‘Questioned if the seal of confession was above the law of the land, Fr Madden said: “Yes. I cannot presume to break that seal if someone comes to me as a penitent”.’ – Irish Times

I read this only moments ago, and it reaffirms my disgust for the Catholic Church.

Here we have a bunch of clerics who dress up in robes, preach resurrection, and magic water into wine, and bread into flesh. The flesh of a zombie, at that. A zombie who only had one biological parent. And you better believe in this stuff, or else that zombie and his daddy will put you into a place where you will live forever in constant pain, surrounded by fire and brimstone. And to top things off, the leader of this group and his servants have recently said that once you’re in the group, you can never, ever leave.

The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland for years used scaremongering tactics on the public to keep them under control and to ensure that they would remain loyal, by regularly attending Mass and handing over hard-earned money. The Church has so much influence over people that even those who realistically could not afford it were guilted into giving monetary donations.

Having such a seat of power in Ireland made it inevitable that the Church would have very strong influences on legislation and on Government. Up until very recently, the Irish State was turning a blind eye to abuse by the Church, and in some cases, even supporting it.

Today the fourth report on clerical sexual abuse against children was published. The revelations are shocking. It was found that Bishop John Magee deliberately ignored complaints from within his diocese regarding child abuse, as recently as 2009. This isn’t old history, this has literally just happened. And if the Church’s record is anything to go by, is it possible it’s still happening?

Decades upon decades of fearmongering and bully tactics has given the Church and its clerics a sense of superiority. So much so, that they consider themselves above the law. This is confirmed by Fr PJ Madden’s words (referenced above) after meeting with the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter today regarding the report. It is very clear that by not only disregarding complaints and not implementing child safety do they not have any respect or consideration for our kids, but the Vatican – as a foreign state – as disregarded the laws of a country it had been welcomed to by allowing its representatives to flout the laws of the Irish State.

If a regular Joe Bloggs on the street was found to have been sexually abusing children, they would be punished and most likely imprisoned. If the agents from a foreign state were found to be knowingly breaking our laws on the basis that they thought their’s were superior, their ambassador would be ejected from the country.

Will either of these happen in this case? Who knows. History tells us that those who can actually do something about it will bury their heads in the sand and hope it goes away, with no – or at most, only a few – arrests. History tells us that the State will simply go along with the Church and tell the rest of us that “we have done all we can” while the Church leaders come out with superfluous statements like “this is a dark time”, “I am deeply sorrowful”, and “we must look forward to a time of reconciliation and understanding”.

But having followed the news reports throughout the day it seems that the Irish government is just as outraged. Finally. Both An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and An Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore have publically expressed their disgust and outrage both at the perpetrators of the crimes and at the Vatican’s attitude to and handling of the crimes. It has been hinted at that the papal nuncio (like an ambassador) may be expelled.

These dangerous people must not be allowed hide behind a false sense of superiority, a white collar, nor a belief in Iron Age fairy tales. If the representatives of a foreign state want to operate in this country, they must be completely and fully aware of its laws, and be completely and fully subject to the consequences of not abiding by them.