by Grainne Cunningham in The Irish Independent
A LEADING cleric has denounced the Catholic Church authorities for being more concerned about the image of the institution than the protection and welfare of innocent children.
Fr Sean Fagan, Secretary General of the Marist Congregation in Ireland, said committed Catholics are rightly outraged that Church leaders, from the Vatican to the local bishops, should be "so casual" about it all.
He said the sex abuse scandals were "the most serious calamity" to befall the Church in recent centuries and said it was difficult to understand how men appointed to be good shepherds should be so unfeeling as to allow "this cancer in the Church to go unchecked".
And in a hard-hitting attack on the Vatican, for which he once worked, the Marist leader said most of today's bishops were appointed during the present Pope's reign "for their 'safe' views and their attachment to Rome".
Fr Fagan said it was "official Vatican policy" to avoid scandal with little reference to the protection of victims.
Chastising bishops as the Pope's "civil servants", he said many members of the laity feel that bishops represent nobody.
"Their ordination is simply linked with a particular job in the Pope's civil service and they may spend most of their life at a desk," said Fr Fagan in an article published in 'Doctrine and Life'.
Posted by Colm at February 11, 2003 12:39 PM
Fr Fagan criticised the papacy as "a deeply flawed institution" and said apart from the personal immorality of individual popes, the institution was guilty of persecuting the Jews and other non-Christians, opposing democracy and burning books and witches.