Friday, September 9, 2011
Reports on abuse, and The Separation of Church and State
The Irish Times - Thursday, September 8, 2011
Sir, – Many commentators claim the abuse of children and vulnerable adults in the past was as much the responsibility of the State as it was of the churches that managed the various institutions. Thus Dermot Keogh (Opinion, September 6th) writes: “There were many so-called bystanders when crimes were committed against the weakest and most vulnerable”.
It’s not that simple. Because the professions and the wide section of society mentioned by Dr Keogh, including, most notably, the political establishment and the civil service, were in thrall to the Catholic hierarchy, to a level that seems incredible today, there was really no distinction to be made between church and State. There were, therefore, very few bystanders, and none with any power.
Now that we seem to have an appreciation for democracy and the rights of the individual, we should reasonably expect a long overdue separation of church and State. In particular, we need to reclaim our national schools so that children can, at the level of State involvement in their education, learn how to think, rather than what to think, and thereby avoid the possibility of them being subjected to the disastrous indoctrination that was the lot of their recent forebears. – Yours, etc,