.

6.23Although the Congregation was well organised at a national and provincial level, local organisation was often unsatisfactory. There was no discernable management structure in place within the industrial schools looked at by the Committee. Individual post-holders were appointed by the Superior, but there was no system of monitoring or support once the appointment had been made, and there was no obvious system of consultation with younger members of the Community who were often responsible for the day-to-day running of the school. There was no formally recognised complaints procedure within the local Community. This was evidenced by the number of complaints communicated to the Visitor7 that had not been voiced by the Brothers to the Superior in the community.

6.24The lack of any safe, secure method of making a complaint was a serious difficulty for the boys. Boys could only speak about the actions of a Brother to another Brother and were naturally reluctant to do so, fearing that they would be disbelieved or reported back to the Brother about whom they complained of. In the 1940s, a sodality8 in Artane allowed boys to make complaints in a safe and confidential environment. Four sexual abusers were uncovered as a result, and were removed from the institution. This facility was discontinued and was never introduced into any other industrial school run by the Brothers. The obvious success of this initiative was not perceived as such by the Congregation, and it is probable that a great deal of the sexual abuse that continued unchecked for many decades in some schools could have been prevented by the introduction of a simple complaints mechanism.

Christian Brothers managers’ meetings

6.25Meetings were held annually by the managers of the Congregation’s six industrial schools together with the O’Brien Institute, St Vincent’s, Glasnevin, and St Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys, Cabra. They discussed general issues affecting the operation of their institutions, and little attention appears to have been focused on the affairs of individual schools. From a review of the minutes of these meetings held between 1936 and 1965, it can be seen that among the matters considered were:

  • Dealings with the Department of Education and its policy regarding the institutions.
  • Numbers in the institutions and the impact of decreasing numbers.
  • Matters concerning the welfare of the children, including health, education, and aftercare.
  • Financial affairs of the schools including the manner in which accounts should be maintained and presented, determination of the level of income to be taken by brothers (stipend) from the school income, payment of teachers; approach to be adopted in seeking increased grants from the Department.
  • Consideration of issues to be discussed at Resident Managers’ Association meetings.
  • Other significant issues that might affect the institutions from time to time, for example the response to the Cussen Report.

6.26These meetings were held in advance of the annual meeting for Resident Managers of all industrial schools and reformatories, which were convened by the Resident Managers Association. This association was a means whereby industrial schools could present a united front in negotiations with the Department of Education.


6.27The Christian Brothers contended that the quality of care provided in their industrial schools was the best they could provide, because the State funding was significantly below what was necessary to provide a proper standard of care.

6.28The funding from the State was by the capitation system, whereby a fixed sum was paid to the Congregation for each boy in the institution. Part of the grant was paid by the State and part by the local authority from whose area the child came.

6.29According to the Department of Education and Science in its statement furnished in advance of the Phase III hearings, the payment was intended ‘to cover the expenses incurred in maintaining the children in the schools, including clothing, footwear, food, general medical care, staffing and accommodation’. The Department of Education and Science also explained that, under the legislation that set up this system, ‘the school premises were owned and provided by the religious orders. The schools provided their own buildings, farms and plant without the aid of the State and local Authorities’.

6.30The main disadvantage of the capitation system was that the financial position of the institution was determined by the number of children committed. As a result, there was pressure on schools to maximise numbers and there was no incentive to allow early release of children.

6.31In their Opening Submission for the Artane hearings, the Congregation dealt with the question of funding in general terms, which applied to all their industrial schools. It made two important assertions: first, it stated that the Kennedy Committee found that the grant aid paid to industrial schools in Ireland was ‘totally inadequate’; and, secondly, it compared the capitation in the State to funding in Northern Ireland and found that the former rate was significantly below the allowance in the neighbouring jurisdiction.

6.32With regard to the Kennedy Report finding, however, it must be noted that, at the time of the publication of that report in 1970, numbers in industrial schools had fallen dramatically and therefore the system of capitation that depended on large numbers of children in care was no longer an appropriate method of funding such schools. Kennedy recommended that the capitation system be replaced by an annual agreed budget, and this was ultimately put in place.

6.33Throughout the 1940s and 1950s and for some of the 1960s, capitation was a reasonable method of financing because schools had large numbers of children and the fixed costs associated with the running of these schools could be spread across a larger pupil population.

6.34The industrial schools run by the Christian Brothers, with the exception of Letterfrack after 1954, had sufficient numbers of boys for economies of scale to be an important factor in assessing adequacy of funding. Farms provided food for the institutions and, in some cases, additional income. Trades such as tailoring and boot-making provided cheap clothing and could also be a source of additional income.

6.35The chapters on the individual schools reveal that food, clothing, accommodation, education and aftercare were poorly provided. When the Department Inspector raised any of these issues with a Resident Manager, the standard response was that funding was inadequate to provide a higher level of care.

6.36For most of the relevant period funding was adequate to provide basic care for children in industrial schools, particularly during periods of high occupancy. By the late 1960s, falling numbers made it impossible for all six industrial schools to stay open and, by 1973, only Salthill continued to operate.

6.37The Brothers who lived in the monastery, even those with little or no involvement with the school, were assigned a stipend out of the capitation grant. This money was not paid to them personally but put into a fund for the maintenance of the Community.

6.38The level of stipend to be taken from the school was determined internally by the Congregation and on occasion was discussed at the Annual Managers’ Meeting. The 1940 minutes stated:

The Community income is made up mainly by the brothers’ Stipends. The following scale was decided upon.

Artane: Manager: £500

Sub-Manager: £300

And each of the brothers (engaged in the institution) £120

For all other institutions:

Manager: £300

Sub Manager: £200

And each Brother: £120.

6.39The minutes went on:

The Community Expenses would not include ordinary “Rations” such as Bread, Flour, Meat, Milk, Butter, Fish, Eggs, Vegetables – Laundry, Fuel & Light. Any Balance (cr.) is to be treated as an Advance from Community to Institution as is done in case of ordinary House Loan A/c.

6.40By 1954, the stipend had increased to £250 per Brother, and was £400 per Brother in 1964.

6.41The stipend was the same amount irrespective of how much work the Brother did in the institution or in caring for the boys.

6.42Stipends were in effect, in the nature of salaries that the Brothers paid themselves out of the school income and amounted to a substantial proportion of it. These stipends could represent up to 15% of the total capitation grant received by an institution.

6.43The stipend was sufficient to enable some Communities, notably Artane, Carriglea and Glin, to invest money in the Congregation’s Building Fund and to make payments to the Congregation by way of annual Visitation Dues.

6.44Details of the Building Fund requested by the Committee were furnished between July 2007 and February 2008.

6.45The Congregation stated:

The Building Fund consisted of monies which were forwarded to the Provincial Councils by communities for use in refurbishing existing schools and building new schools. A Community submitted excess funds to the Building Fund, which funds could be called on for refurbishments and/or erections of new buildings.

6.46This contrasted with the Congregation’s Opening Statement for Artane in which they stated:

the Brothers, in keeping with their vocation, lived frugal lives and surplus monies thus, generated in the Community Accounts were lodged to a Building Fund established by the Congregation for use on capital expenditure on Artane. It is quite clear, therefore, that the financial contribution from the Community in Artane to the Institution was substantial.

6.47The Congregation was not in a position to say how much money in total was paid into the Building Fund by their industrial schools, but the accounts furnished show that Artane was consistently one of the largest contributors. Visitation Reports show payments into this fund by all the industrial schools at some point. There was also some evidence of payments out of this fund to the industrial schools, but these were relatively small sums and were generally concentrated in the period immediately prior to the closure of the institution as an industrial school.

Visitation Dues

6.48In the Phase III public hearing for Tralee, Br Nolan was asked to explain what the Visitation Dues were:

The Brothers in the Community maintained their House through taking a stipend and taking a salary from the money available. So also would the Provincial Council, they had no means of support other than putting a stipend on each House. It is a few hundred pounds. It changed with time of course. It was a levy on each Brother to contribute to the Provincial Council.

6.49The accounts for Artane show that the greatest expense in the House accounts over the period 1940 to 1969 was annual Visitation Dues. In that period the non-capital expenditure of the House was £236,000, and approximately one-third of this, £82,575, was sent to the Provincial towards the support of the Congregation by way of Visitation Dues.

6.50In all of the correspondence between the Department of Education and the Orders on the question of finance, the financial needs of the Community or the Congregation were never discussed. The Department of Education’s understanding of its role as set out above was to pay capitation grants in respect of youthful offenders and children committed to their schools under the provisions of the Children Acts, 1908 and 1941, and the School Attendance Act, 1926.

6.51The stipends paid to all Brothers, out of which Visitation Dues and payments to the Building Fund account were made, represented a drain on resources available for the maintenance of the children.


6.52Supervision of Communities was the responsibility of the Provincial Council for the region and was exercised by way of annual Visitations by a member of the Council. The Visitor stayed with the Community for a number of days, following which he sent a written report to the Provincial Council, which was copied to the Superior General. The Provincial or another member of the Council sent a follow-up letter to the Superior of the Community referring to salient points in the report, but the report itself was not given to the Superior.

6.53Visitations were a requirement of Canon Law, and their primary objective was to ensure that the Brothers were acting in the spirit of their vocation and observing the rules of the Congregation. In addition, the Visitor was required to inquire into the condition of discipline in the Community, its finances, and its premises. Although his function was primarily to inspect, the Visitor was also required to take immediate action if, during the course of his inspection, he encountered ‘anything of a serious nature … opposed to the religious spirit’ in the Community.

6.54Visitations proceeded according to a formal pattern laid down in the Constitutions of the Order. The Visitor had a preliminary meeting with the Superior and then he had individual meetings with the Brothers. These conversations were confidential, and the Superior was expressly prohibited from attempting to influence what Brothers said in their conversations with the Visitor. The Visitor then met the Superior for a second time to discuss his administration of the Community. The Visitor did not routinely speak to the boys, and only met individual boys on exceptional occasions.

6.55Visitation Reports for Communities attached to industrial schools followed the same general pattern, dealing with topics of Community observance and usually including comment on some or all of the following topics: health and diet, schools, premises, trades, aftercare, statistics, recreation, and finances.

6.56The rules of the Congregation required that, if ‘serious irregularities’ reported at the time of the Visitation had not been remedied within a period of two months, the Brothers who reported them were to write to the Provincial or the Superior General directly and inform him of their continuance.

6.57The Visitations were thorough, and the reports provided a good deal of detail about the operation of the various Communities. Although their purpose was primarily religious and concerned with the Community, the reports usually contained information about the industrial school and the children. Some Brothers were candid in reporting problems to the Visitor, as is demonstrated in the individual chapters on institutions. The system also enabled a Brother to circumvent his Superior by making a complaint to the Visitor if he felt that the former would not believe him. A number of cases of sexual abuse became known in this fashion.

6.58Visitors often made frank observations and they could be severely critical in their reports, although the summaries that the Provincials sent to the Managers were usually much more discreet in their comments.

6.59Visitation Reports are the single most valuable source of documentary evidence about life in the Brothers’ industrial schools. They were written during inspections or shortly afterwards. The writers were senior members of the Congregation. Reports were intended for internal use by the Council of which the Visitor was a member. Where they contain criticisms of Brothers or institutions, the reports can therefore be considered reliable.

6.60The Visitation Reports often contain information and comment that are much more critical and disapproving than the Department of Education Inspector’s reports, which were also supposed to be conducted annually and were focused on the health of the boys and the conditions within the school.

6.61The system had its limitations. In Communities where there were no personnel problems, the staff tended to close ranks. Visitors were more likely to get a realistic picture of an institution when there were problems in the Community, such as when relations were strained among the Brothers. Some Brothers testified that they were reluctant to complain to the Visitor for a number of reasons, including lack of familiarity with the Visitation system or feeling too junior to report. Others feared they might jeopardise their careers by complaining or that the complaint would get back to their Superior who would react badly to it. Furthermore, there were no objective standards applied to these reports and so different Visitors inspecting within months of each other could come to quite different conclusions as to the adequacy of the management.

6.62The major deficiency of the Visitation system was that, while it was able to identify problems in an institution, it did not provide solutions or ensure that changes were put in place. In some cases, the Visitation Report was highly critical of a particular Resident Manager or member of staff, but the Council did nothing to remedy the situation, and the Provincial in his follow-up letter did not even mention the problem. A member of the current Provincial Leadership Team was asked to explain this failure to act on Visitors’ complaints, and he attributed it to the fact that the Visitation was a personal inspection, the report was a discussion document, and the Provincial Council might not necessarily agree with all of its conclusions.

6.63Even if this interpretation is accepted as applying in certain cases, it does not explain why the Provincial authorities remained inactive in cases where they and the Visitor were united in their criticisms of a particular staff member. The records of the Congregation do not disclose any instance when a Superior/ Resident Manager was removed from his post for failing in his duties.

Joining, leaving and transferring

Joining the Congregation

6.64Christian Brothers were recruited when they were very young. Most of the Brothers and former Brothers who gave evidence joined in their early teens, many when only 14 years of age. Brothers known as Postulators travelled around the country visiting primary and secondary schools to recruit boys. The new recruits were then sent to boarding schools operated by the Congregation, where they studied and sat for their Intermediate and Leaving Certificates, before beginning their preparation for life in religion. Brothers who were not suitable for teacher training became Coadjutor Brothers and worked as cooks, gardeners, farmers or general support staff in the schools.

6.65Many of the Brothers and former Brothers who gave evidence to the Committee described the education and standard of care that they received in these schools as excellent. Conditions were good, the quality of care they received was of a high standard and, while life was extremely regimented, there was no corporal punishment.

6.66One former Brother described his experiences as follows:

[it was a] well run [boarding school] … much better run school than the one I had left … It was immensely pleasant and companionable and I have nothing only good memories of it. I had no trouble about it I think in my mind … When I went to the juniorate, to Old Connaught, there was no corporal punishment, there was no sense of fear. They were much better. I think I had a particularly bad set of teachers in [a named National school], but there was good teaching and everything was structured. I think again, a good boarding school operates on keeping you busy all the time and we were certainly kept busy all the time …

6.67Other Brothers described a similarly positive experience. One Brother said that ‘the staff were very good, they were very good teachers … they were excellent teachers’. Another former Brother, who was critical of many aspects of the training process, said that;

‘I have very happy memories of Baldoyle. It was a very friendly place. We got on very well with each other. It was happy go lucky. We were very well treated. I have no particular axe to grind about … Baldoyle’.

6.68In his article ‘Seven Years in the Brothers’, Professor Tom Dunne described the contrast between the juniorate he attended and his old schools as ‘remarkable’:

Here there was no corporal punishment and bullying was not tolerated. We were treated fundamentally as adults who had taken on immense responsibilities, and as new members of the Community. The teachers were all Brothers, and were among the best the Congregation had. It was all profoundly civilised, carefully disciplined and immensely caring.

6.69A boy could not enter the Novitiate until he was 15 years of age, at which point he wore the habit of the Congregation. When he had completed his Leaving Certificate, he spent a year in the Novitiate studying religion. He took his first religious vows on the first Christmas Day after the completion of the Novitiate. These were temporary vows and were renewed annually.

6.70Having completed the Novitiate, the temporarily professed Brother was sent to the Congregation’s Teacher Training College in Marino to study primary school teaching. The course was two years in length, but the Congregation was given a dispensation from the Department of Education whereby its members left the college when they completed their first year to work in schools run by the Congregation. After a number of years working in the field, the Brothers returned to college to complete their second year and become fully qualified National Teachers. This arrangement with the Department delayed the acquisition of the National Teacher qualification.

6.71The rules of the Congregation provided that a temporarily professed Brother could not take perpetual vows until he was 25 years old and had made temporary vows for at least six years. In this regard, the rules of the Congregation differed from the requirements of Canon Law, under which an individual could make permanent vows at 21 years of age.

6.72The combination of these provisions meant that young Brothers were unable to acquire their qualifications as teachers until they were well advanced towards a binding commitment to their vocations. These young, temporarily professed Brothers were often sent to industrial schools to teach for a number of years before returning to Marino. They were put in charge of large classes of boys and were also expected to perform supervisory duties in the afternoons and evenings and throughout the weekend. They had neither the teacher training nor the childcare training to equip them for this task.

Leaving the Congregation

6.73An individual could leave the Congregation voluntarily or he could be dismissed. The rules governing the departure and the dismissal of religious are contained in the Constitutions of the Congregation and the Code of Canon Law 1917.

6.74The rules draw a distinction between Novices, temporarily professed Brothers, and perpetually professed Brothers. Novices could leave voluntarily at any time, as they had not taken any vows. The General or Provincial Councils could dismiss them for ‘just reasons’, and there was no requirement to inform the Novice of the reasons for his dismissal. The decision to dismiss the Novice was taken by the General or Provincial Council.

6.75A temporarily professed Brother could leave voluntarily at the expiration of his annual vows. The Superior General or the General Council could dismiss him for ‘grave reasons’. He was entitled to be told the reason for his dismissal, and had the right to have an opportunity to defend himself and to appeal to the Holy See. The Congregation also had the power to refuse to permit a Brother to renew his vows for ‘just and reasonable motives’. The evidence before the Committee indicated that the latter was the preferred method of removing temporarily professed Brothers.

6.76Having taken perpetual vows, a perpetually professed Brother could only leave the Congregation voluntarily by applying to be dispensed from his vows. In Pontifical Congregations such as the Christian Brothers, only the Holy See could grant a dispensation from perpetual vows. This power was sometimes delegated to an Apostolic Visitor, who could grant a dispensation where he considered it wise and necessary to do so. If Rome granted it, the local Bishop formally executed the indult. The discovery material indicated that Brothers who wished to be dispensed applied first to the Provincial Council who, if they voted in favour of the request, would forward it to the General Council. If they in turn voted in favour, it was sent to the relevant Secretariat in the Vatican. A dispensation was not automatically granted.

6.77The dispensation procedure was often utilised in cases of suspected sexual abuse. Where the authorities were satisfied that a particular individual had committed the acts complained of, he was encouraged to apply for a dispensation instead of having to undergo the dismissal procedure.

6.78This method of dispensation was also employed in cases where the dismissal procedure had been instituted and the General Council had taken the decision to dismiss the Brother but the decree of dismissal had not been issued. The Brother would be invited to pre-empt the dismissal by applying for voluntary dispensation and could leave the Congregation without stigma.

6.79If a Brother was accused of a serious offence under Canon Law or the rules of the Congregation, and the authorities were satisfied as to the truth of the allegation, but the Brother refused to apply for a dispensation, they were left with no option other than to institute formal dismissal proceedings. A perpetually professed Brother could not be dismissed unless he had committed an ‘external grave delict’, had received two warnings about his conduct and had failed to correct his behaviour. These admonitions were known as Canonical Warnings, and the immediate major Superior administered them personally or had them administered by a colleague acting on his instructions. The warning was composed of two parts: the first was a call to correct the offending activity and to do the appropriate penances; and the second was a threat of dismissal. In addition, the Superior was ‘bound’ under Canon Law to remove the offending Brother ‘from the occasion of relapse even by transfer if it is necessary to another house where vigilance is easier and the occasion of delinquency is more remote’. The Canon Law set out what constituted a ‘grave delict’ and it included sexual offences against minors. The rules required that each of the three offences must have been of the same type, or, if different, have been ‘of such a nature that when taken together they manifest the perversity of the will resolved on evil’. The rules also provided that one continuous offence could give rise to dismissal if it ‘from repeated admonitions, has virtually become threefold’.

6.80If a Brother had been issued with two Canonical Warnings and had committed a third delict, his case was forwarded to the Superior General and the General Council, who then considered whether he should be dismissed. The Brother was given the opportunity to defend himself, and Canon Law required that his responses be entered in the records. The General Council then voted on whether the Brother should be dismissed. If a majority of the votes was in favour of dismissal, the Superior General issued a formal decree of dismissal, which was forwarded to the Holy See for confirmation. The Brother had a right to appeal the decision to the Holy See. Even if the dismissal was confirmed, the Brother remained bound by his religious vows until he applied for, and was granted, a dispensation by the Holy See.

6.81Canon Law and the Constitutions of the Congregation also provided for immediate dismissal in the case of ‘grave external scandal, or of serious imminent injury to the Community’. In this situation the decree of dismissal was issued by the Provincial with the consent of his Council, or ‘if there is danger in delay’ by the local Superior with the consent of his Council and the Local Bishop. The case was then forwarded to the Holy See for judgment.9

6.82The dismissal process which took place in the General Council, and which was often described as a canonical trial, is different from the formal canonical trial provided for in the Code of Canon Law, which describes the procedure for the dismissal of religious priests or members of non-exempt religious orders, and the procedure for the dismissal of members of diocesan congregations.

How Brothers were transferred

6.83The Congregation was a large national organisation that moved its members around periodically. The regularity with which Brothers were moved depended on the functions they performed and where they were working. Teaching Brothers were moved more regularly than Coadjutor Brothers.

6.84Industrial schools were perceived as hardship postings and they had a high turnover of staff. The vow of obedience meant that Brothers had to accept their postings no matter how unpleasant they found them to be.

6.85Young Brothers were often appointed to teaching positions in industrial schools. The posting of Brothers happened at the same time each year, at the start of a new academic year. Brothers transferred outside of this period often excited comment, because the sudden transferring of a Brother could signal a serious punishment. No contemporaneous information exists concerning the criteria that were used to assess the suitability of Brothers for particular postings. However, the records of the Congregation show that, on a number of occasions, individuals who were accused of sexual abuse were transferred to other residential or day schools. In some cases, Brothers who had been sexually abusing children were, in their later careers, appointed to senior positions within the Province. When asked at the Phase I hearing for Letterfrack how this had happened, Br Gibson explained that, because the leadership in the Congregation changed every 12 years, there was no memory within the organisation of offences committed before that. He acknowledged that there was a personal file for each Brother and concluded that these files were not consulted in making appointments.

6.86If Br Gibson’s theory is correct, it means either that the Provincial Council made its decision to fill senior posts without reference to the Brother’s history or to his personal file, or that the Council made its assignment in the knowledge of the man’s previous trouble.

Impact of religious life on institutional care


6.87Christian Brothers took the traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, as well as two additional vows, namely ‘perseverance in the congregation’, and, for teaching Brothers, ‘teaching the poor gratuitously’. They differed in this regard from the Coadjutor Brothers, who did not teach, and whose commitment was to domestic chores in communities.


6.88The vow of poverty required Brothers to deprive themselves of the right of disposing of anything of monetary value without the permission of their Superiors. They were not allowed to accept, take or retain anything for themselves save what they were allowed by their Superiors. They were required to give to the Congregation whatever they acquired by their industry or ability while under temporary or perpetual vows.


6.89Constitution 87 relates to the vow of chastity. It ‘not only obliges the Brothers to celibacy, but also imposes upon them the obligation of avoiding everything contrary to the sixth10 and ninth11 Commandments of God’12. In addition to the injunctions against adultery and coveting one’s neighbour’s wife, the Brothers were to restrict communication with women to a minimum. Constitution 89 spelled out what was required:

The Brothers, in their interviews with the mothers or female friends of their pupils and in all conversations with females, must observe great reserve and modesty and make the conversations as brief as possible.

6.90Constitution 91 deals with relations between Brothers and their pupils. It states:

Whilst the Brothers should cherish an affection for all their pupils especially the poor, they are forbidden to manifest a particular friendship for any of them. They must not fondle their pupils; and unless duty and necessity should require it, a Brother must never be alone with a pupil.13

6.91The meaning of the word ‘fondle’ was discussed during the public hearings into Letterfrack Industrial School, when Br Gibson, on behalf of the Congregation, argued that the word did not have a sexual connotation, notwithstanding its location in the chapter of the Constitutions dealing with chastity.

6.92A circular letter from the Superior General, Br P. J. Hennessy, in 1926 went into the nature of the vow of chastity in some detail. He wrote:

In a discourse on “The Education of the Child”, Pere Lacordaire says: “It is necessary, above all, to love one’s pupil: to love him in God, not with a weak and sensual affection, but with a sincere affection which knows how to preserve firmness”.

The child’s spiritual endowments and the end to which he is destined naturally cause the thoughtful religious to “love him in God”, while his natural charms tend to excite that “weak and sensual affection” that may easily prove to be ruinous to the child and teacher. Here is a DANGER SIGNAL that should never be lowered and should ever be heeded. The teacher who allows himself any softness in his intercourse with his pupil, who does not repress the tendency to “pets”, who fondles the young or indulges in other weaknesses, is not heeding the danger signal and may easily fall. Disastrous results for teacher and pupil have sometimes resulted from such heedlessness and effeminacy. Chapter VIII, Part I, of our Constitutions in its different articles, sets forth salutary precautions in this connection.

6.93Assertions by some members of the Congregation that they had no awareness of the possibility of Brothers sexually abusing boys were not supported by the Acts of Chapter or the documentation.

6.94Br Hennessy went on to exhort teachers to impress on their pupils the importance of purity:

They must rigidly refrain from all unnecessary freedoms with their persons at all times. In bed they ought to fold their arms over their breasts in the form of a cross, and before falling asleep pray to their Guardian Angel to preserve them from every dangerous thought or act during the night.

6.95As early as 1887, the Superior General was explicit in pointing out the danger of sexual activity amongst the boys:

With vigilance in the playground is intimately connected watchfulness in regard to the conduct of boys in and about the water-closets … Much harm may be done, and sin not unfrequently committed, in those places, if the necessary precautions be not taken, and if wholesome discipline be not strictly enforced … A serious responsibility rests on the Brothers in this matter, if through their carelessness or want of proper caution any of their pupils should come to learn evil they knew not before.

6.96Although these advices were sent out to all Communities, they do not appear to have formed part of the training Brothers received. Some Brothers spoke of their lack of any awareness of the possibility of peer abuse among the boys in their care. The Committee heard evidence, however, that peer abuse was a constant and serious problem in industrial schools.


6.97The vow of obedience required Brothers to obey their Superiors in all things that pertained, directly or indirectly, to the life of the Congregation, as well as their vows and the Constitutions of the Congregation. They owed their entire obedience to the Superior General of the Congregation and to their immediate Superiors. The reason for this total obedience was explained as follows:

The motive of obedience should be the spirit of faith whereby the Brothers consider their Superiors as the representatives of Jesus Christ in their regard; hence they must always show them honour, esteem and reverence.14

6.98This vow of obedience permeated every aspect of life within the Congregation and was something the Brothers and former Brothers who gave evidence to the Committee spoke about at length. Apart from the obvious implications of the vow, the main way in which it affected Brothers was in their interactions with their seniors, in particular their reluctance to criticise them. The chapters on specific schools disclose cases where the obligation to be subject to the will of the Superior and to serve the interests of the Congregation discouraged or prevented Brothers from reporting abuse, or making protests about objectionable behaviour, or even making suggestions as to improvements. In some circumstances, it inhibited the reporting of suspicions about sexual misconduct on the part of other Brothers.

6.99The importance of the vow is emphasised by Constitution 62, which requires the General Council to be careful not to admit to the profession of vows by any Brother who in his conduct shows a ‘want of submission, and due respect for, those placed over him’ or a ‘litigious and critical spirit’. A Brother who deviated from this duty to obey was quickly reminded of his position. One former Brother described his experience of obedience thus:

I think the vow of obedience was conceived of as being partly like military discipline. Indeed, the priests who gave the Brothers their retreats and so on, and the 30-day retreat we had in the novitiate, all from Jesuits, and they’d famously have a military metaphor for what they’d do. I think there was a certain amount of that, this was like the army and you just obey.

But that’s not what I understood as the vow of obedience, I think the vow of obedience was an internal – if I can use the kind of language that I think would have learned – an internal resignation of your will to the will of your Superior. The most important thing about obedience was not what you did but how you thought. I certainly would have believed that when I was that age, yes.

6.100The same witness described some of the more unusual ways in which obedience was tested while the Novices were in training. He recalled how Novices were made to walk about with no coats or hats in bad weather, and he went on to describe one incident when he was put to the test. He told the Committee:

The one I remember in terms of work was being told to move a pile of stones in part of the garden, I think, an old shrubbery from there to literally the far side of the table and spending several days doing it with an old wheelbarrow, when it was all finished he came around and said, “That is very good now. Excellent. Now would you move them all back again please”. You were meant to say, “certainly, Brother”, which I did being a very good boy…. It was a bit silly really but we just accepted it.

6.101This unnecessary labour had a function: it was an exercise in discipline and obedience. The vow of obedience taken by all perpetually professed Brothers required them to obey their legitimate superiors. The Superior was empowered to impose ‘such penances or humiliations as his faults or the usage of the Community may require.’15

6.102The Brothers and former Brothers who gave evidence recounted a number of examples of the punishments, often humiliating, that were meted out to Brothers who disobeyed. A number of respondent witnesses described how their Superiors verbally admonished them. Discipline seemed to be harder on the younger Brothers.


6.103Brothers were required to exercise discipline in their daily lives. They rose early for prayer and Mass, and were required according to the rules of the Congregation to live an asectic and spiritual life with few comforts. They practised fasting, and mortification of the flesh, in order to perfect their communion with God. Visitation Reports contained long and detailed accounts of the Brothers’ religious observances, and any laxity on the part of the Superior in enforcing the Rule was a matter for comment.

Retirement from the world

6.104The Christian Brothers were obliged ‘not to maintain any intercourse with externs’ without permission from their immediate Superior. Brothers were not allowed to read newspapers, listen to the radio, visit friends or attend outside functions or sporting events without express permission. Walks had to be taken in the company of at least one other Brother.

6.105Correspondence from lay people, particularly containing complaint or criticism, was treated with suspicion and hostility. The documents revealed an anxiety on the part of the Congregation to avoid scandal or adverse comment, which dominated its relationship with the outside world.

6.106The injunction against undue familiarity with lay people was even more strictly enforced in the case of women. Brothers were instructed to keep all conversations with mothers or female friends of the children in their care to the minimum. One consequence of this was that the Christian Brothers’ institutions became all-male worlds. Numerous witnesses gave evidence to the Investigation Committee about the problems caused by the lack of female involvement in the day-to-day operation of the schools.

Modesty and silence

6.107According to Chapter XIII of the 1923 Constitutions, ‘The Brothers shall observe silence at all hours out of recreation. If, however, duty or necessity require a Brother to speak at such times, he should do so as briefly as possible and in a subdued tone’. This necessity for silence affected the general atmosphere of the schools and was often imposed on the children as well as the Brothers. Justice Cussen16 was particularly critical of the practice of imposing silence during meal times and recommended that it be discontinued. Some complainants recalled silence during mealtimes into the 1950s, and many recalled that there was a general rule of silence when moving through the building and in the dormitories at night.

6.108A consultant psychiatrist who regularly visited Artane in the 1960s told the Committee:

On average my general impression, well; with the greatest respect to everybody, it was a daunting institution. The abiding impression I had was that during the school hours my biding impression was the silence. The silence. So you had all these children, young boys, and virtually not a sound.

6.109In his evidence to the Committee, he said, ‘it was one of an intimidatory type of silence’.

6.110Numerous complainants spoke of the insistence on silence in the daily tasks of eating and preparing for bed. Silence was a rule strictly adhered to in everyday life. Whistles were used in some cases to signal to the children when they were to move from one activity to the next.

6.111There were several warnings in the Visitation Reports referring to the neglect of the rule of silence in the school.

Impact of vows on institutional life

6.112The adherence by the Christian Brothers to their vows, and the monitoring of such adherence by senior Brothers, led to the application of these principles to the day-to-day care of the children. The virtues of obedience, chastity and hard work had to be inculcated in the children for the good of their souls, and for the good of society as a whole.

6.113Obedience and discipline were part of the life of the institutions. The daily timetable provided the framework for a closely controlled and well-orchestrated routine. The whole system was regimented, but Artane with its large numbers was particularly so.

6.114The regimentation and discipline were needed not just to keep order: it was, the Christian Brothers believed, a necessary lesson to be learned by boys who had never been properly controlled by their parents.

6.115There were, however, doubts within the Congregation about the efficacy of the industrial school regime as the best way to prepare children to become upright and decent citizens in a Christian society. These reservations were sometimes expressed in Visitation Reports but were not acted upon by the authorities.

6.116This concern, that the needs of the boys were not being met by the school, clashed with the philosophy of the Congregation and the way of life they advocated for themselves. The boys needed to be prepared for the day ‘when they pass through Artane gates into the wide world’, but the Brothers needed to keep their minds on the spiritual way of life and withdraw from that wide world.

6.117The importance of all the vows taken by the Brothers was emphasised in a circular letter dated 3rd October 1958 from the Superior General to each Christian Brothers’ Community. The Superior General wrote:

It is evident that in many of the houses of our Province the rule of silence is not being well observed. The observance of silence has always been regarded as essential to the Religious Life …

Silence is necessary for the practice of recollection without which there can be no spirit of prayer or true holiness of life…

The cause of these defections [from the Brothers] is to be found in the loss of the religious spirit due to such secularizing influences as too great intercourse with externs, frequenting places of public resort and undue preoccupation with the news of the day.

Our rule warns us against the danger to vocation of holding too great intercourse with externs. The sentiments and outlook of people who live in the world are, of necessity, very different from those of religious. A Brother who frequents the company of seculars either by visiting them in their homes or by holding long and unnecessary conversations with teachers, parents, or domestics will be in danger of imbibing the spirit of the world and losing his esteem for his vocation …

Too great preoccupation with the newspaper or with radio programmes can also be a cause of the loss of the religious spirit by diverting attention from the affairs of the soul and diminishing interest in the spiritual life.

6.118These are values for a spiritual life of religious meditation, but they do not form a basis for training young boys to enter the outside world.

6.119To counteract the attraction of the outside world the Brothers lived a life of religious and secular study. It was not surprising that they applied the same way of life to the boys in their care. Through moral teaching, religious observance and hard work in the school and in the workshops, they sought to change and reform the children. Young boys from poor families were confronted with this regime, and found it arduous. It not merely clashed with the culture from which they came, but it placed them in an all-male world that did not meet the emotional and developmental needs of children and adolescents.

6.120The strict regime, the routine that took away all initiative and placed all its emphasis on following orders, led to the boys becoming institutionalised. Many left to join the army, or drifted into other institutionalised occupations, and far too many ended up in institutions like prisons or in psychiatric care.

Evidence of Brothers

6.121A recurrent complaint made by Brothers in their evidence to the Committee and found in the documentation was the unequal division of work.

6.122In his evidence at the public hearing into Letterfrack during Phase I, Br Gibson stated:

You see the Brothers who were teaching in the school, who were mainly the young Brothers, they were with the boys almost 24 hours a day; in other words, from 6:00 to 10:00 at night. They would have had very little free time during that period. They slept then in small bedrooms at the end of one of the dormitories. Often those rooms were very simple. There wasn’t heating for a lot of the time. That was their place of living and then they went up to the house for a short period of recreation at night-time, but effectively speaking they were on the job seven days a week.

6.123The vow of obedience made it difficult for these Brothers to voice their disquiet. Junior Brothers were in awe of their seniors in the Community. Each Community that operated an industrial school had senior Brothers who did not work in the school or act as carers but who nevertheless exercised authority and influence over those who fulfilled those arduous duties. Many Brothers spoke of how they resented this unequal burden of labour when they were juniors in the institutions, but felt they could not challenge the system by asking the senior Brothers to do more. Some junior Brothers felt that, because of their lack of seniority, there was no point making suggestions for reform.

6.124Many of the Brothers who gave evidence complained about the difficulties they had in carrying out the onerous dual responsibilities of teaching and caring, which inevitably had an adverse effect on the children.

The failure to train Brothers in childcare

6.125In their Opening Statement on Tralee, the Christian Brothers defined the purpose of industrial schools as being:

To cater especially for neglected, orphaned and abandoned children, to safeguard them from developing criminal tendencies and to prepare them for industry.

6.126To achieve this end, children were removed from the backgrounds of neglect and poverty, given a basic education and were taught a trade. In the process, it was believed that they were improved by hard work and religious observance. These objectives remained central to the Christian Brothers’ thinking, and became the basis of the training given to the new recruits. The teaching Brothers were trained as national school teachers, and received no special training in childcare. Many Brothers deplored this fact.

6.127The Brothers explained that this failure to give specialist training was due to the fact that ‘there existed no special training system in Ireland for carers in Industrial Schools’ and that there was no awareness of the emotional needs of children. They had a ‘physical care philosophy’.

6.128In fact, ideas on how to provide better care were being developed abroad. As early as 1943, Dr Anna McCabe, the Medical Inspector of Industrial Schools, attended a course in England and recommended the establishment of a child guidance clinic, but her advice was ignored. The Carysfort Conference of 1951 revealed that there was expertise in the State on care issues. Members of the Sisters of Charity went to England to do Home Office courses and returned with schemes to reorganise the system of care homes they provided.

6.129No such training was undertaken by the Christian Brothers until, in the early 1970s, Br Burcet17, who had worked in senior positions in both Letterfrack and Artane, attended the course in the School of Education in Kilkenny in 1973, and implemented some of what he had learned in the last remaining industrial school operated by the Brothers, Salthill. He recalled his frustration in Artane in the mid-1960s when he was trying to change teaching methods and to introduce psychological expertise. He felt that he was engaged in an uphill struggle and that there was no understanding of the importance of this kind of approach among the Leadership of the Congregation.

6.130New ideas had the potential to undermine the institutions and the Brothers who worked in them. It was this fear of change that ensured that the institutions run by the Christian Brothers remained, in all essential respects, unchanged from their foundation in the 19th century to their closure.

6.131One effect of the belief that teacher training and the religious way of life were an adequate basis for training and caring for children was that the Christian Brothers never passed on their expertise in a formal way. They were experienced in dealing with boys in institutions; their own members had taught and cared for boys for years. They should have been in a position to pass on information and advice to those coming after them, yet they produced no written texts, nor did they give formal lectures on the subject even to their own members. Brothers testified that they were given no guidance on childcare issues during their training in Marino. Brothers learned techniques of control from older Brothers, in an ad hoc way.

6.132It is unfortunate that a Congregation dedicated to the education of the poor never devised a system of education for their own members, which would have prepared them for the demanding care work they did in these schools, in addition to their teaching duties.

How the Brothers responded to the allegations of abuse

6.133During the Investigation Committee’s Emergence hearings, Br David Gibson, then Province Leader of St Mary’s Province of the Christian Brothers, outlined the response of the Congregation to the issue of child abuse in Ireland.

6.134He said that allegations of child abuse first arose as an issue in the 1980s, when four allegations of child abuse were made against Irish Christian Brothers. Following an official inquiry into child abuse at an orphanage run by the Congregation at Mount Cashel in Canada, the Canadian Leadership highlighted the issue at the 1990 General Chapter of the Congregation. The Province Leader from Canada presented a graphic picture of what it was like to have to deal with allegations from the past in a public inquiry and the subsequent litigation under the full glare of media exposure. He also referred to the need to look at institutions and the protocols that were in place to deal with the issue of abuse.

6.135After the General Chapter concluded, the Congregation leader urged its various Provinces to issue guidelines and protocols on child protection. The leadership teams of the Irish Provinces drew up guidelines based on international best practice and published them in 1993.

6.136Between 1990 and 1996 the Congregation received approximately 30 allegations of child abuse. Because of these complaints and the increasing publicity, the Congregation established an independent advisory group to which it passed the complaints, and received advice on how to respond. A further 52 complaints were received between 1996 and the Christian Brother Public Apology issued in March 1998.

6.137Br Gibson said that the Congregation had great difficulty in coming to terms with the fact that Brothers could have abused children. ‘It was something totally contrary to the whole vocation of a Brother and yet we were getting detailed accounts of how Brothers abused children’. It had particular difficulty in accepting that members of its Congregation had engaged in sexual abuse, ‘[This] was creating the greatest problem and difficulty for us to come to terms with’.

6.138It is difficult to understand why allegations of abuse should have come as such a shock to the Congregation. The documentation made available to this Committee disclosed that allegations of child abuse, and particularly child sexual abuse, were a recurring and persistent problem for the Congregation.

6.139In 1995, St Mary’s Province organised seminars about the nature of child abuse which were conducted by Dr Art O’Connor, a consultant Forensic Psychiatrist in the Central Mental Hospital, and Ms Kate Keery, a social worker from Temple Street Children’s Hospital, and they were attended by individual Brothers. A similar exercise was carried out in the Southern Province.

6.140Child abuse was a major issue at the 1996 General Chapter of the Congregation, which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Chapter issued a document entitled ‘New Beginnings with Edmund’ in which it stated:

There are signs of that death [in not living the Gospel vision] in our congregational story. Such signs include undue severity of discipline, harshness in Community life, child abuse, an addiction to success, canonizing work to the neglect of our basic human needs for intimacy, leisure and love. To-day we have been made painfully aware of these aspects of our sinful history.

6.141The Congregation appointed a full-time Director of Child Protection Services, and set up an office called the Westcourt Child Protection Service to deal with allegations of abuse.

6.142On 14th April 1997, on the occasion of his receiving the Freedom of Drogheda, the Congregation Leader, Br Edmund Garvey, expressed an apology and asked for forgiveness from former pupils who had suffered abuse at any of the schools or institutions run by the Congregation.

6.143In October 1997 the Congregation asked Dr Robert Grant, a psychotherapist, to come to Ireland to speak to the Brothers and school principals on the issue of child protection and abuse. During its meetings with Dr Grant, the Leadership Teams considered making a public apology acknowledging certain failures on the part of the Congregation and expressing a willingness to meet with complainants and to deal with their complaints.

6.144According to Br Gibson:

He [Dr Grant] was emphasising the need to really take this on board, that child abuse had taken place in our institutions. Through his help but also from our own realisation of this, we felt the time had come to make some form of apology.

6.145In order to consider what form the apology should take, the Leadership held a retreat in November 1997 and invited an Australian Brother, Br Paul Noonan, to attend. Br Noonan had been leader of the Melbourne Province in Australia when it responded to allegations of child abuse in Australian Christian Brothers’ institutions and had issued its own apology in 1993. Br Noonan outlined the impact of the apology and encouraged the Irish Provinces to follow suit. The Australian apology included the following:

We have studied the allegations available to us, and we have made our own independent inquiries. The evidence is such as to convince us that abuses did take place, abuses that in some cases went well beyond the tough conditions and treatment that were part of life in such institutions in those days.

While the extent of the abuse appears to have been exaggerated in some quarters, the fact that such physical and sexual abuse took place at all in some of our institutions cannot be excused and is for us a source of deep shame and regret. Such abuse violates the child’s dignity and sense of self worth. It causes psychological and social trauma that can lead to lasting wounds of guilt, shame, insecurity and problems in relationships.

6.146There followed a paragraph entitled ‘Our Apology’, which read as follows:

We, the Christian Brothers of today, therefore unreservedly apologise to those individuals who were victims of abuse in these institutions.

We do not condone in any way the behaviour of individual Brothers who may have perpetrated such abuse.

In apologising, however, we entreat people not to reflect adversely on the majority of Brothers and their co-workers of the era who went about their work with integrity and deep regard for the children entrusted to their care.

Their work and dedication are reflected in the numerous students who, despite deprived backgrounds, went on to take their places as successful members of Australian society. We are deeply grateful for the very many expressions of thanks and support we have had from former students.

6.147Br Gibson said that the Irish Leadership Team decided to issue a public statement:

because we felt that there was a need for healing and we felt that no healing would be possible unless we were prepared to accept the fact that it happened, number one, and to say that we know it happened, we are sorry it happened and to be open and honest with that.

6.148He added that the Congregation intended its public statement to be more than an apology: it was to set out various mechanisms to promote healing, such as mediation, counselling and reconciliation. The leaders engaged in a widespread consultative process before issuing the apology. It met with individual Brothers, the advisory group, the Archbishop of Dublin, the Conference of Religious of Ireland (CORI), the Government and legal experts. The statement was issued on 29th March 1998 and read:

Over the past number of years we have received from some former pupils serious complaints of ill-treatment and abuse by some Christian Brothers in schools and residential centres.

We the Christian Brothers in Ireland wish to express our deep regret to anyone who suffered ill-treatment while in our care. And we say to you who have experienced physical or sexual abuse by a Christian Brother and to you who complained of abuse and were not listened to, we are deeply sorry.

We want to do much more than say we are sorry. As an initial step we have already put in place a range of services to offer a practical response and further services will be provided as the needs become clearer.

6.149The Congregation subsequently received a further 260 complaints which ranged from ‘allegations of a harsh regime or of inadequate schooling to very serious allegations of abuse’. In consultation with the independent advisory group, the leadership teams asked 18 individual Brothers against whom allegations were made and who remained in active Ministry to withdraw from work. Three subsequently returned to work.

6.150The Congregation in 1998 established an independent pastoral service, to respond to the needs of those alleging abuse and to provide practical and financial support to those coming forward, but did not proceed with a mediation and conciliation scheme on the advice of a task force.

6.151Another part of the Brothers’ reaction to the issue was its contribution to the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme. In its statement to the Commission prior to the Emergence Hearings, the Congregation stated that it had wished to make ‘a meaningful contribution’ to the scheme, but this decision was not based on a sense of culpability or negligence but on a pastoral desire to bring healing and closure. Other reasons included:

  • A greater number of former residents would get redress from the scheme than they would through the courts;
  • The experience would be less adversarial and less stressful;
  • The money would go directly to the former residents;
  • It would be faster than the courts; and
  • The scheme would be set up on a statutory basis.

6.152Br Gibson described a change in attitude in the Congregation following the ‘States of Fear’18 television programmes in 1999 and the publication of Suffer the Little Children19 in 2000, when the Brothers became more sceptical and disbelieving of claims of abuse. He said that the Congregation was ‘alerted … to the danger of exaggerated allegations, false claims, and false memory’. It believed that many of the allegations contained in the programme and book were ‘inaccurate and grossly exaggerated’, and the Leadership Teams became concerned that ‘every allegation was being viewed as the absolute truth’. The Congregation also complained that their submissions were not taken into account by the Government in the drafting of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Act, 2000. ‘The Act that was passed failed to provide protection to those who could be wrongfully accused.’

6.153This account of the Brothers’ odyssey on abuse, particularly sexual and physical, traces their journey from shock and dismay at the allegations, through a period of acceptance, which gave way ultimately to scepticism and suspicion, which were the characteristics of the stance taken by the Congregation in the Investigation Committee’s proceedings.

6.154A closer examination of the Brothers’ March 1998 public statement of apology shows that it was not at all apparent what conduct was regretted. The ‘formal apology’, instead of making clear the Congregation’s regret for abuse that had happened in its institutions, gave rise to considerable problems of interpretation and called into question the nature of their attitude to the complaints. Indeed, it was not even clear that the statement could properly be called an apology. It did not expressly acknowledge that abuse had occurred and did not accept any Congregational responsibility for what had taken place in its institutions.

6.155If the Brothers intended this document to have substantial meaning, they should have made it clear that they were apologising for abuse that they believed and accepted had happened. This they notably failed to do. A public apology that required scrutiny to discover whether it actually contained a meaningful expression of regret failed in its purpose.

6.156This first public step that was taken by the Brothers was couched in guarded, conditional and unclear terms, and did not actually acknowledge that Christian Brothers had committed abuse of children in their care or that the Congregation bore any responsibility. This was before ‘States of Fear’ was broadcast in 1999 which was, according to Br Gibson, the catalyst for a more defensive approach by the Congregation.

6.157The statement compared unfavourably with the Australian version, which may have some difficulties of interpretation but which did expressly admit that abuse happened and apologised to victims.

6.158The Australian Brothers also stated that they had conducted their own independent inquiries, which had yielded convincing evidence. If the Irish branch had examined the records and consulted members and former Brothers, it would also have discovered convincing evidence that serious cases of abuse had occurred in the Irish institutions.

Rome Files and documentary evidence

6.159In the Emergence hearings in July 2004, Br Gibson described how files, which came to be known as ‘The Rome Files’, came to the attention of the Leadership Team in Ireland.

6.160In 2003, the Leadership Team took the decision to employ an archivist to look at all the documents in the possession of the Congregation. This archivist was asked to go to Rome to look at the files there that related to the Irish Communities for any references to abuse. He explained that, in the early 1960s, a decision was taken to move the Congregation’s headquarters from Dublin to Rome. The management team brought with them the relevant archives for their own work, and left in Ireland the files and records that dealt with the Christian Brothers in Ireland.

6.161Br Gibson explained:

However, when our archivist went to Rome, she came across their minute books of their Council decisions, the General Council decisions. In those, she came across details of allegations of abuse in the institutions in Ireland that did not exist in our files … Yes, all of these dealt with incidents of child abuse in our institutions between, say, 1930 and when they closed.

6.162Br Gibson outlined the number of allegations recorded in respect of residential schools:

… we came across details of incidents of abuse in our institutions in Ireland. We came across eleven incidents of child abuse in Artane, ten in our day schools, three in Letterfrack, two in Tralee, two in the OBI,20 and two in Glin. Now, what we came across was that there had been information given to the Leadership Team at the time when they occurred. These allegations had been investigated. The investigation included getting the boys to write out what had happened to them and the boys had done that in some cases – well, in one case at the moment we have one incident of that. Then they had at the end of what they called a trial, they had a decision made, and the decision was either to give a Canonical Warning to the person, they were dismissed from the Congregation or they were rejected for the application for vows that year. Now, we wouldn’t have the details of all the allegations, but a lot of material has emerged there which we didn’t know about …

It shows that there were individual cases of abuse. It wasn’t, in a sense, systematic or widespread, but over 30 years in Artane there were eleven cases that had been discovered at the time they had occurred.

6.163Br Gibson went on to state that, in 1990, the Leadership Team in Ireland was not aware of the existence of these files at all. He asserted that it was only when he saw these files that he understood the comments that he saw in the Constitutions and Acts of the Congregation emphasising that a Brother should never be alone with a child. He said:

That makes sense in the light of this discovery of complaints where children were abused in the institutions.

6.164He confirmed that there was no mention of the children in these records:

The focus was on the culpability of the person who did it and I am not sure how much was done for the children who suffered.

6.165The Rome Files were made available to the Committee after the Emergence hearings had been completed. They contained details of applications for dispensations or disciplinary hearings in respect of more than 130 Brothers. At least 40 of these cases referred specifically to improper conduct with boys. In the majority of cases, the actual crime being investigated was not detailed, and phrases such as ‘evidenced unsuitable moral character’ or ‘grave misconduct’ or ‘caused scandal’ were used when recommending a dispensation.

6.166The Rome Files were by no means exhaustive. Brothers who left the Congregation before any allegations came to the attention of the authorities would not appear in the Rome Files.

6.167In addition, the Brothers who left following allegations of abuse did not appear in these files. For example, Mr Brander21 a former Christian Brother, did not feature although he received a Canonical Warning for sexually abusing boys in 1953 and was ultimately dispensed from his vows in the late 1950s.

6.168The Rome Files make it impossible to contend that the issue of abuse and, in particular, sexual abuse of boys was not an urgent and continuing concern to the Congregation. In circumstances where the issue of abuse in institutions had been the object of so much media attention from 1995 onwards, it is surprising that these files were only discovered to the Committee in 2004.

6.169The scale of the problem as revealed in these documents was very serious. When other features of abuse are taken into account, there is reason to believe that the amount of such abuse was substantially greater than is disclosed in these records. First, there was the recidivistic nature of child abuse; secondly, children were frightened and reluctant to speak about it; and thirdly, many adults experienced difficulty in dealing with it.

6.170In light of the investigations that had taken place in other jurisdictions and the evidence contained in their own archives, together with the complaints received, the Leadership Team in this country could be in no doubt that sexual abuse of children in their care had occurred at an unacceptably high level in their institutions.

6.171In the circumstances, although it was legitimate to protest about exaggerated allegations and false claims, which were undoubtedly made in some instances, it was also the case that an attitude of scepticism and distrust of all complaints was unwarranted and unjustified.

The Congregation and the Commission

6.172The Christian Brothers, like every other Congregation coming to the investigation, had to decide what position to adopt on the various issues that arose including:

  • The quality of life generally for the children in its institutions;
  • How it would approach the issue of whether abuse of children took place in the institutions; and
  • How it would conduct itself at the private hearings.

The Christian Brothers on the nature and quality of institutional life

6.173The apologies issued by the Christian Brothers of Australia and Ireland said nothing explicit about the nature and quality of life in their institutions. The evidence of the Irish Christian Brothers to the Investigation Committee helped to clarify their position on this matter.

6.174The Christian Brothers submitted that their schools provided positive experiences for the boys in them and that they offered a generally good standard of care, education and training when considered in the context of the time, having regard to shortages of resources and finance, and lack of training for the Brothers. Br Gibson expressed this in his evidence in Phase I of the Letterfrack hearings. He said:

I think also it is important to remember that we are talking about a time in the 40s, 50s and 60s where now there is a tendency to judge life at that time from the viewpoint of how life is now. What I would be hoping to show is that the Christian Brothers provided a very necessary service to the State in caring for children who themselves were marginalised. The financial support provided by the State will show that it was grossly under funded and that the Brothers had to go to enormous lengths to provide adequately for the needs of the pupils.

I suppose what we are pointing out in fact is that the funding level was very difficult and it meant that literally the Brothers had to provide a quality education and a care of children on funding that was very inadequate.

The emotional impact of residential care, and we will deal with that later on, was not really understood and certainly separation from home and from the family, however bad the home was, and unfortunately some of them were very inadequate, it wasn’t fully understood the impact of that on children separated from their families.

Well, I suppose what I would say is this: Brothers were trained to be teachers. There was no training for residential childcare. There was no State training, there was no State funding … I think the first course in childcare, serious course, was in Kilkenny in 1970 and one of our Brothers went on that course when it started. There wasn’t any form of childcare formation. There were occasional day courses or day seminars in childcare in the 1950s, but other than that there was no proper training available and certainly no funding for it. I would say the Brothers who went to these institutions were chosen specially, a lot of them were of the highest calibre.

6.175This view, that the emotional needs of children and the effects of residential care and separation from family were not really understood, was reiterated in the oral and written submissions made by the religious Communities. Issues raised in these submissions include the lack of any appreciation for the emotional needs of children in care, the inadequate funding from the State, and the lack of childcare training until the 1970s. Each of these is examined in the chapters dealing with individual institutions.

Philosophy of care

6.176The Congregation accepted that a focus on physical care was not sufficient to care for a child fully and properly, but they stressed the prevailing economic and legal climate in which the industrial schools operated as being the reason for this emphasis. In particular, they emphasised the extreme poverty of the country during the relevant period. They contended that there was no awareness anywhere prior to the early 1960s of the need for developmental or emotional care of children. The Closing Submission for Artane quoted one senior member of staff who served in Artane from 1954 to 1969:

I knew absolutely nothing about this, the philosophy of Artane when I was there was a physical care philosophy. Look after the health of the boys, look after their physical education, like by drill and so on. Look after their health and so on. But it was a physical education philosophy. There was no understanding and I had no understanding at the time about any kind of emotional education, psychological education, I had no understanding of that at the time.

6.177In 1927, the Superior General, Br P. J. Hennessy, set out the obligations on Superiors of orphanages, industrial schools and schools for the deaf and dumb:22

Because of their forlorn and afflicted condition, the children of our orphanages, industrial schools and schools for the deaf and dumb are specially dear to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord, and the Brothers who are assigned to labour in these schools may truly feel that they are specially privileged … Superiors and Brothers must hold in respect the inmates of these institutions, manifest sympathy in their lowliness and afflictions, and at all times treat them with consideration and kindness. Severity and sternness would produce ruinous results on the character of these afflicted ones.

The Superior, showing himself as a kind father, should set the standard of conduct to his Brothers in their regard. He should be generous in supplying their temporal needs – abundance of wholesome, well-prepared food of which pure milk should be a large constituent, decent clothing suitable to the season, tender care in their ailments, and kindly provision for their recreation and pastimes. He should, as far as he can, secure for them suitable employment when they must leave the school, and they should know that kindly sympathy in difficulties they may encounter after having left school will be gladly extended to them by Superiors and Brothers.

6.178The circular went on to recommend that the Superior should address the boys once a week and give guidance on the importance of cleanliness, truthfulness and honesty, and should impress upon them the meaning of ‘moral courage’ and the ‘love of truth’.

6.179Although the words ‘emotional care’ were not used, the obligation of love, respect and consideration for their vulnerability outlined by Br Hennessy encompassed much of what would now be regarded as ‘emotional care’. In advocating that the Superior ‘should set the standard of conduct to his Brothers’ by being ‘a kind father’, it is clear that the idea was to nurture children through love, kindness and good example, and not just through punishment for infringement of rules.

6.180The contention in the Opening Submission for Artane was that emotional needs were not considered at all in the caring of children, because such needs were not recognised in society as a whole. It was clear, however, from the Cussen Report which was published in 1936, and even from earlier Department of Education23 Annual Reports dating back to 1926, that the vulnerability of children who were removed from their parents and placed in care was recognised and understood well before the 1940s. These reports advocated the requirement for something more than mere physical care.

6.181The 1926 Department of Education Report stated:

When children have to depend entirely on a school for what their homes should give them, much more than efficient instruction and material comfort is of importance, and it will be obvious that, apart from arrangements for education and physical wants, there is good reason to avoid any exaction of a hard and fast uniformity in other phases of school activity and to encourage whatever may relieve the institutional features of such schools.24

6.182This Report went on to state:

Interwoven with all activities of the schools is the moral training of the pupils, each child’s circumstances having to be taken into account – physique, intelligence, habits, recreations, surroundings and the effect of home influences before and after the school period being recognised as factors in the formation of character. Individual tendencies are noted, and, together with character developments, are briefly recorded to enable responsible members of the staffs to draw out the best qualities and to overcome the weaknesses of their pupils as well as to aid managers in making prudent decisions for disposal on discharge.

6.183In 1936 the Cussen Report stated at paragraph 69:

It must be borne in mind that the children committed to these schools have been deprived of parental control, where such control existed, and that, in many cases they are children requiring special study and care. It is, therefore obvious, that the person in whose charge they have been placed should be carefully selected for the work which, because of its difficult and peculiar nature, demands qualifications and gifts that might not be considered indispensable in ordinary schools.

6.184The Congregation correctly pointed out that an emphasis on physical care was echoed in the Department of Education inspections. The inspection reports dealt with material and physical aspects of the care of the children with little mention of their emotional well-being. Emotional well-being could have been assessed by talking to the children and the Department Inspectors did not generally do this.

6.185The Christian Brothers stated that the failure of the Department to address this aspect of the work being carried out ‘… gives an indication of how even at that time, the Department viewed the purpose and function of industrial schools’.

6.186The Department of Education’s Annual Report for 1924–1925 set out its function:

These schools came under the control of the Department of Education on 1st June 1924. The function of the Department is to certify that the schools are fit for the reception of the young persons and children committed to them. This is carried out by inspection and while the Certificate is in force, State contributions in the form of Capitation Grants are made towards the maintenance of the inmates.25

6.187The Report went on to state:

In Saorstát Éireann all Reformatory and Industrial Schools are conducted by voluntary managers, who own the Schools and are responsible for the upkeep of the buildings, the appointment of the staff, the expenditure of the funds and all details of the school management.

6.188The Department did not assert control over the daily management of the schools or the way in which care was provided. The Department was at fault because it failed to supervise the institutions to ensure that the emotional needs of the children, which it had recognised from 1925, were being met. That did not exempt the Congregation from responsibility for its own failure in this regard. Moreover, the Christian Brothers had been educating children and managing industrial schools since the preceding century and were therefore, in a position to identify the failings of the system and to address them.

All these fuckers should be put in this Judas Chair and tortured

The Christian Brothers’ position on whether abuse occurred in their schools

Physical abuse

6.189Br Reynolds gave evidence in public to the Investigation Committee on 15th September 2005 regarding Artane. He prefaced his evidence with his general view that the picture presented of Artane from the late 1980s through media coverage and publicity was largely negative and seriously unbalanced. He stressed the need for balance because, ‘the Congregation’s position is that Artane in the whole and in the round was a very positive institution’.

6.190This was a position adopted in the Submissions in respect of the four Christian Brothers’ schools examined in detail by the Committee.

6.191The basic stance that their institutions were not abusive and provided a positive experience for the boys led Br Reynolds to be sceptical of evidence to the contrary. As far as the Congregation were concerned, when something was documented it was more likely to make some concessions but not otherwise. An example of this was when he was asked about boys being punished for bed-wetting. Even though individual Brothers had conceded that this occurred and many ex-residents had testified about their experience, he was unable to accept that punishment for bed-wetting was a feature of life in industrial schools: ‘Yes, they may have happened in instances, and all I am saying is I haven’t any documentary evidence’.

6.192Evidence from Brothers and ex-Brothers was regarded as potentially fallible unless backed up by documentation. For this reason, in preparing their Submissions, the Congregation stated that they took no account of the statements of complaints made by former pupils. They confined themselves for this exercise to the archive material. He accepted that they had cross-checked documented evidence with people in the Congregation as a separate exercise, but these results did not form part of the public statement, and were a matter for private hearings. He was challenged about the limited picture that the 11 instances documented in their records for Artane gave of the situation, and his response was that he depended only on what he could find in the documentation and these were presented to the Commission, and thereafter it was up to the Committee to decide.

6.193On the issue of corporal punishment, the Christian Brothers submitted that the industrial schools were no different from other schools in that they all accepted the use of corporal punishment.

How about we shove red hot coal filled Pope’s Pears up these fuckers assholes and see how they like it?

Rules and regulations governing corporal punishment

6.194The official rules and regulations governing corporal punishment are set out above. For the convenience of the reader they are repeated in this section. There were two sets of rules for the use of corporal punishment, one consisting of the rules and regulations produced by the Department of Education,26 and the other was set down by the Congregation.

6.195The 1933 Department of Education Rules and Regulations for Certified Industrial Schools were aimed at reducing corporal punishment to a minimum and to controlling as far as possible such punishments as were inflicted. Regulation 13 stated:

Punishment shall consist of:—

  1. Forfeiture of rewards and privileges, or degradation from rank, previously attained by good conduct.
  2. Moderate childish punishment with the hand.
  3. Chastisement with the cane, strap or birch.

Referring to (c) personal chastisement may be inflicted by the Manager, or, in his presence, by an Officer specially authorised by him, and in no case may it be inflicted on girls over 15 years of age. In the case of girls under 15, it shall not be inflicted except in cases of urgent necessity, each of which must be at once fully reported to the Inspector. Caning on the hand is forbidden.

No punishment not mentioned above shall be inflicted.

6.196This regulation was prefaced by a clause which counselled caution in its use. It said:

The Manager or his Deputy shall be authorised to punish the Children detained in the School in case of misconduct. All serious misconduct, and the Punishments inflicted for it, shall be entered in a book to be kept for that purpose, which shall be laid before the Inspector when he visits. The Manager must, however, remember that the more closely the school is modelled on a principle of judicious family government the more salutary shall be its discipline, and the fewer occasions will arise for resort to punishment.27

6.197The 1946 Rules and Regulations for National Schools applied to the education28 provision within the industrial and reformatory schools.

Instruction in regard to the infliction of Corporal Punishment in National Schools

96.(1)Corporal Punishment should be administered only for grave transgression. In no circumstances should corporal punishment be administered for mere failure at lessons.

(2)Only the principal teacher, or such other member of the staff as may be duly authorised by the manager for the purpose, should inflict corporal punishment.

(3)Only a light cane or rod may be used for the purpose of corporal punishment which should be inflicted only on the open hand. The boxing of children’s ears, the pulling of their hair or similar ill-treatment is absolutely forbidden and will be visited with severe penalties.

(4)No teacher should carry about a cane or other instrument of punishment.

(5)Frequent recourse to corporal punishment will be considered by the Minister as indicating bad tone and ineffective discipline.

6.198This rule did not permit the use of the leather strap in the classroom.

6.199In November, 1946 a circular Cir. 11/46 prepared by Michael Ó Síochfhrada, the Department Inspector, gave more detailed guidelines. The title of the circular was ‘Discipline and Punishment in Certified Schools’. It impressed upon Resident Managers their ‘personal responsibility to ensure that official regulations’ on matters of discipline and punishment were ‘faithfully observed by all members of the staffs of their schools’. The circular stated corporal punishment should only be used as a last resort where other forms of punishment had been unsuccessful as a means of correction.

6.200The Circular went on to stipulate:

  • Corporal punishment should be administered for very grave transgressions and in no circumstances for mere failure at school lessons or industrial training.
  • Corporal punishment should in future be confined to the form usually employed in schools, viz., slapping on the open palm with a light cane or strap.
  • This punishment should only be inflicted by the Resident Manager or by a member of the school staff specially authorised by him for the purpose.
  • Any form of corporal punishment which tends to humiliate a child or expose the child to ridicule before the other children is also forbidden. Such forms of punishment would include special clothing, cutting off a girl’s hair and exceptional treatment at meals.

6.201The Circular attempted to marry the provisions of the 1933 Rules and Regulations for Certified Schools with the new 1946 Rules and Regulations for National Schools. In so doing a certain amount of ambiguity arose with regard to the use of a leather strap in the classroom which was clearly not permitted in the classroom by the 1946 Rules and Regulations.

6.202In December 1946 Cir.15/46 prepared by Michael Breathnach, Secretary of the Department of Education and entitled ‘Circular to Managers and Teachers in regard to the infliction of Corporal Punishment in National Schools was sent to all national schools’. It appears from this document that two additions were made to Section (1) and (3) which did not appear when the original 1946 rules and regulations were circulated to the schools:

96.(1) Corporal Punishment should be administered only for grave transgression. In no circumstances should corporal punishment be administered for mere failure at lessons.

(3) Only a light cane or rod may be used for the purpose of corporal punishment which should be inflicted only on the open hand. The boxing of children’s ears, the pulling of their hair or similar ill-treatment is absolutely forbidden and will be visited with severe penalties.

6.203The circular did not authorise the use of a leather strap as an implement of punishment in national schools.

6.204In 1956 a further circular from the Department of Education Cir. 17/56 entitled ‘Circular to managers and teachers of national schools in regard to corporal punishment’ was issued. This circular was in response to publicity which had been given to the matter of corporal punishment in national schools and was issued to re-affirm the Department’s policy with regard to corporal punishment and to give guidance to those ‘who may be disposed to contravene Rule 96 of the Code’. The Department stated:

In re-issuing that rule, set out hereunder, opportunity is being taken to announce an amendment printed in italics, of Section (3).

6.205The full rule 96 was then set out with the amendment to Section (3) was as follows:

(3) Only a light cane, rod or leather strap may be used for the purpose of corporal punishment which should be inflicted only on the open hand. The boxing of children’s ears, the pulling of their hair or similar ill-treatment is absolutely forbidden and will be visited with severe penalties.

6.206This amendment is significant in that it authorised at an official level the use of the leather strap into national schools after a ten year gap. The evidence of the Investigation Committee would indicate that the leather strap was used in Christian Brother schools throughout this period.

6.207The Christian Brothers had their own rules and regulations in their Acts of Chapter and circular letters and, from the earliest days of that organisation, minimal use of corporal punishment was advocated. In the regulations made at the annual meetings of the Managers between 1881 and 1906, the position was clearly stated:

8. No instrument of punishment is to be allowed in the institution except the strap of leather. No boy shall be punished therewith on any part of the body save on the palm of the hand.

10. Extraordinary punishments are to be inflicted by the Manager only, or by some one specially appointed by him, and in his presence.

6.208The dangers of excessive or abusive physical punishment were well understood by the Congregation. In 1900 the Superior General, Br Moylan, wrote on the topic of corporal punishment in his first circular letter:

Though the Rule (Const 180, Acts of Chapter 65; D and R Chap L.1) contains definite instructions relative to the use of Corporal Punishment in our School, the Chapter desired I should refer to it in this Circular. Indeed, there are few matters I wish to urge with greater insistence upon the attention of the Brothers and especially of the young Brothers, than the evil done by the use of injudicious punishment when correcting faults of their pupils.

Corporal punishment is always degrading, and is more or less so according to the nature of the corrective used. Apart from the physical pain endured, the child’s nature shrinks from the shame which its infliction inspires; the boy’s incipient manhood revolts against it. Given in excess or when undeserved, it does harm which runs through a whole lifetime; it is never forgotten and sometimes never forgiven. The remembrance of such punishment sinks into the retentive memory of childhood, and there remains in clear outline and with every aggravating detail, when even the wrongs of after years have been well nigh forgotten.

Corporal punishment should be resorted to only when every other means of correction has failed. In some instances it should not be employed at all, as it serves only to render the delinquent more obdurate, and to hurry him more rapidly along the evil course from which it was intended to turn him aside.

6.209Br Moylan continued with an uncompromising indictment of unfair or excessive punishment that echoed through the century that followed and has immediate resonance with the work that was undertaken by the Commission:

He does far worse who punishes when punishment is not deserved, or exceeds what the child’s own consciousness of justice tells him should not be overstepped. Such chastisement is brooded over and resented as a wrong which, perhaps, even years of kindness may not entirely obliterate. Sometimes it does incalculable injury. Long after it is recalled with bitterness, and associated unhappily not merely with the teacher who inflicted it, but with religion itself.

6.210Br Moylan’s words were not generally adhered to, as was clear from the circular written by his successor, Br Whitty, in 1906:

At the General Chapter of 1900, Acts were framed to lessen the amount of corporal punishment in the schools. Conditions were prescribed for the use of it; and various restrictions imposed to prevent its abuse. In many schools, and even in many establishments, these regulations faithfully were carried out, in the proper spirit, and with the best results. In other schools – the minority truly, but still, I regret to say, too large minority – it was not so. In these schools much of the old spirit continued to prevail. The restrictions, laid down by the Chapter, were either ignored, or but half observed, and even that grudgingly. The Brothers in these schools set up a standard to suit their own ideas of what was, and what was not, legitimate punishment in given cases. These Brothers also decided for themselves the proper times and occasions for administering corporal punishment-and not in accordance with Rule. This course of action was very improper, very censurable and could not have the blessing of God.

6.211Br Whitty went on to recount the consequences of such behaviour as including discontent in the classrooms and even petitions from parents calling for the removal of Brothers.

6.212He concluded with a strong exhortation to his members to restrict corporal punishment ‘within the narrowest limits’:

The Brothers generally would do well to bear in mind that the growing spirit of the times is opposed to corporal punishment in the schools. The tendency is to abolish it. In some countries it is positively forbidden, and illegal, for the teacher to punish a child for any cause. He must find other and more rational methods of dealing with him. Other countries are much ahead of Ireland in this respect; but even in Ireland the same tendency is manifesting itself – to restrict corporal punishment in schools within the narrowest limits. It would not be to the credit of the Brothers, as educators, to be found at the rear of this movement when they should rather lead the way.

6.213The 1920 Chapter was even more specific. It set down guidelines for corporal punishment which included the advice that it should not be administered within one hour of starting or finishing school and that numbers of boys should not be punished at the same time. It stated that:

the strap … shall not exceed 13 inches in length; 1¼ in width and ¼ inch in thickness; in junior schools the strap is to be of smaller dimensions … No child shall be punished on any part of the body save on the palm of the hand.

6.214The rules were revised in 1930 and stated:

It must be the aim of every Brother to reduce corporal punishment to the minimum. Frequent recourse to corporal punishment indicates a bad tone and ineffectual discipline …

Corporal punishment should be administered only for grave transgressions – never for failure in lessons.

The principal teacher only, or a Brother delegated by a Superior, shall inflict the corporal punishment. An interval of at least ten minutes should elapse between the offence and the punishment.

Only the approved leather strap may be used for the purpose of inflicting the corporal punishment. The strap is to be left on the master’s desk except when in actual use.

The boxing of children’s ears, the pulling of their hair and similar ill treatment are absolutely forbidden.

The particulars required by the headings in the corporal punishment book should be entered in that book before the infliction of the punishment.

6.215Residential institutions were specifically brought within these Acts of Chapter relating to corporal punishment, which were the rules applying to Christian Brothers throughout the period relevant to this inquiry.

6.216The prohibition on striking a child on any part of his body other than the palm of the hands, which was reiterated in the 1910 and 1920 Chapter, was omitted in the 1930 rules and did not appear again in any of the rules set down by the General Chapters until 1966.

6.217As long as corporal punishment was tolerated, the possibility of abuse existed and this was recognised by Br Noonan, Superior General, in 1930:

The opinion amongst educators that corporal punishment should be altogether abolished in schools is hardening. While admitting its decline in our schools, the Committee felt, and the Higher Superiors are aware, that abuses have arisen; and they will recur, I fear, as long as our regulations give any authority for the infliction of corporal punishment. Let us aim at its complete abolition in our schools and anticipate legislation which would make its infliction illegal.

6.218The 1930 rules were adopted verbatim in 1947 and in the 1960s, and circulars were sent to all institutions requesting moderation and decorum in the use of the strap. In 1966, for example, the Acts of General Chapter stated:

It must be the aim of every Brother to reduce corporal punishment to a minimum. It should be administered for serious transgressions only – never for mere failure in lessons. Only the approved leather strap may be used for the purpose of inflicting corporal punishment. Not more than two strokes on the palm of the hand are to be administered on any occasion. The strap is to be left in the Master’s desk except when in actual use. The Department’s regulations should be borne in mind.

6.219This was the first time that Government regulations were referred to, but the recommendation was that they should be borne in mind rather than adhered to as a legal obligation. This was addressed in 1968 when the Acts of Chapter stated:

Government regulations must be observed in the administration of corporal punishment and it must be the aim of each Brother to reduce it to a minimum.

6.220Abolition of corporal punishment did not occur in Irish schools until 1st February 1982, when a Department of Education circular stated that any teacher who used corporal punishment was now to be ‘regarded as guilty of conduct unbefitting a teacher’ and would be subject to ‘severe disciplinary action’.

6.221Although this circular could have provided grounds for a civil action against a teacher who acted in breach of it, it was not until 199729 that physical punishment by a teacher became a criminal offence.

6.222For over 100 years the Acts of Chapter recommended that corporal punishment should be minimised and ultimately abolished. It is inexplicable, therefore, that Brothers who were in serious breach of the Congregation’s own rules were tolerated and protected by the Congregation. Complaints by parents or lay-persons were discounted, even when these complaints reached the Provincial Leaders, notwithstanding the clear understanding the Congregation had of the danger posed by abuse of this rule.

6.223As already cited a submission made by the Christian Brothers and other Congregations on the subject of corporal punishment and physical abuse is that the historical context is essential to any investigation, and particularly the fact that such punishment was permissible and widespread in schools and homes at the relevant time. The chapters that follow recount details of corporal punishment which by any standards, at any time, amounted to physical abuse.

Arm the children so that any time a perverted priest of the RCC touches them? They get their fucking heads blown off and sent straight to hell.

Punishment book

6.224Under the 1933 Rules and Regulations for Certified Industrial Schools, all such schools were required to keep a punishment book in which all serious punishments were to be recorded.

6.225There was no evidence that the Christian Brothers kept such a book in any of their residential schools during the relevant period. To require exclusive reliance on records and documentation was a difficult position to justify, because the Brothers themselves failed to keep the records that were required by law, and which were intended to allow external inspectors to see that regulations were being complied with.

6.226However, such documents that do exist are an important source of information. In the chapters on each individual institution that follow, a detailed examination of the records precedes the oral evidence heard by the Committee in the hearings.

We need to behead these motherfuckers, put their heads on pikes in front of churches as a warning of what will happen to them should they ever touch another child wrong.

Sexual abuse

6.227The Congregation’s approach to allegations of sexual abuse of pupils was broadly similar for all its schools. It was set out by Br Michael Reynolds in a representative capacity in September 2005 and may be summarised as follows:

  • The Congregation accept that there were instances when members of the Congregation and members of staff engaged in the sexual abuse of boys while in their care.
  • That such instances took place is a matter of great regret to the Congregation.
  • That there was no systemic sexual abuse of boys in their institutions.
  • Brothers who did sexually abuse boys betrayed the trust given them and thereby caused pain to the great number of Brothers who honoured this trust and devoted themselves to the education and welfare of the boys in their care.

6.228It is stated in the Congregation’s Artane Opening Statement that:

  • The Congregation endeavoured to ensure the safety of the children in its care, whether in day schools or in residential institutions.
  • Brothers, during their training as teachers, were not given specific instruction in child protection, and such instruction is relatively new in the training of teachers and others involved in the education and care of youth.
  • The issue of sexual abuse was seen as a moral one where such abuse was seen as a grave moral failing. It was the cause of scandal and a moral danger both to the child and to the abuser.
  • Long-term psychological damage caused by sexual abuse was not understood by society at the time.
  • The recidivist nature of child sexual abuse was, likewise, not understood by society at that time.
  • The response of the Congregation to instances of sexual abuse was conditioned by this inadequate understanding of the issue.
  • Procedures were in place for dealing with abuse, but they were of their time and were therefore very inadequate by current standards.

6.229The Congregation’s statement describes how Brothers guilty of child sexual abuse were dealt with:

  • A Brother not yet a finally professed member of the Congregation was usually dismissed.
  • A finally professed Brother was summoned to the Provincialate and either given a formal Canonical Warning or dismissed.
  • A repeat offender was dismissed.

6.230The source material referred to and analysed by the Congregation in making its submission was identified as contemporaneous documentation extracted from the Provincial Archives of the Christian Brothers in Ireland and the General Archives of the Christian Brothers in Rome. As in the case of its submission in relation to corporal punishment, the Congregation does not in this submission place reliance on other possible sources of information such as the recollections and accounts of those who lived and worked in the institutions during the relevant period, nor on the accounts contained in the statements of complainants furnished to the Commission.

6.231The documents extracted from the Christian Brothers archives in Rome were not comprehensive; in most cases, they did not contain statements of the evidence; they sometimes referred to the offence under scrutiny in oblique terms and they referred only to those cases where the allegation against the Brother was considered well founded.

6.232Having analysed the documented cases, the Congregation concluded that the approach to sexual abuse was that it was seen as a moral issue. Such abuse was seen as a grave moral failing on a number of grounds:

  • It was morally wrong, sinful in itself.
  • It was a cause of serious scandal to and endangered the morals of the child.
  • It damaged the reputation of the individual offender, the institution and the Congregation.

6.233Its analysis of these cases also leads the Congregation to comment that there was no adequate understanding either of the emotional impact which sexual abuse caused the child or of the recidivistic nature of the abuser. The Congregation agreed with a suggestion by counsel for the Commission that the fact that the abuse was a crime should have been added to this list.

6.234It was submitted by the Congregation that, while the approach to instances of sexual abuse of children was very inadequate by present-day standards, the manner in which the Congregation did respond was characterised as follows:

  • There was no cover up of the issue.
  • When personnel became aware of the issue they reported it to the Congregation authorities.
  • Structures in place made it possible for boys to bring such issues to the attention of the Resident Manager or other personnel, and this in fact happened.
  • The Congregation removed the abusers from the institution and in most cases from the Congregation.
  • The Congregation Visitor was attentive to the dangers of sex abuse.
  • Guidelines and recommendations were issued to assist with child protection.

6.235In its investigations into individual schools, the Committee found that the Congregation’s response to sexual abuse fell short of the measures outlined above.

6.236After the conclusion of the evidence given in Phases I, II and III hearings, the Congregation furnished written submissions setting out its position in relation to various aspects of the evidence heard by the Investigation Committee.

6.237In essence, the submissions made by the Christian Brothers at this stage in relation to allegations of abuse were that the quality and reliability of the evidence given by complainants during the Phase II hearings had been undermined owing to a broad range of significant factors. The effect of these undermining factors was to render much of the evidence (particularly in respect of sexual abuse) implausible, inconsistent, contradictory, and therefore unreliable.

Any pedophile priest of this cult touches a kid? Rapes a kid? Should have their fucking junk eaten off by the Rat Torture. Put the rat on their junk, cover it with the cage, put a bowl of hot coals on top and let the rat eat their junk.

Assessment of evidence

6.238The Congregation emphasised in its submissions the impact that publicity and lobby groups had on the reliability of evidence about abuse. It also outlined concerns regarding the Statute of Limitations (Amendment) Act, 2000 which, it submitted, affected the reliability of allegations of sexual abuse.

6.239Many witnesses were questioned closely by counsel for the Christian Brothers about their association with lobby and support groups. There was a clear implication by the Congregation that active association with a lobby group was indicative of a lack of objectivity on the part of the witness.

6.240The Committee recognised there were grounds for concern that some complainant witnesses had been influenced by events at meetings. For example, lists of names of Brothers who were present in the institutions were distributed at some meetings so that ex-residents would be able to name abusers. Issues such as this diminished the credibility and reliability of the testimony of some witnesses.

6.241The Christian Brothers were able to cross-examine all the complainants who came forward, and the issue of collusion was fully explored by their counsel. Evidence of some witnesses was discounted by the Committee where these issues arose.

6.242The Statute of Limitations (Amendment) Act, 2000 was also cited by the Congregation as a significant factor, in that it granted extension of time for bringing claims for damages in respect of sexual abuse in circumstances that did not apply to other forms of abuse including physical abuse. One of the conditions for getting an extension was making a complaint to the Gardaí.

6.243In their final Submission for Artane, the Christian Brothers stated:

it is likely that complainants were aware of the possibility of this requirement being incorporated into the pending legislation. Indeed … many complainants went to the Gardai at the suggestion of their legal advisors.

6.244The Submission went on to state:

A substantial number of the other allegations of sexual abuse which were made to the Commission (including allegations where the complainant ultimately chose not to give evidence) were first made to the Gardai around 1999/2000 also and it is not unreasonable to infer that some of these complainants may have been influenced by the prevailing perception as to what they would have to allege so as to be eligible to make a claim for compensation.

6.245Matters affecting weight and transparency of evidence were not confined to complainants. On the respondent side, some members and ex-members of the Congregation were reluctant to speak openly and frankly about their memories of the industrial schools in which they worked. They were reluctant to criticise the Congregation or their colleagues, and the defensive attitude which was adopted by the Congregation in its Opening Statement was mirrored by some of the respondent witnesses.

6.246These and other considerations were relevant in assessment of evidence, but the occasions of determining facts that were merely asserted on one side and denied on the other, with no accompaniment of documentary or circumstantial material or corroboration, were greatly reduced by the Committee’s method of investigation.

Impact of allegations on respondents

6.247The Committee was satisfied that some allegations of abuse were false. A small number were not the result of contamination or exaggeration but were deliberately manufactured for the purposes of compensation or to cause maximum damage to the Christian Brothers.

6.248Respondents spoke to the Committee about the impact that allegations of sexual abuse had on their lives.

6.249One Brother had an allegation of sexual abuse made against him which was never pursued by the complainant. This Brother had come in to the Investigation Committee to answer this charge, but was not given an opportunity to do so because of the failure of the complainant to attend, and expressed his distress at having the allegation hang over him for four and a half years.

6.250Another Brother described an allegation of sexual abuse that was made against him as ‘hurtful’. He went on to say that there had never been an allegation against him in all of the subsequent 40 years that he had been a teacher. ‘Yes, I feel deeply hurt that these allegations come from a period in my life where I literally cared for the uncared for’.

6.251After two years, a decision was made by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that no prosecutions would take place. He spoke of the impact the allegations had:

This has had impact not alone on me … But it has impacted on me and my family. It has impacted also on a true and loyal staff, that any one of those could find themselves where I am today. This has got to be stopped. How I don’t know, but it will have to be halted.

6.252This man was reinstated to his teaching position shortly after the DPP’s decision, when the Board of Management of his school declared itself satisfied, after an investigation, that this be done.

6.253Another Brother described the experience of being accused of wrong-doing in 1997, some 40 years after he had left the Institution:

It was eight years of torture and disappointing because I felt I had dedicated myself when I was in Artane to the people there and done great work and I was the same in every school I was in and this was a horrible way to finish my career.

6.254This former Brother was in his mid-60s when these allegations were put to him. He was married with two children. Eventually, some seven years after the initial interrogation, the DPP made a decision not to prosecute.

6.255Allegations of sexual abuse are difficult to verify. Length of time and the inherent secrecy of the act make it hard for complainants to prove their case, even on the ‘balance of probabilities’. To prove such a case beyond reasonable doubt, as is required by the criminal law, is even more difficult. In the same way as it is difficult to prove abuse, so it is also difficult to prove that abuse did not occur.

6.256In one case before the Committee a Brother was reinstated on the strength of a DPP decision. Counsel for the Congregation stated that there was ‘an infrastructure put in place … to determine what is the correct thing to do’.

6.257In subsequent correspondence with the Investigation Committee, it emerged that no such procedures had been followed in this case and that the decision had been taken by the Provincial Leadership Team. The decision was based on the fact that the only allegations against this man were from the two years he had spent in Artane and that the Leadership Team ‘were satisfied that they had no concerns that Br Romain30 posed any childcare dangers to children or pupils under his stewardship’.

6.258The Congregation stated that they were guided in this case by the 1987 Regulations and by the Irish Bishops Advisory Committee which issued ‘A Framework for a Church Response’ (Green Book 1996) ‘which was being adhered to by the Congregation’. In fact, the Green Book set out a detailed procedure for dealing with allegations of child sexual abuse and these do not appear to have been applied in this case.

6.259It is in the interests of both genuine complainants and accused that allegations be investigated expeditiously and in an independent and transparent manner.

The private hearings – Phase II

6.260At the private hearings the Congregation of the Christian Brothers was usually represented by senior and junior counsel, who were attended by the firm of Maxwells, Solicitors. At least one senior member of the Congregation, and on most occasions more than one, was present on each day of the hearings and heard all the testimony of both respondents and complainants. Individual respondents were represented by either senior or junior counsel or by both. They, too, had their own solicitor in attendance. Complainants were represented for the most part by senior counsel. Solicitors for the complainants were also present. Some members of the Investigation Committee legal team was present throughout.

6.261The Congregation provided their own responses to all the complainant statements. Most were signed by former members of staff and they generally took the form of a blanket denial of the allegations.

6.262There were several problems with these response statements:

  • Some of the statements were signed by Brothers who were not in the School at the time. The fact that they had signed the document gave the impression that they were in a position to affirm the facts asserted in statements, but in reality they were in no position to do so.
  • Brothers who signed the statements gave evidence to the Committee that contradicted the facts asserted in the response statements.
  • Some statements simply omitted relevant facts, while at the same time making assertions that were known to be incorrect or misleading.

6.263The Christian Brothers began making their response statements using a policy of denying that a Brother was ever in the institution when a complainant had got a name even slightly wrong, or had used a Christian name or a nickname rather than the Brother’s surname.

6.264Counsel explained the reason for this approach as follows:

I understand that in the early statements instructions were given that the Brothers were known only by their surnames. We now know after only a few days it was a mixed bag.

6.265In circumstances where the individual respondent either admitted abusing the complainant, or elected to ask no questions, the Congregation was still entitled to cross-examine the witness, and in most cases it availed itself of this opportunity.

6.266The records provided by the Congregation, whilst limited and incomplete in some respects, were more extensive and detailed than the materials in the archives of other Congregations, and contributed significantly to the overall picture of these institutions. The structure of the chapters on the institutions, proceeding from documented cases of abuse to the uncorroborated evidence, reflects this approach. The documented cases were examined for behaviour described and for the way the cases were managed. This illuminated attitudes the Congregation had at the time to Brothers who broke the rules.

6.267The documents originally discovered to the Committee were added to on several occasions. A public hearing on discovery issues, arising out of the investigation of Carriglea Industrial School, took place in November 2006 after prolonged correspondence failed to produce requested material. The Congregation supplied this additional material subsequent to that hearing, which included recordings and notes of interviews with Brothers about their experiences in industrial schools. A further substantial body of documentary evidence was furnished in March 2007, when the Congregation’s solicitors notified the Committee that it had decided to waive its claim to withhold documents from discovery on the grounds of privilege.

6.268The contemporary records of the Congregation, and in particular their Visitation Reports, allowed an in-depth investigation of the industrial schools under their control, and this was helpful to the work of the Committee.

1 The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, commonly known as the Pope.

2 B. Coldrey, Faith and Fatherland. The Christian Brothers and the Development of Nationalism, 1838–1921 (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1988), p 22.

3 There are currently 122 schools in the Christian Brother network in Ireland, according to the Marino Institute of Education website.

4 Constitutions (1923).

5 The general assembly of representatives from the Congregation of the Christian Brothers.

6 Commission of Inquiry into the Reformatory and Industrial School System Report, 1936 (the Cussen Report) (Dublin: Stationery Office).

7 A Visitor was a Congregational Inspector who reported back to the leadership of the Congregation. See Supervision/Visitations below.

8 An association where the main object is the well-being and improvement of a different group of persons, such as men, women and children, or more specially, priests, youths, church helpers, prisoners, immigrants, nurses, married people, couples, etc.

9 Cn 653.

10 You shall not commit adultery.

11 You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife.

12 Congregation of the Christian Brothers 1962, Chapter VIII ‘Chastity’, p 23 section 81.

13 Const 8 of the 1923 Constitutions.

14 Const 97 of the 1923 Constitutions.

15 Congregation of the Christian Brothers 1962, Chapter XIII ‘Mortifications & Humilitations’, p 30 section 128.

16 The Cussen Report 1936 – Commission of Inquiry into the Reformatory and Industrial School System, para 74.

17 This is a pseudonym.

18 There were three programmes broadcast by RTE in 1999 in the ‘States of Fear’ series: ‘Industrial Schools and Reformatories from the 1940s-1980s’, ‘The Legacy of Industrial Schools’, and ‘Sick and Disabled Children in Institutions’.

19 Suffer the Little Children, by Mary Raftery and Eoin O’Sullivan, 1999, New Island.

20 O’Brien Institute.

21 This is a pseudonym.

22 P394 Circular Letters 1821–1930

23 Department of Education Annual Report 1925/1926.

24 Report of the Department of Education for the School Years 1925–26–27 and the Financial and Administrative Year 1926–1927, p 83.

25 Report of the Department of Education for the School Year 1924–1925 and the Financial and Administrative Years 1924–25–26, p 84.

26 Rules and Regulations for the Certified Industrial Schools in Saorstát Éireann Approved by the Minister of Education under the 54th Section of the Act, 8 Edw VII., Ch 67, clauses 12 and 13 (see DES chapter).

27 Rules and Regulations for the Certified Industrial Schools in Saorstát Éireann Approved by the Minister of Education under the Children Act, 1908.

28 The Department submit this wording ‘education provision’ in other words the internal national school.

29 Section 24 of The Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 provided:
the rule of law under which teachers are immune from criminal liability in respect of physical chastisement of pupils is hereby abolished.
With the removal of this immunity, teachers are now subject to section 2(1) of the 1997 Act which provides that:
a person shall be guilty of the offence of assault, who without lawful excuse, intentionally or recklessly, directly or indirectly applies force to and causes an impact on the body of another.Teachers who physically chastise pupils may now be guilty of an offence and liable to 12 months’ imprisonment and/or a fine of £1,500.

30 This is a pseudonym.

The ONLY good Roman Catholic pedophile or pedophile pimp is a fucking dead one

Time To Execute Head Pedophile Pimp Pope Francis of the Unholy Roman Catholic Church

Over 750 unmarked graves found near former Indigenous school in Canada, group says

The latest revelation comes a month after the remains of 215 children were found buried on the site of what was once Canada’s largest Indigenous residential school.

Hundreds of unmarked graves have been located near a former residential school for Indigenous children in Canada, an Indigenous group announced Thursday. The finding follows the discovery last month of human remains at a similar site — prompting a national reckoning of a shameful chapter in Canadian history.

A preliminary investigation by Cowessess First Nation, whose lands are located in the Saskatchewan province, led to an estimated 751 unmarked graves at a cemetery near the former Marieval Indian Residential School, Cowessess Chief Cadmus Delorme said at a virtual news conference. Radar scanning was used in the area as part of the investigation this month.

According to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which published a report that found the country’s residential school system amounted to cultural genocide, a cemetery was left on the Marieval site after the school building was demolished.

“We didn’t remove the headstones,” Delorme said. “Removing headstones is a crime in this country. We are treating this like a crime scene.”

The latest revelation comes a month after the remains of 215 children, some as young as 3, were found buried on the site of what was once Canada’s largest Indigenous residential school near Kamloops, British Columbia.

Sounds Familiar?

The Unholy Roman Catholic Church has raped, tortured and terrorized, beat and brutalized, and outright murdered hundreds of thousands of children throughout the world. In the case of the Irish Industrial Schools, the sick and twisted sisters who ran the Taum Co Galway school thought to fucking little of the dead bodies of infants and children who died there? They fucking threw them away like trash in a fucking septic tank.

Time to drag out Pope Francis and all the other Pedophile Pimps hiding out at the Vatican and execute them for their Crimes Against Humanity and their Crimes Against the Children of the World, destroy all Catholic Churches, take every fucking dime they have and distribute it to the victims and survivors.

St Thomas More Durham NH The Pedophile Church of Durham

St Thomas More in Durham New Hampshire, where three pedo priests, Fathers Leon Gaulin, Paul McHugh and Joseph Desmond spent the night gang raping me.

I do not care what their current priest says. I do not care what any of the pew polishing pricks who go to St Thomas More parish in Durham NH says, their three scumbag, degenerate, perverted, pedophile priests, Fathers Leon Gaulin, Paul McHugh and Joseph Desmond, those sado masochist scumbag shitstains on the underwear of humanity gang raped me at St Thomas More, in both the bedroom and on the very fucking altar of this church that you see here.

Pedophile Priest Father Joseph Desmond participated in the gang rape of me at St Thomas More parish in Durham NH
Pedophile Priest Father Paul McHugh who participated in the gang rape of me at St Thomas More parish in Durham NH
No Image for the demon Pedo Priest Father Leon Gaulin who also participated in the gang rape of me at St Thomas More parish in Durham NH and was the first pedo priest to rape me in the bedroom.

Now, was I a fucked up kid? Yeah. I was a fucked up kid. Lots of family problems. Mother split, leaving six kids with my father who worked all the damn time. An older brother who hated my guts and blamed me for my mother leaving. I was doing a whole lot of bad shit I should not have been doing, stealing, smoking cigs, etc. I was wrong and I admit that. I should have been punished, especially for what I did to my father that day. But not with what these sick and twisted, degenerate, perverted, sado masochist, demonic pedo priests Fathers Leon Gaulin, Paul McHugh and Joseph Desmond did to “punish me” that night. No one deserves that kind of foul shit done to them by fucking priests who were actually supposed to give me one safe space for one fucking night until I went to court the next day and the judge and my father figured out what the appropriate punishment for me was.

I stole a business check from him. I did not fucking care that money was needed for the family. I did not care that money came out of his business check. I did not care at all at that point. I was getting shit from almost everyone. I remember even my father telling us all the night my mother left, that no one was to blame me for her leaving. But the older brother sure did and by his belief? Made my life a living fucking hell too.

Yes, I mouthed off to my father when the Durham cop asked me what I wanted to do. When I said what I said? I damn well deserved being busted in the face by my father. My father had the right to beat the living shit out of me for what I said to him. And I broke his fucking heart that night when I said what I said. I wish I could take those words back, but I cannot. Yet it was that that brought me to St Thomas More. The Duham cop had no choice then but to take me out of the house as he witnessed my father punching me in the face. The cop did not wrong, he believed he was taking me to a safe spot for the night. He is not responsible for what happened to me, neither is my father. The fucking priests, Fathers Leon Gaulin, Paul McHugh and Joseph Desmond are fucking responsible for what happened to me. The Church is responsible for what happened to me and for all the fucking horror they have put me through for my daring to stand up and speak out against this. To call their Pedo Pimps and Pedo Priests for who and what they are.

Roman Catholics seem to believe we are to respect and love and admire their leaders the way they have been severely brain washed to do. I know, we are drilled that into our heads in Catholic school, in first communion, cathecism and Confirmation classes. The priests are the men of god, you do not question them, you do not argue with them, you do not debate them, you do not say anything bad about them. They have the power to supposedly send your soul to hell and to forgive your sins or not forgive your sins and then excommunicate you. No they fucking do not. They are human beings, who have gotten fucking power over you, through fear and horror and pain and suffering. They are no more special than you are or I am. They hold no true fucking power unless we give it to them. And sadly? Far too may brain dead and brain washed pew polishers not only give all their power over to these priests, they also give their children over to be sacrificed on the altar of rape. And then?

The pew polishers are so programmed that they attack the victims, blame the victims, call the victims liars. Instead of attacking the real criminals, the priests, the brothers, the nuns and sisters, who raped us, tortured us, brutalized us, beat us into submission.

And then you all wonder why we victims and survivors are pissed at you? Hate you? Scream and say foul shit about you? Well this is the reason, because YOU STAND with the criminals instead of your own children who were victimized by them and you all should be ashamed of yourselves.

I have seen it far too many damn times. Parents of victims throwing their kids out on the street cause they call their child a liar.

Victims and survivors online at such sites as Facebook, Twitter, etc, speaking out and demanding justice, demanding the guilty leaders and the guilty pedos be held to pay for their crimes, and you pew polishers of the Catholic Church attacking them in such vile and evil ways.

I have been told? I deserve to be gang raped and beaten to death.
I have been told good they took your son away cause you were raped by priests cause they are right, you would rape him.
I have been called a liar, a gold digger out looking for a payday.
I have been told to my face because I did not punch out Gaulin, Desmond and McHugh? That meant I not only wanted it, I enjoyed it and I was a homosexual because of it.


To the Pew Polishers of St Thomas More Parish
Durham NH

You do not want to believe what I am saying about Desmond, McHugh and Gaulin is not true. There is a whole lot of great talk about Desmond and McHugh and Gaulin? Well it is like he disappeared like a fart in the wind. But the stories of thousands of victims of pedo priests show and prove? Many could not believe their great priests? Were fucking pedophiles who raped and tortured and abused children. But in the end? The evidence proved they actually were rapists and destroyers of children. Far too many of these “beloved” priests names and images are on such websites as the Bishops Accountability’s Abuse Tracker and Database of Priests.

Same? With far too many other pedophile pastors and ministers and preachers of all the other Christian denominations. Far too many of them been busted as “great loving, etc pastors” only to be revealed for the monsters underneath they actually were towards children they were supposed to care for and protect.

So why is it so fucking hard for you pew polishers of St Thomas More to believe me?

AGAIN, after all your church leaders, especially your Bishop Peter A Libasci has done to me? If I were lying? I would have shut my mouth a long time ago. I would have just gone and hid for a while after your church lied about the statements I made and then hid behind the statute of limitations to get my case dismissed.

During the interview? I told them, the way I went to the bedroom with Gaulin, I described that bedroom: White cinder block walls or white walls, dark curtain with a white curtain behind it on the windows, a dark headboard and footboard. Two nightstands, each with a lamp and a garbage pail in front of the left one. Queen sized bed, brown wool blanket.

I told them what Gaulin first did to me in that room. That he raped me orally, he then forced me to give him oral and I puked in the wastebasket and he raped me anally all the while having me say Our Fathers and Hail Mary’s while telling me over and over again if I told anyone about his special healing I would burn in hell. He then went and got a glass of water and brought it back to me and made me drink it and I passed out to him laying behind me on the bed jerking my dick.

The drugs and my brain supressed the memories of what happened next, but I now know what happened. Desmond and McHugh joined in. I remember Desmond saying it was one of the cute LaFerriere boys, the cutest one. I also remember the sound of a film camera recording this and someone saying that they cannot see to get it on the camera.

I remember being pushed onto the altar of the church and being raped by each of them anally while they again had me say our fathers and hail marys. I remember also the name Asmodeus being said over and over again.

I remember the next morning when the officer came to pick me up. I was in the lobby looking through a huge window into an office with a dark haired, middle aged woman sitting at a desk. I wanted so much to scream out to her what happened to me. I wanted to scream out to the cop what happened to me, but I couldn’t. I remember the cop saying I looked like hell to the Father Gaulin and saying I looked like I had a rough night and Gaulin saying well you know how it is.

Up until that time? I had NEVER been inside your St Thomas More parish or office area. So how the hell can I know what it looks like inside of your parish office area and church? UNLESS I AM TELLING THE TRUTH.

The scene of the crime plays over and over again, in my nightmares. I have horrifying nightmares of being in hell, being gang raped by the demons of hell. Gaulin, his face of a demon comes up and rips my dick off and starts to eat it saying see, I told you what would happen if you told anyone.

Not two weeks after this? I did my first serious suicide attempt by trying to hang myself right in front of my father as he was coming up the drive from his cabinet shop down below. I had tied ropes of the hay bales together and tied it to a tree branch right at the driveway. I waited til he came up and jumped off the branch. The rope and branch broke and I came down with a thud. He came up and demanded to know why. I said, they told me if I told anyone I would go to hell so I may as well go now. About two weeks later? He left to go get his new wife and my older brother picked a fight with me the same day and threw me out of the house. That was it.

At least 8 more serious suicide attempts. Drug addiction, alcohol addiction. Horrors, pain and suffering you could not even begin to imagine. I actually thought I was the son of Satan, the evil one. But I was not.

What made me realize I was not the evil one was all the help I have given to other victims and survivors. All the good things I have done. My sister from another mother tells me all the time, little kids, animals, that do not know you at all come up and hug you and play with you. Kids and animals know what true evil is and you are not evil, otherwise? Kids and animals would run away from you.

No the evil ones are? Fathers Joseph Desmond, Paul McHugh and Leon Gaulin. The evil ones are Bishop Peter A Libasci, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, Dan Buteau the former prosecutor of the Berlin Police Department in Berlin NH, former Judge Paul Desjardins, Judge Mary Kovack, Ohio CPS worker, Mary Jo Landry and all the others who came after me and tried to destroy me or murder me, for daring to stand up and tell the truth and fight for what is right.

So to the Pew Polishers of St Thomas More? YOU can deny all you want, you can wish all you want, you can pray all you want, that I am lying about what your disgusting, degenerate, perverted, demonic, pedo priests Leon Gaulin, Joseph Desmond and Paul McHugh did to me that night in the bedroom and in the church and on the altar of your St Thomas More all you wish to. You may demand I remove all the postings I have done about you all. But that is not going to happen.

Each and every day, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, I will continue to speak out and speak the truth about what your priests did to me that night. And either you all can accept it and stop calling me a liar or you can all deal with my words constantly being posted until you all do.


To those who demand I give respect, or honor to the church and its leaders?

Would you give respect and honor to someone who raped you?
Would you give respect and honor to an organization whose members raped your children?
Would you give respect and honor to those who cover up these crimes?

Don’t dare ask me to.

The Pedophile Priests of St Thomas More parish in Durham NH are Fathers Joseph Desmond, Paul McHugh and Leon Gaulin.
St Thomas More Parish
6 Madbury Road
Durham New Hampshire 03824-0620

The Only Good Roman Catholic Pedophile Pimp or Priest is a fucking dead one

Yes, the Unholy Roman Catholic Cult of Pedophile Pimps, Pedophile Priests and the Pew Polishers who suck their shriveled dicks in unholy love. A bunch of fucking perverted, degenerate pedophiles who believe they got a fucking right to tell everyone else how to fucking live, while they cannot keep their disgusting dicks out of young kids assholes.

If I had had a gun that night at St Thomas More parish in Durham NH? All three of those degenerate, disgusting pedo priests, Fathers Leon Gaulin, Joseph Desmond and Paul McHugh would have ended up just like this.

Yes, Pope Francis, you disgusting Head Pedophile Pimp, yes Pope Emeritus Benedict you disgusting Pedophile Pimp, the both of you deserve to have a fucking Pedophile Crucifixion upon your fucking Pedophile Pimps asses, right in the middle of St Peter’s Square.

Yes, Cardinals Timothy Dolan, George Pell, Bernard Law and all the rest of you scumbag pieces of shit Cardinals, Bishops like NH Bishop Peter A Libasci, and Archbishops who covered up for your fucking pedophile priests and hid behind laws like the statutes of limitations and sovereign immunity to get away with your crimes? You all deserve to be fucking drawn and quartered and your fucking heads put on pikes in front of St Peter’s Square with the warning that this is what we will now do to Roman Catholic leaders who protect their fucking pedophiles.

This, Bishop Peter A Libasci and Pope Francis is what should be done to all you Pedo Pimps and Pedo priests of your cult of pedophile scumbags.

St Thomas More Parish
6 Madbury Road
Durham New Hampshire 03824-0620

Bishop Peter A Libasci New Hampshire Diocese

This is Bishop Peter A Libasci, pedophile pimp of the New Hampshire Diocese and over all piece of shit scumbag who is going to burn in his Roman Catholic hell for eternity being gang raped by the big dicked demons of hell cause he loves having his faggot asshole reamed out by big dicked demons.

Scumbag Piece of Shit, Bishop Peter A Libasci of the New Hampshire Diocese of the Unholy Roman Catholic Cult of Pedophile Pimps, Pedophiles and the Pew Polishers who suck their unholy dicks.

So Bishop Peter A Libasci, you cock sucker for demonic pedophile scumbags of your cult of Pedophile Pimps, Pedophiles and the Pew Polishers who suck your nasty, unholy dicks in religious fevor, thinks we who were raped, tortured, brutalized by your fucking scumbag pedophile priests, especially by Fathers Leon Gaulin, Joseph Desmond and Paul McHugh of St Thomas More parish in Durham NH should bow down and kiss your pedophile ass and treat you with decency and respect? Really you fucking low life piece of shit? YOU think that I should speak to you in respect? Fuck you. You deserve no fucking respect. What you deserve from me, if you were in front of me right now? Is for me to kick your pedophile loving faggot ass all up and down the streets of Manchester NH, starting right in front of your fucking pedophile cult church.

A big fuck you Bishop Peter A Libasci from me and Eddie.

So Bishop Peter A Libasci, you got your pedophile panties all in a huge bunch over how I speak about your disgusting degnerate Pedophile Pimps and Pedophile priests of your cult of Pedophile scum huh? You cried and cried at the disrespect and hate I show towards your current Head Pedophile Pimp Pope Francis, your former Head Pedophile Pimp Pope Benedickless? And you got pissed at me for calling out you and all your fucking scumbag, pieces of shit Pedophile Pimp Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops too huh? And demanding they all be rounded up and put to the most brutal fucking death we can think of for your Pedophile Pimp Popes, Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops. Well go fuck yourself Bishop Peter A Libasci. Go take a fucking Jeebus Jackhammer Dildo and shove it up your fucking pedophile loving and defending asshole and go fuck yourself for your pedophile god, your pedophile Jeebus and your fucking unholy Patron Saint of Pedophiles Pope John Paul.

I am willing to bet there Bishop Peter A Libasci you lean more towards the black dildos huh?

No, Bishop Peter A Libasci, pedophile scumbag of the New Hampshire Diocese of the Unholy Roman Catholic Cult of Pedophiles, like you scumbags? I will give you no respect. I will give you no decency. I will give you nothing but hate. For I fucking hate scumbag pedophile shitstains like you and your fucking cult of pedophiles. I fucking hate scumbag Roman Catholic pieces of shit like you, who rape children and then call them a fucking liar. I hate Roman Catholic scumbag pieces of shit like you who proclaim people like me were lying about what your fucking disgusting, degenerate, pieces of shit priests Fathers Leon Gaulin, Joseph Desmond and Paul McHugh did to me at St Thomas More Parish in Durham New Hampshire the night I was bought there by the Durham Police Department.

And tell me you fucking shitstain on the underwear of humanity, where the fuck is the first floor blueprint plans for your St Thomas More parish of pedophiles? Funny how when you all did a rehab on that pedophile church that you all had the basement floor plans but not the first floor plans, I wonder why? I know why you fucking piece of shit, you had those blueprints disappear because you fucking piece of shit knows that I was telling the truth about that bedroom where your perverted pedo Leon Gaulin started the pedophile rape fest of me that night.

Go fuck yourself Bishop Peter A Libasci. I hope that you get fucking cancer, of the dick, of the asshole and of the mouth and you fucking die a slow, painful death. I hope you fucking die horribly there Libasci you fucking piece of shit. Yeah Libasci, I fucking hate you. I fucking hate your face, your nasty, ugly, demonic face of fucking pure evil. I fucking hate you with every ounce of my being. And I send all that fucking hate I have for you, I have for your pedo priests Leon Gaulin, Joseph Desmond and Paul McHugh and all the fucking hate I have for all your pedophile pimps and pedophile priests upon your fucking evil head.

Die Bishop Peter A Libasci, so I can go to your grave and fucking do to it what I do to Desmonds and McHugh graves, shit and piss all over them.

Yes Bishop Peter A Libasci, this is what each and every one of your fucking Pedophile pimps, your Pedo Pimp Pope Emeritus, Pedo Pimp Pope Francis, all your fucking Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops and each and every one of your fucking pedophile priests deserve, a full frontal lobotomy with a 50 cal Desert Eagle right between their pedophile fucking eyes. YOU included there Bishop Peter A Libasci.

How you fucking like those apples you fucking degnerate pedophile scumbag?

It is far past time Bishop Peter A Libasci to round up all your Pedophile Pimps, all your pedophile priests and nuns, all your degnerates of your unholy cult of Roman Catholic Pedophiles, put them on trial for Crimes Against Humanity and Crimes Against the Children of the World. Then upon conviction? Fucking execute them.

First? We shove red hot, coal filled Popes Pears up your fucking pedophile asses and fuck your brains out with them.

Then? We put you scumbags in the Judas Chair and torture your asses.

Next? You scumbags have a choice. Drawing and Quartering or Pedophile Crucifixions.

Yeah motherfucker. Each and every fucking one of you deserve to be put to the most brutal fucking deaths one can imagine, for your scumbags raping hundreds of thousands of children all throughout the world. For your enslaving children, for your murdering children. Fuck you, give you scumbag pieces of shit of your pedophile cult any decency or respect. In prison? We fucking kill pedophiles. Time to start doing so in the fucking free world. Time to teach you fucking scumbag Roman Catholic Pedophile Pimps, Pedophiles and Pew Polishers, no more raping of our children, or you will be fucking hunted down and fucking executed as all fucking degenerate pedophiles should be.

So go fuck yourself Bishop Peter A Libasci of the New Hampshire diocese of the Unholy Roman Catholic Cult of Pedophiles. Give you any decency or respect? Give you any mercy or compassion? Really? Go fuck yourself. The only mercy or compassion any of you Roman Catholic Cunts deserve is a fucking cigarette before we fucking execute you pedophile pricks.

No you fucking piece of shit scumbag. I will NEVER give you any fucking decency, never give you any fucking compassion, never give you any fucking mercy, because you scumbags do not deserve it. And I do not give a flying fuck you scumbag piece of shit. I will continue until the fucking day I take my last breath, calling you fucking demons exactly what you are and demanding your fucking death sentences for your fucking Crimes Against the Children of the World.

Drop dead you fucking cunt pedophile scumbag piece of shit.

Especially a Pedophile Pimp or Pedophile Priest of your fucking cult of pure evil pedophiles.

The Pedophile Priests of St Thomas More parish in Durham NH are Fathers Joseph Desmond, Paul McHugh and Leon Gaulin.
St Thomas More Parish
6 Madbury Road
Durham New Hampshire 03824-0620




Bill Donohue of the Catholic League shoves his foot down his throat over the movie Spotlight

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League shoves his foot down his pig throat over the movie Spotlight

Yuppers, got to hand it to Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League and Defender of the Degnerates of the Unholy Roman Catholic Church of Pedophile Pimps, Priests, Nuns and the Parishioners who bow down and suck their dicks in unholy love.

1. First posting on Spotlight from Posting on the Catholic League blog, titled

“SPOTLIGHT” EXAMINES ABUSE SCANDAL which then contains a link to a pdf file written by Donohue at the following link: SHINING THE LIGHT ON “SPOTLIGHT” Bill Donohue. Now Bilbo Dildo makes the following statement:

“In the Catholic League‘s 2002 Annual Report, I even defended the media. “The Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and the New York Times covered the story with professionalism,” I wrote”

2. But Bill attacks the Boston Globe in a new posting BOSTON GLOBE REEKS OF BIAS on his Catholic League blog as follows:

“On the front page of the Metro Section in today’s Boston Globe, there is a story about the movie “Spotlight” that smacks of bias and gullibility; the former is driving the latter.”

He goes on to spew his typical bullshit defense of the Unholy Roman Catholic Cult of Pedophiles, as usual:

“Lisa Wangsness relies on Terence McKiernan of Bishop Accountability for her data. She writes that he told her that “the bishops could have agreed to make lists of abusive priests available nationwide.” Referring to him again, she writes that “More than 2,400 abusive priests nationwide have never been named.”

First, McKiernan is known for making up figures on the fly. A few years ago, after he told a sympathetic audience he was going to “stick it” to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, he accused him of “keeping the lid on 55 priests.” That is a lie. Several times I have personally challenged him to name the names and every time he runs.

Second, the term “abusive priests” is meaningless. Were they simply accused or was there a credible accusation made against them? Were the accusations substantiated or unsubstantiated? Was there a finding of guilt? Wangsness never tells us because it obviously doesn’t matter to her.

Third, what institution, including the Boston Globe, publishes the names of employees who have had an accusation made against them?

Fourth, how does McKiernan know there are 2,400 priests who have never been named? Did she ask him for verification?

Fifth, the figures for the Boston Archdiocese undercut the point that she and McKiernan are making. Indeed, there are more unsubstantiated accusations than there are findings of guilt.

Then Bill spews even more well worn bullshit from his well worn defense of his cult of pedophiles by of course, being a hypocrite. From his Catholic League posting LOUSY JOURNALISM ON “SPOTLIGHT”

3. “Bill Donohue comments on the way journalists are handling “Spotlight”:

“Spotlight,” which opens today, is being heralded as an example of solid journalism, the kind of movie that should be shown in college journalism classes. Ironically, many journalists who are touting the movie are proving just how lousy they are at their craft.

Journalists for the following media outlets got their facts wrong:

New York Post; The Daily Commercial; Associated Press; Wall Street Journal; Boston Globe; National Catholic Reporter; Vanity Fair; Los Angeles Daily News; Christianity Today;; New Yorker; New York; Observer; Chicago Reader;; The Verge;; SLANT; Paste;; filmcomment.

Whether through laziness or ignorance, all of these sources misrepresented the facts by saying the problem was pedophilia. As the John Jay College of Criminal Justice researchers pointed out, less than 5 percent of the molesting priests were pedophiles. They found that 81 percent of the victims were male and 78 percent of them were postpubescent. That means the abusers were homosexuals.

Not to admit this is an expression of journalistic malfeasance, the kind that ought to be discussed in the classroom.”

So here is Bill, trashing the Boston Globe and others, he formerly defended as these news organizations for their professionalism in their reporting on the story, and now here he is trashing them for the same damn thing.

Of course, he then spews his typical bullshit about this being a homosexual and not a pedophile problem, using the John Jay College of Criminal Justice research, but totally ignores what the researchers said to his sorry ass way back in 2010:

“Whether through laziness or ignorance, all of these sources misrepresented the facts by saying the problem was pedophilia. As the John Jay College of Criminal Justice researchers pointed out, less than 5 percent of the molesting priests were pedophiles. They found that 81 percent of the victims were male and 78 percent of them were postpubescent. That means the abusers were homosexuals.”

But in an interview with Media Matters, Margaret Smith — a John Jay College criminologist who worked on the 2004 study — said that while Donohue “quoted the study’s data correctly,” he “drew an unwarranted conclusion” in asserting that most of the abusers were gay.

Explaining that it is an oversimplification to assume to that priests who abuse male victims are gay, Smith said: “The majority of the abusive acts were homosexual in nature. That participation in homosexual acts is not the same as sexual identity as a gay man.”

As an example, Smith pointed to the case of Marcial Maciel Degollado, a prominent Mexican priest who allegedly abused male children and also allegedly carried on affairs with multiple women. Smith noted that while Maciel allegedly abused boys, most people would not think of him as a gay man.

“What we are suggesting is that the idea of sexual identity be separated from the problem of sexual abuse,” said Margaret Smith, a researcher from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, which is conducting an independent study of sexual abuse in the priesthood from 1950 up to 2002. “At this point, we do not find a connection between homosexual identity and an increased likelihood of sexual abuse.”

Seems Bill Pig Face Donohue of the Catholic League will use the John Jay report to make his false assertions that this is a homosexual and not a pedophile problem, but ignore what the very researcher and other researchers on this problem of child rape, pedophiles and other sex crimes against children, said to him.


The movie “Spotlight” is bound to spark more conversation about the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, much of what the American public knows about this issue is derived from the popular culture, something this film will only abet. Therefore, the time is ripe to revisit what the actual data on this subject reveal.

When the Boston Globe sent the nation reeling in 2002 with revelations of priestly sexual abuse, and the attendant cover-up, Catholics were outraged by the level of betrayal. This certainly included the Catholic League. The scandal cannot be denied. What is being denied, however, is the existence of another scandal—the relentless effort to keep the abuse crisis alive, and the deliberate refusal to come to grips with its origins. Both scandals deserve our attention.

Myth: The Scandal Never Ended

When interviewed about the scandal in 2002 by the New York Times, I said, “I am not the church’s water boy. I am not here to defend the indefensible.” In the Catholic League’s 2002 Annual Report, I even defended the media. “The Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and the New York Times covered the story with professionalism,” I wrote.

A decade later things had changed. In the Catholic League’s 2011 Annual Report, I offered a critical assessment of the media. “In a nutshell,” I said, “what changed was this: in 2011, unlike what happened in 2002, virtually all the stories were about accusations against priests dating back decades, sometimes as long as a half-century ago. Keep in mind that not only were most of the priests old and infirm, many were dead; thus, only one side of the story could be told. Adding to our anger was the fact that no other institution, religious or secular, was being targeted for old allegations.”

It became clear that by 2011 we were dealing with two scandals, not one. Scandal I was internal—the church-driven scandal. This was the result of indefensible decisions by the clergy: predatory priests and their enabling bishops. Scandal II was external, the result of indefensible cherry-picking of old cases by rapacious lawyers and vindictive victims’ groups. They were aided and abetted by activists, the media, and Hollywood.

Regarding Scandal II, more than cultural elites were involved. “In 2011,” I wrote, “it seemed as if ‘repressed memories’ surfaced with alacrity, but only among those who claimed they were abused by a priest. That there was no similar explosion of ‘repressed memories’ on the part of those who were molested by ministers, rabbis, teachers, psychologists, athletic coaches, and others, made us wonder what was going on.”

The steeple-chasing lawyers and professional victims’ organizations had a vested economic interest in keeping the scandal alive; the former made hundreds of millions and they, in turn, lavishly greased the latter. But it wasn’t money that motivated the media and Hollywood elites to keep the story alive—it was ideology.

To be specific, the Catholic Church has long been the bastion of traditional morality in American society, and if there is anything that the big media outlets and the Hollywood studios loathe, it is being told that they need to put a brake on their libido. So when the scandal came to light, the urge to pounce proved irresistible. The goal was, and still is, to attenuate the moral authority of the Catholic Church. It certainly wasn’t outrage over the sexual abuse of minors that stirred their interest: if that were the case, then many other institutions would have been put under the microscope. But none were.

There is no conspiracy here. What unfolded is the logical outcome of the ideological leanings of our cultural elites. Unfortunately, “Spotlight” will only add to Scandal II. How so? Just read what those connected with the film are saying.

Tom McCarthy, who co-wrote the script with Josh Singer, said, “I would love for Pope Francis and the cardinals and bishops and priests to see this [film].” Would it make any difference? “I remain pessimistic,” he says. “To be honest,” he declares, “I expect no reaction at all.”

Mark Ruffalo plays a reporter, and, like McCarthy, he says, “I hope the Vatican will use this movie to begin to right those wrongs.” (My italic.) He is not sanguine about the prospects. Indeed, he has given up on the Church.

The view that the Catholic Church has not even begun to “right those wrongs” is widely shared. Indeed, the impression given to the American people, by both the media and Hollywood—it is repeated nightly by TV talk-show hosts—is that the sexual abuse scandal in the Church never ended. Impressions count: In December 2012, a CBS News survey found that 55 percent of Catholics, and 73 percent of Americans overall, believe that priestly sexual abuse of minors remains a problem. Only 14 percent of Americans believe it is not a problem today.

Commentary by those associated with “Spotlight,” as well as movie reviewers and pundits, are feeding this impression. But the data show that the conventional wisdom is wrong. The fact of the matter is that the sexual abuse of minors by priests has long ceased to be an institutional problem. All of these parties—Catholics, the American public, the media, and Hollywood—entertain a view that is not supported by the evidence. “Spotlight” will only add to the propaganda.

In 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) commissioned researchers from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to conduct a major study of priestly sexual abuse; it covered the years 1950 to 2002. It found that accusations of the sexual molestation of minors were made against 4,392 priests.

This figure represents 4 percent of all Catholic priests. What was not widely touted is that 43 percent of these allegations (1881) were 4 unsubstantiated. To qualify as “unsubstantiated” the bar was set high: the allegation had to be “proven to be untruthful and fabricated” as a result of a criminal investigation.

In other words, roughly 2 percent of priests were likely guilty of molesting minors. Accusations proven to be false should carry no weight in assessing wrongdoing, yet the fabrications are treated by the media as if they were true. It must also be said that this rate of false accusations is much higher than found in studies of this problem in the general population.

More than half of the accused priests had only one allegation brought against them. Moreover, 3.5 percent accounted for 26 percent of all the victims. As computed by professor Philip Jenkins, an expert on this subject, the John Jay data reveal that “Out of 100,000 priests active in the U.S. in this half-century, a cadre of just 149 individuals—one priest out of every 750—accounted for a quarter of all allegations of clergy abuse.”

These data give the lie to the accusation that during this period the sexual molestation of minors by priests was rampant. It manifestly was not. Even more absurd is the accusation that the problem is still ongoing.

In the last ten years, from 2005 to 2014, an average 8.4 credible accusations were made against priests for molestation that occurred in any one of those years. The data are available online at the USCCB website (see the reports issued for these years). Considering that roughly 40,000 priests could have had a credible accusation made against them, this means that almost 100 percent of priests had no such accusation made against them!

Sadly, I cannot name a single media outlet, including Catholic ones, that even mentioned this, much less emphasized it. The Catholic News Service, paid for by the bishops, should have touted this, but it didn’t. This delinquency is what helps to feed the misperception that the Church has not even begun to deal with this problem.

In 2011, researchers from John Jay issued another report, “The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010.” While the document was often critical, it commended the Church for its forthrightness in dealing with this problem. “No other institution has undertaken a public study of sexual abuse,” the report said, “and as a result, there are no comparable data to those collected by the Catholic Church.” Looking at the most recent data, the report found that the “incidence of child sexual abuse has declined in both the Catholic Church and in society in general, though the rate of decline is greater in the Catholic Church in the same time period.”

So much for the myth that the Church has not yet “begun” to address this issue. Every study by the John Jay researchers shows that most of the abuse took place between 1965-1985. This is not hard to figure out: the sexual revolution began in the 1960s and fizzled out by the mid-1980s. Libertinism drove the sexual revolution, and it hit the seminaries as well, especially in the 1970s. Matters slowed once AIDS was uncovered in 1981. It took fear—the fear of death—to bring about a much needed reality check.

Myth: Celibacy is the Root Cause

On October 28, 2015, a columnist for the Boston Globe wrote an article about “Spotlight” titled, “Based on a True Story.” Similarly, script writer Tom McCarthy said, “We made a commitment to let the facts play.”

No one disputes the fact that predatory priests were allowed to run wild in the Boston Archdiocese; the problem was not confined to Boston, but it was the epicenter. That molesting priests were moved around like chess pieces to unsuspecting parishes is also true. Ditto for the cover-up orchestrated by some bishops. This is the very stuff of Scandal I. Where the factual claims dissolve, however, is when the script claims to know what triggered the scandal.

“Spotlight” made its premiere on September 3 at the Venice Film Festival. A review published by the international French news agency, AFP, noted that “in Spotlight’s nuanced script, few in the Catholic hierarchy have shown any inclination to address whether the enforced celibacy of priests might be one of the root causes of the problem.”

The celibacy myth was debunked by the John Jay 2011 report. “Celibacy has been constant in the Catholic Church since the eleventh century and could not account for the rise and subsequent decline in abuse cases from the 1960s through the 1980s.” But if celibacy did not drive the scandal, what did? The John Jay researchers cite the prevalence of sexually immature men who were allowed to enter the seminaries, as well as the effects of the sexual revolution.

There is much truth to this observation, but it is incomplete. Who were these sexually immature men? The popular view, one that is promoted by the movie as well, suggests they were pedophiles. The data, however, prove this to be wrong.

When the word got out that “Spotlight” was going to hit the big screen, Mike Fleming, Jr. got an Exclusive for Deadline Hollywood; his piece appeared on August 8, 2014. The headline boasted that it was a “Boston Priest Pedophile Pic.” In his first sentence, he described the film as “a drama that Tom McCarthy will direct about the Boston Globe investigation into pedophile priests.” This narrative is well entrenched in the media, and in the culture at large. Whenever this issue is discussed, it is pitched as a “pedophile” scandal. We can now add “Spotlight’s” contribution to this myth.

One of the most prominent journalists on the Boston Globe “Spotlight” team was Kevin Cullen. On February 28, 2004, he wrote a story assessing a report issued by the National Review Board, appointed by the USCCB, on what exactly happened. He quoted the head of the Board’s research committee, well-respected attorney Robert S. Bennett, as saying it was not pedophilia that drove the scandal. “There are no doubt many 7 outstanding priests of a homosexual orientation who live chaste, celibate lives,” he said, “but any evaluation of the causes and context of the current crisis must be cognizant of the fact that more than 80 percent of the abuse at issue was of a homosexual nature.”

Bennett was correct, and Cullen knew it to be true as well. “Of the 10,667 reported victims [in the time period between 1950 and 2002],” Cullen wrote, “81 percent were male, the report said, and more than three quarters [the exact figure is 78 percent] were postpubescent, meaning the abuse did not meet the clinical definition of pedophilia.” One of Bennett’s colleagues, Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins University, was more explicit. “This behavior was homosexual predation on American Catholic youth,” he said, “yet it is not being discussed.” It never is.

So it is indisputable that the Boston Globe “Spotlight” team knew that it was homosexuality, not pedophilia, that drove the scandal. Yet that is not what is being reported today. Indeed, as recently as November 1, 2015, a staff reporter for the Boston Globe said the movie was about “the pedophile priest crisis.” This flies in the face of the evidence. In fact, the John Jay 2011 report found that less than 5 percent of the abusive priests fit the diagnosis of pedophilia, thus concluding that “it is inaccurate to refer to abusers as ‘pedophile priests.’”

The evidence, however, doesn’t count. Politics counts. The mere suggestion that homosexual priests accounted for the lion’s share of the problem was met with cries of homophobia. This is at the heart of Scandal II. Even the John Jay researchers went on the defensive. Most outrageous was the voice of dissident, so-called progressive, Catholics: It was they who pushed for a relaxation of sexual mores in the seminaries, thus helping to create Scandal I. Then they helped to create Scandal II by refusing to take ownership of the problem they foisted; they blamed “sexual repression” for causing the crisis.

So how did the deniers get around the obvious? Cullen said that “most [of the molested] fell victim to ephebophiles, men who are sexually attracted to adolescent or postpubescent children.” But clinically speaking, ephebophilia is a waste-basket term of no scientific value.

Philip Jenkins once bought into this idea but eventually realized that the word “communicates nothing to most well-informed readers. These days I tend rather to speak of these acts as ‘homosexuality.’” Jenkins attributes his change of mind to Mary Eberstadt, one of the most courageous students of this issue. “When was the last time you heard the phrase ‘ephebophile’ applied to a heterosexual man?” In truth, ephebophilia is shorthand for homosexuals who prey on adolescents.

Even those who know better, such as the hierarchy of the Church, are reluctant to mention the devastating role that homosexual priests have played in molesting minors. In April 2002, the cardinals of the United States, along with the leadership of the USCCB and the heads of several offices of the Holy See, issued a Communiqué from the Vatican on this issue. “Attention was drawn to the fact that almost all the cases involved adolescents and therefore were not cases of true pedophilia” they said. So what were they? They were careful not to drop the dreaded “H” word.

Further proof that the problem is confined mostly to gay priests is provided by Father Michael Peterson, co-founder of St. Luke’s Institute, the premier treatment center in the nation for troubled priests. He frankly admits, “We don’t see heterosexual pedophiles at all.” This suggests that virtually all the priests who abused prepubescent children had a homosexual orientation.

The spin game is intellectually dishonest. When adult men have sex with postpubescent females, the predatory behavior is seen as heterosexual in nature. But when adult men have sex with postpubsecent males, the predatory behavior is not seen as homosexual in nature. This isn’t science at work—it’s politics, pure and simple.

I have said it many times before, and I will say it again: most gay priests are not molesters but most molesting priests have been gay. It gets tiresome, however, to trot this verity out every time I address this issue. That’s because it means nothing to elites in the dominant culture. Just whispering about the role gay priests have played in the sexual abuse scandal triggers howls of protest.

There is plenty of evidence that Hollywood has long been a haven for sexual predators, both straight and gay. The same is true of many religious and secular institutions throughout society. But there is little interest in the media and in Tinsel Town to profile them. They have identified the enemy and are quite content to keep pounding away.

There is no doubt that the Boston Globe “Spotlight” team deserved a Pulitzer Prize for exposing Scandal I. Regrettably, there will be no Pulitzer for exposing Scandal II.

The Pedophile Priests of St Thomas More parish in Durham NH are Fathers Joseph Desmond, Paul McHugh and Leon Gaulin.
St Thomas More Parish
6 Madbury Road
Durham New Hampshire 03824-0620

Techniques used by the Catholic League to suppress criticism of the Catholic Church

Techniques used by the Catholic League to suppress criticism of the Catholic Church
By Stephen D Mumford, DrPH

St Thomas More Parish
6 Madbury Road
Durham New Hampshire 03824-0620

This excerpt has been adapted from Chapter 15 of our Chairman Dr. Stephen D. Mumford’s seminal book, The Life and Death of NSSM 200: How the Destruction of Political Will Doomed a U.S. Population Policy (1996). The book is available at Kindle here and to read for free here.

The Catholic League was founded in 1973 by Jesuit priest Virgil Blum. William Donohue assumed leadership in July 1993. Since then, the membership has grown from 27,000 to 200,000. According to Donohue, the League has “won the support of all of the U.S. Cardinals and many of the Bishops as well…. We are here to defend the Church from the scurrilous assaults that have been mounted against it, and we definitely need the support of the hierarchy if we are to get the job done.” Thus it can be considered an arm of the Church. It supplements or replaces priest-controlled organizations of the past described by Paul Blanshard and George Seldes. The League apparently has a single mission: suppression of all mainstream criticism of the Roman Catholic Church.

Catholic League’s Bill Donohue melts down on CNN after pope tells him to apologizes to gays

— Raw Story (@RawStory) June 28, 2016

According to Donohue, it is fortunate that, “the Catholic Church is there to provide a heady antidote to today’s mindless ideas of freedom.” He is a strong advocate of the Church’s positions on restriction of the freedoms guaranteed by the American Constitution and condemned by popes for nearly two centuries, especially those regarding the press and speech. He informs us that: “the Catholic League is there to defend the Church against its adversaries.”

There are many recognizable principles governing the behavior of the League. One is revealed in a vicious 1994 attack against the New London newspaper, The Day, for an editorial critical of the Catholic Church: “What is truly ‘beyond understanding’ is not the Catholic Church’s position, it is the fact that a secular newspaper has the audacity to stick it’s nose in where it doesn’t belong. It is nobody’s business what the Catholic Church does.”

A second basic premise is the League’s commitment to canon 1369 of the Code of Canon Law: “A person is to be punished with a just penalty, who, at a public event or assembly, or in a published writing, or by otherwise using the means of social communication, utters blasphemy, or gravely harms public morals, or rails at or excites hatred of or contempt for religion or the Church.” Canon law is the law of the Catholic Church. All criticism of the pope or the Church is in violation of this law in one way or another. This chapter will make clear that the League follows this canon to the letter and demands that all others conform—or pay the price for their violation.

Another principle is aggressive action. Says Donohue, “I defy anyone to name a single organization that has more rabid members than the Catholic League. Our members are generous, loyal and extremely active. When we ask them to sign petitions, write to offending parties and the like, they respond with a vigor that is unparalleled…. We aim to win. Obviously, we don’t win them all, but our record of victories is impressive.” To justify this stance, he identifies with Patrick Buchanan’s resistance to the “Culture War” against the Catholic Church: “We didn’t start this culture war against the Catholic Church, we simply want to stop it.”

Donohue also justifies the League’s aggressive behavior by claiming that it is culturally unacceptable for nonCatholics to criticize the Catholic Church. “Perhaps the most cogent remark of the day,” he asserts, “came from the former Mayor of New York, Ed Koch, who politely remarked that his mother always advised him not to speak ill of other religions. It is a lesson that apparently few have learned…. Non-Catholics would do well to follow the advice of Ed Koch’s mom and just give it a rest. Their crankiness is wearing thin.” This cultural norm is widely accepted in America, to the enormous benefit of the Vatican. What role, one wonders, did the Catholic Church play in its adoption? Certainly, in the case of population growth control, its consequence has been catastrophic.

The Catholic League strongly discourages criticism of the Church, especially attacks by the press. Says Donohue, “It does no good complaining about Catholic bashing if all we do is wait until the other side strikes.” Prevention of such publications is of the essence. Yet Donohue is convinced that this is not censorship: “The press and the radio talk shows asked me if the Catholic League was engaging in censorship by responding the way we did. As always, I informed them that only the government has the power to censor anything.” This is patently untrue.

Another tenet enunciated by Donohue:

“I think it is a gross mistake to give elevation to fringe groups. Our basic rule of thumb is this: the more mainstream the source of anti-Catholicism, the more likely it is that the Catholic League will respond…. The mainstream media, after all, have the credibility and influence that the fringe lacks, and they are therefore much more likely to do real damage.”

“When major universities, TV networks and government officials engage in Catholic-baiting, it is a far more dangerous situation than the venom that emanates from certifiably fringe organizations.”

“When an establishment newspaper such as the Sun-Sentinel [Fort Lauderdale] offends, it cannot be ignored.”

Donohue goes on to explain the Sun-Sentinel example. On February 9, 1995, it ran an ad, paid for by a Seventh Day Adventist group, which claimed that the Catholic Church is seeking to create a New World Order to take command of the world and that the Pope and the Catholic Church were in a league with Satan.

Accordingly, the Catholic League contacted the radio and television stations in the area, the opposition newspaper, and the nation’s major media outlets registering its outrage and its demands. We demanded nothing less than ‘an apology to Catholics and a pledge that no such ads will ever be accepted again.’ We added that ‘If this is not forthcoming, the Catholic League will launch a public ad campaign on its own, one that will directly target the Sun-Sentinel.’

“What exactly did we have in mind? We were prepared to take out ads in the opposition newspaper, registering our charge of anti-Catholic bigotry. We were prepared to pay for radio spots making our charge. We were prepared to buy billboard space along the majority arteries surrounding the Fort Lauderdale community. Why not? After all, … we are in a position to make such threats…. This is the way it works: if the source of bigotry wants to deal with lousy publicity, it can elect to do so. Or it can come to its senses and knock it off. In the event the anti-Catholic bigots want to bite the bullet and stay the course, we’ll do everything we can within the law to make sure that they pay a very high price for doing so.” It goes without saying that anyone critical of the Vatican, or the hierarchy, or the Roman Catholic Church is, by definition, an anti-Catholic bigot—including Catholics themselves.

One final element makes clear the objective of the Catholic League—protection of the papacy against all criticism. Writes Donohue, “It is the conviction of the Catholic League that an attack on the Church is an attack on Catholics.” He offers no rationale to support this theory. Obviously, millions of liberal American Catholics would disagree outright, for it is they who have been attacking the Church.

Donohue continues,

Throughout American history, the job of combating anti-Catholicism fell to the clergy, and especially to the Archbishops. But times have changed…. The type of anti-Catholicism that exists in American society today is fundamentally different from the genre that marked this country’s history from the outset. From colonial times to the election of John F. Kennedy as President of the United States, anti-Catholicism was vented against both individual Catholics and against the Catholic Church itself. But over the past 30 years, it has become evident that most of the Catholic-bashing centers on the institution of the Church …

The hierarchy cannot be effective against criticism of the institution because they are the institution. Thus, the hierarchy has had to call on the laity to protect the institution in this way. In 1971, the League’s founder pointed out, “If a group is to be politically effective, issues rather than institutions must be at stake.” In other words, the laity, if left to their own devices, will not defend the institution but they will defend their interests as individuals. Hence, the League has adopted this principle and has convinced its members that “an attack on the Church is an attack on Catholics.” In this way, the institution is successfully using individual lay Catholics to shield it from all criticism.

The Church and Its Image

The Catholic Church in America has good reason to be intensely concerned about its image and any criticism. Donohue cites a 1995 study, “Taking America’s Pulse,” undertaken by the National Conference (formerly known as the National Conference of Christians and Jews). Despite the almost complete suppression of all criticism of the Catholic Church in America, a majority of non-Catholic Americans (55%) believe that Catholics “want to impose their own ideas of morality on the larger society.” The survey also found that 38% of non-Catholics believe that Catholics are “narrow-minded because they are too much controlled by their Church.” Obviously, there is a highly receptive audience in this country for any justified criticisms of the Catholic Church. If the floodgates ever opened, it is unlikely that the Church would be able to close them again. Only too well understood by the hierarchy, and the Catholic League, this perhaps explains their unmitigated intolerance for criticism.

Methods of the League

Donohue has cited many of the methods used by the League, including some we have already mentioned. “We specialize in public embarrassment of public figures who have earned our wrath and that is why we are able to win so many battles: no person or organization wants to be publicly embarrassed, and that is why we specialize in doing exactly that …” Elsewhere he writes, “The threat of a lawsuit is the only language that some people understand. The specter of public humiliation is another weapon that must be used. Petitions and boycotts are helpful. The use of the bully pulpit—via the airwaves—is a most effective strategy. Press conferences can be used to enlighten or, alternatively, to embarrass.” “Ads taken out in prominent national newspapers are quite effective.”

But probably the most effective means of suppressing criticism of the Catholic Church through the press is a constant “in your face” attack of local newspapers. In a 1995 report on the Massachusetts Chapter of the Catholic League, it is noted that the president and the executive director had been on the attack, “appearing in the media more than 600 times” in the previous five years. In a single state, 600 times in five years! It is no wonder that newspapers in Massachusetts are very reluctant to print any criticism of the Catholic Church, no matter how justified, given this constant barrage of punishment.

Intimidation of the media leadership and of our government by the League is achieved through the wide distribution of frequent news releases, its monthly newsletter and an annual report. Individual attacks are often announced through widely distributed press releases which are bound to capture the attention of members of the press.

Success of the League

The Catholic League has been remarkably successful in achieving its goals. Donohue rightfully gloats: “One of the major reasons why people are giving [donations] is the success the Catholic League has had.” As noted earlier, membership grew from 27,000 to 200,000 in the first two years after Donohue took control. He continues, “We have had a string of victories and we have also had an unprecedented degree of media coverage. We don’t win every fight but our overall record is quite good. Our presence on radio and TV, combined with coverage in newspapers and magazines—both religious and secular—is excellent.” “We’ve been featured on the television program ‘Entertainment Tonight’ and received front page coverage from national newspapers including the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.” The number of apologies and promises it extracts from the nation’s newspapers, TV networks and stations and programs, radio stations, activist organizations, commercial establishments, educational institutions and governments is most impressive.

The suppression of all criticism of the Catholic Church and its hierarchy is the goal of the Catholic League. The visit of the pope to the U.S. in October 1995 was a major media event. Given all the gravely serious problems faced by the Church and the enormous amount of dissent by American Catholics, as well as the growing hostility from non-Catholics as a result of the Church’s interference in American policy making, one would expect wide coverage of these realities in the media during his visit. Instead, it was treated as a triumphant return.

The Catholic League believes that it played a major role in this great public relations success—and with good reason. In August 1994, it launched a campaign to intimidate the press in an astounding advance warning to media professionals preparing for the pope’s visit to New York in late October. A letter signed by Donohue announced a press conference to be held just prior to the pope’s visit that will present “10’s of thousands of petitions from active Catholics” that have been collected over the past year. What else but intimidation of the press is the intent of this campaign?

The November 1995 issue of the League’s journal, Catalyst, is headlined, “Media Treat Pope Fairly; Protesters Fail to Score.” Donohue writes, “By all accounts, the visit of Pope John Paul II to the United States was a smashing success. Media treatment of the papal visit was, with few exceptions, very fair. Protesters were few in number and without impact. From beginning to end, this papal visit proved to be the most triumphant of them all.” A month later he writes, “The relatively few cheap shots that were taken at the Pope by the media in October is testimony to a change in the culture.” And of course the desired “change in the culture” is the elimination of criticism of the pope and his hierarchy. The Catholic League is succeeding on a grand scale far beyond what all but a handful of Americans realize.

Intimidation Prevents Criticism

It is clear from Donohue’s own words that prevention of any criticism is the goal of the League and that intimidation is its means of achieving this end. In a fund-raising letter mailed in December of 1995, Donohue appeals for funds to hire more staff: “We could have done more…. We could have tackled other issues, thereby adding to the number of people who will think twice before crossing Catholics again.” From the League’s 1995 Annual Report: “It is hoped that by …[attacking critics], potential offenders will think twice before launching their assaults on Roman Catholicism.” This statement also makes it clear that it is the protection of the institution that is the goal, not protection of individual Catholics.

It appears that the most aggressive and extensive attack in League history was one directed at Disney for its release of the movie, “Priest.” In an editorial, Donohue forthrightly says that the purpose of the intensive attack on Disney is the prevention of the production of such critical movies in the future: “Our sights were set on what might be coming down the road, not on what had already happened.”

The advice given by Ed Koch’s mother—do not speak ill of other religions—has been a national ethic for nearly all of this century. This ethic, inherent in our culture, has served to suppress nearly all criticism of the Catholic Church. As a result, until its political activities were unveiled with the implementation of the bishops’ Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities in 1975, the Church had been relatively immune from mainstream criticism. Because this ethic has served the Catholic Church so well, the Church may very well have played a major role in its inculcation into our culture. With its political activity becoming increasingly evident, critics are more than ever convinced of the need for public criticism of the Catholic Church.

However, this ethic does not protect the Church from dissent within its confines which has been growing since Vatican Council II in the 1960s, and most remarkably in recent years. The American media, to avoid flying in the face of American culture by ignoring this dearly held belief, have occasionally provided a forum for this protest. The dissenters have been a significant source of criticism. The Catholic League has not overlooked this problem—indeed, it takes it very seriously. All criticism is targeted from whatever source, including members of the Church.

For example, on January 22, 1995, CBS’s “60 Minutes” broadcast a segment by Mike Wallace on the Catholic dissident group Call to Action. The Catholic hierarchy did agree to appear but dictated terms that were unacceptable to CBS. Then, according to Donohue, the Catholic League sent two letters to executive producer Barry Lando and issued the following press release on January 25:

The entire Call to Action segment was, from beginning to end, an exercise in intellectual dishonesty and journalistic malpractice. The decision to give high profile to the Catholic Church’s radical fringe was pure politics, and nothing short of outrageous…. Allowing extremists an uncontested opportunity to rail against the Catholic Church distorts the sentiments of most Catholics and provides succor for bigots. There is a difference between reporting dissent, and promoting it…. ‘60 Minutes’ made clear its preference, extending to the disaffected a platform that they have never earned within the Catholic community…. This is propaganda at work, not journalism.

This press release, of course, was received across America as a powerful warning to others to steer clear of Catholic dissidents. The Catholic League then launched a national postcard mailing campaign directed at Lando personally: “… we are angered over the way you continue to present the Catholic Church…. We are tired of having our Church viewed from the perspective of the disaffected.”

In another example, the League attacked the October 5, 1995 edition of “NBC Nightly News” with Tom Brokaw for providing a platform for Catholics for a Free Choice and Dignity. The League’s press release included the following:

The media do a great disservice to Catholics and non-Catholics alike when Catholics for a Free Choice and Dignity are presented as though they were genuine voices in the Catholic community. The effect of such misrepresentation is to promote dissent rather than to record it. As such, it is irresponsible for the media to allow itself to become willing accomplices to public deception.

The continuous intimidation is bound to have its desired effect. The April 22, 1996 issue of the New Republic magazine criticizes the League’s annual report as indicative of the League’s “paranoia.” The New Republic completely misses the point. One need only look at the language used in the League’s attacks. It is not defense. It is intimidating language. The report is an offensive weapon used to silence critics of the Catholic Church.

The Catholic League focuses it attention on five types of institutions: media, activist organizations, commercial establishments, educational institutions and governments. Donohue attributes the League’s success, in part, to its ability to stay focused. The League’s 1994 and 1995 annual reports alone offer 350 examples of League attacks.

As one surveys its material, it becomes evident that all criticism of the Church or anything that places the Church in a negative light is deemed anti-Catholic, despicable and impermissible. The Church is simply above all criticism. The Catholic League obviously rejects America because it rejects what America stands for, including the freedoms of speech, expression and the press. This stand taken by the Catholic League is consistent with nearly two centuries of Catholic teaching on these matters and we should expect nothing different.

Intimidation by Catholic institutions over the past hundred years, has resulted in a populace woefully ignorant of the threat to American democracy and security posed by the Church. This intimidation has made it possible for the Church to go unchallenged.

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League states the following: Crimes of a sexual nature need not be reported to the police, just the legal department

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League states the following: Crimes of a sexual nature need not be reported to the police, just the legal department

Bill Donohue is at it again, defending the indefensible and claiming that crimes of a sexual nature need not be reported to the police, just the legal department. This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Bill Donohue will willing violate FEDERAL AND STATE LAWS that say YOU MUST report these crimes to the police. In his latest diatribe in defense of Lafayette Bishop Michael Jarrell for not publishing the names of priests accused of a sexual offense in The Advertiser on August 23, 2014. This is the article:

From the link:

Kudos to Lafayette Bishop Michael Jarrell for not publishing the names of priests accused of a sexual offense. His decision is identical to the one that the leaders of every other institution, public and private, have long come to: It is unethical to do so. Why should the Catholic Church be any different?

A reporter came to my office a few years ago asking me about this issue. Specifically, she asked how I could defend a bishop for not posting the names of accused priests on his diocesan website. I immediately asked for her boss’ name and phone number. She wanted to know why. “Because I am going to report you for sexually harassing me, and then I want to see if your name is going to be posted on the website of your cable news employer.”

She got the point.

I am the CEO of the Catholic League. If someone called me making an accusation against one of my staff members, I can assure you I would not call the cops. No employer would. I would do the same as everyone else: I would conduct my own internal investigation, and would only go to the authorities if I thought the charge was authentic.

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League

There is a profound difference among an accusation, a credible accusation, a substantiated accusation and a finding of guilt. The assumption behind all three levels of accusations is that the accused is innocent, yet this seems not to matter much anymore, especially when the accused is a priest.

The leader of a professional victims’ group maintains that we need to know the names of the credibly accused priests in Lafayette so that parents can protect their children. Nonsense.

Of the 15 priests, seven are dead, five have moved away, and three are retired. None is in ministry. Moreover, all the accusations stem from alleged offenses dating back prior to 1984. In short, it is more than hype to suggest that kids are in danger — it is expressly demagogic, designed to whip up public sentiment against priests.

What is really sickening about this issue is that so many decent and innocent priests have had their reputations ruined by vicious accusers who remain anonymous. No one demands that we make public the names of the accusers, but somehow we are all supposed to know the identity of the accused.

Correction: Only when it comes to priests are demands made to publish the names of the accused.

The New York Times has a business ethics policy that reads, “Any employee who becomes aware of any conduct that he or she believes to be prohibited by this Policy or a violation of the law … is expected to promptly report the facts forming the basis of that belief or knowledge to any supervisor of the legal department.”

In other words, crimes of a sexual nature need not be reported to the police, just the legal department. If this policy is good for reporters, why isn’t it good for bishops? The best part of the Times’ policy says that those who make false accusations are subject “to discipline up to and including termination.” The bishops should adopt this policy immediately.

I am so proud of Bishop Jarrell for acting fairly and courageously.

— Bill Donohue is the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

The Pedophile Priests of St Thomas More parish in Durham NH are Fathers Joseph Desmond, Paul McHugh and Leon Gaulin.
St Thomas More Parish
6 Madbury Road
Durham New Hampshire 03824-0620


Self-admitted drunk Bill “Pig Face” Donohue of the Catholic League doing what he does best. Defending the Roman Catholic Churches Pedophile Pimps and Pedophiles while attacking the victims and survivors and blaming them for their rapes. And homosexuals of course. But we all know that Bill is a closeted homosexual and a pedophile.

The Pedophile Priests of St Thomas More parish in Durham NH are Fathers Joseph Desmond, Paul McHugh and Leon Gaulin.
St Thomas More Parish
6 Madbury Road
Durham New Hampshire 03824-0620

Bill Donohue states again and again, that there is not a pedophile problem in the Roman Catholic Church, that this is a homosexual problem.

So in essence, with Bill Donohue stating this…he is calling Pope Francis, his Holy Father…A LIAR!!!!

Pope Francis: ‘One in 50’ Catholic priests, bishops and cardinals are paedophiles

So Bill…you pig faced scumbag defender of the Pedophiles of the Roman Catholic Church…you are calling your Pope a liar…and you should now shut the fuck up.

No Bill, instead get down on your knees, remove Cardinal Timothy Dolans shriveled little penis from your cock suckers mouth, and say 1 MILLION Our Fathers and 1 MILLION Hail Mary’s….then do you good deed…suck off Dolan and swallow his sacred sacrament…you disgusting, scumbag degenerate defender.

Enjoy your eternity in hell Bill and Dolan…you both deserve it.

First off because Bill Donohue says that if a priest rape victim did not punch his offending priest in the face while he was raping them, then that means not only did they want to be raped, they enjoyed being raped and are homosexuals for it. So this is the scenario I play in my head if one of Bill Donohue’s daughters got raped and did not defend herself against her rapist attacker:

Let me twist this around for you and Bill Donohue of the Catholic League:

Bill loves to say about us priest rape victims, that if we did not punch our offending child rapist priest in the mouth when they were raping us, then that means we not only wanted to be raped, we enjoyed being raped and we are homosexuals for it.

Well Bill…here is the conversation I imagine and I also imagine you would have, with your daughters if one of them got raped.

Bill to his daughter: “You got raped? Did you not punch your rapist in the face? Did you not try to get away?”

Daughter: “Why daddy, he was much bigger than I am, He was much more powerful than I am. I could not punch him in the face for what he was doing to me. I was frightened out of my wits. Daddy he was raping me, what could I do?”

Bill: “So you did not punch your rapist in the face, nor did you fight back?”

Daughter: :Daddy, can’t you understand, I was frightened, I was scared, he was raping me, he was twice my size, how could I have beaten him up daddy?”

Bill: “Get out of my house you whore, you harlot. You did not punch your rapist in the face because you wanted to be raped, you enjoyed being raped, and you are evil because of it. You disgust me now get out of my house, you whore.”

Bet you would say the same to your son or daughter if they were raped wouldn’t you?

Would YOU also tell them to turn the other cheek? Would you tell them that they should not prosecute their rapist because that would be so anti-Catholic and anti-Christian? Or would you feel deep down inside your soul….if you have one…to want to go out and blow the brains out of the rapist? Would you demand the prosecution of the rapists of your daughters…or would you just tell them to shut their mouths, forgive them and turn the other cheek like you do to priest and nun abuse victims? Is it ONLY priest and nun abuse victims whom should forgive their rapists and abusers? I mean you demand that teachers whom rape the..according to your bogus estimates…400,000 children…deserve to be prosecuted and put into prison, so please explain to us Bill Donohue, defender of this evil…why should NOT the Popes, Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops whom covered up these crimes, or the priests and nuns whom committed these crimes against us…be exempt from the same demands you place on others?

So like you use bully tactics against us survivors of priest rape and nun abuse saying your attacks are protected under the First Amendment Free Speech right, I have every right to do the same to you, you disgusting, sorry excuse for a human being.

So be ready Bill. On this one page I am going to expose you for whom and what you are. A psychotic, punked assed bully.

Rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal must face trial: Kerala High Court

Rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal must face trial: Kerala High Court. The prosecution had argued in court that there’s ample evidence against the Bishop in the case and that the latter was simply trying to delay the proceedings. Both in the FIR as well as in the secret statement provided by the victim, there’s clear evidence of the Bishop’s acts, it said.

The Kerala High Court Tuesday dismissed the discharge plea of Franco Mulakkal, the deposed Catholic Bishop accused of raping a nun, ruling that he must face trial in the case.

The prosecution had argued in court that there’s ample evidence against the Bishop in the case and that the latter was simply trying to delay the proceedings. Both in the FIR as well as in the secret statement provided by the victim, there’s clear evidence of the Bishop’s acts, it said.

On the other hand, the Bishop, in his plea for discharge claimed that the charges against him were cooked up due to some personal grudges and differences the victim had with him. He claimed he was being implicated because he had questioned her financial dealings.

In March, the trial court in Kottayam had similarly swatted aside his discharge plea, directing him to face trial.

The 56-year-old former Bishop of Jalandhar diocese of the Catholic Church is accused of raping a nun, belonging to the Missionaries of Jesus, several times between 2014 and 2016 at a convent in Kuravilangad in Kottayam district. He spent 40 days in prison in 2018 after being arrested by a special investigation team of the police and was released on bail.