What troubles me even more is that in doing this, church authorities repeatedly dragged other people into collusion and thus into what — in more convenient circumstances — they themselves would call sin. Young victims, particularly of sexual crimes, badly need to know that they are absolutely accepted as innocents betrayed: the crime is not their burden and does not define them. One of the ways in which societies achieve this is by openly punishing the perpetrator. Too often, that didn’t happen. In some of the most infamous Irish cases the children who suffered were sworn to secrecy, with all the dusty, incense-smelling, habit-rustling impressiveness of canonical process. They were made to collaborate in the shame, by men round whose necks hung the cross they had been taught to revere.
Read the entire piece here.