It’s being claimed that the Vatican prevented a dangerous paedophile priest from being defrocked, and didn’t act till he had gone on to assault a boy in a pub toilet.
This is only the latest chapter in the Catholic Church’s alleged cover-up of priests who have sexually assaulted children and young people.
Earlier this year, Digital Journalreported on how the future Pope Benedict XVI put the good of the Catholic Church before pleas to defrock a California priest with a history of child molestation. This was according to a 1985 letter bearing his signature.
Now, the New York Times, among others, carries the story of an investigation into an Irish case, saying: “Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said he fully accepted the findings of the latest chapter in Ireland’s investigation into child abuse by priests in Dublin who were shielded from the law by Catholic leaders.
“Archbishop Martin called the priest, Tony Walsh, an ‘extremely devious man’ who should never have been ordained.”
Scores of priests have been shielded by church officials over the years, according to the state-ordered investigation by the Dublin Archdiocese.
But, says the NYT, “A chapter dealing with Mr. Walsh was censored from the original report because he was still facing a criminal trial at the time. It was published Friday, after Mr. Walsh’s conviction on Dec. 6 for raping three boys over a five-year period three decades ago. He got a 12-year prison term.”
Grown too powerful
Walsh, says the report, often performed Elvis impressions in a travelling show called “The All Priests Show,” which was popular with children. Between 1978 and 1996, he is said to have raped and molested “hundreds of boys and girls” while serving as a priest.
Archbishop Martin, says the paper, “said the church concealed child abuse easily for so long because it had grown too powerful.”
The story continues: “The investigators based their conclusions on previously confidential Dublin and Vatican documents and interviews with church figures. They found that archdiocese leaders spent several years arguing over whether Mr. Walsh should be defrocked, sent to counselors in England or assigned to duties that kept him away from children.”
Martin said the Catholic Church had grown so powerful that it felt for too long that it was able to conceal child abuse.
He said: “It had often become self-centred and arrogant. It felt that it could be forgiving of abusers in a simplistic manner and rarely empathized with the hurt of children.”