Bishop Philip Boyce of Raphoe sees the Catholic Church "attacked from the outside by the arrows of a secular and godless culture: rocked from the inside by the sins and crimes of priests and consecrated people".
Missing from his blame equation last week were non-criminal acts and omissions of the hierarchy and other Church authorities. These have contributed mightily to the decline of the Irish Catholic Church and to the despair of its faithful.
Bishop Boyce was speaking at Knock, Ireland's major shrine for the traditionally devout. It is a place where the truly afflicted go for comfort. Yet Bishop Boyce seemed to equate their personal problems with those of the institutional Church that is itself largely to blame for its own current troubles.
Last week too, Archbishop Dermot Clifford of Cashel and Emly, tried again to distance himself from the handling of child abuse complaints in Cloyne. But mere words will not redress the harm done for decades by a hierarchy that was unable or unwilling to change its Church's thinking and structures to meet modern needs."