In particular she argues that this is not just something involving errant clergy but the whole of Irish society. She writes:
Yet this clerical power in Ireland is often misunderstood by intellectuals, who analyse it as a top-down social structure, as if the clergy kept an iron hold on an unwilling populace. I would suggest that it was what we would call market driven. It came from the peoples’ faith, and the peoples’ desire to exalt their faith.
Especially after the disappearance of British rule, with all the gorgeous panoply that the Crown displayed, the people wanted the priests to be “a native nobility”. Irish politicians in the 1950s tumbled over themselves in their eagerness to kneel before a bishop and refer to an archbishop as “His Grace.
Yet to be fully understood, these scandals must be seen within the context of Irish history. The Catholic church in Ireland wasn’t “them”, it was “us”. It was our fathers and mothers and sisters and cousins and aunts. It was all those families and kin who must have covered up abuse — as families do.