Monday, December 10, 2018

Sister Stanislaus Kennedy, the Sisters of Charity and the National Maternity Hospital [2]

Attack on Sisters is "Elder Abuse"

The hysteria about the Sisters of Charity and the National Maternity Hospital is underway again. Predictably the Sisters capitulation to an anti-clerical mob in May 2017 failed to satisfy said mob and they are having another go. I posted comments regarding the controversy on two articles on the Association of Catholic Priests website last year and this seems a good time to reproduce them.
["Catholic Ethos and Other Mysteries" AND "The New National Maternity Hospital and The Religious Sisters of Charity" ]

Much of what I had to say was a response to a statement by Fr Gabriel Daly OSA (Order of St Augustine) whose attitude to the attacks on the Sisters of Charity was that the critics were "wise and persuasive" and also "temperate and convincing". 

In the present crisis the bishops, together with the Sisters of Charity, had little to say on what was happening. Most of them may understandably have felt that the least said the soonest mended. There was, however, a surprisingly belligerent atmosphere among the people interviewed by the media.  The prevailing opinion among those interviewed was that under no circumstances should the new hospital be handed over to a religious body like the Sisters of Charity, because of its alleged failures in the past. Those with more considered reasons feared that there might be interference with medical decisions on religious grounds.  This was a fair point, usually made by professionals like Dr. Peter Boylan, who had the grace to argue temperately and convincingly.  I find myself convinced by his wise and persuasive arguments.

In Father Daly's view the REAL problem is traditionalists in the Catholic Church who are engaged in "a relentless and heavy-handed creation of laws and the heartless prescriptions for their infringement" And the difference between "Traditionalists" and Reformers": 
Traditionalists are concerned about law, control, discipline and punishment.  Infringements against marital law, for example, are punished by canon law by forbidding the offenders to receive Holy Communion.   The Gospel is ignored and there is no mention of mercy or forgiveness as a grace.  ‘Reformers’, on the other hand, following Pope Francis, prefer to dwell on God’s mercy.  This distinction is vitally important for attitudes towards the question of ownership and ethos of hospitals and schools....

 Revelation has little to say about sex; and nothing at all about reproduction.  It is time for Catholics to think theologically about these matters rather than allowing traditionalists away with imposing their own narrow and authoritarian views in the name of church teaching.

"Black Hats" and "White Hats" in the Church
Father Daly states: The plain fact is that there are two very different parties whose values seriously conflict in their view of their church. One group claims that the church is charged with legislating for the whole body and is greatly concerned with how these rules are carried out, with suitable punishments for those who offend.  The other, following the example of the present pope, Francis, prefers to emphasise mercy, understanding and forgiveness. It believes in the need for constant reform.  These two views stem from two very different attitudes to God, Jesus, the church and the world.

When we speak of the relationship between church and state, we are not speaking about abstractions.  Whatever about the state, it matters which party in the church is conducting the matter in dispute.  The fear of interference by the church is a live possibility in a maternal hospital – a point that takes us back to Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae and is closely relevant to the present dispute.

HOWEVER there was no sign of "mercy, understanding and forgiveness" in the behaviour of the politicians, journalists and media mob that denounced the Sisters of Charity. In fact their behaviour quite closely resembled that of the Traditionalists condemned by Father Daly - relentless, heavy-handed,  heartless, narrow, authoritarian, emphasis on " law, control, discipline, punishment".  In addition one specific allegation - that the Sisters "owed" €3 million to the State sounds much more like a bare-faced lie than even 'sincere' bigotry. Yet Father Daly lets these people off rather lightly. His heart-felt criticisms are directed at the nuns and at the Hierarchy!

"Catholic Ethos and Other Mysteries" - Fr Gabriel Daly and the National Maternity Hospital 

[ For ease of reading, I have renumbered Comments made by myself and others]

[1] Padraig McCarthy
May 9th, 2017 at 9:17 pm
I know nothing about the running of a hospital, nor about the complexities of getting two hospitals working in close cooperation. I do know that when I was in that parish (Westland Row) in the 1970s, and we used to be called at any time of day or night to a child whose life was in danger, even then there was talk of the difficulties of the present premises of the National Maternity Hospital.

I do not understand why the decision was made to give ownership of the new Maternity Hospital to the St Vincent’s Hospital Group, even when the land belongs to them. Perhaps there are practicalities of ensuring smooth administration of the conjoined hospitals, or perhaps, as some suggest, there are some financial considerations which make it necessary.

In the present dispute, both the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) and the St Vincent’s Hospital Group (SVHG) have given categorical assurances that the new maternity hospital will be clinically independent to perform any procedure which is permitted in law. I do not know whether that has been copper-fastened in law at this stage. It seems clear, however, that if that independence were not respected in any way, there would then be strong grounds for serious action against SVHG.

In the light of that, it seems to me that the fears of Dr Peter Boylan and others are unfounded. Gabriel finds himself “convinced by his wise and persuasive arguments.” I find myself nowhere near convinced. Dr Boylan seems to speak more from his fears than from clear argument. He clearly cannot bring himself to trust the judgment of the rest of the board of the NMH. I cannot say at this stage whether his fears will turn out to be justified; if that proves to be the case, there will be an almighty row. Gabriel says that “interference by the church is a live possibility in a maternal hospital.” Is it “interference” when the Sisters are faithful to their medical ethics in such matters, but not interference when those same ethics led them and other congregations to fill “this serious gap”, as Gabriel describes it?

The fears of Dr Boylan and others seem to arise from strong resentment against the Sisters of Charity, as Gabriel says, pointing to how the sisters are being “execrated in such hostile and sometimes vitriolic terms.” I suspect that this is heightened by the proximity of the debate on abortion. As reported in the media, it seems at times almost a frenzy. A petition with 100,000 signatures against ownership of the new NMH by SVHG sound impressive. The population stood at 4,761,865 in April 2016, so that petition represents 2.1% of the population, but they are well organised. If someone versed in these matters were to initiate a petition in support of the present proposals, I wonder could it surpass it?

There is something seriously contradictory if we are about to invest 1 billion Euro in a new Children’s Hospital, and at the same time to invest €300 million in a hospital which will include in its programme of “services” the termination of the lives of unborn children. There are better ways. The recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly lack rationality and leave serious questions. No person has an abortion just for the sake of having an abortion: there are always other reasons. If those reasons are non-medical, for example “socio-economic”, as is the case in a large majority of abortions elsewhere, then those same reasons need to be addressed, rather than apply a medical “solution” to a non-medical problem. If the reasons are medical, then it is quite clear that the mother may always receive whatever treatment is necessary to save her, even if, sadly, it is not possible to save the child.
There is an internal anomaly in Gabriel’s essay. He writes of “traditionalists”, with whom “the Gospel is ignored and there is no mention of mercy or forgiveness as a grace.” And yet he writes in relation to the Mother and Child Scheme that it was “opposed, perhaps understandably, by the medical profession, and unforgivably by the Catholic Church.” The church has indeed many failings; but why should any of these be unforgivable?

[2] Rory Connor
May 13th, 2017 at 5:25 pm

I find Fr Gabriel Daly’s arguments very strange and I can’t see the relevance of many of them so I will concentrate on one. Fr Daly finds himself convinced by the “wise and persuasive arguments” of Dr. Peter Boylan who feared that there might be interference with medical decisions on religious grounds. In summary I wonder why he is convinced by Dr. Boylan but not by Master of the National Maternity Hospital Dr Rhona Mahony, deputy chairman Nicholas Kearns, or the overwhelming majority of the board members (25 out of 28) who approved the agreement brokered by Kieran Mulvey in November last year?

I suppose the argument that Fr Daly agrees with is the one contained in the text message sent to Dr Mahony and (former president of the High Court) Mr Kearns on 23 April: [Irish Daily Mail, 26 April 2017]
I’m sorry it’s come to this but I did try to warn you. The way out for both of you is to make it clear that you were misled by SVHG [St Vincent’s Hospital Group]. You accepted their bona fides and assurances and were effectively lied to. Both you and the minister are inextricable linked in this and you’ll either sink or swim together.

The way to get the hospital is to insist on CPO of Elm Park golf club land on periphery and establish links to via tunnels/corridors. Minimal design alterations needed.

Does Fr Daly consider these to be “wise and persuasive arguments” or “temperate”? Is he really surprised by the immediate response Dr Boylan received from Mr. Kearns that included the following:
”Both the Master and I have received and read your text sent to us at 13.47 today.

“We are now asking for your immediate resignation from the Board of Holles St – both because of your public intervention to criticise and oppose the overwhelming majority decision of the Board taken in November last to approve the agreement reached with SVUH for the transfer of Holles St to Elm Park – a vote on which you abstained – and in addition because of the content of your text sent today.

“It’s intimidatory tone is most regrettable.” ……

Would Father Daly consider that an “intemperate” response to a “wise and persuasive argument” from Dr. Boylan?

The National Maternity Hospital also issued a statement .
Dr Boylan was a member of the NMH Board at all times during the six month period of mediation which resulted in the agreement of 21 November 2016 to co-locate the National Maternity Hospital with St Vincent’s University Hospital. The Board was kept fully briefed on all developments by the negotiating team during that period,” the hospital said in the statement.

The decisive final meeting of the board overwhelmingly supported the agreement with 25 in favour, two abstentions (including Dr Boylan) and one vote against. [My emphasis] 

Thereafter the agreement was approved by government and planning permission was lodged.Last week, some five months after the agreement was approved, Boylan, without warning, consultation with or notification to the Board, its chair or the master of the hospital, went public in attacking the agreement. Board members have a duty of loyalty to the Board on which they serve and for this reason his resignation has been sought.

I see that Dr.Boylan’s proposed solution is a Compulsory Purchase Order of land belonging to Elm Park golf club. So what’s wrong with a CPO? Well Health Minister Simon Harris has pointed out that using a CPO would not have been “the ideal solution by any means” because it would have meant the project getting “caught up in some potential legal difficulty for a large number of years.” Shane Phelan in the Irish Independent on 25 April gave an illustration of this difficulty. One just has to look at the case of Thomas Reid who resisted efforts by IDA Ireland to compulsorily purchase his land in 2011. The matter went all the way to the Supreme Court where Mr. Reid won his case in 2015. In the scenario suggested by Dr. Boylan, Elm Park Golf Club would be VERY likely to win a legal battle. They could point out that their land is “on the periphery” (as Dr Boylan states) and that for ideological reasons, the National Maternity Hospital had rejected the offer of a more central site from the Sisters of Charity!

FINALLY I see that Dr Boylan seems to accept that a CPO of the Sisters of Charity land is not possible. Veteran negotiator Kieran Mulvey said (in the Mail on Sunday 30 April) that it was not possible for the nuns to give up ownership of St Vincent’s because of intertwined loans. He said St Vincent’s Healthcare Group had large borrowings connected to the hospital site and ‘the idea that you can just separate a piece of land is just not legally possible at the moment… There are large borrowings by the St Vincent Healthcare Group which will have to be met.’

Unfortunately Dr. Boylan’s proposed solution appears to involve equal – if not greater – legal difficulties and delays!

[3] Rory Connor
May 15th, 2017 at 7:35 pm
There seems to be two separate – although related discussions – going on here, one of which is the general issue of a “Catholic Ethos”. I believe that the latter issue is peripheral; it’s being used by anti-clerics as an excuse to launch savage attacks on the Sisters of Charity and I suspect that the rational and respectful discussion between Kevin and Joe etc is beside the point!

I see the main issue as that stated in the recent statement by the ACP in the article entitled National Maternity Hospital
..In fact, if some of the things being said publicly about nuns today were being said about any other minority group, they would be clearly seen as highly inflammatory and viewed as being in violation of the laws against discrimination...

Specifically I suggest that they are in violation of the Prohibition against Incitement to Hatred Act 1989 which makes it an offence to publish or broadcast material that is threatening, abusive or insulting and is intended, or is likely, to stir up hatred. (This includes hatred directed against a group of persons on the basis of their religion.)

I recall media articles relating to the controversy in which people claimed they were experimented on for vaccine trials while in a Mother and Baby Home, or subjected to “atrocities”. And a letter in which a lady claimed that the words “nuns” and “maternity hospital” in the same sentence are enough to make an Irish female shudder. The latter comment is rather strange because according to a (very hostile) article in the Irish Times last year (28 April 2016)
..The running of the Irish health service was largely undertaken by religious orders in the past. Orders of nuns were responsible for the setting up of many of Ireland’s hospitals in the 19th and 20th centuries

Indeed St Vincent’s Hospital was founded by Mother Mary Aikenhead foundress of the Sisters of Charity and established at St Stephen’s Green in 1834 to care for the sick poor. Did the Sisters prevent the State from establishing a secular equivalent in pre-Famine Ireland?

One extraordinary feature was the repeated claims by politicians and journalists that the Sisters of Charity had failed to pay the balance of €3 million “compensation” that they “owed” the State. Health Minister Simon Harris said that the two matters should be considered separately. What two matters? On 23 April [2017] the Mail on Sunday (journalist Valerie Hanley) reported:

The Department of Education has confirmed to the MoS that that the nuns’ legal costs for the Ryan Commission will be offset against the €3 million of payments for abuse victims that are outstanding. While these costs have not been finalised, media reports that were based on briefing documents have estimated them at €5 million, a sum that would more than wipe out the outstanding bill that they owe.

Crucially, the department has confirmed that the reason for the delay in resolving the problem is nothing to do with the nuns, but is down to its own officials figuring out the final costs of the congregation’s legal representation at the Ryan Commission…..”

Yet, as Ms. Hanley pointed out, the claim that the Sisters owed €3 million, had been repeatedly cited by politicians from Fianna Fail, The Greens, Labour and the Social Democrats and the media as justification for outraged comments about the agreement brokered by Kieran Mulvey. Did the Minister for Health not liaise with his Education colleague? Or did he decide to sidestep the issue – on the basis that discretion is the better part of valour when faced with anti-clerical hysteria?

[4] Kevin Walters
May 16th, 2017 at 8:11 am
Reply to Rory Connor 
Thank you Roy for your comment, the article by Gabriel incorporates an attack on the moral authority of the church’s teachings, especially Humanae Vitae as it is sited six times often disparagingly.

I realize that you want to focus on injustice in regards to the Nuns but that same injustice is undermining their ethical belief in the Churches teaching in regards to the sacredness of human life, from conception to death, which many have given their lives in service to.
I believe that there is plenty of space on this web page to search for the Truth of “related discussions”

kevin your brother
In Christ

[5] Rory Connor
May 18th, 2017 at 8:02 pm
Reply to Kevin 
I tend to agree with you regarding Humanae Vitae. Also some anti-clerics who were alienated from the Catholic Church because of the encyclical, probably see it as justification for ANY kind of hate-filled attack on clergy or nuns. “Ecrasez l’infame” and all that.

However the CURRENT issue is the controversy about the National Maternity Hospital and it is due to come to a head again at the end of this month – after the cooling-off period suggested by the Minister for Health. I suspect the ONLY result of the “cooling-off” is that journalists and politicians will no longer repeat the lie about the Sisters “owing” €3 million to the State. However this won’t be because of a new-found devotion to the truth but because THAT particular lie is no longer sustainable! Otherwise it will be back to business as usual and the Church needs to prepare itself.

I do indeed want to “focus on injustice in regards to nuns” but as I stated in a previous discussion, this has major implications for the laity – and for teachers most of all. See in particular comment # 4 in “The Oblates, the Minister and the Redress Board”

If the Sisters of Charity manage to handle the present crisis properly, namely by refusing to make concessions in the face of hysterical attacks, then it could discourage such attacks in future. And that will benefit lots of people apart from clergy or religious.

In that respect I was pleased to read the following in Valerie Hanley’s article in The Mail on Sunday on 23 April [2017]:
A source revealed: ‘The nuns are adamant that they have fulfilled all their obligations under the redress board. When something is repeated enough it becomes fact. There has been an awful lot of vitriol loaded on the nuns. There has been a nonsense argument going on all week and there is no basis for some of what has been said. Some of what has been said is prejudice for things that happened historically. It’s band-wagonism and politicians are running after it. The politicians should be doing better.

The nuns are annoyed and they consider some of the comments that have been made as being defamatory. I think their attitude now is ‘let the State go off and build their hospital on their own land’. [My Emphasis]

That’s all very well and I couldn’t agree more BUT the Sister’s comment is being made anonymously. My own fear is that – under pressure – the Sisters of Charity will cave in and authorise an amendment to the National Maternity Hospital Agreement approved in November 2016. In that case, their critics will rejoice and declare themselves victorious and vindicated. In previous comments I have detailed how the Sisters of MERCY were savaged because of their constant attempts to ingratiate themselves with people who hated them. I also have an article on the subject here:
Sisters of Mercy

I hope that the Sisters of Charity now understand the dangers of Appeasement – defined by one British newspaper in 1939 as “A clever plan of selling off your friends in order to buy off your enemies”.
(For the Sisters of Mercy, that worked the same way it did for Neville Chamberlain!)

[6]   Eddie Finnegan
May 19th, 2017 at 3:16 pm
The Leadership [of the Association of Catholic Priests]  very balanced statement on ‘The National Maternity Hospital’ on 10 May unfortunately diverted any comments to this discussion thread, thereby losing the importance of the points it made in four of its five paragraphs. Only PĆ”draig McCarthy referred to the statement [1] above, though Rory Connor@[5] once again returned to the wider question at greater length.

The statement’s Paragraphs 2&3 rightly pointed out: “In the current debate . . . . we consider some of the language and expressions being used about the Sisters, and indeed nuns in general, both in the media and by some public representatives, to be both distasteful and unfair.

In fact, if some of the things being said publicly about nuns today were being said about any other minority group, they would be clearly seen as highly inflammatory and viewed as being in violation of the laws against discrimination.”

The excellent letter from Sr Una Agnew SSL in today’s Irish Times [Time to reject caricatured view of nuns’] deserves to be reproduced within this discussion on the ACP forum.

As Sr Una puts it: “The derision with which the word ‘nun’ has been spoken on Irish television has cut to the heart of many who have put their lives on the line for values that are foundational to human flourishing . . . It is not nun-like to blow one’s own trumpet, yet no one is likely to do it for us, though many in high places have reason to be grateful.”

[7] Rory Connor
May 23rd, 2017 at 11:44 pm
Reply to Eddie 
I agree it’s a pity that the ACP Leadership diverted discussion on their National Maternity Hospital (NMH) statement to this thread. The “cooling-off” period called for by Health Minister Simon Harris, will come to an end shortly and we will probably face another barrage of hate-filled rhetoric directed at the Church and the Sisters of Charity. The discussion re Humanae Vitae is of limited relevance in this context.

Anyway I have just re-located Breda O’Brien’s article in the Irish Times regarding the abuse being hurled at the Sisters of Charity. Dated 6 May, the heading is “Mob Mentality Over Religious Orders Has Gone Too Far”. She quotes Professor Roy Greenslade regarding the way the McCann parents were treated after the disappearance of their daughter Madelaine (and the current hysteria is similar):
"It was like being in front of a mob – and you realized there is no wisdom in the mob. And it’s been terrible since”.

Ms O’Brien compares the atmosphere to that which led to the false conviction for rape of (former Sister of Mercy) Nora Wall who was accused of holding down a 12 year old girl so that the equally innocent Paul (Pablo) McCabe could rape her. She reminds us that both were convicted in the immediate aftermath of RTE’s broadcast of Mary Raftery’s “States of Fear” programmes in 1999. She could well have added that both were accused shortly after the broadcast by RTE of the “Dear Daughter” programme in 1996.

Nora Wall was the first woman in the State to be convicted of rape, the first person to receive a life sentence for rape, the first to be convicted of evidence given after “recovered memory”. These are “firsts” but there is also an “only”. There were TWO rape allegations against Wall and McCabe, one supposedly having occurred on the “victim’s” 12th birthday. Pablo McCabe was a homeless man but by an extra-ordinary chance there WAS an official record of where he was on that that particular day – and it was nowhere near the site of the “rape”. No problem for the jury. They acquitted the two defendants of that rape but convicted them of the second one for which no specific date was given! I think I can safely state that this is the ONLY time in the history of the State in which such an event has occurred – or will ever occur. An accused person is supposed to be “innocent until proven guilty” and if an accuser tells an obvious lie, then that should be the end for the prosecution. In fact the Prosecution were able to overcome that obstacle because Nora Wall had been a nun and anti-clerical hysteria trumped every rational consideration!

Anti-clerical hysteria continues to triumph over reason and morality in “liberal” secular Ireland. Breda O’Brien also refers to RTE’s libeling of Fr Kevin Reynolds in May 2011 by accusing him of impregnating and abandoning a young Kenyan woman. Fr Reynolds offered to take a DNA test but RTE ignored the offer and went ahead with the broadcast anyway – thus exposing themselves to a huge libel payout. Note that a NORMAL conman (i.e. one motivated by the desire for money or fame) would have seen the alarm signals and backed out at that stage but people motivated by ideological hatred (in the form of anti-clericalism) behave differently.

Am I being too strident? Well an earlier Irish Times article by Breda O’Brien regarding Judge Harding Clark’s report on the Symphysiotomy “scandal” is also relevant here. How many people still recall this fake scandal that occupied media headlines for a mere 17 years – prior to the publication of the judge’s report in November 2016?
Why Did So Many Women Say They Had Symphysiotomies?
Sensationalist consensus may overlook one third of applicants who never had procedure.
……But medical experts proved that a third of those who made applications, including some very vociferous and active campaigners, had never had the procedure at all.

Other applicants claimed to have had it in hospitals that were not yet built, or to have had it carried out by doctors who were not there, and “in several statements the applicant claimed being held down by nuns (in hospitals where there were no nuns) while she was being ‘assaulted’.”…..

Again this has an obvious link to the false allegations against Nora Wall and Pablo McCabe. It also helps to explain the thuggish rhetoric being directed at the Sisters of Charity today.

[8] Rory Connor
May 25th, 2017 at 12:13 pm
I see there are two articles in the Irish Medical Times on the National Maternity Hospital controversy – both significant in their own way and I commented on the one by Doctor Ruairi Hanley “Minister Build That Hospital”.

You have to register (although there is no charge) so I will quote what I see as the most important section:
….Regrettably, there is another factor in this dispute that has taken us beyond mere clinical disagreement. Over the past month, a baying liberal cyber mob has entered the fray and all sense of perspective has been lost. Please note, I am not referring here to those colleagues who have genuine concerns about this project. As already stated, I disagree with these people, but I respect their view.

No, the group that I find beyond parody are the extreme liberal, Catholic-hating online brigade who appear to think that a giant abortion clinic is the most important priority for South Dublin. I suspect some of these people will not be satisfied until a few nuns are imprisoned and the Catholic Church is effectively eradicated from any involvement in Irish society.

Liberal outrage
The vicious, obnoxious tone of some members of this new mob is truly appalling. They have turned on Dr Rhona Mahony, an outstanding and dedicated obstetrician who is a role model for Irish women. But, let’s be honest, the cool gang could not care less about the facts. Once they heard mention of nuns the red mist descended and it was then we moved to a classic liberal outrage contest.

For these individuals, online perception is always more important than clinical outcome. In their world it is apparently acceptable for this project to be sabotaged, with negative consequences for women and children, so long as a few elderly nuns get a good cyber-kicking.

Naturally, if the mob gets their way the hospital will be delayed at a cost of tens of millions of euro to the taxpayer. In my opinion, this would undoubtedly be the most expensive act of online ‘virtue signalling’ in human history. [My emphasis]

As an aside, I make no apologies for pointing out that the Catholic Church has done enormous good work in healthcare for the poorest in society over the past century, even if I am one of the only doctors in Ireland willing to say this publicly. …..

[9] Rory Connor
May 26th, 2017 at 6:53 pm
The second article in the Irish Medical Times “A Complicated Delivery” (by editor Dara Gantly) is equally significant – although for slightly different reasons.

In relation to the ownership issue Dara Gantly writes that
..Talk is now of a possible long-term lease (999 years anyone?) at a nominal or ‘peppercorn rent’.

It’s a curious development, given that the terms of agreement between the Holles Street and the St Vincent’s Hospital Group (SVHG) clearly stated that both hospitals realised this mediation process represented “the final opportunity to reach agreement on the project”, and that the Minister previously didn’t want to renegotiate it. …..

Indeed and if the Sisters of Charity are so foolish as to agree to this further re-negotiation of the Agreement, the “baying mob” referred to by Doctor Ruairi Hanley [comment #[8] will declare themselves vindicated and victorious. And let not the Sisters suppose that the mob will be content with their victory!

Mr Gantly concludes his article with the following:
What is of further interest now is that the Minister [for Health] wants to begin a “broader conversation” about the structure of our health service, including the role of voluntary hospitals and the interest religious congregations have in them. This has been happening in education (slowly mind), so we should not be too surprised to see it start in Health.

“That is a good thing and I want to separately put in place a process to facilitate that broader conversation which is long overdue and which will, rightfully, take some time,” Minister Harris has noted. ..

And what will be the nature of this conversation IF Minister Harris sees that the Sisters of Charity and the Church will not stand up for themselves but will attempt to conciliate the mob? When politicians and the media claimed that the Sisters owed €3 million in “compensation”, it was not the Minister for Health, but a Daily Mail journalist who queried the Department of Education and discovered that the Sisters owed nothing and in fact had over-paid! [See comment # [3]]

If the Sisters of Charity attempt to appease the mob in relation to the National Maternity Hospital, then reason and logic will NOT feature in the future “broader conversation” referred to by Simon Harris!


An article on the ACP website called The New National Maternity Hospital and the Religious Sisters of Charity features a Statement by Sister Mary Christian that details the Sisters' self-abasement before the mob. It begins:
The Religious Sisters of Charity will end our involvement in St Vincent’s Healthcare Group and will not be involved in the ownership or management of the new National Maternity Hospital...
I commented as follows:

[10] Rory Connor
June 2nd, 2017 at 9:13 pm
I had a number of comments on a previous ACP article Catholic Ethos and Other Mysteries including numbers [8] and [9] that referred to articles in the Irish Medical Times. I am reproducing #[9] here. It is very relevant as the Sisters of Charity have not just caved in to vicious and lying allegations; their Statement does not even refer to such allegations. Is anyone really deceived as to their motivation?

[I then repeated the previous comment above which ended with a prediction:
If the Sisters of Charity attempt to appease the mob in relation to the National Maternity Hospital, then reason and logic will NOT feature in the future “broader conversation” referred to by Simon Harris! ]

[11] Rory Connor
June 5th, 2017 at 6:50 pm
In a previous comment (#57 in the “Catholic Ethos and Other Mysteries” discussion #[8] above) I quoted from an article by Doctor Ruairi Hanley in the Irish Medical Times entitled “Minister Build That Hospital”. Doctor Hanley refers to “a baying liberal cyber mob”, their “vicious, obnoxious tone” and continues
“as an aside, I make no apologies for pointing out that the Catholic Church has done enormous good work in healthcare for the poorest in society over the past century, even if I am one of the only doctors in Ireland willing to say this publicly.“[My emphasis]

One reason why other doctors are unwilling to say this publicly, is that they will be undermined by the craven response of the Catholic authorities whose sole concern is to abase themselves before their slanderers. Last year, I corresponded with a man who had done good work in the past in defending falsely accused clergy and religious. However his response in 2016 was that he would not stick out his neck on behalf of people who were not prepared to defend themselves; naturally my request had related to nuns! His attitude – and that of other fair-minded people – can only be reinforced by the recent Statement from the leadership of the Religious Sisters of Charity.

I wonder what would have been the attitude of Jews if they had been attacked in similar fashion? Suppose that a Jewish group had offered to donate land for a hospital under precisely the same conditions as those agreed in November 2016 between Holles St and St Vincents. Suppose that the media and politicians erupted with hate-filled lies – including claims that the Jewish group committed “atrocities” against children, “experimented on [a child] for vaccine trials” and owed the State €3 million. Suppose that the Government Ministers responsible failed to defend the Jewish group against the lies and it was left up to a Daily Mail journalist to find out – via a Freedom of Information request – that the Jewish group owed nothing and had actually overpaid!

Of course, one reason that this would never happen is that the Jewish group would immediately defend its slandered members and take legal action against those responsible. Anti-Semites know this and are very mindful of the risks they would be facing. (For a recent illustration of this process at work try googling the names of the late Lord Greville Janner and his son Queen’s Counsel, Daniel Janner. One article you will find in ‘Police Professional’ on 30 May 2017 is headed “Historical Abuse Accusers Drop Claims against Lord Janner.”)

So Anti-Semites have to be very careful – but NOT anti-clerics and in particular not anti-clerics who tell lies about nuns. There have been a few occasions in which MALE clergy have successfully sued false accusers but the leaders of female religious congregations have always preferred the Appeasement approach. This has worked for the Catholic Church in much the same way it did for Neville Chamberlain in the 1930s i.e. it encourages further attacks from people who recognise moral cowardice when they see it. I wrote an article on this topic a few years ago and little has changed since then:
Sisters of Mercy

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Sister Stanislaus Kennedy and False Allegations against The Sisters of Charity [1]

Sister Stan Apologises but Defends Nuns against "Elder Abuse"


Sister Stanislaus Kennedy was the victim of obscene and lying allegations from the late Mary Raftery in 1999. She was subjected to  a barrage of abuse from Irish "liberal" journalists for months - until the social worker who was supposed to have informed her about the sexual abuse of children in the 1970s wrote to the Irish Times to state that he had done no such thing. Nothing discouraged, Sister Stan publicly apologised in 2009 for the alleged abuse of children by the Sisters of Charity. In 2015 she bravely defied the Irish Bishops to announce she was voting in favour of same-sex marriage.  Then in 2017 she expressed her surprise at the new barrage of abuse directed at the Sisters of Charity during a controversy over the transfer of the National Maternity Hospital which they had founded in the 19th century. She described the lies hurled at her colleagues as "Elder Abuse" -  a description which some would regard as pitifully inadequate.

Sister Stan is very much on the left "liberal" wing of the Irish Church and has been criticised by conservatives both inside and outside the Church. However it seems to have escaped her attention that the only people to resort to obscene abuse and lies are her own "liberal" friends!

[ For a conservative critique of Sister Stan's political and economic ideas see the article by Richard Miller of the Edmund Burke Institute "Sister Stan's Road to Serfdom" ]


1999 Mary Raftery and Sister Stanislaus Kennedy (1)
[Irish Times, Letters Page,  22 December 1999 ]


Sir - In relation to the recent controversy regarding whether or not Sister Stan knew about sexual abuse in Kilkenny in the late 1970s I would like to put the record straight.

I was the childcare worker referred to in the States of Fear programme and in the book Suffer the Little Children, who resigned from St. Joseph's Kilkenny in 1977.

I did not tell Sr Stan at any stage that children were being sexually abused in St. Joseph's because I myself was unaware that sexual abuse was occurring.

It was in 1995/1996 that I got my first inkling that children had been sexually abused in 1977, almost 20 years after it is alleged that I told Sr Stan.

It is my belief today, as it was then, that Sister Stan did everything she could in 1977 regarding the children in St. Joseph's.

Yours etc


1999 Mary Raftery and Sister Stanislaus (2) 

Extract from SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN by Mary Raftery and Eoin O'Sullivan

".While the publication of the Kennedy Report was greeted with considerable publicity and wide approval, it was clear that neither the State nor the Catholic Church shared that enthusiasm for change....... A year after the report had been published, one of the civil servants on the Kennedy Committee was to receive the full brunt of criticism from the Catholic Church. At the Church's major seminar on child care in Killarney in 1971, he was called into a room and held to account by the Bishop of Kerry, Eamon Casey, and by Sister Stanislaus Kennedy, even at that stage a major force in the history of child care. They wanted to know how it was that the Department of Education could have presided over a report which gave the religious orders so little credit for their great work on behalf of children for so many decades"

Mary Raftery gives the source of the above account as an article by Fintan O'Toole "Not Asking Questions Cold Again Fail Children" Irish Times 21 May 1999. When journalist Breda O'Brien questioned this story she came under attack by Fintan O'Toole. The following is an extract from Breda O'Brien's response in the Irish Times on 10 January 2000. Her article is entitled "A Search for the Truth Does Not Question Reality of Child Abuse".

"On December 10th, 1999, Fintan O'Toole declares that "Breda O'Brien, a sincere and committed journalist, has made extravagant claims about her own alleged ability to uncover flawed research in SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN.." (One shudders to think what an insincere and uncommitted journalist might be capable of)..........................

O'Toole claims that in the 1970s, Sister Stan, along with Bishop Casey, in a private room berated the two civil servants from the Department of Justice and Education who sat on the Kennedy Committee. O'Toole claims sources who say that this incident happened.

My sources who say it did not happen are; Sister Stan: Risteard MacConcradha, the representative of the Department of Justice; Antoin O'Gormain, the representative of the Department of Education; and Richard O'Donovan, of the Department of Education, secretary to the Kennedy Committee. Who are O'Toole's "sources"? Bishop Casey perhaps?" [Highlighting is mine. RC ]

2005 Mary Raftery Slandered Bishop Peter Birch (3)
In the early 1960’s Sr Stanislaus was sent to Kilkenny to work alongside the Bishop of Ossory Peter Birch in developing Kilkenny Social Services. For nineteen years  until his death in 1981, Bishop Birch was guide and mentor to Sr. Stanislaus as the Kilkenny social services developed into an innovative, comprehensive model of community care becoming a blue-print for the rest of Ireland. Naturally he also attracted the attention of Mary Raftery!

In March 2005 Mary Raftery wrote in the Irish Times - in relation to St Joseph's residential school in Kilkenny run by the Sisters of Charity:
Several of these children, as young as four, were subjected to over a decade of continuous and savage abuse both physical and sexual. We know that a number of them told adults of the torture that they were suffering. We know that a number of prominent individuals, including the local bishop, Dr. Peter Birch, and Sister Stanislaus Kennedy, were made aware of some of the allegations of abuse. We know that for the children concerned little or nothing happened as a result of their complaints.

When challenged by the Superior General of the Sisters of Charity Mary Raftery replied:
 I neither stated nor implied that Bishop Birch was aware that boys at St. Joseph's were being sexually abused.
The connivance of the Irish media ensured that Ms Raftery was allowed to get away with her blatant lies!


The Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (Ryan Report) was published on 20 May 2009 and depicted residential institutions run by the Catholic Church over decades as places where sexual and physical abuse were endemic. As per Wikipedia "The Report's conclusions section (Chapter 6) supports the overall tenor of the accusations without exception

In effect the Commission ignored allegations that were clearly false while accepting as true any accusation of abuse that the religious orders could not prove was false!

2009 Sr Stan apologises to abuse victims
Sister Stanislaus Kennedy - Sorry and ashamed
[ RTE News Wednesday, 1 Jul 2009

Sister Stanislaus Kennedy has apologised unreservedly to survivors of child abuse in Catholic-run institutions. Sr Stan said the Sisters of Charity were sad, sorry and ashamed that children suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse while under their care. 
She also said that the order must now live up to its financial responsibilities.

Sr Stan is a prominent campaigner for homeless people.

The order is holding a conference on social justice in Dublin today.

The Ryan report into institutional child abuse [and] the economic downturn will be discussed at the conference.

Sr Miriam Hennessey of the Sisters of Charity told the conference that the findings of the report were 'overwhelming and disturbing' for all her nuns. On behalf of the congregation, she apologised again to all past pupils for what took place in the institutions under the congregation's care.

President Mary McAleese has described the institutional abuse of children as 'a millstone of biblical proportions in Irish history'. Addressing a conference organised, she said the abuse of some of the children in the nuns' care was a sad chapter in their history, which calls for resilience, determination, humility and focus in the journey of amending and healing that lies ahead.


2015   Sr Stan to vote in favour of same sex marriage
Well-known social activist at odds with Catholic hierarchy on referendum stance
[ Irish Times, 11 May 2015 by Carl O'Brien]

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy has announced she will vote in favour of same-sex marriage in the forthcoming referendum.

I have thought a lot about this,” she told The Irish Times. “I am going to vote Yes in recognition of the gay community as full members of society. They should have an entitlement to marry. It is a civil right and a human right.”

Sr Stan (75), as she is widely known, is a member of the congregation of the Religious Sisters of Charity and founder of the homeless support organisation Focus Ireland.

When asked how she reconciled her position with the Catholic Church’s teaching on the issue, she said she was speaking in a personal capacity.

I have a big commitment to equality for all members of society. It’s what my life has been about. We have discriminated against members of the gay and lesbian community for too long. This is a way of embracing them as full members of society.”

She was speaking following a contribution to a conference on the impact of austerity policies organised by the trade union Unite.

Catholic Church leaders, however, have strongly supported a No vote in the referendum.  Earlier this month, the Catholic primate Archbishop Eamon Martin reiterated the church’s opposition to same-sex unions on the basis that they were not “similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.” .....

NOTE: The five justices of the UK Supreme Court recently ruled that the refusal of Asher's Bakery in Belfast to make a cake with a slogan supporting same-sex marriage was not discriminatory. The dispute began in 2014 and even some LGBT people thought it was a mistake to push the issue. What is Sister's Stan's view?


2017  Depiction of Sisters of Charity Like ‘Elder Abuse’, Says Sr Stan 

Nun was shocked by some of the ‘very distasteful’ media coverage of the order
[Irish Times, Saturday  3 June 2017, article by Paul Cullen]

The depiction of the Sisters of Charity during the recent controversy over the transfer of the National Maternity Hospital to St Vincent’s hospital was akin to elder abuse, according to one of the order’s best-known members.

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy said she was shocked and surprised by the scale of the controversy over St Vincent’s and the criticisms levelled at her order. “It shook me, it really did.”

During the controversy, very little thought was given to the background of the Sisters of Charity and the work its members had done over the years, she said. She said her order had been depicted as “a power-grabbing congregation” and “a group of old ladies who didn’t know what they were doing”. “A lot of the stuff that came out in the media about us was very hurtful. There was a lot of misunderstanding and misrepresentation. It was very distasteful.”

Sr Stanislaus, the founder of Focus Ireland and the Immigrant Council of Ireland, said her order had been depicted as “a power-grabbing congregation” and “a group of old ladies who didn’t know what they were doing”. In another context, this would come under elder abuse,” said the 78-year-old nun.

The controversy was sparked by the revelation last month [May 2017] that the Sisters of Charity would own the National Maternity Hospital when it moved from Holles Street to St Vincent’s because it owns the wider campus. Critics claimed the State was “gifting” the new facility to the order, which could have undue influence on the maternity hospital.

However, last Monday, the order announced it was withdrawing completely from St Vincent’s and would therefore have no involvement in the NMH when it moves.

Minister for Health Simon Harris will next week tell Cabinet his plans for the €300 million project, which is fully supported by both hospitals.

Homeless work
Sr Stanislaus pointed out that Sisters of Charity has a long-term record of giving properties away. Thirty years ago, it led the way for other orders by providing Stanhope Street convent in central Dublin for use as housing for the homeless.

The order had also provided properties at the North Circular Road, Richmond Road, Harold’s Cross and Baldoyle in Dublin, and in Cork and Waterford, for housing and other charitable purposes.
 “We are a hard-working, humble congregation that did its work for years without much notice.”
We are a hard-working, humble congregation that did its work for years without much notice
The order gave “quietly, without bells and whistles” but fulfilled what it set out to do in terms of honouring the aims of its founders, Sr Mary Aikenhead, she said.

Sr Stanislaus said she knew nuns working in St Vincent’s who had given their lives for the needs of the powerless. “I might be better-known in the media, but I couldn’t hold a candle to these colleagues in terms of lifelong dedication.”

Asked whether the order should have done more to put its point of view across, Sr Stanislaus said she could understand why the Sisters would not want to go before “the barrage of the media”.

Although she was not involved in the discussions about withdrawing from St Vincent’s, she said she was aware “for a number of years” this was under discussion.

Asked whether complete withdrawal had been contemplated, or whether this was a response to the controversy, she said: “I think we would have withdrawn anyway. That was the plan.”


I have given prominence to what might be regarded as a minor episode i.e. the claim by Mary Raftery and Fintan O'Toole that at a Conference meeting in 1971, Sister Stan berated a civil servant who sat on the Kennedy Committee on child care for failing to give credit to the Church for its work on behalf of children. This is hardly the worst of the thuggish attacks directed at Sister Stanislaus Kennedy and the Sisters of Charity. However it has its own significance. This is NOT one person's word against another's.  Every civil servant who attended the Conference, confirmed to journalist Breda O'Brien that no such episode took place. So where did Raftery and O'Toole get their data from? The same place that an anti-Semite gets his information about Jews?

I have a personal interest in the episode where Mary Raftery slandered Dr. Peter Birch. In the 1960s our Novice Master Brother Maurice Kirk used to speak to us about the Bishop of Ossory and the then De La Salle Novitiate in Castletown, Co. Laois is in the diocese of Ossory!

Sister Stanislaus did finally speak out last year in the wake of the controversy about the National Maternity Hospital. Her description of the torrent of lies directed at her colleagues as "Elder Abuse" was inadequate and seems to suggest that Catholic nuns are just another group of "vulnerable victims". I don't think she understands what type of society we are living in - or that the liberal Catholics who helped to create it have a moral obligation to try to undo some of the damage they have done!. (For example see my previous article "The Apologies of the Sisters of Mercy...")

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Apologies of the Sisters of Mercy - and the Visit of Pope Francis to Ireland

Chief Apologiser Sister Helena O'Donoghue 

I have an article on my old website concerning the Irish Sisters of Mercy - and their policy of abasing themselves before people who make false allegations of child abuse. It begins as follows:
Together with the Christian Brothers, the Sisters of Mercy have been THE major target for false accusations since at least 1996. The Sisters policy of apologising to false accusers has had disastrous consequences - and not only for themselves. They appear to believe that a false accuser is a "deeply hurt" person and that an apology will lead to "healing and reconciliation". The outcome of this policy is that no distinction is made between vicious fraudsters and people who may have a genuine grievance. Not surprisingly, their apologies have been met with loathing and ridicule but other religious orders have followed suit and eventually the Bishops themselves, (even though the latter had initially defended themselves strongly to the extent of suing media that slandered them).

I recently posted two comments on an article in America Magazine entitled U.S. Sisters Demand Action on Sexual Abuse Crisis by Michael J. O'Loughlin. The "action" the American Sisters are demanding is that they be protected from sexual abuse and harassment "
perpetrated by those in positions of trust in the church community". [my emphasis]. This demand does not seem to refer to harassment from persons making false allegations of child abuse, child rape and child murder. Do American nuns really not face this problem - which is a major issue in Ireland? Or can it be that the group referred to in the article the "Leadership Conference of Women Religious" [LCMR] have no interest in defending their falsely accused colleagues? The latter is certainly the case in Ireland. The Irish counterpart of the the American group is the Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland [AMRI] . This Association is led by the Sisters of Mercy who have gone out of their way in attempting to appease people who despise them!

First Comment re Article "US Sisters Demand Action on Sexual Abuse Crisis"

Rory Connor  - 7 August 2018
I sent a message to the American Religious Sisters of Mercy concerning their counterparts in Ireland; the latter took the side of people who made false allegations of child rape and murder against their own colleagues - and failed to withdraw their support from false accusers even when the Court of Criminal Appeal issued a Certificate of Miscarriage of Justice to one former nun! I wrote:

Regarding the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland, can the Irish Sisters take this opportunity to withdraw their apology to the accusers of Nora Wall (formerly Sister Dominic). See Wikipedia article on Nora Wall. Also reprimand our current Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan for repeating in 2009 a libel for which Nora Wall had received damages from the Sunday World in 2002. He did so under Parliamentary Privilege and the Irish Sisters said nothing at the time.

My blog is and the Profile section contains a link to my Background.

Finally the Irish Sisters should withdraw their apology to the Howe family who accused Sister Xavieria Lally of murdering baby Marion Howe with a red hot poker in 1955. The Howe's made that claim in an article in the Daily Mirror on 11 October 1997. Try googling the headline

Daily Mirror executives rightly believed that the Sisters of Mercy would not object and would prevent Sister Xavieria from defending herself or suing for libel. An article in the far more "respectable" Irish Times on the same date observed: "Why then has the order issued qualified apologies? Why has it paid compensation to the Howes, albeit a relatively meagre sum? Is there not a tacit admission here that what these people say happened did happen? Or are we to believe that the Sisters of Mercy have taken to paying compensation and issuing apologies for things that didn't happen at all?"

In contrast Nora Wall, no longer a Sister of Mercy, successfully sued the Sunday World for libel in 2002, received a Certificate of Miscarriage of Justice from the Court of Criminal Appeal in 2005 and successfully sued the Irish Government and Director of Public Prosecutions in 2016 (after a battle lasting a decade which her former colleagues ignored). Sister Xavieria is now deceased but is owed an apology by her colleagues who betrayed her and allowed her to be vilified precisely because she did NOT leave the Congregation. The visit of Pope Francis, the Pope of compassion should motivate those colleagues to repent and - at the very least - withdraw their apologies to those who slandered Nora Wall and Sister Xavieria.

No reply from either the Irish Sisters of Mercy - or their American counterparts. I presume the latter are part of the group who are now criticising the Bishops for failing to protect nuns!!

Second Comment re Article "US Sisters Demand Action on Sexual Abuse Crisis"

Elaine Boyle - 8 August 2018
Laicize, excommunicate, prosecute

Rory Connor - 10 August 2018
WHO exactly do you mean? My information about the Religious Sisters of Mercy in Ireland is that there was a conflict between Liberals and Conservatives in the Congregation about how to deal with a avalanche of allegations, some of which were impossible to disprove 40 or 50 years later but others were either proven to be false (rape allegations against Nora Wall and Pablo McCabe) or OBVIOUSLY ludicrous from the beginning (murder allegation against the late Sister Xavieria Lally).

The Conservatives wanted the Congregation leaders to defend the innocent and to condemn false accusers. The "Liberals" - who predominated in the leadership - took the view that even women who told obvious lies about the nuns must have been deeply hurt by the Church in order to say such things; therefore the proper response to their pain was to apologise to them and to pay "compensation", for which no proof of wrongdoing would be required. By a truly incredible co-incidence, the younger liberal leaders who took this decision were not themselves the target of the obscene allegations - it was the older nuns who objected to this approach and it was THEY who were thrown to the wolves!

The above article by Michael J. McLoughlin is entitled "U.S. Sisters Demand Action on Sexual Abuse Crisis". Would I be correct in assuming that the Leadership Conference of Women Religious whom he quotes, have never condemned false allegations against clergy or nuns? Also that the Religious Sisters of Mercy in the USA are members of this Leadership Conference??

Apart from the Wikipedia article on Nora Wall, there is an article by Breda O'Brien in the Irish Jesuit Review 'Studies' entitled "Miscarriage of Justice: Paul McCabe and Nora Wall"

It focuses on the homeless schizophrenic man whom the Irish Sisters of Mercy ALSO betrayed. (See NOTES [1] and [2])

"Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength"

The above quote comes from the King James Bible translation of Psalm 8:2. In this particular case, strength and wisdom come from the internet magazine SpikedOnLine which is edited by atheist Irishman Brendan O'Neill. A recent article "Can Poetry Survive Outrage Culture" was penned by writer Candice Holdsworth. It concerns the sad fate of a poet Anders Carlson-Wee who was savaged by an online social,media mob for a poem published in the (very liberal) Nation magazine last month. Once the mob denounced the poem as non-PC, the two poetry editors at the Nation who had accepted it, completely backed away from the work and published an apology, which they posted above the poem. They said they had made ‘a serious mistake’, were sorry ‘for the pain we have caused to the many communities affected by this poem’, and planned to ‘earn the trust back’ of their readers. Poet Carlson-Wee also grovelled. 

It's very reminiscent of the behaviour of the Irish Sisters of Mercy abasing themselves before false accusers in the hope of "healing their pain" and "promoting reconciliation"! Two readers who commented on Holdsworth's article explained the mentality very well.

The poet's self-abasement had the usual effect - the mob smelled blood and doubled-down on the claimed outrage. His cringing and cowering statement was itself deemed 'problematic' and full of 'thought-crime'.

Never apologise to these buggers, it won't get them off your back. You can never be apologetic enough and they don't ever accept it as contrition, just as an admission of guilt for which there is no redemption.

Mark Beal reply to mouseketeery 
Besides, does anyone actually believe the apologies? They only thing the apologizing party achieves is severely diminishing the amount of respect anyone has for them, and probably their own self-respect.

NOTES regarding Pablo McCabe

[1] Paul (Pablo) McCabe was Nora Wall's co-accused and the "homeless schizophrenic man whom the Irish Sisters of Mercy ALSO betrayed". He was the ultimate victim of this miscarriage of justice. Obviously he had no money but prior to 1999, no woman had ever been convicted of rape in Ireland so Regina Walsh fingered him as the main rapist and claimed that Nora Wall had held her down while Pablo had raped her. Her intention was to claim "compensation" from the Sisters of Mercy; Pablo was "collateral damage"!

Breda O'Brien's article in Studies Review in Winter 2006 focuses on Paul McCabe and indicates how the very Merciful Sisters originally favoured him:

Paul McCabe addressed a Diocesan Gathering of Mercy Sisters in Gracedieu in Waterford in 1988. His account tells of being born in Dublin in 1949 to a single mother. She struggled on until Paul was three, but she ‘had great difficulty in working, paying for accommodation and paying someone to look after me.” Thus he came to live in what was to become known as the “ old St. Michael’s”, a junior industrial school run by the Sisters of Mercy in Cappoquin. His memories of that time are “very happy ones of caring and interested women.” He then went to the Industrial School at Artane, Dublin, which he found traumatic, as it had “over nine hundred boys in a very strict set-up.”.....

So when Pablo could be presented as a victim of the Patriarchy, the Sisters allowed him to  address one of their annual meetings. It's difficult to imagine John Charles McQuaid, the doyen of the Irish Catholic Church in the  20th century doing anything similar. But McQuaid would never have betrayed an innocent man (and one of his own priests) as the Sisters betrayed Pablo McCabe and Nora Wall!

[2] This is the text of the Sisters of Mercy apology to Regina Walsh - as per the Wikipedia article on the case:
"We are all devastated by the revolting crimes which resulted in these verdicts. Our hearts go out to this young woman who, as a child, was placed in our care. Her courage in coming forward was heroic. We beg anyone who was abused whilst in our care to go to the GardaĆ­."

The article continues:
Even after the collapse of the case against the two accused, the Sisters of Mercy made no effort to apologise to Wall or to withdraw their statement of support for Walsh. One commentator remarked: "The young woman their hearts were going out to, was the false accuser, not their own innocent nun. Our absolutist system had seduced them into identifying with the accuser and betraying their own sister."

The media which had savaged Nora Wall ("Vile Nun", "Pervert Nun", "I Was Raped by Anti-Christ") put no pressure on the leaders of the Sisters of Mercy to withdraw their apology. As for their own consciences - well perhaps the visit of Pope Francis will cause the Merciful Sisters to reconsider their behaviour??