Fully shit

The Vatican and equivocation…it’s always been a dab hand at it. Michael Nugent points out another example.

The most significant sentence in the Vatican’s response to the Irish Government about the Cloyne Report comes on the second-last page, just before the concluding remarks. It says: “From the foregoing considerations, it should be clear that the Holy See expects the Irish Bishops to cooperate with the civil authorities, to implement fully the norms of canon law and to ensure the full and impartial application of the child safety norms of the Church in Ireland.”

This sounds reasonable on the face of it. But it conceals a vital distinction that the Catholic Church has already used to mislead people in Ireland on the same issue. Look again carefully at the wording: the Bishops should implement “fully” the norms of canon law, and ensure the “full and impartial” application of the Church’s child safety norms. Yet when it comes to cooperating with the civil authorities, as opposed to the internal rules of the Church, the important word “fully” is missing.

Oh good god. But…it’s just an oversight, or a quirk of style. Isn’t it? No of course it fucking isn’t.

This missing word “fully” is the exact formulation that the Dublin Archdiocese used in 1997 to mislead people about its response to the sexual abuse of Marie Collins. When the priest who had abused Collins was convicted, the Archdiocese issued a press statement claiming that it had cooperated with police in relation to her complaint. Collins was upset by this and told her friend Father James Norman. Father Norman told police that he had asked the Archdiocese about the statement and the explanation he received was that “we never said we cooperated ‘fully’, placing emphasis on the word ‘fully’.”

Are you kidding me? Is the Vatican 5 years old? Is the Vatican a spoiled brat who just ate all the cake after promising not to? [bratty voice] – “We never said we cooperated ‘fully’” – oh well that’s all right then you petulant lying child-raping thugs. It’s enough to make you want to claw their faces off.

H/t PZ.


  1. Stewart says

    So they use “mental reservation” to avoid outright lying. I don’t know why they bother. When they go to such lengths to try and trick everyone by pulling the wool over their eyes, they might as well resort to outright lying. The moral difference ceases to be relevant. Five-year-olds, indeed. It’s as if you couldn’t see, because their hands were behind their back, that their fingers were crossed when they made that promise.

  2. Rrr says

    But but but … do they not have this infallible manual, where it says rather prominently, as I seem to recall, not to tell lies and fibs? And is it not a tenet of their dogma that Teh Big One in the Firmament sees all, hears all and can look into people’s hearts and minds to weigh their true moral value, as it were? Did any of them ever read this stuff?

    Yes. I know, we have all seen this before, for at least a couple thousand years. It still beats me how they can even think it will ever dupe the duke, so to speak.

    And I’ll not even mention silly hats.

  3. Marie-Thérèse O'Loughlin says

    Patsy McGarry succinctly pointed it out in The Irish Times, Monday, 5th Sept, 2011.

    ‘It takes 25 pages and 11,000 words to say – ‘nothing to do with us’

    The 1997 letter from Rome seems to be at the heart of all the problems here, and was used by Bishop Magee and O’Callaghan to ride roughshod over the Irish Bishops guidelines.

  4. jemand says

    sounds to ME, that the language they chose could be construed as meaning they will help the police *to the extent* that it cooperates fully with cannon law. Their cooperation seems to be limited to trying to change the focus of the secular response to be in line with church law.

  5. annp says

    Wow. When we want them to acknowledge the sin, they turn into lawyers. And when we want them to acknowledge the law, they say, “We’re clergy.”


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