Early February 2017, Gerry O’Hanlon SJ made a written submission to Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse based in Sydney, on foot of a request from the Commission.
The Irish theologian referred to the Murphy Report of the Commission of Investigation (2009) into the handling of allegations of child sexual abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of Dublin 1975-2004, and stated “it is likely that some learning may be available for the Australian situation from the Irish experience.”
RTE Joe Little picked up on the story, referring also to a video link between the former Jesuit provincial in Dublin and the Royal Commission in Sydney.
In his written submission, Gerry discussed the general instinct for institutions to handle matters ‘in house’ and that the Church “could not quite face up to the grievous failure precisely in this area of sexuality by precisely its own clerical elite, and, in shame, tried to handle the matter as best it could on its own.”
He concluded, “In both Church and State, it seems to me, we need to cultivate the kind of discernment and critical reflection which respects, but is not dictated to, by public opinion, conscious that such opinion may at any particular time be shot through with bias as well as good commonsense.”