Priests, Abuse and Vatican Conspiracy with Fr. Thomas Doyle and Abuse Survivor Helen McGonigle
We speak to two guests that offer two complimentary perspectives on the ongoing sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church: First, Fr. Thomas Doyle, speaks about the upper echelons of conspiracy in the Vatican that have enabled abuse to go on untreated.
Then we hear from Helen McGonigle, who had been a victim of priest Brendan Smyth–a man that had been moved time and time again by the church and abused hundreds of children in his years as a priest.
Helen McGonigle is an attorney from Brookfield, Connecticut who has become an advocate for survivors of clergy abuse. As a child, she was abused by Brendan Smyth, a notorious pedophilic Catholic priest who abused children on two continents for several decades. McGonigle’s story became internationally known when it was featured in a documentary by Chris Moore, a journalist in Northern Ireland. The revelations of Smyth’s crimes and the subsequent cover up of those crimes by church officials created an outcry that has had ramifications for both Irish clerical and secular officials.
Thomas Doyle was ordained a Dominican priest in 1970 in Dubuque, Iowa. He did graduate studies in philosophy, and theology at the Aquinas Institute of Philosophy and Theology and political science and Soviet Studies at the University of Wisconsin. He pursued further graduate work in Canon Law at the Gregorian University, Rome, Catholic University of America, the University of Ottawa and St. Paul’s University, Ottawa. He was awarded a Doctorate in Canon Law in 1978. In addition Father Doyle studied addictions therapy at the Naval School of Health Sciences and is a fully certified Alcohol, Drug and Addictions therapist. He holds MA degrees in philosophy, theology, administration, Canon Law and political science as well as his doctorate in Canon Law.
He has written several books and articles on a variety of subjects related to Church law and practice. Included among these are one book and twelve articles on the clergy abuse crisis. He co-authored Sex, Priests and Secret Codes with Richard Sipe and Patrick Wall. Tom Doyle has lectured extensively throughout the U.S., in Canada and in Europe on the clergy abuse issue.
He has been recognized for his work in the area of clergy sexual abuse by Voice of the Faithful which awarded him their first “Priest of Integrity Award” at the first Voice of the Faithful Conference in July 2002. He also received the “Cavallo Award for Moral Integrity” in 1992 and the “Isaac Hecker Award” from the Paulist Fathers in January, 2003. He received the “Community Hero Award” from the Association of Trial Lawyers of America in July, 2005 and the “Red Badge of Courage Award” from SNAP in July, 2007. In June of 2003 he was issued an official commendation from the Dominican Fathers for his “prophetic work in drawing attention to clergy sexual abuse and for advocating the rights of victims and abusers.
He abused boy while training in Rome… yet he was still allowed to prey on kids for 40 more years
By Deborah McAleese – 23 June 2015
The Catholic Church has been accused of “protecting their own” rather than the child abuse victims of notorious paedophile priest Brendan Smyth.
Decades of failures by individuals and Church institutions to deal with Smyth and prevent further abuse are currently under examination by the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIAI).
During a day of shocking revelations yesterday, it emerged that suspicions within the Catholic Church about the serial child abuser were discussed even before he was ordained into the priesthood.
The inquiry team was told that the Church had been aware of allegations that Smyth had abused a young boy in Rome while he was there studying as a student priest.
His superiors within the Norbertine Order ignored warnings from a senior priest in Rome not to ordain him, the inquiry heard.
For 40 years after his ordination he targeted, groomed and sexually abused children in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the United States, even though many within the Catholic Church were aware of his crimes.
A lawyer for the HIAI said yesterday there were “devastating consequences” to the decision by individuals and institutions “to protect their own rather than our children.”
Counsel Joseph Aiken said that Smyth’s name was “notorious in this jurisdiction and beyond” and that “the culture of secrecy and silence failed the children”.
“The Roman Catholic Church can only look back on this with shame and in disgrace,” he added.
Smyth joined the Norbertine Order in 1945 at the age of 18. He became the first member of the Order in Ireland to be accepted to study at the Curia Generalizia Collegio in Rome prior to his ordination.
It was revealed yesterday that while in Rome, members of the Norbertine Order became aware of allegations that Smyth had sexually abused a young boy in the vicinity of the college.
Photographs of young Italian boys were also allegedly found in his room.
A senior priest in Rome warned Smyth’s superiors against his ordination, but this advice was ignored.
In a letter dated April 1951, prior to his ordination, one of Smyth’s superiors told another member of the Norbertine Order “it would be a shame to see our first student failing in Rome”.
He was ordained on July 31, 1951. Four decades later he was convicted of more than 140 offences against children.
Shortly after his ordination, one of Smyth’s superiors wrote to him and raised concerns about his behaviour.
“The time is too short to enquire about your spirit but I’m inclined to believe that the opinion of the Abbott General (who warned against his ordination) is the truth. It would be lost money and time to send you back to Rome. There’s no question you will go your own way afterward,” he wrote.
The Brother added: “How is it possible that so soon after your ordination I have to send you such a letter … As long as you don’t see it there’s no hope for improving.”
The inquiry heard that paedophile Smyth was sent for psychiatric treatment, including electric shock therapy, on a number of occasions.
Legal action against Cardinal Brady settled
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 – 11:20 AM
Cardinal Sean Brady made an undisclosed settlement today with the victim of notorious paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth.
Cardinal Brady, the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, was sued by Brendan Boland, one of two teenagers he swore to secrecy in 1975 following his investigation into their allegations of abuse by Fr Smyth.
The 50-year-old from Co Louth launched the case against Cardinal Brady in his personal and official capacities, along with the diocese of Kilmore and Smyth’s Norbertine Order.
The settlement was agreed shortly before a date for hearing was due to be fixed at the High Court in Dublin.
Mr Justice John Quirke struck out the case today.
While the settlement is not confidential, Mr Boland – who was not in court – has decided not to disclose the amount.
In June last year Cardinal Brady reached an out-of-court settlement, said to be worth more than €250,000, with the other teenager whose abuse by Smyth he investigated in 1975.
It was the High Court action by Marie McCormack which led to disclosures in March last year that Cardinal Brady had been involved in canonical investigations into abuse allegations against Smyth in 1975 which involved the two young people.