The Ryan report is possibly the most depressing document in the history of education. The endemic and systematic rape and violent abuse of young children by the church, in collusion with the state, is evil and terrifying. Even after the publication of the report, the Church and, appallingly, the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, is still in denial, claiming that the reluctance of the priests to admit guilt was ‘instinctive and quite natural’. Sorry Vincent, it’s now clear that there’s nothing remotely natural about putting celibate priests and nuns in charge of young children. I wouldn't let a priest anywhere near my children. Their suppressed desire results in appalling crimes against innocent children. And this is not just an Irish problem, it’s a global phenomenon. The report shows that there is little or no remorse, only active damage limitation. The Christian Brothers, whose activities may probably be best described as an serious paedophilic crime organisation, were downright dishonest in their evidence, or as the report says, 'guared, unconditional and unclear'.
This has been described by some as ‘Ireland’s holocaust’ and the comparison is right in that it’s important not to forget, and to learn serious lessons about disentangling church and state when it comes to education. Both institutions, unless checked, have a tendency to be authoritarian, and when they operate in tandem, the culture of deference and authoritarian abuse is amplified. It's the vast scale of the abuse over such a loing time that is so disturbing. tens of thousands of young children abused, some mentally handicapped.
This collusion and flouting of the lawwas seen recentlywhen faith schools in the UK were shownto have flaunted the law on admissions. I was brought up in a country, Scotland, where the separate schooling of Catholics and the rest, has resulted in endemic bigotry. The concerted campaign by religious fundamentalists to alter the science curriculum is another example of their intolerance.
Narrows young minds
On the whole education becomes debased when run by religious zealots. It becomes indoctrination and not the freeing of young minds. I don’t care which faith it is, religious education narrows the mind at the very time it needs broadened. And don't get me started on the RE GCSE, no more than a sap to the religious lobby. My kids have just finished a module on the Islamic attitudes to organ transplants! (They mostly disapprove apparently.) What an absolute load of old tosh. Can I suggest a new module; the rape and abuse of helpless children by the Catholic Church DISCUSS