A time of crisis

I’ve come to regard Our Jacob as a place where serious things sometimes crop up, but usually there’s a happy resolution or a soufflé of laughter to balance things out. Not tonight. No fun to be had tonight. The country is quietly convulsing with the publication of the Child Abuse Commission’s report into religious abuses of our children over the last 70 years.

It’s big and it’s ugly. Comes to over 2,600 pages and it’s far beyond sobering. It’s nothing short of hideous. It’s even got its very own unlucky chapter 13 dedicated to the special abuse of special needs children. Fifty eight of them. A heavy thank you to the ever watchful and flinchless eye of Suzy B for this.

I want to gnaw my knuckles off, hide my head. It’s almost 3am but how can I sleep with the weight of this horror? These MONSTERS are beyond my contempt. These people who lived within a comfortable complicity and whose perversions were allowed, through church and state collusion, to flourish at the expense of thousands of defenceless children.


Image by Gerald Scarfe in The Sunday Times

The boards are lit up, around the globe. It’s on The Huffington Post. It’s on the BBC. CBS. It is everywhere. This is not another tired case of some paedophile ruining a child’s life. This is us, the country, Ireland, having to collectively face up to our duties, or our dereliction of them. I am beyond furious, beyond hurt and beyond understanding. I’ve been venting some of the anger over at my friend Bock the Robber‘s site, but to be honest I think if the seas were to be emptied I could fill them again with the rage I feel against so many of the people and institutions against which I have measured myself down the years, only to have found myself wanting.

So I’ll be taking stock of that lost time.

The Catholic Church in Ireland must at this point consider how it will move forward. Meantime, while I try to regain some composure, I will just leave you with a morsel of what’s in the report. This is from that chapter 13, page 241, pertaining specifically to special needs kids.


Witnesses reported that while attending special needs services they were physically abused and assaulted by various means including being hit with leather straps, canes, spade and broom handles, various types of sticks and brushes, kitchen implements, wooden coat hangers and rulers. They also reported having their heads held under water, being put into cold baths, having their hair cut and pulled, being forcibly fed, and being locked in outhouses, sheds and isolated rooms. Witnesses with sensory impairments described the particular fear and trauma associated with being physically abused when they could not see or hear abusers approaching them.

God in Heaven I am angry tonight.