The massive report released yesterday documenting the systematic abuse of children in Irish Catholic schools and institutions is "a monument to the shameful nature of Irish society throughout most of the decades of the 20th century," writes Mary Raftery in the Irish Times. The painstaking disclosure of physical abuse and sexual torture is harrowing to read but of "incalculable value"—especially because it assigns blame to the Irish government and the church.
The commission's report makes clear that the Christian Brothers, who remain the largest provider of boys' schools in Ireland, went out of its way "to deny, to obfuscate, and to challenge any and all of the allegations against them." But for all of its value, the report has at least one major failing: it does not name the perpetrators of the abuse. As Raftery writes, the entire terrifying document "is a testament to what happens when discretion prevails."