Christine Buckley. Interviews with Irish clergy abuse survivor

“Babies turned upside down and beaten to a pulp.” “Starved and eating rabbit feces” while the Church made big profits stuffing hellholes with innocent children. As the government did nothing. All this has been well-documented in the Ryan Report. These facts are not in question.

In an Irish radio interview on Tuesday Christine Buckley, an abuse survivor who runs a support center in Ireland, said she was “dismayed” by the outcome of the meeting, which appeared to her to have been “a charade.”

Transcript to the radio interview as best I could make it out:

Lunchtime, Eamon Keane’s conversation with Christine Buckley, Director of the Aislinn Education and Support Centre for Survivors of Institutional Abuse in Dublin, Ireland.

Eamon Keane (EK): Welcome back to Lunchtime. That papal statement — again just to remind you, this issued by the Vatican about the debate between the pope and archbishops, it goes on that they all met up and says that those present recognize the grave crisis led to a breakdown in trust in church leadership. It says that the bishops spoke frankly about the sense of pain, anger, betrayal, scandal and shame expressed to them on numerous occasions by those that have been abused. It says significant measures and now being taken to safeguard children in Ireland, cooperation with authorities, etcetera. The debate I keep coming back to, which astounds me. The holy father also pointed to a more general crisis in faith affecting the church and he linked that to lack of respect for the human person. Okay, fair enough. And he says and how the weakening of faith has been a significant contributing factor in the phenomenon of the sexual abuse of minors. I would have thought pedophile tendencies gave rise to that, and the secrecy of the church helped to aid in that, but perhaps I’m wrong in that. Let’s find out. I’m joined by Christine Buckley, Director of the Aislan Centre for Victims of Child Abuse, for those that suffered in the Magdalene laundries.

Christine has been on our program many times as an advocate, having experienced so much herself. Christine, good afternoon to you.

Christine Buckley (CB): Good afternoon.

EK: Christine, what do you make of the statement from the Vatican?

CB: Dismayed. Hugely, profoundly, upset and despondent. It was a charade. A collection of 24 bishops … appear to have been lectured about the tensions and the disunity of their members rather than trying to find out why these abuses happened and how to resolve them. The other part of the statement that really hurts me is that there were 17 hours spent on the diocesan abuse, there was half an hour spent on the Ryan abuses.

Now 165,000 children were incarcerated in hell holes. 165,000 children. If there were 165,000 diocesan victims, I tell you, there would be weeks on the green. It seems that it’s absolutely acceptable, given that it wasn’t brought up in Joe Duffy‘s statement on the report, it seems it was okay to rape boys and girls in institutions, to brutalize them, to damage them, perpetually, emotionally, to leave them with the deepest psychological scars. I’m normally an optimist, and for some unknown reason I really thought that the pope was going to say, “Look, let’s start with Ireland. I will go to Ireland, I will meet with the victims of institutional and clerical abuse, I will unveil a memorial, I will start a first world conference for victims of institutional and sexual abuse.” Instead, he has washed his hands of it. He thinks it is okay, and that a pastoral letter – a Lenten pastoral letter – is going to help our pain. No, it is not.

EK: Christine. You said you were an optimist. To be honest, when I read the history of the church and I look at the history of the Vatican in these matters, the fact that the papal nuncio won’t appear before an Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee, the fact that his boss, Cardinal Bertone, is speaking about humility and all that sort of stuff, but still not giving the papal nuncio the okay to appear. I have …. didn’t hold much hope out. To go back to Des Connell and the pain that happened there, and that they had to know what was going on there. I didn’t, in a way, expect anything different. What affect do you think this is going to have?

CB: You know, there’s no harm in being an optimist. When I started with this almost 26 years ago, you know, many and many a person told me ‘you must be mad.’ Now, 26 years later, we have a nationwide consulate, a commission has completed its work, a redress board’s been set up, tracing services have been set up. So I thought, given the enormity of the contents of the Ryan Report, and the Murphy Report that somehow Pope Benedict might have come to his senses and looked at this in a humane, personal way. Given the fact that he’s coming to Britain on the 16th of September, why then – this is a golden opportunity for the Pope to come to Ireland – he’s five visits planned for this year, and one of those visits is to Malta, to bless a boat?

EK: [Exhales audibly].

CB: But, to come to Ireland, where the root of all this evil emanated. After all, it was the flourishing of the Catholic churches here, that sent people – the religious – abroad, to find churches in Australia, in America, so it stemmed from here. And you must always go back to the source, the root of the evil, and the root of the evil was in Ireland.

EK: Alright. Christine, thanks for taking our call.

CB: Thank you very much.

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