The late Father Richard Neuhaus of First Things was upset by my book Sacrilege: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church. He thought that there was no justification for the level of anger I felt. He preferred the detached, scholarly approach that Nicholas Cafardi took in Before Dallas: The U.S. Bishops’ Response to Clergy Sexual Abuse of Children. Cafardi discussed the canonical approaches to handling abuse.
The Irish people are getting a dose of reality as they are learning of the reality of the abuse that archbishops and popes let go on. I have read hundreds of cases like Mary Raferty reports in the Irish Times:
THERE IS one searing, indelible image to be found in the pages of the Dublin diocesan report on clerical child abuse. It is of Fr Noel Reynolds, who admitted sexually abusing dozens of children, towering over a small girl as he brutally inserts an object into her vagina and then her back passage.
That object is his crucifix.
The report details how this man was left as parish priest of Glendalough (and in charge of the local primary school) for almost three years after parents had complained about him to former archbishop of Dublin Desmond Connell during the 1990s.
And Neuhaus wondered why I was angry. Such matters are so distasteful. Matters of public policy are much more refined and suitable to be discussed by clerics who fo not like to be troubled by what has gone on in the church they serve.