The more I see and read about stories such as this and this, the more I go down on bended knee and thank God that I was not brought up in an Irish orphanage run by tyrannical and all-too-frequently sexually depraved Catholic priests.
Or, had I been born both female and Irish, that I was not judged to be a ‘fallen woman’ on what appears in many cases to have been the flimsiest of pretexts and as a consequence of that judgement, to have been incarcerated by vicious nuns for the remainder of my life and used as slave labour in one of the Catholic church’s Magdalen laundries.
Please do not misinterpret my first two paragraphs as an attack on Ireland as a whole, the Irish, or on the wider Catholic Church, because they aren’t meant to be any of those things.
What they are intended to be is an attack on the unaccountable Catholic theocracy which, it seems to me, had the whip hand in the governance of the twenty-six counties from the time of the partition, until as recently as twenty years or so ago.
And unless any of my Irish (or indeed any other) readers can tell me differently, this was a uniquely Irish phenomenon, because I am not aware that the Church was similarly powerful, or of any similar allegations being made about Church-run institutions in other predominantly Catholic countries, such as Spain, Portugal, Poland or Italy, or for that matter, the entirety of Latin America or the Philippines.
Of course an unacceptable proportion of children brought up in institution settings in this country and probably every other country in the world were subjected to abuse, both physical and sexual, by their so-called 'carers'.
But those carers were not priests, nuns or monks and none of them were able, with the tacit support of their senior hierarchy, to imprison and enslave women for the rest of their lives on the mere suspicion of moral turpitude.
None of them set themselves up as moral exemplars and demanded such grovelling deference from lay people that it all but smothered any opposition, labelling their few (and morally courageous) detractors as lunatics or heretics.
I am glad to see that the final traces of those theocratic shackles are now being removed from the people of Ireland and the publication of the report into that sixty-year catalogue of abuse and cover-ups prepared by the Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse, is another important step along that long and often painful path.
The final step, though, has to be the prosecution of those responsible for carrying out the abuse. Only then will the outrageous injustices, compounded by their being committed by the so-called Godly, finally be put to bed and seeing the reaction of some of their victims on the news today, I rather get the impression that they will not rest until their assailants and jailers are brought to justice.
And more power to their collective elbow, I say.