Many people know this song as “Danny Boy,” but those are just the most popular lyrics for this old Irish tune called “Londonderry Air.” And Keith Jarrett’s solo version of it is definitely one of the most beautiful ever recorded. The internal harmonies he improvises around the melody here are really stunning; especially from about the 4:00 point. Just amazing stuff.
This horrifying story from Ireland is a grim warning of what’s in store for the United States if the Republican Party’s anti-abortion agenda is allowed to succeed: Woman ‘Denied a Termination’ Dies in Hospital.
Two investigations are under way into the death of a woman who was 17 weeks pregnant, at University Hospital Galway last month.
Savita Halappanavar (31), a dentist, presented with back pain at the hospital on October 21st, was found to be miscarrying, and died of septicaemia a week later.
Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar (34), an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, says she asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated. He says that, having been told she was miscarrying, and after one day in severe pain, Ms Halappanavar asked for a medical termination.
This was refused, he says, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country”.
She spent a further 2½ days “in agony” until the foetal heartbeat stopped.
Note the hospital’s reason for refusing this poor woman an abortion: a heartbeat was present.
This is exactly the kind of law the Republican Party is pushing in many states - to define human life as beginning when a heartbeat is audible.
It’s no exaggeration at all to say this is what the GOP wants for America. They’re working hard to make it happen, right now.
A 1997 letter from the Vatican to Ireland’s Catholic bishops has surfaced, confirming what has been obvious for quite some time — that the Catholic Church’s world-wide cover-up of child molestation by priests went all the way to the top.
(AP) DUBLIN - A newly revealed 1997 letter from the Vatican warned Ireland’s Catholic bishops not to report all suspected child-abuse cases to police — a disclosure that victims groups described as “the smoking gun” needed to show that the Vatican enforced a worldwide culture of cover-up.
The letter, obtained by Irish broadcasters RTE and provided to The Associated Press, documents the Vatican’s rejection of a 1996 Irish church initiative to begin helping police identify pedophile priests following Ireland’s first wave of publicly disclosed lawsuits.
The letter undermines persistent Vatican claims, particularly when seeking to defend itself in U.S. lawsuits, that the church in Rome never instructed local bishops to withhold evidence or suspicion of crimes from police. It instead emphasizes the church’s right to handle all child-abuse allegations, and determine punishments, in house rather than hand that power to civil authorities.
Horrific revelation from a newly published section of Ireland’s investigation into child abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Dublin:
DUBLIN (AP) — The Vatican tried to stop church leaders here from defrocking a particularly dangerous pedophile priest and relented only after he raped a boy in a restroom at a pub, according to an investigation released Friday.
As of January 1st, Ireland has enacted an atavistic law that makes “blasphemy” punishable by a fine of up to $35,000. It’s amazing that a civilized country in 2010 is deliberately putting in place laws from the Dark Ages.
An Irish atheist group immediately challenged this stupid and dangerous legislation by posting 25 Blasphemous Quotations on their website.
(Hat tip: Summer.)
UPDATE at 1/2/10 1:45:48 pm:
In February 2006, Irish President Mary McAleese visited Saudi Arabia and condemned the publication of the Danish Mohammed cartoons, saying, “Muslims have every right to feel angry.”
A newly released 700-page report on child sex abuse by Catholic priests in Ireland tells a disgusting story of collusion between the Church and Irish police, to cover up these monstrous crimes for more than 60 years: Report Says Police and Catholic Church Hid Abuse in Dublin.
The report is the latest in a series of damning revelations about the church. In May, a report chronicled the sexual, emotional and physical abuse of orphans and foster children over 60 years in a network of church-run residential schools meant to care for the vulnerable and the disadvantaged.
Although that report portrayed a church that seemed institutionally broken, with guilt spread among many, the new one attaches particular blame to those at the top. It reserved particular criticism for the police and for four archbishops of Dublin: John Charles McQuaid, who died in 1973; Dermot Ryan, who died in 1984; Kevin McNamara, who died in 1987; and Cardinal Desmond Connell, who retired in 2004. The report said those four knew of the abuse, but did little about it.
The report, which took three years to prepare, focused on the way complaints about abuse by priests had been handled. It looked into the cases of 46 priests who had been the subject of scores of complaints from about 320 children from 1975 to 2004. Of the 46 priests, 11 have pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting children or have been convicted of that crime. The rest are dead or have not been prosecuted.
The report said the Irish police allowed the church to act with impunity and often referred abuse complaints back to the archdiocese for internal investigations. …
The report details examples of priests who were blatant, notorious abusers, but who were allowed to continue without punishment or censure. One priest admitted to abusing more than 100 children. Another said he had abused, on average, a child every two weeks for 25 years.
One parish priest whose case was examined in the report, the Rev. James McNamee, was locally infamous for his behavior over more than 30 years. Early in Father McNamee’s career, an altar boy said he had seen the priest “bathing with naked adolescent boys and placing the boys on his shoulders”; a parishioner said he had seen the priest exercising in the nude with boys in his backyard.
Numerous complaints against Father McNamee were looked into at various times, and various officials expressed concern, but no action was taken, by either the priests or the nuns who worked with him, the Catholic officials who fielded dozens of allegations, or the police. Father McNamee died in 2002, professing that he had done nothing wrong.
The 60-year span of this report makes another thing clear: the abuse of children has been endemic in the Catholic Church for a long, long time. Countless generations of children were subjected to this nightmare. If this much criminal behavior is found in the last 60 years, what horrors might be discovered if it were possible to investigate even further back in time?
The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has spoken out strongly against the Irish Catholic institutions that perpetrated and concealed the abuse of children for decades; but the Vatican itself remains silent.
DUBLIN – Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin slammed Irish Catholic orders Monday for concealing their culpability in decades of child abuse, and said they needed to come up with much more money to compensate victims.
The comments from Martin, a veteran Vatican diplomat, were the harshest yet by a Roman Catholic leader following last week’s report detailing widespread abuse in scores of church-run industrial schools from the 1930s to the 1990s.
Martin said the orders of nuns and Catholic brothers who ran the workhouse-style schools must drop their refusal to renegotiate an intensely criticized 2002 agreement with the Irish government over compensation for victims. …
Martin said many church leaders remained “in denial” following a nine-year investigation by a commission, which published a devastating 2,600-page report five days ago.
He said the report documented beyond any doubt “church institutions where children were placed in the care of people with practically no morals.” The last of those schools for Ireland’s poorest children closed more than a decade ago.
Ireland’s national police force, the Garda Siochana, announced Monday that a senior detective, Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne, would study the report to see if it provided any new evidence for prosecuting clerics for assault, rape or other criminal offenses. The report, however, did not identify any abusers by name because of a right-to-privacy lawsuit by the Christian Brothers order.
Martin accused the orders of falling short on the euro128 million amount they promised to the government. He said their failure to complete transfers of cash and property worth that much over the past seven years “is stunning.”
The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue brushes off the appalling report on child abuse by the Church in Ireland: it all happened before the 1970s, and in any case, these kids were “delinquents” and “miscreants” who probably deserved it.
And besides, everybody was doing it back then.
Reuters is reporting that “Irish Priests Beat, Raped Children,” yet the report does not justify this wild and irresponsible claim. Four types of abuse are noted: physical, sexual, neglect and emotional. Physical abuse includes “being kicked”; neglect includes “inadequate heating”; and emotional abuse includes “lack of attachment and affection.” Not nice, to be sure, but hardly draconian, especially given the time line: fully 82 percent of the incidents took place before 1970. As the New York Times noted, “many of them [are] now more than 70 years old.” And quite frankly, corporal punishment was not exactly unknown in many homes during these times, and this is doubly true when dealing with miscreants. …
The Irish report suffers from conflating minor instances of abuse with serious ones, thus demeaning the latter. When most people hear of the term abuse, they do not think about being slapped, being chilly, being ignored or, for that matter, having someone stare at you in the shower. They think about rape.
By cheapening rape, the report demeans the big victims. But, of course, there is a huge market for such distortions, especially when the accused is the Catholic Church.
The horrific story behind Ireland’s Catholic reform schools has been circulating for a long time, but today the final report was issued after nine years of investigation, and the truth is more vile than we could have imagined: Thousands beaten, raped in Irish reform schools.
DUBLIN (AP) — A fiercely debated, nine-year investigation into Ireland’s Roman Catholic-run institutions says priests and nuns terrorized thousands of boys and girls in workhouse-style schools for decades — and government inspectors failed to stop the chronic beatings, rapes and humiliation.
High Court Justice Sean Ryan on Wednesday unveiled the 2,600-page final report of Ireland’s Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse, which is based on testimony from thousands of former students and officials from more than 250 church-run institutions.
More than 30,000 children deemed to be petty thieves, truants or from dysfunctional families — a category that often included unmarried mothers — were sent to Ireland’s austere network of industrial schools, reformatories, orphanages and hostels from the 1930s until the last church-run facilities shut in the 1990s.
The report found that molestation and rape were “endemic” in boys’ facilities, chiefly run by the Christian Brothers order, and supervisors pursued policies that increased the danger. Girls supervised by orders of nuns, chiefly the Sisters of Mercy, suffered much less sexual abuse but frequent assaults and humiliation designed to make them feel worthless.
“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,” the report said. “Personal and family denigration was widespread.”
Victims of the system have long demanded that the truth of their experiences be documented and made public, so that children in Ireland never endure such suffering again. But most leaders of religious orders have rejected the allegations as exaggerations and lies, and testified to the commission that any abuses were the responsibility of often long-dead individuals.
Wednesday’s five-volume report sides almost completely with the former students’ accounts. It concludes that church officials always shielded their orders’ pedophiles from arrest amid a culture of self-serving secrecy.
This story is just nauseating. The Catholic Church has a lot to answer for.
UPDATE at 5/20/09 3:39:24 pm:
Here is the HTML version of the report’s nightmarish conclusions. (Hat tip: Gus 802.)