Ireland Versus the Vatican, Continued

I’ve mentioned in the past that Ireland, which gave the Catholic church more privileges and greater deference than almost any other country in Europe, was rewarded for its devotion with one of the highest per-capita rates of child rape by priests than any other nation else in the world. That scandal continues to unspool, and today there’s another big update.

In 1996, in response to public outcry, a committee of Irish bishops drew up a policy which would have made it mandatory to report suspected sex predators among the clergy to the police. As I wrote back in January, the Vatican expressed strong reservations about this policy, warning that full disclosure of accusations to the civil authorities could interfere with internal church investigations (which, of course, it considered more important).

As a result, the mandatory-reporting policy, although it technically remained in force, was shelved by the bishops and never enforced. What happened next is no surprise: predator priests continued to abuse children, and the church continued to do nothing. As recently as 2009, parishioners were lodging complaints of abuse and molestation by members of the clergy. An independent investigative committee has just released its most recent report, which only covered the rural diocese of Cloyne; but even so, it turned up allegations against 19 priests since 1996.

“That’s the most horrifying aspect of this document,” Frances Fitzgerald, Ireland’s minister for children, told a news conference on Wednesday. “This is not a catalogue of failure from a different era – this is about Ireland now.”

The Irish government is furious, as well they might be, but as usual, the Catholic church has shown little sign of concern. Bishop John Magee, who resigned last year but was in charge of the diocese during the period covered by the Cloyne report, offered more empty apologies but nothing else. In response, Ireland’s prime minister Enda Kenny summoned the Vatican’s ambassador for a harsh dressing down. As Ophelia Benson put it so aptly, reading these words was like music to my ears:

“There’s one law in this country. Everybody is going to have to learn to comply with it. The Vatican will have to comply with the laws of this country,” Gilmore said after his face-to-face grilling of the ambassador, a rare experience for the pope’s diplomats anywhere, let alone long-deferential Ireland. (source)

This is great stuff. Even better was the announcement that the government plans to introduce a law which would make it a crime for anyone, church officials included, to fail to report allegations of sex abuse to the civil authorities:

“The law of the land should not be stopped by a crozier or a collar,” Kenny said.

These are good first steps, but Ireland needs to go further. When the abuse scandal first broke, the government made a disastrous decision to protect the church by assuming almost all the liability for settlements to abuse victims. I hope they’re giving serious consideration to reversing that decision by seizing and auctioning church property to pay compensation to the victims. (And if it hasn’t occurred to them yet, I hope some freethinking Irish voters will suggest it.) I also hope that Irish officials will consider following the lead of the Philadelphia grand jury that recently returned indictments against church officials for protecting child molesters. There ought to be more than enough evidence already to file charges.

These are harsh measures, but the bishops have proven again and again that nothing less will suffice. They’ve shown countless times that they’ll never act against child molesters on their own initiative. Their only loyalty is to the institution of the church, not to the people who attend it, and whenever anything happens that could embarrass the church, their first response will always, always be to deny, delay and cover up. They’ll never take action unless they’re forced to by the threat of criminal sanctions – arrests and prosecutions of bishops, seizure of church property to pay compensation to victims, and the like. The Catholic authorities are in need of a sharp reminder that they’re subject to the law like everyone else, and I hope Ireland gives it to them.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

    “I hope they’re giving serious consideration to reversing that decision by seizing and auctioning church property to pay compensation to the victims. (And if it hasn’t occurred to them yet, I hope some freethinking Irish voters will suggest it.)”

    So … you don’t think that, say, they should try presenting the Vatican or the Catholic Church with the bill first using proper legal procedures before simply taking property and auctioning it off?

  • jane hay

    The phenomenon of corporate loyalty is not just for the business world.

  • Nathaniel

    Bu bu bu but its all the fault of the hippies and the 1960s! Didn’t you read the completely objective report?

  • Fargus

    Seizure of property of criminals to pay damages is certainly a proper legal procedure.

  • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

    Fargus,

    Not until you present the bill to them and see if they can pay it. If someone made a judgement against me in any court case, in most jurisdictions you have to look to see if I can pay it in any reasonable manner before you seize my house, kick me out of it, and sell it off to pay off the judgement.

    In this case, the Church could probably cover a lot of the damages without selling property, and they could choose what to sell to pay off the rest.

  • Fargus

    I don’t understand why the church should be given any more deference than any other person or group of people who systematically covered up child molestation. But you do, and hey, that’s your jam.

  • LS

    Speaking as someone who spent 5 years in a Catholic care school in the 80s and that I am Irish and Catholic that I was treated with great kindness by the Priests and religious but was mistreated by the lay and often anti-catholic teachers who were engaged and who were protected in doing so by their Unions. Anyone who engages in sexual abuse should be prosecuted but I find it both hirrifying and facinating to observe the mix of both anti irish and Catholic predjuduce in the writings on this page.

    Ritualised beatings were a part of the English educational system for decades, how many of those teachers have been prosecuted? At least the state and church in Ireland are seeking to address the matter. Look to your own house.

    As regards Athesism, well should you as a body be held accountable for the crimes of those who have advocated your belief, then you would already owe the world everything you own. After all don;t the 100 Million killed by those advocating millitant athesism deserve compensation from atheist organisations?

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    IANAL, but I don’t think asset forfeiture is all that uncommon. I believe it’s a common tactic for organized crime, and I can see how the catholic church (and the vatican) could be included in that category.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Speaking as someone who spent 5 years in a Catholic care school in the 80s and that I am Irish and Catholic that I was treated with great kindness by the Priests and religious…

    You seem to be in the minority then.

    Anyone who engages in sexual abuse should be prosecuted…

    I suggest you tell your church that as they don’t seem to agree.

    …I find it both hirrifying and facinating to observe the mix of both anti irish and Catholic predjuduce in the writings on this page.

    You’ll have to point out the anti-Irish prejudice as I don’t see any. And, I can only surmise that the anti-catholic “prejudice” is due to us loudly proclaiming that the catholic church has been hiding, aiding, and abetting the systematic abuse of children, which is well documented and proven. If that counts as “anti-catholic prejudice” well then I’ll cop to that.

    At least the state and church in Ireland are seeking to address the matter.

    The state may very well be looking to address the issue. The church is not. In fact, they’re doing all they can to whitewash it and sweep it under the rug.

    As regards Athesism, well should you as a body be held accountable for the crimes of those who have advocated your belief, then you would already owe the world everything you own. After all don;t the 100 Million killed by those advocating millitant athesism deserve compensation from atheist organisations?

    A) What militant atheists are these that committed crimes in the name of atheism? What militant atheists killed in the name of atheism?
    B) No one is holding lay catholics accountable except in-so-far as they continue to prop up a regime that is not only facilitating child abuse but also covering it up as well. We do, however, hold the church accountable as it is well shown that the church has not only hidden child abusers away from secular authorities, but they have also helped them to abuse, covered it up, etc. In short, the church has shown that they regard the church (not the people, like you) to be more important than anything else, including secular laws, morality, decency, and even their own parishoners.

  • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

    Fargus,

    Where am I asking for more deference? My claim is that that’s how you treat everyone in that sort of situation, and arguing that the proposed solution would be treating the Church worse than you’d treat anyone else.

    OMGF,

    Ebonmuse talked about paying compensation. That’s not the same thing as you quoted, and it’d be legal sophistry to claim that, say, churches are either the proceeds or instrumentalities of these crimes. Besides that, in those cases they’d both be confiscated AND compensation would have to be paid, unless I miss my guess,

  • Penguin_Factory

    It’s about time the government stepped up to the plate on this. Ireland’s history hasn’t exactly been one big happy picnic (to put it mildly) but I sometimes think future generations will look back on this with almost as much contempt as the whole IRA thing.

    Speaking as someone who spent 5 years in a Catholic care school in the 80s and that I am Irish and Catholic that I was treated with great kindness by the Priests and religious but was mistreated by the lay and often anti-catholic teachers who were engaged and who were protected in doing so by their Unions.

    How is any of this relevant? I attended a catholic school as well and got a fairly good education, but so what? That doesn’t take away from what the church did.

    Anyone who engages in sexual abuse should be prosecuted but I find it both hirrifying and facinating to observe the mix of both anti irish and Catholic predjuduce in the writings on this page.

    I’m Irish, and I fail to see even a scrap of anti-Irish sentiment anywhere on this entire website, let alone this post. As for catholic prejudice, please point out any instance in which Ebon criticized anyone who didn’t deserve it.

    Ritualised beatings were a part of the English educational system for decades, how many of those teachers have been prosecuted? At least the state and church in Ireland are seeking to address the matter. Look to your own house.

    Corporal punishment was used in Irish schools as well. And while I would like to see teachers who practised it held responsible in some way, this has nothing to do with the topic at hand. You’re just trying to deflect blame by pointing out evils committed elsewhere.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Ebonmuse talked about paying compensation.

    Your point? I don’t know if this is true, but I don’t think it’s out of the bounds of law to seize assets to pay compensation.

    That’s not the same thing as you quoted, and it’d be legal sophistry to claim that, say, churches are either the proceeds or instrumentalities of these crimes.

    No it would not be sophistry. From wiki:

    Instrumentalities of crime are property that was allegedly used to facilitate crime, for example cars allegedly used to transport illegal narcotics.

    The churches were used to facilitate crimes.

    Besides that, in those cases they’d both be confiscated AND compensation would have to be paid, unless I miss my guess

    I’m on board with that.

  • Snap

    Ritualised beatings were a part of the English educational system for decades, how many of those teachers have been prosecuted?

    LS
    Corporal punishment of children in school in England, when it was “part of the English educational system” (pre-1987), wasn’t illegal, whereas rape certainly WAS. So, with regards to who was or wasn’t prosecuted, this really isn’t a valid comparison is it?

  • NoAstronomer

    Dear LS,

    Careful coming here, your blinders may get knocked off.

    Mike.

  • Jormungundr

    Speaking as someone who spent 5 years in a Catholic care school in the 80s and that I am Irish and Catholic that I was treated with great kindness by the Priests and religious but was mistreated by the lay and often anti-catholic teachers who were engaged and who were protected in doing so by their Unions.

    It is good that you got a solid education and were treated well. Most students of Catholic schools were not abused. I think we all agree with that statement. But some were and the Catholic Church engages in a criminal conspiracy to protect the child molesters from law enforcement. That’s the real problem here.

    I find it both hirrifying and facinating to observe the mix of both anti irish and Catholic predjuduce in the writings on this page.

    I saw no anti-Irish or anti-Catholic content here. Do you have some sort of persecution complex? Are we victimizing you or slurring Irish and Catholics by writing about news articles detailing Irish government/Catholic representative interactions?

    Ritualised beatings were a part of the English educational system for decades, how many of those teachers have been prosecuted?

    They didn’t break any laws, so they won’t be prosecuted. Child molestation is illegal. Spanking is (or was at the time) not. Though if I understand correctly, teachers spanking kids is now illegal. If some modern teacher or school administrator violates the ban on spanking, then they should be prosecuted. But the ones who did so decades ago were in full compliance with the law.
    I have to ask: do you really equate spankings with child molestation? A teacher spanking an unruly child and child sex abuse that is covered up in order to shield the child molester from the police are more or less the same thing so we shouldn’t complain about the child molester because we aren’t calling for the arrest of teachers who used to paddle kids back when it was legal? I think that’s your logic here. It is rather sickening. I hope I’m misinterpreting you.

    At least the state and church in Ireland are seeking to address the matter. Look to your own house.

    The state certainly is. The Church’s stated policy is to engage in a criminal conspiracy to frustrate law enforcement efforts. So I don’t agree that the Church is appropriately or legally trying to address this matter.

    As regards Athesism, well should you as a body be held accountable for the crimes of those who have advocated your belief

    No one here advocated collective punishment for Catholics, so we also don’t advocate collective punishment for atheists (or Hindus or Jews or Baptists or asatru pagans or whomever). There has been an advocacy of making the Church pay for legal proceedings. That is not a collective punishment or trying to hold every Catholic accountable for the actions of a few.

    then you would already owe the world everything you own. After all don;t the 100 Million killed by those advocating millitant athesism deserve compensation from atheist organisations?

    100 million people were not killed by those advocating militant atheism. You are thinking of communist purges and the mass starvation that took place in the USSR and China. I am not an advocate of communism and do not agree with the ideologies that the Soviets and Communist Chinese adhered to. Even if someone here is a Stalinist or Maoist (which I highly doubt), that person is not personally responsible for the horrific atrocities that occurred and owe nothing to anyone. Don’t try to equate atheism with the commies and hold us personally responsible for a political and economic system that we don’t support.

    When you type in the comment field, misspelled words have a squiggly red line beneath them. That tells you to change the word to a correct spelling.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    When you type in the comment field, misspelled words have a squiggly red line beneath them. That tells you to change the word to a correct spelling.

    Depends on what browser one is using and what the settings are. For instance, I don’t believe IE has a spellchecker feature.

  • Alex Weaver

    Not until you present the bill to them and see if they can pay it. If someone made a judgement against me in any court case, in most jurisdictions you have to look to see if I can pay it in any reasonable manner before you seize my house, kick me out of it, and sell it off to pay off the judgement.

    In this case, the Church could probably cover a lot of the damages without selling property, and they could choose what to sell to pay off the rest.

    You’re talking about a civil judgment. I believe here we’re talking about criminal asset forfeiture.

  • Alex Weaver

    100 million people were not killed by those advocating militant atheism. You are thinking

    Don’t assume facts not in evidence.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    Although I mentioned Prime Minister Kenny’s speech in this post, none of the articles I read had the actual text of it. A thoughtful reader has just sent me a transcript, and it’s magnificent. Here’s a taste:

    [F]or the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual-abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See, to frustrate an Inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic… as little as three years ago, not three decades ago.

    And in doing so, the Cloyne Report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism… the narcissism… that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day.

    The rape and torture of children were downplayed or ‘managed’ to uphold instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and reputation.

    Except for a few parts, any of the New Atheists could have written this! I was extremely pleased and impressed by this speech, which may in itself be a sad commentary on how long it’s taken for someone in a position of power to treat this scandal with the seriousness it deserves (as the church has consistently refused to do from the beginning). Still, far better late than never.

  • Jormungundr

    @18 Alex Weaver:
    That seemed like a justified assumption to me. I’ve seen people lay the responsibility for the deaths caused by communism on modern atheists before.
    If LS wants to further explain what he meant by that, I’m all ears. Until I see a further explanation, I will feel rather confident that this is another ‘atheism=the commies’ equivalence. That is admittedly an assumption on my part.

  • Sam

    From the end of the Prime Minister’s speech:

    “Cardinal Josef Ratzinger said ‘Standards of conduct appropriate to civil society or the workings of a democracy cannot be purely and simply applied to the Church.’

    As the Holy See prepares its considered response to the Cloyne Report, as Taoiseach, I am making it absolutely clear, that when it comes to the protection of the children of this State, the standards of conduct which the Church deems appropriate to itself, cannot and will not, be applied to the workings of democracy and civil society in this republic.”

    Suck on that, Ratzo.

  • Jeff

    Suck on that, Ratzo.

    Seconded. Cannot stand that man. When he was head of the Inquisition, he had no problem whatsoever ruining the lives of teachers suspected of “heresy”. Of course, when the accused is someone of sound theological standing, whose only alleged crime is the rape of innocent children – that’s another matter, isn’t it? They tempted the poor man; they were positively asking for it!

    Go straight for the jugular. No mercy. If it were possible to bring Ratzinger down in the process, that would be sweet beyond words.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    As regards Athesism, well should you as a body be held accountable for the crimes of those who have advocated your belief, then you would already owe the world everything you own. After all don;t the 100 Million killed by those advocating millitant athesism deserve compensation from atheist organisations?

    Uh, well maybe if we were all Stalinists and Maoists.

  • Scotlyn

    Just want to say that the Irish Taoiseach, Enda Kenny’s, speech (see link at Ebon #19) has certainly shook us all up over here. People are stopping strangers on buses and in the street and saying – “did he really say what I thought he said? Is this really the Irish state making it clear that it has no intention to kowtow to the Church ever again?” This speech is HUGE – and we Irish are loving Enda for making it. And it was delivered as a complete surprise – no prior press releases, no build up of anticipation, just BANG! “Here is our line in the sand” Whew! (Just in passing, I even heard a priest on the radio this morning expressing his delight with this speech – the Vatican’s line certainly hasn’t made the lives of well-intentioned practicing priests any easier, either).

    In saying that, the local follow up reaction has been so uniformly warm and delighted, with such an insignificant expression of any horrified Catholic offendedness, that it is clear that Enda has simply followed where the Irish people had already gone, nevertheless, in articulating what most people have been thinking, he has suddenly taken on a heroic mantle (one that we wish he would continue to wear when dealing with the EU/IMF, but that’s another story).

    Verbose Stoic, just in passing – the Irish do have a mechanism for seizing criminal assets, as it happens, and it may be (and I hope) that legal minds are already working on the applicability of this mechanism in the present case, given that the Irish Catholic Church also tried to bamboozle (defraud?) a previous Irish Education Minister into giving it full indemnification for its members’ crimes.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Scotlyn,
    Did you mean for both of your links to go to the same place?

  • Scotlyn

    OMGF – Thanks for the heads up. The second link should point to the Wikipedia entry on Michael Woods. The “meat” is in the section titled “controversies”.

  • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

    Scotlyn,

    From your link about the mechanism:

    “It has wide ranging powers including the seizure of proceeds of crime from criminals and serious tax defaulters.”

    Which are a) NOT compensation, which is what’s referenced in what would be your second link and what Ebon Muse actually talked about and b) which are, in this case, without sophistry, WHAT, exactly? Do you think that, say, a Church is a proceed from the molestation crimes in this case?

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    “It has wide ranging powers including the seizure of proceeds of crime from criminals and serious tax defaulters.”

    Just because it lists 2 such powers of the “wide ranging” powers that CAB has does not mean that those are the only 2.

    Do you think that, say, a Church is a proceed from the molestation crimes in this case?

    Actually, one could make the case that they are. Money is put towards churches in order to perform upkeep, renovations, etc. If the church is found to have taken gains from their actions that were then put into church maintenance, then the church property itself is a proceed of the crimes. Either way, you’re taking a very narrow stance of events and then trying to force that stance on all others in the discussion. Clever, but not actually viable unless there are legal rules that provide for only your narrow stance. That may be the case, but uncharitable readings of sources doesn’t actually show your assertions to be true.

  • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

    OMGF,

    “That may be the case, but uncharitable readings of sources doesn’t actually show your assertions to be true.”

    I’m sorry, but it’s you who have the burden of proof to demonstrate that this seizure is actually legal and legally demanded. I have clearly shown that for cases of compensation you have to actually see if they can pay first, and that’s what the discussion is actually about.

  • Scotlyn

    I’m not a lawyer, so I won’t argue legal niceties with you, Verbose Stoic – I just hope good legal minds are working their way through them.

    But let us just point out some facts that such minds might consider. In 1987 or thereabouts, the body representing the majority of the religious orders in Ireland, who had involvement in various ways with the Irish educational system, took out an insurance policy (with regular funds raised from collections taken up in Church among others), to indemnify them against future compensation claims, which THEY KNEW were coming down the track. Did they hasten to discharge their civil duty to report what they knew to the Irish authorities empowered to investigate criminal acts by their members? They did not. They simply noticed that as Irish society became less deferential to Church authority, the likelihood was that more victims would speak out publicly, and they took steps to protect the Church’s wealth.

    In 1992 or thereabouts, the “speaking out” by courageous survivors was becoming more common, and the general population was beginning to ask more questions about what would be done to address this, and Michael Woods, a member of Opus Dei, and also Irish Education Minister was privately approached to do the infamous deal. The religious orders highlighted to him that a compensation claim they estimated to be worth around IR£230 million or so was coming down the tracks – they got Minister Woods to agree that the state should be responsible for around half of this (to represent their joint responsibility with the Church, for Irish education), but went away shaking hands with themselves as the deal bound the Irish state to an indemnification of the religious orders, not by percentage, but by a fixed amount. The compensation bill is now looking to top €2 billion, with the religious orders still only committed to paying their original “half” of around €128 million – much of which was pledged in the form of property which has recently been seriously devalued. The state’s victim compensation payouts have come directly out of the nation’s education budget, which means that the Church’s unwillingness to pay its share is robbing this generation of Irish children of educational facilities, materials and teachers they would otherwise have had.

    Some priests and churches did make individual payouts to victims on a one-off basis (often on condition of the victim’s silence, often when a priest was increasingly likely to be prosecuted), directly out of diocesan funds collected in churches from faithful churchgoers.

    IF it turns out that the orders were criminally negligent in witholding whatever information they had, freely discussed among themselves, and acted on, in taking the steps they took 1) taking out the insurance policy and 2) willfully deceiving the government, via Minister Woods, into assuming an unfair share of the burden of compensation, then yes, I will be asking my politician to look into the use of the CAB mechanism for confiscating Church assets used in the course of a crime.

    The point that Enda Kenny was making yesterday, and I think the vast majority of Irish people feel this way, is that the Vatican has directly encouraged bishops and priests to sidestep, if not evade, Irish law, resulting in direct harm to Irish children and in the frustration of all those who would protect them. This may, or may not, turn out to be illegal in the strictest, most pedantic, sense. Nevertheless, it is immoral, and also, in national terms, as Enda Kenny has now spelt out, treacherous – (as in the undermining of one state in pursuit of the agenda of another).

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    I’m sorry, but it’s you who have the burden of proof to demonstrate that this seizure is actually legal and legally demanded.

    I’ve not argued that it is legal. I’ve argued that it could be legal and that I don’t know. You’ve asserted that it can’t possibly be legal and have yet to back it up as I’ve been saying.

    I have clearly shown that for cases of compensation you have to actually see if they can pay first, and that’s what the discussion is actually about.

    You’ve done no such thing. You’ve simply asserted as such and then mangled all the sources put forth either thru selective reading or uncharitable interpretations.

  • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

    Scotlyn,

    So, let me reiterate my point: all of the things you talk about come under the banner of compensation, and you don’t just take property to fulfill compensation claims. You work out reasonable repayment and if no such thing can be reached, THEN you take property. You and Ebonmuse seem to want to jump to the end, and I’m saying let’s start at the beginning.

    In both of the cases you cite, the key is going to be over the language of the contracts and what the Church authorities were required to disclose/agree to before those agreements were made. If they didn’t provide information they were required to provide or if there were irregularities, then I think it would be quite appropriate for CIVIL courts to reopen these contracts and ensure redress. So, for example, a court may reasonably find that the intent was for half and it was only a lack of information that allowed the settlement of the fixed number, at which point they could order the Church to pay their actual half share. If, however, it was indeed based on a risk/reward idea that that was considered a reasonable estimate given the information at the time and other circumstances made it larger, no court could demand that the Church pay for what amounted to a bad deal made by the government.

    The issues with Woods himself would be another matter, and there might be some cases there that might fit under a CAB … but what would likely happen is that there’d be a demand to fulfill the intended obligation with some punitive damages thrown in, which would end up not necessarily requiring the seizure of any property or assets.

    Again, my objection is that you aren’t justified in demanding the seizure of assets yet, when all you really want is fair compensation.

  • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

    OMGF,

    Ah, it’s good to see that your reading comprehension is still non-existent.

    Let me restate the thread:

    Ebonmuse: We should take the property of the Church as compensation for the sex abuse cases.

    Me: Um, for compensation cases you kinda haveta give them the chance to pay first BEFORE you just confiscate their property.

    OMGF: Well, you can take it under the proceeds of crime statutes!

    Me: That’s not compensation and it’s dicey whether this would fit or not.

    Scotlyn: Here’s another proceeds of crime statute.

    Me: That’s still not compensation.

    OMGF: You have to prove your assertions and read charitably!

    The only assertion I made in this is the one that’s unchallenged: for compensation, you give them a chance to pay it first before confiscating property. It’s unchallenged because it’s absolutely true. Anything else is the assertions of other people that they have not supported fully. Scotlyn mostly admits this. You don’t. Scotlyn is a seemingly rational person that I might be able to have a discussion with. You … not so much.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    So, let me reiterate my point: all of the things you talk about come under the banner of compensation, and you don’t just take property to fulfill compensation claims.

    1st: If the church knew that claims would go much higher and lied about it, that’s fraud, not just compensation.
    2nd: You’ve asserted that one does not seize assets in order to fulfull compensation claims without any support.

    Again, my objection is that you aren’t justified in demanding the seizure of assets yet, when all you really want is fair compensation.

    Yeah, we get it. I have yet, however, to see you back that opinion up with anything beyond your say-so. Further, if one makes the case that the church is acting in the fashion of organized crime or defrauding the government, then the seizures would be fully justified, for just 2 possible examples.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Me: Um, for compensation cases you kinda haveta give them the chance to pay first BEFORE you just confiscate their property.

    OMGF: Well, you can take it under the proceeds of crime statutes!

    Me: That’s not compensation and it’s dicey whether this would fit or not.

    You might want to clean your own house before criticizing mine, considering that you lifted a partial quote in order to support yourself and I provided the full quote. D’oh.

    The only assertion I made in this is the one that’s unchallenged: for compensation, you give them a chance to pay it first before confiscating property.

    You must have misread or simply missed the part where that was actually challenged. I do appreciate that you are admitting now that you are using assertions that are unsupported though.

    It’s unchallenged because it’s absolutely true.

    Wrong and probably wrong.

    Anything else is the assertions of other people that they have not supported fully.

    IOW, your assertions are correct by fiat, everyone who disagrees with you is wrong by fiat, and that’s that. And, I’m the one who isn’t rational? Nice try but your assertions need to be supported. Please show us where compensation claims have to be presented to the guilty party for repayment in all cases before assets can be seized. Thanks.

  • monkeymind

    On the other hand, if the Church weasels out of paying up on a technicality, and allows schoolchildren to be robbed in order to pay for its crimes, good luck holding on to the last shreds of its moral authority. Ratzinger should win a prize for atheist advocacy.

  • Scotlyn

    Verbose Stoic – I do take your point distinguishing civil and criminal law and their impact on the legality of property confiscation, but as OMGF says, church officials MAY turn out to be crimally liable in 1) neglecting to inform the authorities of knowledge of criminal acts they were aware had taken place, thereby permitting known criminals to enact further crimes, and 2) attempting to defraud Irish taxpayers of compensation moneys for which they knew themselves to be liable and 3) conspiring to frustrate legitimate efforts to bring known perpetrators of criminal actions to justice. IF good legal minds conclude that there is criminal liability involved, THEN I will be raising the use of CAB with my representatives.

    In the meantime, I will be encouraging these representatives to revisit the Woods deal by whatever legal means are available, and to conduct an audit of church properties and assets in the State with a view to doing so through the civil law, as you suggest.

  • Alex Weaver

    That seemed like a justified assumption to me. I’ve seen people lay the responsibility for the deaths caused by communism on modern atheists before.

    That probably was what LS was getting at, yes; I was referring to the phrase at which I cut off the quote. ^.^

  • Alex Weaver

    Verbose Stoic:

    In the event of the church’s assets being forfeit under criminal asset forfeiture laws, where do you suppose that money is supposed to GO?

    Wouldn’t paying compensation to victimns – especially where the government has been defrauded into assuming a sizable burden of it – be a rational use of the government’s new financial assets, given the reasons it now has them?

    Or will you still insist on misrepresenting this as effectively a civil damages suit, against all reason?

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    A couple of things about confiscation of property:

    In this respect, as in others, the Irish church’s defenders want to have it both ways. When it comes to a criminal investigation, they want the church to be treated the same as any other private organization, with property rights that can’t be taken away without due process of law. But on the other hand, the church controls and runs the vast majority of public schools in Ireland, a privilege granted to them by the government, and I’ve seen no one who supports the church arguing that this should end.

    You don’t get both sets of privileges at once. When the church wants to be an arm of the government, they have to accept that the disposition of their resources and property is also up to the government. Taking away the church’s control of public schools in Ireland, secularizing some or auctioning off others to turn into private schools, would serve two good purposes: it would raise money for the victims of sex abuse, as I’ve said, and it would also take away its access to and power over students, which the church has proven itself so manifestly unworthy of having.

  • http://www.dannyhaszard.com Danny Haszard

    Not to diminish the high crimes of the RCC but please examine the Jehovah’s Witnesses who go door to door and come on our property.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses pedophiles.

    Many court documents and news events prove that Jehovah’s Witnesses require two witnesses when a child comes forward with allegations of molestation within the congregation. Such allegations have customarily been treated as sins instead of crimes and are only reported to authorities when it is required to do so by law, (which varies by state). It has also been shown that child molesters within the organization usually have not been identified to the congregation members or the public at large.
    These people engage in a door to door ministry, possibly exposing children to pedophiles.

    Although the Watchtower Bible Tract Society claims that known pedophiles are accompanied by a non-pedophile in such work, there is no law stating that such a practice must be followed.

    The Watchtower corporation has paid out millions in settlement money already.

    Danny Haszard abuse victim
    dannyhaszard(dot)com

  • Scotlyn

    Irish Update –
    The government is currently getting serious about the compensation issue:

    The [Irish] Government “is fully satisfied that it is entirely right and proper that the managers of (residential) institutions be asked to meet a 50 per cent share of the major costs of dealing with abuse (of children),” Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn told religious congregations investigated by the Ryan Commission at a meeting in the Department of Education and Skills this afternoon. “Putting it bluntly I believe that there is a moral responsibility on your congregations to significantly augment your contributions,” he said.

    And further to Ebon’s ref, this is why we need the church out of our schools:

    Perhaps the most telling of these relates to the priest referred to in the Cloyne report as “Fr Calder”. Despite serious concerns raised about his behaviour with children, he was appointed by Bishop John Magee in 1997 as chairman of a local national school board of management. Shortly afterwards, Fr Calder ordered the school principal to permit a number of small boys to leave the school to serve at his Masses and to attend private confession with him. The principal had become aware of the concerns about Fr Calder and she refused to allow the children to leave school premises. The priest then proceeded to threaten her. According to Judge Yvonne Murphy’s report, Fr Calder suggested she remember “who was paying her wages. He told her that he could refuse to sign her salary form if she was not obeying the Rules for National Schools by not complying with his requests as chairman.”

  • Stan Wright

    ‘Prejudice’ is a judgment reached before (or without) consideration of the facts in any particular case. Conclusions reached after the examination of fact – which is the case in this issue – are not prejudice. They’re justice.


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