Saturday, December 18, 2010

When evil flourished
Allowing evil to flourish
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. And that is what happened with child abuse in this country and especially, on the basis of the latest chapter of the Murphy Commission, in the Dublin archdiocese. Only it was worse.
They not alone looked the other way, they passed the buck. They avoided responsibility. They allowed innocent, decent children to be raped and put in unimaginable peril. Evil flourished. Let there be no doubt about that.
Serial paedophile priest Tony Walsh left a stream of horror, pain and life-long anguish in his wake. Walsh destroyed young lives. He preyed like a monster on unsuspecting children. The Murphy Commission described him as the "most notorious child sexual abuser" to come to its attention.
He is behind bars now. Too late for so many whose lives lie in tatters, but a sinister individual has been caged and we should be thankful for that. But what about those who knew, or at least, suspected down the years?
How could they live with the knowledge that they did worse than nothing -- they ignored the evidence laid before them?
The commission found that by March 1985 at least seven priests in the Dublin archdiocese were aware of concerns about Walsh's behaviour. But he was merely moved to Westland Row, though he "denied nothing" to Msgr Alex Stenson, then chancellor of the archdiocese. Msgr Stenson told the commission: "My impression was that, by moving him to Westland Row, he would be in a more restricted situation insofar as he would be resident with a number of other priests."
The commission found it difficult to understand how no one appeared to appreciate the seriousness of the situation at a time when the archdiocese knew of four specific complaints, and numerous concerns.
The commission put it bluntly: "It is also difficult to conclude that the move (to Westland Row) was for any purpose other than to avoid further scandal in Ballyfermot."
Worst of all, the parish priest at Westland Row was not made aware of Walsh's paedophilia. Archbishop Diarmiud Martin, in apologising again yesterday, spoke of Walsh's cunning, how he persisted with his evil ways and fought tooth and nail against restrictions. Therapists had said that "under no circumstances should he (Walsh) have any apostolate involving children".
Archbishop Martin outlined how Pope John Paul II only dismissed Walsh in 1996 after a direct appeal by Cardinal Desmond Connell.
After so many years, at least someone was not prepared to look the other way.
Now others should look into their hearts.

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