Thursday, March 15, 2012

On the eve of St. Patrick's Day, Ireland needs another Patrick.

What is the saddest, most tragic aspect of the Industrial School abuse of children is this--that it was done under the guise of Christianity. Children, often as young as a few months of age were taken from their parents by the Irish government in collusion with the Catholic Church. It was portrayed as a loving act of charity, but there was NO love at all, certainly nothing that would mirror the love of Christ.
From the mid-1880s until the early 1970s thousands of Irish children officially in the care of the state were subjected to a double regime of sexual abuse and wageless slavery. Ireland's notorious industrial schools and orphanages--all run by Catholic orders--were homes to boys and girls who had been officially declared criminals by the courts.

Some children were even sent to these institutions simply because their parents had split up: one-parent families, usually held together by abandoned wives, were regarded with suspicion in post-independence conservative Catholic Ireland.

In these Industrial Schools, you had priests and nuns representing  Christ to these children--and these adults would beat, torture and physically abuse to such an extent that some children sought suicide as their only means of escape. Others were beaten to death or allowed to become so sick without any medical treatment that they ultimately died.

The Ryan Commission has sought to investigate allegations of child abuse. But, following this lengthy inquiry, there have been NO criminal prosecutions brought against the abusers or against those in the hierarchy of the church … complicit in the brutal crimes against innocent children.

It is unlikely that officials from any government department will ever be held accountable having presided over an illegal, cruel and wicked system that led to untold suffering for tens of thousands of innocent Irish children and their families since the foundation of the state.

Here's what I want to know? How can the Catholic Church claim to be the representative of Jesus Christ here on earth when it endorses, fosters and is totally complicit in this kind of abuse and not just in Ireland, but Scotland, Wales, England, Canada, Australia and the United States. When the Catholic Church is confronted with its dirty laundry, instead of confessing its sins and asking the victims for forgiveness, the Catholic Church hides behind lawyers and legalese. When the clergy scandal was exposed by the Boston Globe, instead of coming clean, confessing its sins and humbly asking for the forgiveness of each of the victims abused by its priests, the Catholic Church brought out a battery of lawyers in an attempt to stonewall the issue and in effect treating the victims as "enemies" of the Church. There is nothing godly or holy about the Catholic Church in how it has responded to what the UK Guardian newspaper calls a "cruel and wicked system." 

Matthew 18:6 says, "But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." How many children who were abused by the Catholic Church in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Canada, Australia and the United States are now grown men and women who no longer believe in Christ. They no longer look to the Church. They have lost their faith and their hearts have become hardened towards God. Why? Because of the Catholic Church. I believe the Catholic Church  will stand in heavy judgment by God for the destruction of the faith of countless thousands upon thousands of men and women--all because they did not operate out of love and mercy.

Last of all, tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and the irony is that Patrick brought the Gospel to Ireland in the early part of the 5th century. This is a shameless promotion for my wife's book, A Secret Hope, which you can get at This is her first novel and it's historical fiction and very accurate in every detail. Go get a copy and if you like it, tell others about it as well. But my point in bringing up St. Patrick, as we honor him this coming Saturday at every pub and bar in America, Britain, Ireland and elsewhere is this: Ireland needs another St. Patrick. The Irish people are filled with shame (because so many were complicit or silent while this abuse took place), and the Irish people are filled with anger at the Catholic Church, and rightly so. They've turned their back on the Catholic Church, and rightly so, but at the same time, they've turned their backs on God. The people of Ireland need to hear about the love and mercy of God. They need to hear about his compassion and his goodness. They need to know from the Scriptures that Our Lord Jesus Christ is nothing like the Catholic Church in Ireland or the United States. They need to know that God hates the sin and wickedness that so many have experienced in these Industrial Schools or at the hands of priests here in the United States.

Pray for the people of Ireland. Pray for God to send evangelists to Ireland to proclaim his love and forgiveness to them. They need to be forgiven. They need to also forgive those who have perpetrated this evil against them and members of their families. They need healing and restoration from the pain and suffering that they've experienced or members of their family tree. They need to hear the Good News that Jesus suffered on the cross at Calvary and rose from the grave so that they could have a relationship with the Father. Pray that the people of Ireland will have open hearts to receive this message even as they did 1600 yrs ago when Patrick was guided by a God-given vision to return to Ireland proclaiming God's love and acceptance.                                     


  1. Having just read, "The Celtic Way of Evangelism," I couldn't agree more. Patrick was the man.

  2. This is more information that I knew, and a really good article thanks for sharing it brother

  3. The archbishop of Canterbury (England's Anglican church leader) said not to long ago in referring to these issues especially in Ireland that "The Catholic Church has lost all credibility and can never be trusted again."
    If you want to check out how the Celtic Christians were used to help convert the Vikings check out the post below.