Sex Crimes and the Vatican

Sex Crimes and the Vatican is a documentary film by Colm O’Gorman, who was raped by a Catholic priest in the diocese of Ferns in County Wexford in Ireland when he was 14 years old. Father Sean Fortune was charged with 66 counts of sexual, indecent assault and another serious sexual offence relating to eight boys but he committed suicide on the eve of his trial. Colm started an investigation with the BBC in March 2002 which led to the resignation of Dr Brendan Comiskey, the bishop leading the Ferns Diocese. Colm then pushed for a government inquiry which led to the Ferns Report.


43 thoughts on “Sex Crimes and the Vatican”

  1. I’ve seen this documentary. It’s about time the Nazi Pope on a stick was brought to justice!

  2. These stories have been making headlines for so long that they have become comical.

  3. Josh-Thank you so much for posting this. It is extremely important and we need a constant reminder not only of sexual abuse but the abuse of Power.

  4. The comparing the Catholic Church to the Costra Nostra fits and qualifies the church as a criminal organization. As chris has stated above, this is an abuse of Power.

  5. I resent it every time another “victim” of sexual “abuse” comes forward looking for attention, and I resent it when filmmakers give them attention.

    Sexual acts alone don’t cause measurable lasting harm. The meaning of what happened is important but hurt feelings or minor changes in self-image are not the same as “harm.” Probably many priests loved their boys, but were living in a time and place where homosexuality was considered bad, and the damage comes in the form of a priest making the young person feel guilty about what happened. That’s not good.

    If there was some element of coercion or violence, that’s not good either, but it’s also not the end of the world and these “victims” need to move on with their lives and realize that just because someone diddled them they can’t blame every ill in their life on it. I for one don’t really care if the Catholic Church covered up anything regarding complaints of sexual offenses. It’s really tough to know what really went on in these cases, which is why the only thing I trust on this issue is the excellent John Jay study, which shows a lot of this to be blown way out of proportion.

    1. Your comments are thought provoking as they have merit. However, what about the many prists that have been relocated a multiple of times due to abuse or allegations of abuse and have not faced the consequences of their actions together with the intentional cover up by the Vatican?

      I agree that teen boys can be flirtatious and playfully seductive and the subsequent sex can be consensual which would still be an abuse of authority, but what about prepubesent boys?

      1. I guess what I’m saying is I think relocation was, in its time, a good way to deal with the problem. The research says age has no clear correlation with whether said experience was considered positive or negative by the younger person. In the gay childhood studies and in some recent HIV studies from Brasil and elsewhere, you see cases of 10yo boys having mutual type relations with adult men. All the age of attraction studies say people establish thier sexual preferences at average age of 10.5 years. For boys who grow up to be gay-identified, the average age of their first object of attraction (at age 10 on average) is a young man 27 years old. Pubescence happens at adrenarche, around that age, as Gilbert Herdt wrote in his research a long time ago. Later on, the outward changes happen.

        1. Wordsworth
          What you forget is that your articulate and factual comments here will fall on deaf ears. Many of the people who write here are nothing more than shills for the status quo.

        2. The age attraction studies you refer to are consistant with my personal experience as my sexual preference was established at around the age of 8.

      2. @ Bruce Tharp What about all the laws you have broken Bruce in your own life that you have never faced the consequences for? What about those cover ups? Or do you walk on water too?

        Your question about prepubescent boys reminds me of the old argument against atheists by religious fanatics that goes “What if I hold a gun to your head, are you going to still say you are an atheist?” The overwhelming majority of these incidents involving priests have been with boys who are teenagers.

        Finally, anyone who practices a religion like Catholicism has already been raped in his mind by propaganda that he will never “recover” from. In fact, in this light, the sex may in fact be therapeutic.

        And if these so called “victims” didn’t get the scent of MONEY in their claims of “abuse”, how many would be left?

        1. Well, I’m certainly not Catholic and I agree with your comment re: mind rape by the church. I have no doubt that many of these kids who are now adults have found an opportunity to cash in on their embellished experiences. I’m trying to keep an open mind here and as I stated above, I think Wordworth’s comments are thought provoking and have merit. It was not my intent to offend or place myself above anyone.

    2. Looking for attention??!?!?

      For what??

      “oh I need attention… what to do… what to do… Oh yeah lie about being raped, have my entire sexual history a matter of public record, risk public embarrassment and exposure?”

      Yeah that makes perfect sense. sarcasm

      Seriously, are you retarded? I’m not asking to be mean. I just want to know how to respond appropriately.

      Doesn’t cause measurable lasting harm??! Have you ever talked to a suicidal victim of rape or their family members?

      Are you stupid or just playing one on the internet?

      Homosexuality? Seriously?!?! Do you equate heterosexuality and rape too?

      Yeah how about you just tell these 11, 12 year old victims of rape to “move on” with their lives after being raped so hard they pass out from the experience.

      I hope they tell you to go fuck yourself.
      Any sensible person would tell you the same.

      The fact you don’t care if the Catholic church not only covered it up, but allowed these rapists to rape more victims only means you’re a completely heartless bastard with no concept of human decency at all.

      Oh and it’s not tough to know what goes on.

      It’s called EVIDENCE!!! Testimony from multiple witnesses including innocent Catholic priests, nuns and church administrators that line up perfectly with the paper trail the stupid church left behind and all you have is a “study” commissioned by … oh guess who…

      THE CATHOLIC CHURCH!!! protecting their own asses.

  6. Wordworth.

    Very well said.
    I agree with you completely. The problem with society today is that people automatically call any sexual thing towards an under 18 abuse, if the other person is above that age. While I would never deny that some interactions can have serious and lasting effects, I could almost guarrantee that most “innapropriate” relationships are pretty harmless.

    That said, I think the priest situations should be taken very seriously as the majority if the time they use their power and position to force the victims into these acts. A person who has been taught to respect the priests and fear their god from a young age isn’t going to defy them, knowing the consequences of what their religion has brainwashed them into thinking.

    @ Brian
    Lol, I know exactly what you mean.

    1. I thought your comments were very well balanced. But I’m sure someone will come in here with a definitive and absolute answer to this conundrum.

  7. Approximately 1/2 of 1% of Catholic clergy was involved in the sex scandals – the percentage of TEACHERS molesting adolescent students is FAR HIGHER. That is, of course, if it’s even possible to “molest” an adolescent. You can’t rape the willing.

    1. Hey! Nothing like having the FACTS shoved under our noses. Good going horselips! You’re right. “You can’t rape the willing.” I like that!

    2. If what you say is a true statistic that is incredibe given the media attention to this scandle.

    3. horselips wrote:
      ‘Approximately 1/2 of 1% of Catholic clergy was involved in the sex scandals – the percentage of TEACHERS molesting adolescent students is FAR HIGHER.

      On a Wikipedia entry, that sentence would be labelled ‘citation required’.

      ‘That is, of course, if it’s even possible to “molest” an adolescent. You can’t rape the willing.’

      That’s what every rapist alleges, that his victim consented to what he did. If, as you claim, resistance is never genuine, then there is no such thing as rape.

      I find some of the opinions expressed here beyond belief!

    1. The word “rape” has no meaning any longer. If there is real abuse going on, it is of the language which has been contorted to suit the moral hysterics. At one time a “child” was someone under 21. In fact, in America, you still have to be 21 to drink alcohol. Then it was widely considered to be 18. Now, about half the states in the USA set 16 as the age of consent. In some countries it is as low as 13, and several set it at 14. These are legal definitions. Actually puberty, which puts an end to “childhood”, takes place at much lower ages. And if kids can make life and death decisions riding their bikes and playing risky sports, and having sex with their girlfriends frequently risking pregnancy (talk about ruining people’s lives!), sex with older guys is no big deal by comparison. Morality is a matter of taste said a great philosopher. It wasn’t so long ago that all the “experts” said that masturbation led to insanity among a host of other things.

      1. I grew up in a Baptist community and I was tought that masterbation would lead to homosexuality. I guess they were right.

        1. I had a friend who had Baptist parents who told him they would rather see him dead than homosexual. He obliged by killing himself.

    1. For films & documentaries I usually tag the posts with the country the producers are coming from (the BBC in this case).

  8. While I agree some of the greatest harm to victims of childhood sexual abuse is caused by the resulting response by others, the notion that teenagers are complicit because they can be playful and flirtatious, is quite odious. Had the church made the protection of children it’s highest priority, made certain that the offending priests would never be placed in a position where they could abuse again, and made appropriate and heartfelt apologies, it could have greatly reduced the impact on young lives.

    1. If we are going to be dreaming dreams here, I wonder how many innocents would not have been killed around the world in open and covert wars America wages by dropping bombs on their heads? Hundreds of thousands? Millions? And continuing as I write!

    2. I also have a problem with the prists simply being transfered more than once in order to protect the church.

  9. Yeah County wexford is in the Republic of Ireland it has nothing to do with the U.K! please change josh.

  10. they people defending the rapists in the comments here don’t seem to realize that there is a huge difference between a priest abusing a boy and a boy being sexually.curious.

    if the boy says what happened was against his will then it was rape. END OF THE FUCKING STORY.

    this has nothing to do with the age of consent, nobody was claiming teenage boys can’t feel anything for adults but to use this as an excuse and argument against people who say they were sexually abused is fucking DISGUSTING.

    1. This is why we have to get Michele Bachmann elected President in the USA. She and her husband will put a stop to this crazy stuff going on with priests and all that.
      And that will be the “END OF THE FUCKING STORY”.
      She’s the only one that we can be SURE won’t defend the rapists.

    2. What’s DISGUSTING is your public display of stupidity.

      “if the boy says what happened was against his will then it was rape. END OF THE FUCKING STORY.”

      You seriously believe that boys/teens never tell lies? What cloud do you live on? And that these same [lying] teens [to hide their embarrassment/humiliation] grow up to adulthood and see that some pretty good and easy money can be made by continuing these lies to the police and prosecutor?

      As “adults,” some of those lying teens could qualify for some type of Emmy or Oscar awards for all the crying and sniffling they do [in depositions/court] to try to get that money.

      Get real.

  11. Glad to see some of you are up on the research.
    Some of this film is only embarrassing; feeling itself justified to humiliate as much as to investigate. It’s pointless to watch these films that ignore the research, only fanning the flames of predjudice.

  12. It was not just sex but gratuitous violence too, especially in Irish Reform Schools (juvenile detention) run by the Christian Brothers. Look for the film “Song for a Raggy Boy” on Youtube. It it will make you weep.

  13. I think one has to differentiate between the current sexualized climate, and the time when theses men were young and how they had been indoctrinated, and as one who has been there, that’s what it was, into believing in the denial of their sexuality and the sanctity of priests. For the conscientious boy to have his beliefs shattered would have been traumatic. Doubtless there were boys who could shrug off their experiences, but these probably were in the minority.

  14. Here’s the thing, people are so anti-Catholic because of these things. One rotten apple does not make the entire church bad. And less than 10% of all “abuse” cases are from the Catholic church.

    As for the “lack of things being done against these abusers by the Church” you have to understand this. The main theme of Christianity is that anyone, no matter what there sins, can be forgiven. That is why Jesus died. For the Church to then turn around and punish someone for there sins goes against everything that it represents, everything that it teaches.

    The Pope is one of the leading individuals in the campaign against abuses and denial of civil rights.

    And in case you are wondering, I am a Catholic. And I am bisexual, and I live in complete communion with the Church. The Church isnt so bad you know…

    “Not 100 people in America truly hate the Catholic Church, but millions hate what that mistakenly think the Catholic Church is.”

    Do some research for yourselves, it can be good for you.

  15. I was brought up Catholic, and my whole family grew out of it, parents too. It’s lame. The only good part is the high ceilings and pretty windows. Boy abuse is a long standing tradition within Catholicism. I don’t think all intergenerational relationships are abusive, at all, but the catholic paradigm is a perfect set up for abuse of power, because the priest represents authority and understands God better than us plain folk. This is why we confess sins, we need our betters to explain to God. I always wondered why Sinead O’ Connor didn’t get a standing ovation when she ripped up the pope’s picture. Religion is becoming antique. It’s so last century.

  16. Geez, the pope is anti gay. He’s an archaic, doddering moron. I have zero tolerance for even a whiff of homophobia, let alone the old testament and the Pope. If God is more screwed up than most rational parents, who needs him?

  17. I disagree with Jack, who tries to see the good side. Had I known of the sex abuse I would never have been a believer. Now, I no longer believe. Only fools will belong to a system that Ratzinger can abuse like this. Where is the voice of Jesus in this system? I can’t hear it.

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