No! Bishops did NOT make judgment errors in clergy child sexual abuse and cover up cases. These are smart, well-educated men surrounded by bevies of smart, well-educated advisors. They repeatedly made self-serving, callous decisions, not judgment errors.
That’s the problem when Catholic appointees allegedly investigate Catholic bishops – self-serving choices are depicted as well-intentioned “mistakes” and people are left with the impression that deliberate cover ups are simple mistakes. The results are inevitably skewed in favor of the church hierarchy and the truth is severely compromised.
Kids will not be safer in the church if we can’t even accurately describe what’s going on.
Consider this simple, telling fact: “As recently as 2009 a priest was appointed to a protection body in the Diocese of Raphoe by Bishop Philip Boyce even though he was uncomfortable examining lifelong friends and had no formal child protection training.” Was that an accident? Of course not. Bishop Boyce deliberately picked a man he knew was incompetent and incapable for this crucial role. And that was just two years ago.
We are far from convinced that Irish bishops are “reforming.” It’s still crucial that truly independent, state-sponsored investigations into widespread clergy sex crimes and cover ups take place so that all those who committed and concealed this devastation – past and present – can be exposed.