I agree with this letter writer that the Irish Times is not the paper it used to be. In recent times it has lost its cutting/challenging edge and become much more conservative.
I was taken aback by your leader on Saturday (April 19th) apologising for a cartoon by Martyn Turner about priestly responsibility for reporting child abuse and the seal of the confessional.
You commented that “Turner also took an unfortunate and unjustified sideswipe at all priests, suggesting that none of them can be trusted with children”.
Turner’s cartoon is entirely justified and fair comment given the record of the Catholic Church in recent decades.
The Catholic clergy individually and collectively tried to cover up the dreadful sexual exploitation of children by some priests.
In saying “some priests” I accept the abusers were a minority. But that minority were tolerated by their fellow priests, who kept their heads down or co-operated with the church policy of moving paedophile offenders from parish to parish when caught out.
The Catholic clergy didn’t produce any whistleblowers to expose what was going on. Instead the truth had to be painfully dragged out of the Church authorities by brave victims and their supporters before the Irish hierarchy grudgingly admitted what was happening.
This was the context for the cartoon in last Wednesday’s paper which has so upset Catholic clergy and some lay supporters.
The fact is that parents of young children will not risk leaving them alone now with priests. Martyn Turner’s critics did not deserve any apology and certainly not in a leader under the – appropriately phrased – heading “An editorial lapse”.
If that leader represents the current editorial policy of The Irish Times I regret to say it is no longer the paper I worked for proudly as a journalist in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.