The Murphy Report was published in 2009, following an investigation into child sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic archdiocese of Dublin. At the time of its publication, certain material was held back for legal reasons. The redacted Chapter 19was published in December 2010, and now Chapter 20 has been released and it paints a horrifying picture. The archbishops of Dublin were not only aware that their priests were raping children but, despite the impression they sought to create in subsequent years, were also fully aware that the activities of those priests were criminal in nature.
They failed to report the crimes to our national police force, but perhaps there was no point, since the report accuses that police force of connivance, of stifling complaints and failing to investigate others. It describes the decision by the Gardai to permit an abuser to leave the country as shocking. Crucially, it points out that, but for information uncovered in diocesan files, it would not have been aware of the Garda role in covering up the crimes of child sex abuse. In other words, our national police force failed to cooperate with the investigation of a monumental crime. This failure is not something that happened in the distant past. Within the last decade, senior gardai were conniving to frustrate an official investigation into the activities of sex-abusing clerics and it’s highly likely that many of these people are still in office.
Coming in a week when we learn that a member of our parliament wrote to a bishop before voting on a government bill, this is highly disturbing. To what extent does this official deference still survive?
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America is returning to what it once was. Unfortunately, I’m not referring to its former dominance as the world’s only super power or its economic peak, but rather its racist roots. How can I say that when we have a (half) black president? Just read the news.
The Supreme Court just undid 48 years of racial progress by dismantling the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It took the great state of Texas less than two hours to enact the most stringent voter ID law in the country. And now they are working furiously at redistricting their voting maps to further disenfranchise minorities. These measures were previously considered in violation of the now defunct Voting Rights Act.
Turn the page of your newspaper (or nook) and you can read about the George Zimmerman trial. Unless you are one of the 6 women jurors in the case, you’ll recall that an armed man (Zimmerman) told 911 that he was pursuing an unarmed teenager (Trayvon Martin) who happened to have wound up dead by Zimmerman’s gun. He also happened to be black. Incredulously, the police did not hold Zimmerman or even take his gun until a month of public outrage embarrassed them into arresting him.
Now the prosecution is claiming self-defense and trying to paint the 17-year-old victim as a dangerously aggressive drugged out hoodlum. I admit that I’ve been accused of painting the situation too far in the other direction in my piece “A Tale Of Two Hoodies.” But then I’m an artist visually representing the overall problem of racism, not a lawyer in a court of law distorting facts to misrepresent the actual events.
The fact that Zimmerman called Martin “a suspicious person” with nothing more to go on other than he was a black youth wearing a hood suggests racial profiling by an individual. The fact that the police initially chose not to even charge Zimmerman suggests racism in the police force. The fact that the Supreme Court made it possible for Texas, along with many other states, to create voting restrictions aimed to suppress minorities from voting suggests a racist government. Sadly, it seems America is becoming a shining example of backwards progress in social and racial justice.