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Join our live chat on Monday at 2000 BST

March 26th, 2010
06:37 PM ET

The Catholic Church scandal is turning out to be one of the most talked about issues and we gave you a chance to join in the debate.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/26/chat.blog.jpg
caption="Join the debate online."]

CNN anchor Fionnuala Sweeney started things off and was joined by guests including singer Sinead O'Connor, Paul Dunbar from Count me Out and Patrick Walsh who was a victim of abuse.

Here's a look at how our chat went.

Filed under:  General
soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. Charbel Hage

    Good evening,

    I am young catholic man living and working in Dubai. I studied Economics in Paris and Philosophy in Rome.

    I think everyone knew that the pedophily issues involving priests in Europe and US will come to light sooner or later. But what is sad is that all is comming on the mandat of the "Reformer of the Reform" Benedict XVI whyle no accurate and appropriate measures were taken by any of his predecessors.

    The Vatican is far from being the easy entreprise to manage, and rarely can Benedict implement new procedures and measures especially with all the agressive attitudes of the old school cardinals that are still holding important positions and influence in the Vatican ministeries. So behind this new crises is a sort of decisif "struggle" between the old school Vatican II cardinals and the "Reformers of the Reform", those dedicated Bishops, lay, cardinals and monks along with the Pope, dedicated to put order in a Church where internal controls turn out to be inefficent.

    This is the ideal time for a Vatican restructuring, and from my point of view Benedict will take the opportunity to "clean" the remaining durty residuals, same like what he has done with the priest Maciel.

    Men and women of reason should know that Benedict is on their side, and, as well, he is dealing with a messy dirty old school puples. I can't imagine anyone other then a German philosopher and theologian to do so.

    Thanks, and sorry for the long discours.


    March 28, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  2. A. Smith, Oregon

    What the Vatican does not want you to know:

    I find it entirely ironic that it appears that the hands of God are revealing the depth, horrific corruption and criminal cover-up's by the Pope and the Vatican for many decades in regards to sex abuse of children by the clergy. And the Vatican exorcists are blaming this wave of exposure on the 'devil'.

    What the Vatican does not want you to know is that to the layperson learning these long lasting sexual abuse horrors, is that Pope Ratz is the least qualified person to ever be placed into a position as a religious figurehead.

    HOWEVER, to numerous dark and nefarious branches within the Vatican and outside of the Vatican, Cardinal Ratz's improper actions and corruption were well known. They pressured his fellow Cardinals to vote for Cardinal Ratz to be the next Pope. WHY? Because those dark and nefarious branches in the Vatican and outside of the Vatican could easily coerce and extort Pope Ratz to not block nor disrupt their dark and nefarious activity's. Pope Ratz's prior corruption and improper actions when he repeatedly blocked judicial actions on multiple clergy who were found to be serial pedophiles made him their ideal choice.

    Any Papal disclosure of Vatican agency's involvement with Money Laundering, Drug Smuggling or Child Slavery would immediately be met with the disclosure of all of Cardinal Ratz's past misdeeds.

    Now that Pope Ratz has been outed, will he publicly reveal the nefarious dark agency's activity's in the Vatican and work to permanently remove them, or is he too filled with further corruption to do what a Pope should have done within the Vatican for decades?

    March 28, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
  3. Olu

    While we were growing up as Catholic kids, it's indeed like a cult to be one of the kids serving the catholic Fathers then, as we call them here. Many of these priest were Irish and as you can guess now, probably sent to Nigeria and indeed to all over Africa because their past deeds needed to be cover. The questions then are: who is addressing the child abuse commited by these priests in Africa?. Are we saying that young boys were never molested then by those priests sent to Africa?. Why is it that our press and media are not asking similar questions being asked by the western press concerning these child abuse? Is there a conspiracy of silence between the press and the church in Africa and everyone is afraid of what might come out? I think we need to know if any of these child molesters ended up in Africa and what they did while here under the cover of missionary.

    March 29, 2010 at 11:09 am |
  4. Thomas Mathew

    The letter to the Irish Catholic Church by the Pope touched almost all the aspects of the issue. His Psalm Sunday homily and one of the prayers nudged on the issue and the way forward , albeit in a Davinci Code manner. The comments by Fr. Federico Lombardi ,papal spokesperson showed that the church is taking on the issue with all the seriousness it requires. He acknowledged that the Church's moral credibility is on the line and spoke of purification and renewal. The anti-Catholic hard core is not to stop their tirade against the church , nor the media, but what the ordinary Catholics who will throng the churches this holy week and stand in queues for confession are looking at, is the redressal of the victims' pain in whatever way possible and strict preventive monitoring measures by the church .

    March 29, 2010 at 1:49 pm |
  5. Maja Kwiatkowski

    The catholic church is a business first and foremost – seems to think itself immune to the very standards which it sets for it's followers. It's disheartening.

    Faith is lost when religion becomes a beurocracy. Power certainly does corrupt.

    I was raised catholic – I no longer see myself as such or choose to associate myself with the catholic church.

    March 29, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  6. Bobby

    Are all christians saint?

    March 29, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  7. Terik Ororke

    What is the use? CNN appears to be on an anti-catholic bashing binge and trying to connect the Pope to something even the civil authorities seemed to ignore in the 1950's on. By the way –the BSA have perv files detailing thousands upon thousands of abuse cases from the 1930's-yes that is right -from the 1930's and CNN says nothing about their cover ups, not to mention other institutions that have done the same. CNN is going the way of yellow trashy journalism and this will eventually be its downfall–it used to be the "best" but has fallen substantially.

    March 29, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  8. Brian Vaughan

    Dear panel,

    I have recently availed of the countmeout.ie website and I am in the process of defecting from the catholic church. While I am sickened at the abuse, lies and cover-up by the catholic church, for years I have had very strong philosophical, theological and social objections to the catholic church. One aspect of the abuse scandals that I have not seen raised is the serious theological morass created by the popes apparent involvement in covering up and facilitating the sexual abuse of children: according to the rules and teachings of the catholic church, the pope is Gods representative and spokesman on earth and is considered infallible. Where does this leave the pope and the church if it is shown that he lied about his knowledge of the abuse and was part of the cover-up and facilitation of the abuse? Would this mean that God agrees with the popes repugnant actions? and that the abuse of children is sanctioned by the almighty?

    I feel it is a question the church does not want to address.

    March 29, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  9. Brian Vaughan

    Dear panel,

    Do you think that the Hague or the U.N should become involved in investigating the extent of the Vaticans knowledge of the worldwide abuse of children and the inadequate measures it took to prevent it? as well as the fact that it might have colluded in the cover-up and facilitation of said abuse? Considering the Vatican is considered a sovereign state, is this the only way it can be brought to justice?


    Brian Vaughan

    March 29, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
  10. Fernando Gomez

    I believe that the church is a means of evangelization, however, one should not depend on the errors of the church because it is ran by men, and men may mistakes. If the church fails we have to remember that our faith is in GOD not in the church, therefore our faith should not change.

    March 29, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  11. Gilles wicker

    If you have been abused during your childhood by a priest, you would have been abused in your adult live anyway.
    Priests should be punished by jail time.
    Sexual abuses are in all groups were only one gender is the rule. Used to happen in Scout, Army etc.... If the society want to take care of this terrible problem one of the solutions is to work on gender acceptance and education.

    March 29, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  12. fionnualasweeney

    Hi; Thanks so much for joining us. This is a huge, developing story around the world and we thought it was appropriate to address it this evening on our air and on the web.

    March 29, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  13. philcnn

    I'm def excited to get this chat started.. what do you guys think? Can the Catholic Church recover or are all of these allegations too much? Should the pope resign?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  14. fionnualasweeney

    We hope to delve into as many aspects as we can during the show; Sinead O'Connor, herself a victim of abuse, will be moderating the online chat from 9pm London time and joining me on air towards the end of the programme.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
  15. Brian Vaughan

    There needs to be an international investigation of the churches abuse and cover up that can serve as a template for the investigation of other organisations that have committed widespread abuse. The catholic church is an organisation that is only concerned with with its power, majesty and wealth. It has a medieval view of the world that is homophobic, misogynistic and life denying. It preaches love and understanding, when it is preoccupied with suffering, pain and penance. I for one would be happy to see the world move towards a new enlightenment free of the shackles of organised religion.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  16. Grayson

    What can the church do at this point to deal with the issue fairly for all involved and then move on?
    It seems every few months or years, another bombshell is dropped and starts the controversy all over again.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  17. philcnn

    Who do you think is best placed though to lead a so-called international investigation?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  18. Robert T. Gillin

    Today's offering reveal a partiality on your part when it comes to things Catholic. First of all your story of the ex-priest is a very one-sided story. While I have no particular axe to grind with his decision he is not representative of the majority of Catholic priests who have remained faithful to their vows and continue to serve in so many ways. In the U.S. the latter are 96% by actual count so when was the last time you did a story about them? You seem to prefer the "man bites dog" approach.
    As for featuring Sinead O'Connor in a story of clerical abuse you might as well be quoting Benedict Arnold on the subject of patriotism. After her tirade against the Pope on television some time ago her creditability is highly questionable for whatever she claims. As reprehensible as child abuse or any abuse is she is hardly someone to invoke!

    March 29, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  19. Maria

    It sounds crazy, but maybe the United Nations needs to be involved in some way. Obviously the Church is having difficulty dealing with the situation internally.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  20. fionnualasweeney

    One question we'll be looking at is how can the Church reform? How open is it to wide ranging changes and will those changes satisfy the bulk of Catholics? What is the future of the Church?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  21. philcnn

    It could be a bit tough perhaps to get the UN involved but what about having each country where the so called offences take place investigate the charges? Where does the responsibility lay? With politicians? Priests? the People?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  22. Brian Vaughan

    To Phil Han:
    I think that an organisation with international credibility needs to lead the investigation. The Hague or the UN or an affiliated organisation should carryout the investigation.It would send a clear to organisation that abuse children and subsequently cover it up. It would also mean that the catholic church could not question the credibility of the investigation or its results.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  23. Maja Kwiatkowski

    I don't think it's a question of whether the pope is to resign or not – he obviously won't. If he is to be replaced, it will be by someone equally corrupt. The pope is fallible – so is the selection process by which popes are chosen. Someone needs to take responsibiliy.

    Rather than resign I'd like to see him address the issue and institute more stringent policies. See, if it were anybody else doing things half as bad as this they'd be locked up in a heartbeat. But because it's a RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION committing these crimes then it's not really a big deal. People need to start holding people accountable regardless of authority.

    It truly sickens me that millions look up to the pope as the embodiment of morality.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  24. philcnn

    That's quite an interesting point as well Maja...Do you think the pope would ever resign? Should that be the next question people start to ask?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  25. RJ

    I wasn't raised Catholic, but i have several friends who grew up in observant Catholic families who have lost their faith since this news started breaking.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  26. philcnn

    RJ – A lot of the things that I have been reading from people around the world is that this scandal isn't affecting their faith because they pray to god and not to the pope. Is there any truth in that argument?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  27. Brian Vaughan

    To Fionnula Sweeney:

    I think the church needs to end its fear of women and sexuality as a whole. It also needs to end clerical celibacy, it preaches that the family is of utmost importance in society and this forms the basis of a lot of its arguments against contraception and numerous other social issues, yet it won't allow its priests to have a family. It needs to recognise and admit tjhat it is not above civil and legal law and that cannon law has no standing out side of its own organisation. It needs to allow women priests and it needs to recognise that it is no longer the powerful force it once was. A little humility would also go along way.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  28. philcnn

    Brian - do you think the church is ready for such a radical change? Are they ready for some serious reform?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  29. Brian Vaughan

    Maja, good point. Religion and God should not be about belonging to an organised religion. I think one of the truths that the church does not want people to realise is that they are not needed for people to have a belief in God or a God.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  30. RJ

    Fernando made that point before, but I think it may be a meaningless distinction for many people. I think my friends chose to give up on the whole system.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  31. Brian Vaughan

    I dont think they are ready to change, not by a long shot. Change in the catholic church takes a long long time, centuries even. Change would mean a relinquishing of power, something I don't think it will be willing to do. I was baptised a catholic but I have been an atheist for a long time, however I understand the right of every person to have their own religious, or lack of, beliefs and I can understand how this scandal is really troubling to church members. I think that a change needs to come from within, by the members of the church. Criticism by non-members will always be dismissed but its harder to dismiss criticism from your own people.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
  32. philcnn

    RJ – If enough was done in your point of view, do you think that it might change their minds about faith or maybe even your mind about religion?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  33. philcnn

    Brian – you make a lot of really good points, but when do you think the church will reach a 'critical mass' so to speak... what will it take for the church to change? There's a lot of pressure on the church now, but when will it reach that moment when they will need to do something?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  34. Maja Kwiatkowski

    Sadly, religion has little to do with God.. the psychology of religion is fascinating – we disengage; almost anything can be rationalised and reasoned away under the guise of 'faith'. As is evidenced by the current situation.

    I am certain that the pope will not resign – at his age, it would be futile. He will probably attempt t save face, die with 'dignity' with his current title firmly in place. If he has been able to live with the 'secrets' of the church for so many years, why not ride it out. He will probably have plenty to say, and somehow manage to ammeliorate the current uproar.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  35. Brian Vaughan


    I am not sure. If there is direct evidence of the popes involvement of a cover-up it could prompt action by an external party (UN or Hague) and could create a ground swell demanding reform from within the church. There are plenty of clergy and priests who have longed for reform for a long time, and who disagree with many of the church's teachings (contraception, celibacy etc). I think the change will only happen if enough church members feel disenfranchised enough to demand it.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  36. RJ

    Phil -
    Sure, I think for people who want to have faith, a meaningful admission of the issues and a believable effort to eliminate the problem would go a long way toward restoring faith.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  37. pauldunbar1

    Hi there,
    Paul from the Countmeout.ie website here. I will be appearing on the programme at around 9.30 GMT but am here for any questions you may have now.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
  38. Maja Kwiatkowski

    Please, like the UN or the Hague has any intention of getting involved in this mess. Reform within the catholic church is not possible – we have not reached breaking point. This has been going on for decades, they will just learn to hide it better.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
  39. RJ

    I'd like to hear from one of the victims how they kept quiet for so long. I don't know how someone could keep a secret like that.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
  40. Jack Quann - Dublin, Ireland

    The main theme/problem running through the issue of clerical sex abuse is that neither the Church, Pope or anyone inbetween is willing to take full responsibility; no-one seems willing to stand up and say "Yes, we were wrong. It was our fault. We will try to win back the faithful we have lost". Although some Irish bishops have resigned because of some aspects they did not tackle, the buck seems to stop there. Even after the Murphy and Ryan reports were released, the Pope's statement suggested that clerical sex abuse was due to a 'lack of faith' – whatever that was supposed to mean.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
  41. philcnn

    We're now joined by Patrick Walsh – he was a victim of abuse for nearly 14 years in an enclosed institution from the age of 2.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  42. fionnualasweeney

    Brian; I think the issue of women in the Church will be a very problematic one – look at what happened the Anglican Church. I guess the immediate question is how far and fast is the Church reacting now to the current situation and is it vewied as being transparent as well as accountable?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  43. pauldunbar1

    Just on the issue of who should investigate, I would suggest it is the responsibility of individual governments. We learned in Ireland that state institutions were often complicit in the abuse that went on, through a misguided deference to church figures. The church should also be encouraged to take a lead and agree to open all documentation to scrutiny, something which they failed to do when asked by the Irish commission for investigation.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
  44. JJ

    Religion is the biggest lie and the main reason of todays problems.
    Faith comes from deep inside and is for free.
    Im glad that these stories are finally coming out after being hidden or ignored for centuries.
    Try to find one single person in the world who thinks that priests and nuns never engage in sexual activities. Good luck.
    The only solution is to let priests and nuns to be sexually active, marry, be openly gay and free.
    Maybe in a million years... (if humans and this world still exists)
    People wake up!

    March 29, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
  45. RJ

    To Paul–
    do people ever tell you why they chose to leave the Church? Is it almost always the abuse scandal or a variety of reasons?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  46. Maja Kwiatkowski

    RJ – 'catholic guilt'. Sexual abuse often comes with great shame and guilt – the victims who spoke of this to their parish priests of families were blamed for it, told to repent and keep quiet... further abuse. It would be like taking god to court.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  47. philcnn

    Hi Jack – thanks for joining the chat. You bring up some very interesting points. Who does need to take responsibility in your opinion? Should it be the diocese or should it go up as high as the Vatican?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  48. Brian Vaughan


    Sadly I think you are correct.
    RJ, in Ireland the Church used to be all powerful and anyone who spoke against it was ostracised. A lot has changed but I would imagine that even the abuse victims still maintained some remnants of the pervasive power of the church that was drilled into them for most of their lives. The strong emotions that would have accompanied the abuse and the memories would have had a very strong affect on their minds and their appraisal of what happened to them. It is also, I would imagine, a very hard thing to admit to yourself and others.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
  49. philcnn

    JJ thanks for joining the chat. I take it that you are not a Christian or someone that believes in a 'God'. How did you get to that point? Were you brought up a Catholic?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:44 pm |
  50. pauldunbar1

    @RJ from the feedback we get, I think most people are leaving because they no longer identify with the church. They see it as an archaic institution which doesn't meet their spiritual needs. The people who use our site to defect have most likely stopped being Catholics years ago.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:44 pm |
  51. Patrick Walsh

    Hello RJ – Speaking as someone who spent 14 years in Catholic enclosed instutions from the age of 2 years, I have to say that the last day of my term was the day I buried the past. At the age of 16 I was freed and decided right then to put it in the past – but it is always there, just under the surface... I looked forward to a new life in a new country and got out of Ireland and the memories....That's the only way I can explain it.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
  52. RJ

    So maybe my question should be how they found the strength to come forward even this many years later. I never thought of it that way.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
  53. karo ojobor

    i think,it not just fair what is going on in the chruch.how can people put faith in them?it is a total failure

    March 29, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
  54. Brian Vaughan


    I dont think they are reacting fast at all. In the popes letter to the Irish church he tacitly blamed a lack of faith and secularism for the abuse. I dont' think the church as an entity has even admitted its culpability to itself.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
  55. philcnn

    Patrick – That's an amazing story. Did you feel scared while you were at school? Did the priests threaten you if you ever said anything or maybe was it more of an accepeted practice?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:47 pm |
  56. RJ

    I can't imagine. Was it difficult to come forward when you did, or was it liberating to not have the secret anymore?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:47 pm |
  57. philcnn

    Paul – why do you think people are changing their feelings toward the church? Is it just the way things are or is there something more unique that is happening among followers? Is it the church that is changing or the people?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
  58. philcnn

    Maja – is there anything that could happen that would bring you back into religion?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
  59. Jack Quann - Dublin, Ireland

    Hi Phil,
    Absolutely it should go as high as the Vatican. Look at the accusations (and proof in some cases) that abusive priests were moved around to get access to new victims – someone had to rubber-stamp those transfers.

    There are also allegations against the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) and how he dealt with allegations he recieved. I won't go into these here. But I think the knowledge and cover-up goes high – and the Ryan and Murphy reports give the basis for this.

    Why is the Church so afraid to investigate? If they don't change/co-operate, it is quite possible the Catholic church might eventually disappear. To survive, they must get to the bottom of all this.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
  60. Patrick Walsh

    Hi Maja, In truth the strength to come forward came from others who decided to speak out around 1998. In turn, after I went public others came forward and last June we went to the German/Austria media and now people from those countries are speaking out. I'm sure others will take strength and come forward. However, and in spite of all this it is important to note that this Pope has decided to address these issues openly – and he has apologised on 20 March which must be progress because it took the Vatican over 300 years to admit it was wrong to persecute Galeileo. We are alive and it has humbly admitted its wrong against us.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
  61. philcnn

    Jack, do you really think that the church might disappear? Hasn't religion always been a part of people's lives for thousands of years?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
  62. Jurgen R. Brul

    Hello CNN friends,

    The pope is the father or the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church,
    who is against all forms of
    sexual child exploitation and sexual child abuse!
    Unfortunately, there is growing sex abuse scandal
    in the worldwide Catholic Church.

    The worldwide Catholic Church is out of control.
    God must choose new leaders
    so that the worldwide Catholic Church is in control!

    March 29, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
  63. Maria

    do you think the reasons people are leaving the church are the same issues that are causing it to fail at addressing abuse? outdated bureaucracy, et cetera?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
  64. pauldunbar1


    It is undoubtedly the people that are changing. The church remains very conservative while many of its former adherents are moving on. In Ireland, we are trying to generate a debate on whether you need to be a member of an institutional religion to be a good, spiritual person. I think many practicing Catholics feel totally disillusioned with how their leaders have handled abuse scandals.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
  65. Brian Vaughan

    I made my mind up a long time ago, around the age of 14, that the church's teachings were rubbish with no bearing on reality. I have strong philosophical, theological and sociological reasons for leaving the church. The revelations of abuse within the church are sickening and are another reason to add to the existing ones for leaving the church. I know of a few people, young and old who never would never have really thought about their believes. but are now leaving the church because of the abuse.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
  66. RJ

    So interesting to see you defending the Pope in a way. You commend him on dealing with this openly, but do you think he's done enough?

    March 29, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
  67. philcnn

    Brian – what would you say to people that are Catholic but say that these abuse allegations do nothing to change their view of things.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
  68. pauldunbar1

    i think it's more the secrecy, the hierarchy, the patriarchy, and the curious preoccupation with sexuality. People are comfortable to have their own faith or spirituality now – or none at all.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
  69. Joe Pete

    These are just some of the Secret vices of the Roman Catholic Church. Most of their Teachings are based on Pagan Doctrines.

    Its the apocalypse, what more are we to expect from the Roman catholic church? what about the Illuminati? it originated right from within the roman catholic, a cult so deadly and demonic and taking over the world by the power of manipulated entertainment and make belive false teachings.

    what more are we to expect? what?


    March 29, 2010 at 7:56 pm |
  70. Maja Kwiatkowski

    Well, I think there is a new discourse centred around sexual abuse. People no longer feel as shamed or guilty – it is a topic that is open to discussion, and there are resources available to help people deal with it. There is not as much stigma associated with sexual abuse. It is recognised as a crime, and survivors have rights.

    Religion is slowly being replaced by spirituality – people question, think, and feel...as opposed to follow blindly. Religion was(and still is, in many ways) ingrained into culture, and becomes part of many people's sense of self. But as there is a global awareness of various issues and incongruencies within the church, people are developing their own identities and ways of being that are not necessarily hinged on catholicism.

    The coverup by the church is disgusting – there is a new freedom now that the truth is being uncovered and so feelings towards the institution will inevitably continue to change. I think little can be done by way of 'repentance'. Much can be forgiven, but it will not be forgotten.

    March 29, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
  71. Jack Quann - Dublin, Ireland

    I do not mean that the Catholic way of life or religion will vanish; when I speak of disappearence I am really referring to the Church as an institution. Church-going numbers in Catholic countries (including Ireland) are dropping rapidly. The only majority of people really going regulalrly are my grandparents generation. I can almost gurantee that when that generation dies the Church will really be lacking in real, visual members.

    Unless they do something to show they are serious in helping victims – and not just protecting their own interests – I think the Church itself will definetly suffer.

    I used to go to Church on Christmas Day – but not anymore.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
  72. Peter

    Catholic Clergy should be allowed to marry and marriage should be encouraged and supported so that priests have a family of their own. They would find better balance, develop maturity much more quickly and live in the real world with real responsibilities.

    The all male nature of the priesthood sets up an environment and culture where abusive and deviant individuals can flourish within an institution that will go to extraordinary lengths to protect itself. All very unhealthy stuff.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
  73. Brian Vaughan

    Phil, I would as them to do a lot of research into their religious beliefs and question why they have them: do they truly believe them or were they driven into them at a young age? I would also ask them to consider that a relationship with God does not necessitate belonging to an organised religion. If you understand some of the core beliefs, omnipotence etc then you should understand that God would not care if you worshiped in your own way as opposed to going to a draughty old building every sunday to listen to a man mumble through arcane rituals under the mistaken belief that he is any more enlightened than they are.

    I am arguing the point in a hypothetical situation were/as if God exists, I dont believe that he/she/it does. But I take that position to make the point to someone who does believe.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
  74. Patrick Walsh

    Hi Phil Han,
    The so-called Industrial Schools were places of constant fear which was a permanent companion along with hunger – physical and emotional – those places were centres of awfulness for children and the shocking truth is that those who ran them professed the love of God as the center of their lives, though I could see they were evil people. When it was over I was free and happy – but I must admit that the Government officials who have not been made accountable make me angry – the entire system was paid for from public money and officials filed false reports for many years...

    March 29, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
  75. philcnn

    Peter – do you think the Catholic church will ever reform in your lifetime and that they might one day include women priests?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
  76. Maja Kwiatkowski

    (sorry, my page doesn't seem to be updating as fast, so I have missed some comments and am not replying in tandem).

    There is nothing that could possibly bring me back to catholic faith. In an ideal world, the 'worldwide cahotlic church' should bow out and exit with the little dignity that it has left. I don't think we need another pope.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:05 pm |
  77. RJ

    Can I ask if you're a practicing Catholic today?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
  78. Maria

    do you think that if the Church had handled the problem better, that fewer people would be disillusioned? in other words, is it the problem or the response to the problem that is the bigger threat to the Church?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
  79. Eddy Archibong

    It is rather unfortunate that the Hierachy in Catholic church has refused to come to terms with the unthinkable crimes of their Priests, if not for occultic reasons what would a Priest need a liitle boy for ?.

    All in all I think nemesis is catching up with the Catholic Church for all the distortion they have done to the christian faith, including the change in the worshiping day from saturday to sunday.

    Eddy from Nigeria.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:11 pm |
  80. Philo

    I feel funny when the Pope promises forgiveness to the abusers so quickly.. when a friend and I disagreed about joining a group in the church i was told to go away and I stand condemned for life... The church has.. been.. the church my parents gave me... so hard on other people.. so mean.. in many instances.. it is unbelievable.. I find it hard to keep faith.. this faith teaches that we must not sin in thought, word and deed... and yes forgiveness but also a very hard line of no forgiveness for ordinary people who sin! You might not believe it if you are a priest used to forgiving or saying you forgive but once for instance you want to divorce.. you are excommunicated.. women have been ex-communicated..

    March 29, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
  81. philcnn

    Hi Eddy
    Thanks for your comment.. how has the news of the scandals been dealt with in Nigeria? What are people saying?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
  82. Jack Quann - Dublin, Ireland

    Interesting – the guest speaking to Richard Roth in NYC, Prof. Terry Tilley, has just said that the population of US Catholics is only staying high through immigration; that just proves my point about the shrinking institution of the Catholic Church

    March 29, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
  83. Patrick Walsh

    Hi RJ – I call myself a Catholic though I admit I don't attend church every week et cetera. It's the only religion I know amd I respect it , and even though I suffered years of abuse at the hands of relgious, I am able to distingish between those evil people who sought and improperly obatined protection within the Church and others who are genuinly innocent of any wrongdoing. Even as a child I suspected that the anti-christ was about his evil works at Artane in Nr Dublin. Somehow the door was left open and he got in – the rest is history...

    March 29, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
  84. Vevey

    this issue does not exist in the catholic church alone, there are more horrible crimes being committed by other religious institutions, it isn't the catholic church that committed the crime but the persons themselves, they chose to practice their free-will in a wrong way, so i don't think that the catholic church should be implicated strongly. I am not a practicing Catholic but i respect our faith and we need to keep it stronger in Jesus' grace.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  85. Enongene Louis, Cameroon

    I must say i lost faith a long time ago when i became aware of some of these sex scandals back here. The recent scandals have further reduced my respect for these priests and the church at large.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  86. Clarence

    It is not the question of whether women become priests or not. It does not necessarily mean if women become priests then there will be no pedophile priests. I do not encourage pedophiles but they have been there, are there and will be there. Simply because the church is lead by human. Human is incomplete, one's actions do not define Catholic church's direction. There have been so many ups and downs through out Roman Catholic's life to-date. And that is part of life!! I do not say we should give a blind eye to pedophiles, we need to open up our mouths as much as possible but few who behave like that should not be the cause for one's faith deterioration.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  87. Maria

    patrick, do you ever wish you hadn't been so public and vocal about what happened to you?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  88. Rodel Reintegrado

    I was raised and grew up as a Roman Catholic, with the recent whistle blow against my Church, I don't think there is a need to get shaken in my faith otherwise I am more in a firm stand to defend my faith as a Catholic, I donk think we recruit people to join us as other do in desperation. There is a religious freedom if your Catholic today and you want to shift to other religion it is your free will and free to come back. If a Cathoic priest is believed to have commited a crime, let the law apply and let them be heard, let us not be prejudice to what are hearsay let us find the truth and there is a Law that applies to all.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  89. Patrick Walsh

    Hi Maria, That's quite a question and the answer is yes, somethimes. Because it has been hard on some members of my family – for that I am very sorry.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  90. Jack Quann - Dublin, Ireland

    I appreciate Ed Gurlock's story to Anna Coren – but I do not think celibacy should be used as any kind of excuse. You either have tendencies to abuse children or you don't. Plenty of married men are also child abusers; what does that say?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  91. Maja Kwiatkowski

    Patrick, I thank you and commend you for coming forward with your story – I am sure many are very very grateful.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  92. Rick N.

    I think everyone needs to step back and gain some perspective. The spotlight is on the Catholic church here, but frankly, if one looks closely enough you find find the dark side of ANY institution. Mankind is terribly flawed by nature, and any honest refection on our history will more than validate that fact. It is the guidance in the priciples of The Church, of The Faith, that is offerred to help us become more than what we are by nature. WE choose to accept the responsibility of living according to the higher values, or wallow in self indulgance. WE are responsible for the choices we make. The clergy who are responsible for the abuses at the center of this scandal are guilty of a horrible breech of trust and have violated their obligations to the church. Not unlike what we see in our politicians and in about every corner of society today. The church must has unfortunately become a reflection of our society, rather than an instrument to help us rise above it. It must now do what is necessary to acknowedge and correct these wrongs, and again put itself on the path that Christ intended. The Faith is eternal and incorruptable.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  93. Sinead O'Connor

    Hi everyone I'm Sinead O'Connor.. just introducing myself.. sorry am late!

    March 29, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
  94. philcnn

    Hi Sinead.Thanks for joining us. We've had lots of comments about this interesting topic. Some people think the church needs to reform, others think they won't. Some think the church is continue just fine while others say it needs to 'collapse'. What are some of your thoughts?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  95. Maria

    i'm sure a great many people are glad you made the choice you did. you're helping bring out a story that has been kept quiet for too long.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  96. Maja Kwiatkowski

    Hi Sinead – so excited by your presence! Please do share your thoughts.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
  97. Errette Dunn

    The only reason why this problem is receiving a coverage larger than the real dimension of the problem is due to the transparency caused by the flow of information within the Catholic Church, which is centralized in Rome.

    In a way, the Church is suffering due to it's relatively high pro-activeness towards the issue, compared to other institutionalized social communities.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
  98. Francisco

    I am a young catholic raised in Mexico. It was a couple of years ago when I saw the first report on sexual abuse commited by priests in the Roman Catholic Church, a mixture of anger and deep sadness overwhelmed me. From then until now, I haven't seen a complete report on this matter on mexican news. Why don't we see these exhaustive reports in Mexico?
    I think the reporters of CNN are doing a terrific job exposing these facts and I would encourage them to continue until the truth is unveiled.
    Mexico is now a country where most crimes are left unpunished, and that makes me wonder, how many cases of sexual abuse are still happening?
    I think that the Pope and the Roman Catholic authorities owe a complete and thorough explanation to the catholic community and the whole world about what has been happening behind their walls.
    How is the Church going to help and heal those victims of sexual abuse?
    How are they using the money collected by the faithful in churches around the world?
    What have they learned and how are they going to make up for their mistakes?
    On the other hand, I do not think that the church nowadays is what Our Lord Jesus Christ founded. It saddens me how these crimes have obscured our faith and the image of our faith to non-catholics.
    I know that Our Lord Jesus Christ and our Holy Mother Mary not only exist but are alive and wanting to be part of every person's life.
    How can we show the rest of the youth that it is worth knowing them, opening our hearts to Our Lord?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
  99. allwyn

    i feel the latest controversy will only filter the catholic church and we will emerge much more stronger,because we are the church ,

    March 29, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  100. Vevey - Philippines

    i may not be a regular attendee of Sunday mass and i get tired of praying the rosary, i dont even wholly believe in the catholic church, however, my faith in Jesus is strong and i would defend the church who taught me moral values. if i would compare the media attn that this issue is getting over the violence committed by other religions, it is very unfair but this very situation has its own positive side, the world will witness our unity and our openness to accept reforms to make the catholic church better and stronger.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  101. Dmitri

    Priests do not come from the sky, you know. No wonder some of them may have fallen prey to the sins not at all unknown in our everyday life.

    No doubt those who have committed these terrible crimes should face proper criminal investigation and stand trial.
    I can't see any broader issue and think the Vatican's response has been adequate.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  102. Keith

    this is keith from Germany....

    March 29, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  103. Dónal Ó Néill.

    Does this problem exist to the same extent in other chrches?
    Does this problem exist because of celibacy?
    Will anyone ever do an objective investigation to goet to the root of the problem?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  104. Michele Garfield

    I have read that the reason celibacy was developed in the Catholic church is not so that a priest can concentrate on his duties, but so that the priests do not become parents with children who would want or deserve inheritance.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:34 pm |
  105. philcnn

    Hi Keith and everyone else! Thanks for joining us. What are your thoguhts? Has this affected your view on the religion?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
  106. Jack Quann - Dublin, Ireland

    Hi Sinead-
    Nice to have you here. I am a fan of yours and think you have a good way of demanding attention for your causes. Do you feel, however, that some approaches (i.e. ripping up a photo of the Pope, being ordained, etc) do you more harm than good?

    Do you think that you might be better tackling these issues in official forums (such as the One-in-Four group, for example)?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
  107. Marc

    Peopel fail all the time. Pedophiles are not solely among priest, not at all. However it is disgusting that the church has tried to cover up incident indtead of openly taking it on. Like in germany, when priest were only reassigned without any precautions for the parish. The culprits should be brought to jail no excuses!

    March 29, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
  108. RJ

    Is there anything the Church could do at this point to win you back or at least allay your concerns?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
  109. Keith

    do we really think the answer to some of these sex problems in the church is in the "eradication" of celibacy? just like one would say the answer to adultary problems is the eradication of marriage?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
  110. Brian Vaughan

    I think the opposite is the case: their lack of transparency and obfuscation of the abuse coupled with the massive dissemination of information via social networks means that local stories and information can go global with relative ease. The church does not understand this and cannot fight against it no matter how hard they try. Abuse victims can make their voices heard through alternative media forms, especially if the main stream press don't listen initially. Here in Ireland there has been some very good coverage and wider awareness thanks to some great people such as Mary Rafferty, Colm o' Gorman etc

    March 29, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
  111. Nwokolo Charles

    The sex scandal issue in catholic church makes me to be more prayerful and committed,i pray that God forgives the people involve in this act and strengthen life of the chosen men that works in His vine yard,Amen

    March 29, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
  112. Brian Vaughan

    Keith, No but it would be a step in the right direction, at least the church would begin to not fear sex and sexuality as much as it does and would begin to understand it.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
  113. Zeema

    much as i do not support the catholic doctrines, this is just another case of a few bad eggs tarnishing the reputation of the Institution at large. The Church needs to deal with these trends within themselves as quickly as can be done

    March 29, 2010 at 8:39 pm |
  114. Hannah

    I was extremely moved watching the program on the child abuse prevalent in the Catholic church. It is my sincere belief that, were the church as powerful as it once was, issues of child abuse and corruption in the church would never have come to light. Naturally, bishops and priests have pre-prepared speeches expressing their deep regret and hope to reform their church, but how many of them have committed crimes themselves, or watched crimes be swept under the carpet and done nothing? Can this crime be forgiven and forgotten? Indeed, Christianitity is a religion of forgiveness, but should this crime along with all the others over the centuries be forgotten? It is my belief that this is the beginning of the end for the Catholic Church. An institution of greed and deceit. I can well imagine Jesus of Nazareth himself leading a rebellion against this criminal institution.

    Numbers of believers have dropped dramatically over the last twenty years since science has been taught in our schools. Religion has no place in our society. Our age is one of reason and independent though. The only reason the Catholic faith remains is because it has been passed down through devout families like a genetic disorder. Many Catholic families intentionally isolate themselves from external influences, and send their children to Catholic schools, where dated notions are drummed into impressionable minds. Our children should be taught to observe and question their surroundings, not accept fantastical notions simply because someone else has told them it is so!

    On the subject of dated notions, the habit of celibacy in the church is unnatural and unhealthy. We are sexual animals, to ignore our very nature is a crime in itself. Repressed sexuality will result in outbursts. The victims will be the innocent and the vulnerable.

    Question is, if the Church were to fully reform its ways and habits, would it survive?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:39 pm |
  115. Sinead O'Connor

    For what it may be worth, I feel that we can sort out these problems of dishonesty amongst the vatican and various hierarchies in a way which can salvage what is beautiful about catholicism. We should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. What we need is the follwing...

    1> Full criminal investigation of every diocese in which cover ups took place.

    2.. full criminal investigation of the vatican.

    3 full criminal investigation of the pope.

    4. prosecutions for those found guilty of covering crimes. the fact they some were 'following orders' makes no odds. Whoever was party to the silence should be prosecuted, no matter how large or small their part.

    5.. also investigations in each country as to how did government handle issue, and was government in any way complicent.

    6.. we need a regime change. We cant go forward with the leaders we have. They do not actually believe in God! if they did they would not have covered up, nor would they be trying to cover up the cover up.

    7. we need a reformation. Start again from the bottom up.. And we the catholic people choose who WE think is fit to run the shop.

    Nothing can move forward until ALL those who are now lying are removed. That is step one.

    When they've gone, we can take all the time we need to figure out how we move forward.. but gone are the days when anyone is going to make us feel less than deserving of the very best. We musnt let these guys continue to make the word 'catholic' send a shudder though the world. We need to take back our church. It never belonged to them. it's ours and we should be, in the 21st century, heavily involved in how its run and represented.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
  116. philcnn

    For everyone out there – do you think there is 'one' religion at the moment that is doing things well?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
  117. Rafael

    I agree all involved with the sex scandal and child abuse have to pay for their actions like any other human being, not only by the justices but also with God. In Matthew 23, 2 Jesus foresee this kind of situations.
    In the other hand the Catholic church help more people than any other institution, provides more educational centers than any other institution, takes care of poor, sick and dying people than any other institution, takes care about orphans, etc..
    About the celibacy, it is optional, nobody is force to follow this rule unless decided, in the secular world also exits pedophilia cases and homosexual behaviors and nobody is force to avoid sex.
    Finally, all the Catholics are the church, we have to take care of our institution and be sure the Catholic church has a very positive balance besides the crimes made by the priest.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
  118. philcnn

    Hi Sinead – you bring up a very controversial point - full criminal investigation of the pope. Is this something that could EVER happen?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:41 pm |
  119. Lea

    I was born a Catholic and will die a Catholic. I believe in a church anchored on the words of Christ that "upon this rock, I will build my church." While the church has not always reflected Christ in its history, it has somehow survived all these centuries as an authority of Christ's teachings. A look back at its history will show that it needs a crisis for it to shape up and reform. It might take a little time (e.g. it has only recently rehabilitated Galileo!!) but maybe in this digital age things will move a little quicker. We have hope.

    Another historical perspective that has to be brought into this debate was the church's tradition of caring of children, in orphanages, schools, etc. which there were still no state institutions for them. Think Don Bosco and his Boys' Town, etc. I myself spent 15 years in Catholic schools and was totally shocked that something like this could happen.

    Unfortunately, the church's policy of looking the other way in abuse cases, its unwillingness to confront this problem swiftly and decisively, only attracted perverts into the system. In this case the church was a Bad Shepherd. It not only looked after its lambs but actually fed them to the bad wolves within its midst. In the words of Christ, whoever harms a hair of these little ones had better tie a stone around his neck and throw himself into the ocean! Idem for their protectors!

    I pray for healing. Healing for the victims, and healing for the church.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
  120. Jack Quann - Dublin, Ireland

    Sinead –

    In an ideal world all your points would be welcomed. But – unfortunetly and realistically – I'm not sure all (or even any) of those approaches will be implimented. The Church is much too protective and rigid.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:45 pm |
  121. Brian Vaughan


    You say "No wonder some of them may have fallen prey to the sins not at all unknown in our everyday life." I find that fairly ridiculous, the majority of people don fall prey to child abuse and I would not at all consider it a sin that is no unknown in most peoples everyday life.

    Zeema, its not a few 'bad eggs' the evidence is that it is a systematic problem with the hieracrchy of the church, right up to the pope covering up the abuse. Its is far deeper than a few bad eggs. It is a systematic, worldwide abuse of children, facilitated by the church hierarchy at every level. Its not something that can be swept under the carpet. People need to realise that and stop buying in to the repugnant church rhetoric that places blame every where but at its own feet.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
  122. David Brown

    I am not a catholic, but i want to make it clear to all non catholics that this sad problem is by no means peculiar to only the catholic church.

    Unspeakable atrocities happen and are still happening in all religions. But that said, it is shameful and the only way to deal with it is to lay it all out. Open the secret flood gates, this peace meal attempt at healing will hurt the church much more.

    We have only heard the tip of the ice berg.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
  123. Siobhan Schnittger

    I recently defected from the Catholic Church with Count Me Out, in Ireland. It's something I deliberated on for a long time. The attitude of the Church towards civil liberties, the gay community and women has long given me cause to question what seemed to be a clandestine institution based in negativity, and discrimination.

    As I grew older, I became increasingly alarmed at the Church's irresponsible attitude to contraception in third world countries and their policy of deliberate misinformation as a part of their teaching policies. The final blow came in the aftermath of the Ryan report, when it became clear that the Church deliberately obstructed the course of justice as a matter of internal policy and concealed information regarding pedophile priests leading to hundreds if not thousands of children to be abused.

    It was my understanding that the pope was the vicar of Christ and interpreter of gods word on earth, the cornerstone of the Catholic faith is that he be infallible. In light of recent events, I fail to see how they can remain a relevant part of our society.

    If Scientology or some other fringe religion or faith had this litany of lawbreaking, abuse of children and women, and apparent indoctrination of secrecy, we would feel very differently and we would be calling for the churches leaders to be jailed.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
  124. Maja Kwiatkowski

    Hannah, thank you for your concise commentary. I agree very much with what you have said.

    One year after my confirmation at age 13, I denounced my faith. At 24, I look back with no regret – I have no faith in the institution that is the Catholic Church.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
  125. philcnn

    From what everyone seems to be saying – it seems like we agree that something needs to be done, but nothing will actually happen. If this is the case... what next?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:48 pm |
  126. Fergal

    What is making this issue in Ireland so intolerable is the systematic cover-up and effort to protect the church, not Christ, simply those who enjoy the trappings.
    In the same way as Cardinal Brady asked children to sign an oath of secrecy I would like to propose that all clergy are asked to sign an oath of honesty:- that they have neither participated directly in any paeodophile act nor have they in any way colluded to cover-up and further that they have passed any relevant information to the civil authorities.
    I suspect such an oath cannot be signed by many cardinals and bishops and any who cannot sign cannot claim to serve Jesus or the good of Catholicism and should therefore resign.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:51 pm |
  127. Brian Vaughan

    Sinead, Phil. I totally agree, there needs to be worldwide criminal investigation of the church, right up to the pope. If a secular organisation was involved in abusing children to the extent that the church was it would be thoroughly investigated. Religion enjoys an unwarranted position and privilege in society. This needs to stop.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
  128. philcnn

    Thanks so much everyone for all of your questions and comments. We're heading toward the end of our online chat, so if you guys have any final comments you would like to include, please do so.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
  129. James Munz




    March 29, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
  130. Paul Robinson

    I am a lapsed catholic who has been put off by the authoritarianism and hypocrisy of the church. However after watching your program this morning, you have awakened a new interest

    March 29, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
  131. Keith

    Sinead, i dont think your suggestion of renewal is realistic...
    u dont need another person in order to renew an institution...you renew the institution...and that begins with the will...

    March 29, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
  132. Shennia Spillane

    Amen Sinead O'Connor, what you just said on CNN is spot on. As a thirty-something ex-Catholic, the Easter season still calls me to the church. But the hypocrisy and injustice drives me away. Sign me up for the revolution!

    March 29, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
  133. kobby adubofour

    what makes sinead o'connor a better christian than i, that cnn considers you an authority on this matter.in the days of Jesus, even He could not be held accountable for the actions of Judas.what happened to man's individual will.o'connor what do you expect that the church opens itself up to a secular world that refuses the existence of God.it is the activities of people like you o'connor that further destroy the existence of God.if you have a problem being a catholic now, why dont you leave, it's that simple.the priests involved should be ashamed and held accountable but this has nothing to do with what we believe.Sinead can you tell me with certainty that even 10% of clergy are involved, what of the 90% who are still effective priests?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
  134. anna

    I want to comment on the news reporter, who purposely cuts off the people interviewed right when they are beginning to say something good about the Catholic Church. Why can't we make more headline stories about what Israelis are doing to Palestinians? Stealing their land, raping their woman, even throwing wine on passive woman? I'm just saying there are other more gruesome issues to be worried about. CNN and others are now just making a big issue out of the Church scandal because Holy Week is approaching. It's sad that all the good that the church does cannot be made into a headline news story.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
  135. Christopher Ohia

    I think that this issue is a storm in a tea cup. Why have these people not repotrd the abuse to the police? Is there any law that prohibits the authorities from prosecuting priests?
    There is no evidence that church authorities stopped the police from investigating any accused priest. What then is the bone of contention?

    March 29, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
  136. anna

    I want to comment on the news reporter, who purposely cuts off the people interviewed right when they are beginning to say something good about the Catholic Church. CNN and others are now just making a big issue out of the Church scandal because Holy Week is approaching. It's sad that all the good that the church does cannot be made into a headline news story.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:57 pm |
  137. Audrey

    I'm from Dublin but living in France. I've been following CNN's coverage and before that, I followed it all back hom in Ireland. I wonder how many people read either both of the Ryan an Murphy Reports. I was horrifed by these, particularly with the Dublin Diocese report. Two abusers were active in two parishes on either side of my housing estate. Who's to say that it didn't happen in my parish, with children I knew! There but for the grace of God go I ....

    I was raised a Catholic as was the norm. Do I still call myself a Catholic...good question. Can I have faith in an institution whose main priority is their own protection and not the good of its followers. Do as I say but not as I do....that's the philosophy.

    This is such a serious issue for Rome and if this new Pope has blood on his hands in terms of other abuse cases in other countries, he does not have the moral guide to be Pope. Plain and simple. Is it not the whole point of this mood against the Church, a deep desire to make them ALL accountable for their actions. Unfortunately, the damage is done and it is imperative, it doesn't happen again but justice, not revenge, should be witnessed by the good, mass-going Catholics and for many like me who call themselves Christians but cannot bring myself to align myself with the Catholic Church as it is!!

    March 29, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
  138. Adam B from australia........

    Spiritually and morally we all know the difference between right and wrong....

    The priests involved owe their children and faithful a duty of care and an enormous appology..

    Those children that have endured this ordeal will be affected for the rest of their lives and they have been truly betrayed. Their whole trust and attitudes towards life, spirituallity, and god will have been affected and will carry through for the rest of their lives......

    Those priest made a choice to be in the position that they are in and i feel they should be dealt with harshly...

    I also believe that the root of this problem is the celibacy issue and it needs to be revised.......

    March 29, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
  139. DS

    Hello people...
    Let me tell you, I am don't like institutionalized religion. They lie, even kill to just protect their power. The only reason that the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because of high levels of poverty, failed governments and corruption.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
  140. Guy Recla

    If I leave my Faith then I never had It to begin with ! It's my Faith and how do you explain to people who don't believe. I feel sad for all the good and holy Priest .

    March 29, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
  141. Maja Kwiatkowski

    Thanks for the discussion – it was interesting to read various points of view.

    Maja – South Africa.

    March 29, 2010 at 8:58 pm |

    The issue of sexuall abuse by Cahtolic priest against minors and other faithfuls is quit regretable,but the issue is not a big deal to affect the faith of true Christians(Catholics).

    March 29, 2010 at 8:59 pm |