Report Indicates Severe Abuse in Catholic Irish Orphanages

A report issued this week by Ireland’s Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse on abuse within at least 216 Catholic orphanages and state institutions has resulted in a global outcry against the continued abuse of children by the Catholic church. The report investigated alleged incidents of abuse dating back to 1914 and included evidence from more than 1,700 people relating to abuse they experienced as children in state institutions, according to the Irish Times. More than half of those surveyed reported sexual abuse.

The report stated that – “In some schools a high level of ritualized beating was routine….Girls were struck with implements designed to maximize pain and were struck on all parts of the body….A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys. Children lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from,” reported the Guardian UK. Most of the schools were run by the Catholic-affiliated Christian Brothers and Sisters of Mercy. The report also found that the Catholic Church protected known pedophiles working in the institutions.

Through a statement, the Christian brothers said: “We acknowledge and regret that our responses to physical and sexual abuse failed to consider the long-term psychological effects on children…..We appreciate that no healing is possible without an acknowledgement of our responsibilities as a congregation for what has happened,” reported ABC.


Irish Times 5/21/09; The Guardian UK 5/20/09; ABC 5/22/09

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