''Thousands of children suffered physical and sexual abuse over several decades in residential institutions run by religious congregations, the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse has found'' Irish Times May 21, 2009
Responding to the report, the Catholic primate, Cardinal Sean Brady said he was ''profoundly sorry and deeply ashamed that children suffered in such awful ways'' - ''children deserved better and especially from those caring for them in the name of Jesus Christ'' Irish Times May 21, 2009
May 22, 2009
Happy Birthday son, fourteen years old today, come downstairs and greet me as I slice the sweet strawberries for the French Toast, that turns golden brown in a pan of melted butter. Isn't it wonderful to be fourteen! Hugs. Kisses, Cards! Tiny packages wrapped in candy cane gift wrap! Apple Juice! The dogs licking your bare feet! Yellow painted radiator doling out the warmth. I'm here too, loving you and saying 'open my card first, see what I wrote, hows the toast? mmmm, yum. Now off you go Birthday Boy on your special day.
Then, wait, no go on, I won't ask you if you saw the TV programme last night about the boys. They looked to be your age and some were so small and at least half your age. The boys were ''INSTITUTIONALIZED'', that means locked up like slaves, I saw the film clip of how they were on their bare knees polishing the floors of church halls, watched by priests who said ''it was good for them, they deserved it''. The stories I heard Birthday Boy. No, I can't tell you. It is shameful, shocking. It is inconceivable.....There were scaldings with hot water, lashings with sticks, rape and the ultimate collapse of lives, ruined because these boys were destroyed, engulfed with fear and shame. They were destroyed by religious orders who claimed it was all in the name of God.
Birthday Boy I have kept you free of religion, of secrecy, of fear, of abuse, of that unsettling silence and guilt that can fester within. You have been allowed to reach your age free and unhindered like the wild flowers out in the bog, untamed and unique. So spread your unclipped wings, go on, fly off, fly away into the waiting day. Take it. Its all yours.