Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Photo Meditation of the Month (June, 2009): BEING ONESELF

Renowned singer Michael Jackson (1958 - 2009)
at different phases of his life

Photos Courtesy: The Internet

American singer Michael Jackson unexpectedly died on June 25 of heart failure in Los Angeles, USA, at the age of 50. He was called the "King of the Pop" (popular music). Because of his unique musical talent (music in consonance with dance moves), his fame reached all over the world. He became acceptable to people of any colour in the USA as well as the world. His musical influence will live on for many more years to come.

Being Oneself

By Jerome D'Costa

If we look at the photos above, what do we see?

We see a Michaelian metamorphosis: from a black kid to a white one, from a round-nosed person to a sharp-nosed one. Is that all we see?

We also see a person who is lonely, who is desperate for acceptance and recognition of others. The inferiority complex about his self-image is also acutely visible. We see a constant struggle in him to "fit in" by changing his hairstyle and shape of his face by cosmetic surgery and by bleaching his skin to the extreme.

According to his own words, he had an unhappy childhood. From his very young age, his strict father kept him busy practising music. He, thereby, missed his normal childhood play and interaction with other children.

As a result, although grown up in age and body, he still remained a child in his heart. He built the 'Neverland', a fantasy land where all kinds of items were there for children's play and enjoyment. Till his death, he enjoyed being with the children. Thereby he even faced allegations and lawsuits of child abuse.

What do we learn from the life of Michael Jackson?

  • One's childhood has to be lived like a child, not an adult.
  • Parents make a great mistake if they treat their child as an adult.
  • Fame, recognition, prestige, and money that come too early in one's life become a heavy burden to carry around. Everyone can't cope with this situation.
  • God made us unique persons. We don't need to change ourselves to the extreme to be able to be acceptable to others or to "fit in" with others. We need to be ourselves.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, June 29, 2009

Flirting with the Past: Bombing in a Church in Bangladesh Kills 10 (June 3, 2001)


(Top Row) The graves of 10 Catholics killed by a bomb blast
in a church at Baniarchor, Gopalganj District

Photo Courtesy: www.compassdirect.org/

It was eight years ago, June 3, 2001, the Pentecost Sunday. Catholics were participating in a Mass at the Most Holy Redeemer Church at Baniarchor, about 100 kilometres (62 miles) southwest of Dhaka city. Italian missionary Father Mimmo Pietanza, S.X. was the celebrant. Around 7:20 a.m. a powerful cellphone-controlled bomb exploded near the shelf where Bibles, prayer books and hymnals are kept for use by the faithful.

The blast killed 10 persons and injured 26 others. The eastern wall of the church was damaged heavily and splinters tore through the corrugated iron sheet roofing. The church was filled with smoke and Mass attendants ran out of the church.

According to the Pratibeshi, the national Catholic weekly of Bangladesh, those killed in the blast were: Amar Biswas (25), Binode Das (32), Jhintu Mondol (21), Jyotish Biswas (30), Michael Mollick (25), Monmoth Sikder (22), Peter Saha (30), Rodrigues Jetra (27), Shanjiban Baroi (28) and Sumon Halder (27).

A Handiwork of Radical Islamists

An eye-witness, Panna Lal, told the UCA News that an unknown young man entered the church when the Mass began and sat near the bookshelf with a bag in his hand. A little later he left the church. After his leaving, there was a 'cring, cring' sound (of a cellphone) and then the bag exploded.

Father Pietanza told the UCA News: "So many people come to visit the church every day, how could I suspect someone like this?" He also said: "I cannot tell who could do this damage when people are praying. We have no enemies." He suspected that Islamic fundamentalists might have been behind the bombing.

The UCA News reports that after an initial investigation, the army reported that the bomb was similar to the one that killed nine people at an April 14 (2001) Bengali New Year concert in Dhaka. They suggested that both the incidents might be the handiwork of an unidentified Islamic fundamentalist group.


The then incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her shock at the blast and sent her condolences to the Catholic community. She also ordered the army intelligence units to investigate the bombing incident immediately.

Khaleda Zia, the opposition leader, condemned the bombing and expressed her solidarity with the Christians.

Catholic Bishops and heads of Protestant Churches in Bangladesh sent a memorandum to the government requesting a thorough investigation and taking steps in removing the deep-rooted casuses of terrorism in Bangladesh.

The Christian Association of Bangladesh called for a protest meeting on June 4 at the Shaheed Minar (Language Martyrs' Memorial) in Dhaka.

Herbert Fernandes, President of the Catholic Association of Chittagong, comdemned the bombing as barbaric and appealed to Prime Minister Hasina to take immediate action in arresting the culprits.

There were many protest meetings and human chains both by Christians and non-Christians in different parts of the country.

The bomb blast report was published and broadcast all over the world and, from past experiences of bombing in the country, fingers were being pointed at the radical Islamists for this latest deadly incident.

A Lame Investigation

On February 18, 2002, the investigation commission of Justice Bari presented its report in which he tried to show that the inter-group struggles among Christians resulted in the bombing in the church.

The Christians of Bangladesh rejected this report. They are still expecting that the present government of Sheikh Hasina will take necessary steps in getting a thorough investigation done and finding out the real culprits behind the church bombing.

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bangladesh: Religious 'Fatwa' Proposes Whippings Against Adulterers

Bangladeshi fatwa issuer Maulana Md. Manirul Islam
Photo Courtesy: www.thedailystar.net/

The fatwa (Islamic religious edict) issued by Maulana Md. Manirul Islam led to 303 whippings of Piara Begum, a 40-year-old widow, and 25-year-old Mamun Miah of Khaiyar Village under Debidwar Upazilla of Comilla District, Bangladesh, for alleged adultery, reports The Daily Star of June 29, 2009.

Maulana Md. Manirul Islam, the Assistant Super of local Dakhil Madrasa (Islamic religious school) issued the fatwa at the village arbitration presided over by Dudmiah, an elderly villager. Wahed and Jalil whipped the accused. Piara Begun got whipped 202 times and Mamun Miah 101 times and they have been fined with Tk. 30,000 (435 US dollars) each. The whip-victims are in critical condition.

The police arrested Maulana Md. Manirul Islam, Dudmiah, Ibrahim, Jalil and Mamun, the whip-victim. Piara Begum filed a case against the six arrested persons as well as 10 to 12 other people with the Debidwar Police Station.

In 2001, the High Court in Bangladesh had declared issuance of such fatwas illegal in the country.

In the past, there have been many such fatwas issued against Muslim women in Bangladesh.

Indiscriminate and often, revengeful and selfish fatwas are creating havoc in different parts of the Muslim world. Iraqis in Germany are protesting against Wahabi fatwas in Iraq.

Bookmark and Share

Friday, June 26, 2009

My Doodles Series -- 17: Decorative Designs


Doodles on Decorative Designs © Jerome D'Costa

In every country, they have their own way of doing decorative designs. The above designs just flowed from my pens. Hope you like some of them!

(The End)

(To visit the First Page of this doodles series, please click here)

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan: One of the Greatest Bangali Musicians Dies


Ustad Ali Akbar Khan (1922 - 2009) playing his world-famous sarod
Photo Courtesy: http://davidbaptistechirot.blogspot.com

One of the greatest Bangali (Bengali) musicians and one of the greatest virtuosos of Indian classical music died of kidney failure on June 18 at his home at San Anselmo, near San Francisco, USA. He was 87 years old. He popularized the Indian classical music in the Western countries. He had founded the Ali Akbar College of Music in Kolkata (Calcutta) with branches in San Francisco and Switzerland. World renowned violinist Yehudi Menuhin had once termed him "an absolute genius" and "the greatest musician in the world." His brilliant compositions and mastery of the 25-string musical instrument, called sarod, made him famous all over the world.


Born on April 14, 1922 at the village of Shibpur in Comilla District of East Bengal in the then British-ruled India, he was the only son of another great Bangali musician Ustad Alauddin Khan. Originally, his ancestors come from a Hindu Brahmin family.

He began to learn music under his father's tutelage from the age of three. After his birth the family moved to Maihar in Uttar Pradesh, where his father was the court musician of the maharaja (great king -- ruler of the princely state). His sister Annapurna Devi, who later married famous sitarist Ravi Shankar, was an accomplished surbahar -- a plucked string instrument -- player, but she could not perform in public due to conservative customs of placing restrictions on women.

Among his achievements are:

  • At the age of 13 in 1936, he publicly performed for the first time in Allahabad, India. From then on he began to draw attention of music lovers.
  • By his early 20s, he became the music director of All-India Radio in Lucknow.
  • His first grammophone recording was done in Lucknow, India, in his early 20s.
  • In 1943, the Maharaja of Jodhpur in Rajasthan, India, made him the court musician. He served there until the plane-crash death of the maharaja in 1948.
  • Then he moved to Bombay against his father's wish and began to write music scores for films. He also contributed in film director Chetan Anand's Aandhiyan (1952), Satyajit Ray's Devi (1960), and Tapan Sinha's Hungry Stones ((1960). Later he composed music for Ismail Merchant-James Ivory's film The Householder (1963), and Bernardo Bertolucci's Little Buddha (1993). While in Bombay, once he also won the "Best Musician of the Year" award.
  • Yehudi Menuhin was eager to introduce Indian classical music to the Western audience. At his invitation, Ali Akbar Khan came to the USA and successfully performed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1955.
  • In 1956, he founded the Ali Akbar College of Music in Calcutta. In 1967, he opened a branch of this college in California, USA. In 1985, another branch was opened in Basel, Switzerland.
  • On August 1, 1971, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan was one of the performers of the "Concert for Bangladesh", organized by singer George Harrison and sitarist Ravi Shankar at the Madison Square Gardens in New York. This concert raised funds for East Pakistani (Bangladeshi) refugees in India during the Bangladesh War of Independence in 1971. Among important performers were: Ravi Shankar, Ustad Alla Rakha Khan, Kamala Chakravorty, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Leon Russell and others.
  • He was the first to have his long-play record of Indian classical music in the USA.
  • Between 1970 and 1998, he was nominated several times for the Grammy Award in the USA for his music.
  • The government of India granted him the Padma Bhushan as well as Padma Vibhushan awards for his lasting contribution to Indian classical music spanning 50 years.
  • The MacArthur Foundation in the USA granted him, the first Indian, its fellowship ('genius grant') in 1991. The National Endowment for the Arts in the USA also granted him a National Heritage Fellowship in 1997.
  • In 1997, he performed at the United Nations headquarters in New York and also at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the independence of India.
At his death, the great Indian filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who was in Russia at the time, in a message praised him as "undoubtedly the greatest musician of the twentieth century."

Thrice married, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan has seven sons and four daughters. His last wife, Mary, is an American. For the last four decades, he was living in the USA.

One of his famous quotes is: "If you practise for ten years, you may begin to please yourself, after twenty years you may become a performer and please the audience, after thirty years you may please even your guru, but you must practise for many more years before you finally become a true artist -- then you may please even God." Bookmark and Share

My Doodles Series -- 16: Children Crucified


 Doodles on Children on the Cross © Jerome D'Costa

Every day thousands of children are crucified all over the world. They are put on the cross by way of abuse -- physical, psychological or sexual -- and by neglect, human trafficking, prostitution and the like. The saddest thing is that, in many cases, certain family members themselves are involved in this sort of inhuman activities.

In most cases, these children being innocent and naive, do not even realize that they are being abused and used by adults. They easily give in to the adults' wishes and machinations and they are not able to defend themselves. That is why in some of my doodles children are seen smiling even though they are being exploited most brazenly.

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Doodles Series -- 15: Plants and Trees


Doodles on Plants and Trees © Jerome D'Costa

Because of my birth in the village in Bangladesh, plants and trees were my daily friends. In my boyhood years, I had the experience of growing vegetables, climbing trees, plucking fruits, and shaking branches in consonance with singing in loud voice!

Naturally plants and trees found their way in my doodles. Presently, environmentalists and ecology activists all over the world advocating for the preservation of the greeneries and survival of mankind.

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Doodles Series -- 14: More Chidren


 Doodles on Children © Jerome D'Costa

I present here more doodles on children. How do you find them?

Bookmark and Share

Monday, June 22, 2009

My Doodles Series -- 13: Children


Doodles on Children © Jerome D'Costa

Children are a wonderful gift as well as a blessing of God. They are the hope for a family, society and country. It is in them that the parents live.

My doodles portray children in their various modes and moods. Let us give them our love.

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Poem of the Month (June, 2009): FATHER


Design © Jerome D'Costa (2009)

Today is the Father's Day. On this occasion, I present you the following poem.


By Jerome D'Costa

Who is a father?
He is a part of the triangle.
To be a father he needs a female and a child.
When the three make a full triangle,
The fatherhood is completed.

Father is a progenitor, protector, example, guide, and mentor.
A child needs a father in his or her early growing years.
Either by death or default, there are many families without a father.
Young children yearn so much for a father,
But there's no father to go around.

There are also 'bachelor' fathers,
Who live in the family but not with the family.
They live a life of their own,
Being abusive, selfish, and apathetic.

Fatherhood is a difficult and sacrificing job,
Entailing responsibility, perseverance, sharing, love, and empathy.
Let fathers be real fathers
Bringing unity and love in the family and the world.

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Doodles Series -- 12: More Titled Doodles


 Doodles © Jerome D'Costa

Here are more titled doodles for your enjoyment. Some titles are in English, others in Bangla (Bengali).

Top row (L - R): Shoe, teeth, the poorest of the poor.
Middle row: House, Dhaka City, Kutubdia Island lighthouse in Bangladesh.
Bottom row: Gossip, sunshine, music.

I hope that you will find them interesting.

Bookmark and Share

Friday, June 19, 2009

My Doodles Series -- 11: Titled Doodles


 Doodles © Jerome D'Costa

I did some doodles with titles that say what the doodles are about. Titles are executed in my own style of calligraphy in Bangla (Bengali) and English.

Top row (L - R): Python, dog, cow.
Middle row: Snake, puppy, fish.
Bottom row: ant, caterpillar, heron.

I hope that you will like them.

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Doodles Series -- 10: Crosses


Doodles on the Cross © Jerome D'Costa

The cross signifies Jesus Christ who was crucified. To the Christians it is an important symbol.

Through my doodles I tried to draw the cross in different patterns and shapes.

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Doodles Series -- 9: Animals


 Doodles on Animals © Jerome D'Costa

I grew up in the village. Animals were a part of my life. We had a dog and a cat besides the chickens. There were regular crowing of roosters and twittering of birds in the early morning. Most of the other villagers had farming animals. Fishes were a daily fare in our menu.

Animals, therefore, got a natural place in my doodles. For better environment, it is all the more important in the present world to have better relations between humankind and animals.

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Doodles Series -- 8: Jesus on the Cross


Doodles on Jesus on the Cross © Jerome D'Costa

For the Christians, Jesus on the Cross bears a great significance. They believe that Jesus died on the cross to expiate for the sins of mankind and to bring eternal salvation. So, the cross, bearing the image of Jesus Christ, means a good news of the salvation that became available to anyone who believes in him and strives to lead a life according to this teachings.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Doodles Series -- 7: More Men


Doodles on Men © Jerome D'Costa

Men and men. Yes, more men are in my doodles. Here I present a selection of the doodles I did on this subject.

I hope that, viewing my humble doodles, others would be interested in doodling on their own and, at the same time, would be careful in saving them for future generations.

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Doodles Series -- 6: Men


Doodles on Men © Jerome D'Costa

Men naturally found their places in my doodles. Please find men here in their myriad expressions and moods. I hope that you will like them.

What do you think of them? Let me know.

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Doodles Series -- 5: Women


You may click on the above image 
to see the doodles in a larger format

Doodles on Women © Jerome D'Costa

Here are some of my doodles on women.

God created man and woman to complement each other. When man and woman work together, respect each other, and treat each other equally, miracles can happen. The family, society and country progress exponentially. Unfortunately, due to human frailty, selfishness and other imperfections, this is not so everywhere.

Bookmark and Share

Friday, June 12, 2009

My Doodles Series -- 4: Jesus Christ


 Doodles on Jesus Christ © Jerome D'Costa

 Jesus Christ is the founder of Christianity. Christian artists all over the world portrayed him in different situations and styles. Some of the greatest paintings in the world are on him.

Jesus also found a place in my doodles. These doodles came very naturally. I am proud to portray him in my humble way.

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My Doodles Series -- 3: Boats


 Doodles on Boats © Jerome D'Costa

Boats are a common mode of transport in Bangladesh, a delta with hundreds of rivers and rivulets. Boats naturally have a special place in the lives and minds of its inhabitants. Songs, poems, fables, short stories and novels portray boats in a significant manner. My boat doodles are also a result of this mindset.

How do you like my boat doodles?

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Doodles Series -- 2: Catholic Religious Theme


 Doodles on God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ 
and the Virgin Mary © Jerome D'Costa

My Roman Catholic faith automatically found its place in these doodles.

(Top left doodle) God is the triune God. In the unity of Godhead there are three persons -- the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God is the creator of everything and he watches over his entire creation.

(Top right) The Holy Spirit strengthens us in our faith.

(Below left) Jesus Christ is the second person of the Holy Trinity. He is our Lord and Saviour. Through his death on the cross he brought the eternal salvation to mankind.

(Below right) Mary or the Virgin Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ. She has a special place in the heart of the Roman Catholics.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, June 8, 2009

My Doodles Series -- 1: "Lord Jesus, You are..."


Doodle on "Lord Jesus, You are..." © Jerome D'Costa

From today I am publishing a series of my doodles that I drew in the past. I have been doing doodles since my childhood, although I did not know until much later that this sort of sketches were called 'doodles'.

In course of time, I lost most of them -- first, when the West Pakistan army attacked our village in the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) on November 26, 1971 and burnt down most of the houses, including ours. Later I lost many others in termite attacks. In this blog I will be publishing some of the remaining ones that are still available.

Translation of the Above Writings in the Doodle

The above writings are in Bangla (Bengali) done in my own kind of ''calligraphic" style! The translation of them in red bold are as follows:

The bold letterings in the middle above the cross are: Lord Jesus, you are...

Top row (L - R): loving, kind, merciful, forgiving,
Second row: peace-giving, patient, sweet,
Third row: holy, healing,
Fourth row: consoler
Fifth row: saviour, inspirer,
Sixth row: protector, service provider,
Seventh row: glorious, living, ever-present, almighty, truthful.

I sketched them as they flowed from me. I did not visualize or pre-plan them.

Please view my series of doodles and do not hesitate in leaving your valuable comments in my blog.

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Doodle: An On-the-Spur-of-the-Moment Art


Doodles by Joachim Romeo D'Costa (Toronto: May, 2009)

Doodles by seven-year-old Shouvik Mikhail D'Costa
(Toronto: 1998)

Everyone -- when a crayon, pencil or pen in hand -- doodled in his or her life sometime or the other. In childhood, every child doodles. It's the way for him or her to learn writing or drawing.

Later in life, we doodle for other reasons. Our doodles get their way on scraps or sheets of paper; margins of paper, book or utility bills; notebooks; post-it pads and the like. Doodling becomes a kind of release mechanism for us.

What is a doodle?

Doodle is a kind of drawing that is done on the spur-of-the-moment. It is an unplanned and unconscious sketching on paper. It grows as the drawing progresses. It starts mostly when one is busy doing something else -- talking on the phone, listening to music or radio, watching TV from time to time, and attending a meeting or conference -- or even a class -- but feeling bored.

Types of doodles

A doodle can be in the form of simple or ornate writing -- a kind of calligraphy -- or in the form of drawing a picture (of a person, animal, scenery or inanimate object).


A person who doodles is a doodler. A doodler can be young or old, male or female, literate or illiterate, rich or poor, person of colour or non-colour, religious or irreligious, and a person of virtue or non-virtue.

Meaning of a doodle

Although done unconsciously or half-consciously, a doodle may be the result of what went through a person's mind previously.

Some people try to find a meaning in or interpret a doodle. According to them, if the doodle is one on the right side of a page, it means the doodler is eager to reveal what he or she has in mind. If a person doodles on the left side, it means the doodler likes the past. If a person doodles at the centre of a page, he or she is kind of aloof -- he or she feels comfortable being alone, away from others.

Psychologists and clinicians try to understand the state of mind of the doodler by studying shapes and symbols drawn by him or her. If a doodler draws a tree, it signifies life or growth. If a house is drawn, the doodler loves a steady shelter and the security that comes with it. Vehicles (trains, motor vehicles, animal-drawn carriages, airplanes, boats and the like) signify a desire for travel or change in life. Sun means light and warmth. Geometric shapes (squares, triangles, circles, rectangular shapes, pentagon, octagon etc.) signify an analytical and logical mind.

Celebrity doodles

Ordinary doodles of celebrities in time becomes extraordinary. Doodles by celebrities always draw wide attention and curiosity.

A good number of U.S. Presidents, including John F. Kennedy, were famous for their doodles. Most recently, Barack Obama, the democratic candidate for U.S. presidency, drew worldwide attention for his doodles in 2008.

(Above) U.S. President Ronald Reagan's doodle

U.S. President John F. Kennedy's doodle

The above two presidential doodles courtesy: The Atlantic Monthly

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Ireland: The Scandal of Physical, Psychological and Sexual Abuse in Catholic Schools and Orphanages


St. Kevin of Glendalough (498? - 618 AD), Ireland,
had his own trials and struggles with celibacy
but ultimately he triumphed over them

When once the Irish Catholic monks had saved the western civilization and blazed new paths in preaching Christianity and doing evangelization, the Catholic Church there now is abuzz with the widespread scandal of physical, psychological and sexual abuse in its schools from 1936 to the 1990s. This bastion of Christianity is presently shrouded in the dark shadow of unchristianity in the name of Christianity.

On May 20, Ireland's High Court Justice Sean Ryan revealed the 2,600-page report of the Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse, based on testimony from thousands of former students and officials in more than 250 government-funded institutions (orphanages, reformatories, industrial schools and workhouses) run by the Catholic Church.

This nine-year investigation reports that priests and nuns terrorized thousands of boys and girls in orphanages and workhouse-style schools for about 60 years and government inspectors failed to stop the chronic beatings, rapes and humiliations.

The Ryan Report identified 18 Catholic Religious Orders and Congregations whose members abused these children. Among these, the Christian Brothers and Sisters of Mercy are predominant. So far, 14,000 abuse victims -- out of 35,000 who were placed in these institutions -- have been identified by the government. More than 800 individuals were involved in these abuses. Christine Buckley, who was placed at an institution at the age of three weeks, said of the institution later: "The atmosphere was one of almost 24-hour horror. Our childhoods were totally destroyed."

Chief Findings of the Ryan Report

  • Physical and emotional abuse and neglect were features of these institutions.
  • Sexual abuse occurred in many of the institutions, especially in boys' institutions.
  • Schools were run in a severe, regimented manner that imposed unreasonable and oppressive discipline on children and even on staff.
  • Children were frequently hungry and food was inadequate, inedible and badly prepared in many schools.
  • Many witnesses spoke of being constantly fearful or terrified, which impeded their emotional development and impacted on every aspect of their life in the institution.
  • Prolonged, excessive beatings with implements intended to cause maximum pain occurred with the knowledge of senior staff.
  • There was constant criticism and verbal abuse and children were told they were worthless.
  • Some children lost their sense of identity and kinship, which was never recovered.
  • Absconding students were severely beaten, at times publicly. Some had their heads shaved and were humiliated.
  • Government inspectors, on their occasional visits, rarely spoke to the children in these institutions.
The Culture of Secrecy and Silence

The Report mentions that "when confronted with evidence of sexual abuse, the response of the Religious authorities was to transfer the offender to another location where, in many instances, he was free to abuse again." The Church leaders did not "listen to or believe" victims who complained of sexual abuse, and some remained unwilling to confront the issue even today. The Report also mentions that "the safety of children in general was not a consideration."

One former Christian Brother had carried out a 40-year sex abuse spree with the knowledge of a parish priest, a bishop, two communities of nuns, the government Education Department and police.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, the head of the Catholic Church in England, said that the Irish offenders still living should face justice.

"Profoundly Sorry"

Cardinal Sean Brady, the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, said he was "profoundly sorry and deeply ashamed that children suffered in such awful ways in these institutions." He also said: "This report makes it clear that great wrong and hurt were caused to some of the most vulnerable children in our society. It documents a shameful catalogue of cruelty: neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse, perpetrated against children."

The Christian Brothers and Sisters of Mercy also expressed their "sorrow."

Victims' Reactions

The BBC reports the reactions of abuse victims, Church leaders and political leaders.
Bookmark and Share