This sound suspiciously like the pope is suggesting that that old bugaboo secularism lies at the root of this Irish problem! Leave it to the pope to set us all straight:
In almost every family in Ireland, there has been someone – a son or a daughter, an aunt or an uncle – who has given his or her life to the Church. Irish families rightly esteem and cherish their loved ones who have dedicated their lives to Christ, sharing the gift of faith with others, and putting that faith into action in loving service of God and neighbour.
In recent decades, however, the Church in your country has had to confront new and serious challenges to the faith arising from the rapid transformation and secularization of Irish society. Fast-paced social change has occurred, often adversely affecting people’s traditional adherence to Catholic teaching and values. All too often, the sacramental and devotional practices that sustain faith and enable it to grow, such as frequent confession, daily prayer and annual retreats, were neglected. Significant too was the tendency during this period, also on the part of priests and religious, to adopt ways of thinking and assessing secular realities without sufficient reference to the Gospel. The programme of renewal proposed by the Second Vatican Council was sometimes misinterpreted and indeed, in the light of the profound social changes that were taking place, it was far from easy to know how best to implement it. In particular, there was a well-intentioned but misguided tendency to avoid penal approaches to canonically irregular situations.
It is in this overall context that we must try to understand the disturbing problem of child sexual abuse.
How refreshing it is to see that the Vatican has taken on its fair share of the responsibility. Oh, that’s right; it is blameless, of course. Silly me. Why should senior leadership in any organization take any responsibility whatsoever for the actions taken under its policies and procedures, right? It’s not like the two are associated in any way if the effect of those policies and procedures is negative; that’s always the fault of middle management… which helps explain why, after all, this whole Irish problem of sex abuse brought about by rapid secularization is obviously a problem for Irish catholic churches to overcome their failure.