The Scale of Clerical Sex Abuse of Children

February 5, 2008 at 1:57 pm 22 comments

Cardinal Connell is trying to block the child abuse Commission from seeing 5,586 documents, out of a total of 66,583. His apologists quote this statistic as if it proves that he is only trying to hide a small number of documents. Of course, they are also likely to be the most important documents, but put that aside for a moment.

Just look at the scale of this. You know what a ream of A4 paper looks like. It contains 500 sheets. Well, Connell is trying to hide an absolute minimum of between eleven and twelve reams of paper, all dealing with his response to complaints about paedophile priests.

Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3

And that’s assuming that each ‘document’ is only one page long, which would be unusual for most legal documents. The actual total might be twice that, or even more.

But the scandal is even greater than this. >>>

It also means that the Dublin diocese of the Catholic Church has an absolute minimum of over one hundred and thirty three reams of paper on its files relating to complaints about paedophile priests.

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Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3

Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3

Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3

Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3

Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3

Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3

Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3

Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3

Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3

Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3Reams of Paper 3

Reams of Paper 3

Again, that’s assuming that each ‘document’ is only one page long. The actual total might be twice that, or even more. And that is in just one diocese, in just one country, during one period of time.

What type of organization would have such a huge amount of documentation on its files, relating to complaints about its employees raping and abusing children?

And what other organization would survive such a disclosure without being closed down?

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22 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Twenty Major  |  February 5, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Hah, way to put it in perspective.

  • 2. Some things » Twenty Major - Still smoking in Dublin bars  |  February 5, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    […] That’s Ireland puts it in perspective. […]

  • 3. Ciaran Lee  |  February 5, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    “And what other organization would survive such a disclosure without being closed down?”

    Well said.

    It’s a little hypocritical that this organisation tries so hard to exert control over the legal sexual practices of Irish people.

  • 4. frodo441  |  February 5, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    …excuse me?…these simple icon’s of stacks of paper’s which you try to make people believe that they contain “one page one abuse” is absolutely absurd… what you don’t understand is complete investigations of allegations of child abuse “which you through out to the public in an effort to thwart one of the best organization’s that still help the needy let alone address the abuses in the world, diplomatically and otherwise…

    Why is it “one must ask themselves, are people still wasting time with the old trendy abuse on The Catholic Church which was a popular trend during the early nineties.” I suggest that the first person who never committed any abuse of any sort on another turn themselves in for Saint hood… and we could erect a monument to them as well as instill them as diplomats to the rest of the world which because of the abuses and lack of effective diplomacy, because some people feel the need to air other people’s “dirty laundry” in front of everyone let alone the world.

    I suggest you take this fellonious (reintroduction) assault maybe to another planet where you don’t have to deal with life and all the vagaries of existence…while you seek to “air dirty laundry” of others… for lack of denying your own seditious tendencies…and you could corrupt with your misinformation the aliens in a universe where you have to understand the odds of finding sentient people’s are 127,000,000,000 to one.

    This is apparently making you feel good and looking for abhorant friends in which you can be provocative. I suggest that if you want to be provocative you do something provocative rather than always bringing up sex… I realize sex fascinates you and it is the quickest way to be provocative… but while you summarily cast out any semblance of order or diplomacy in your bid for provocative things… I suggest you find a nice Adult entertainment bar… it’s much more sophistacated and they like their people to tip well… it is good… I enjoy it… and you’ll meet interesting friends find out what’s going on and have a casual good time with friendly people.

  • 5. frodo441  |  February 5, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    You would do better to ask the question why for instance does it take France so long to implement sanctions on Iran for threats of creating war and funding people who believe in Jihad… you would do also do well asking why the English can’t teach their children how to speak and why British Scientists found a deep dark void in outer space?

    Let alone why Buddhist monks are protesting and being jailed in Malaysia and what could be done about that…being that in the world it’s coming down to the Pacific rim… you could go deeper and ask the ancient question why do people always run back to India looking for something new to eat that they couldn’t tell what it is…. while they put the key on their tongue?…

    These are very good questions to ask oneself… another question you could ask yourself… who will ofter you some kind relief in the future when you are left without a nickel to your name because of the lack of protective measures for Americans… these are also lofty questions that need to be addressed… not only could offer some enlightening questions and answers about the War effort and what’s going on in the Capital…?

    This is also a good venue for yourself to feel provocative…But I suggest that (with your apparent acumen) go somewhere in public and just take off your clothing , it’s the type of provocative heady weighty material and copy that you probably are very fond off…but can’t seem to get up the courage to do it in a good way so that people can see how provocative you really are.

  • 6. orlaith  |  February 5, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Eeeeuww… Frodo sounds like a freak just like his friends in the black frocks who go around abusing innocent children – I think we all got a glimpse inside his mind and it is pretty scary.

    Great post – just discovered it through the link on Twenty’s blog today!

  • 7. Curly K  |  February 5, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Excellent post, great visual putting into perspective the sheer scale of the issue and just how much is still undisclosed about the concerted cover-up that went on in that one Diocese alone!

    I find it astounding that some lunatics such as frodo441 can read a piece such as yours and manage to extrapolate that you need to find an adult entertainment – wouldn’t like to live on his planet!

  • 8. Twenty Major  |  February 5, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Why is it “one must ask themselves, are people still wasting time with the old trendy abuse on The Catholic Church which was a popular trend during the early nineties

    Maybe it was all the kids they fucked, you cabbage.

  • 9. blankpaige  |  February 6, 2008 at 12:02 am

    Well said.

    Your comparison with “any other organisation” is interesting. It is hard to imagine any other organisation going so far off mission and not either being shut down or taken over and re-engineered.

    That the Catholic Church continues to be anything less than completely cooperative with inquiries and continues to protect/defend/deny child abuse is the most damning thing of all.

    This doesn’t happen by accident. It is premeditated.

  • 10. Reams of paper on abuse allegations? : Salubri’s Journal  |  February 6, 2008 at 1:33 am

    […] Nugent has written a piece here about the volume of information Cardinal Connell is trying to have the Child Abuse Commission […]

  • 11. Saifuddin  |  February 6, 2008 at 3:29 am


    as-salaamu ‘alaikum. Interesting post… how does this make the Believers feel?


  • 12. Darragh  |  February 6, 2008 at 5:06 am

    Well put, shown, posted and said, Mr Nugent.

    What’s most unfortunate about frodo441’s comment is not his attempt to defend the good acts that the people who believe in the Catholic Church perform on a daily basis, because, as he appears to say, these are all necessary things that do help people’s lives.

    It’s the fact that he thinks your post is to harm the catholic church, when in fact that it’s only by owning up to all of this, to dealing with it and to ensuring that it is never, ever allowed to happen again anywhere can this church set itself as a moral compass, a refuge for those in need and a place of trust.

    I feel sorry, not only for the victims of this terrible abuse, but for the people who believed in it and were let down so badly. I do think the organisation (as you put it) does a lot of good, but the only way forward must be to sort out and open up to where its come from – the historical facts (all the way back to the true facts of the man Jesus) right up to the actions of the abusers (and those who sheltered them) and a realisation that it would help far more people to be seen to be honest and open, rather than still keep things behind closed doors.

  • 13. Declan Chellar  |  February 6, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Interesting post, Michael.

    However, I would have preferred to see some references backing up the numbers, such as:

    Archdiocese will co-operate with inquiry

    High Court postpones hearing on church documents

    In the interest of balance, it might also have been good to see something about members of the clergy who have been critical of Cardinal Connell’s actions and Archbishop Martin’s inaction.

    Your observation about any other organisation being shut down in the light of such massive allegations of abuse is very well made. One thing that continues to puzzle me, though, is that the bishops who simply transferred abusers to other parishes were never charged with aiding and abetting a criminal (Ferns Report highlights 100 cases).

    Frodo441’s comments are interesting, although his style of writing makes it very hard to understand him. I don’t think his evokation of Jesus’s advice “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” really counts when it comes to people who bugger children. Maybe I misread Jesus.

    Nor do I think that people in authority (whether priests or not) raping children is a question of “dirty laundry”. We aren’t talking about some internal Church political wrangling here. We are talking about r-a-p-i-n-g c-h-i-l-d-r-e-n.

    I have to say, I fail to see why your blog would address Franco/Iranian relations, the English education system, or Malaysian Buddhist monks. Your blog is called “That’s Ireland”, is it not?

    I do love a bit of irony, though. Frodo441 criticised linguistic standards in England. Priceless!

  • […] The ever-essential That’s Ireland puts the latest clerical sex abuse scandal in chilling perspective. Funny? Not really. Necessary? […]

  • 15. Rowan Manahan  |  February 6, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    The crimes committed by these swine cannot ever be over-emphasised, but it is ironic that it is the cover-up that is currently attracting all the attention …

    Superb post

  • 16. Orlaith  |  February 6, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Walaikum Assalam Saifuddin 🙂

    I would hope that believers (of all religions) will view this as another of the evil trappings of religion. If the church was not invested with so much power this abuse could not have been allowed to perpetuate for years without intervention.

    For those believers who remain unconvinced or in denial about the evil of religion I would suggest they watch Richard Dawkins documentary The God Delusion or his follow up documentary The Virus of Faith.

  • 17. Saifuddin  |  February 6, 2008 at 8:34 pm


    as-salaamu ‘alaikum Orlaith. I don’t view this as a trapping of religion per-se. I view it more as an “evil trapping” of the unbridled ego and in the terms of Believers, that ego succumbing to the tricks Shaytan.

    For the unbeliever it can be nothing else but what they accept so of course it would be an “evil trapping of religion” but if that were true pedophilia would be limited to religion and particularly this religion, Catholicism, which is where the item of discussion lies. But the fact is, that’s just not true.

    So I am concluding that perhaps Catholicism should look at how its religious sciences is approaching the development of the human soul which was always the primary function of religion. And if catholicism has abandoned this exercise then perhaps it should revisit its primary purpose in the lives of mankind.


  • 18. JC Skinner  |  February 7, 2008 at 1:40 am

    Un-fucking-believable. Good work in putting this in perspective.

    And remind me again why you and I are paying the compensation rightly due to the victims of these pervert priests rather than, ooh, Cardinal Des and his church’s multi-billion property empire?

  • 19. Steve T  |  February 7, 2008 at 9:17 am

    The Catholic church has always been a foreign influence in our society but unfortunately became an expression of our national identity. The rules of the state aren’t for them, this is what’s behind that weasel Connell’s thinking on this matter. Canon law and diktats from Rome are what matter to these people. The sooner it implodes the better.

    Great blog Michael. I picked up your That’s Ireland book at the airport a few years ago, signed as well.

    All the best.

  • 20. Declan Chellar  |  February 7, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Further news on this, Michael.

    Cardinal Connell is prepared to go to jail to protect those 5,000 files. It seems the reason he wants to protect those particular files is that they contain details of people to whom he promised confidentiality, both victims and unconvicted accused. In principle that seems fair enough. Definitely not wishing to look like an apologist for the Church, just adding reported detail.

    Whatever Cardinal Connell’s motives, it doesn’t change your main point, Michael, so vividly expressed in your post, that the Dublin diocese alone has a minimum of over one hundred and thirty three reams of paper on file regarding accusations of paedophilia among priests.

  • 21. Declan Chellar’s Ballog » Do not pass Go  |  February 7, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    […] and priests accused (but unconvicted) of abuse. Incidentally, Michael Nugent has an excellent post here which illustrates the magnitude of the issue in the Dublin Archdiocese […]

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A blog by Michael Nugent

Welcome to my blog about living in the maddest country on earth. Please feel free to leave a comment.

I also write Bionic Bohs, a blog about following Bohemians football club in the 1970s.


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Bionic Bohs

As mentioned above, if you like Irish football and/or cultural nostalgia, I also write Bionic Bohs, a blog about following Bohs in the 1970s.

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