The Catholic Church was always a very, very important part of Dolores' life. Dolores gave the Church a life of devotion and sacrifice, and lifelong support from both her person and purse. She was especially fond of the Franciscans. She was a Pioneer. Even in her late seventies she would ride her bike to church to attend mass on a near daily basis.
[Editor's note: Dolores-Maxwell.com is in receipt of very disturbing evidence that Ethan made a concerted attack on Dolores' faith. We think that because she relied on her faith so strongly for comfort and strength, Ethan was compelled to try to destroy it.]
The morning after her visit with her mom on December 3, 2009, Saoirse sought out Dolores' local parish priest, Father Tom, in Rosslare. She described to him the events of the previous day , earlier instances of Dolores and Cecil being abused by Ethan, and endeavoured to enlist his aid. Perhaps at the least Father Tom would talk to Dolores and encourage her to let what was happening to her be known, to seek and accept help. Maybe this divine would become her advocate, in imitation of Christ. Dolores was also part of a Rosary group in Rosslare. Saoirse hoped also that apart from official help, because Dolores was such a part of the Catholic community, ways would be found to support and protect her on a more personal level.
It should be noted that Father Tom was new to the parish, and hardly knew Dolores. In any event, for whatever reason, Father Tom became virtually unreachable after this initial contact and as far as can be discovered was no help and effected no change in this matter of Dolores being abused. [Editor's note: If anyone differs in this assessment, please let us know. We would love to be wrong in our conclusion. Contact us here, anonymously if desired.]
Expectations were low regarding the Church helping to stop this abuse of Dolores. It was a shot in the dark, and Saoirse was casting her net wide seeking aid for Dolores. Saoirse was disappointed, but not surprised at this silence from Dolores' priest. There were plenty of people with the ability to help Dolores; but the list of the willing was shrinking.
[Editor's notes: It cannot be denied any longer that the Catholic Church invested much more in protecting abusers than helping victims. The “Secret System” of silence and victimizing the victims over and over is no longer hidden. This system was nowhere in the world more prevalent than in Ireland, on a per capita basis. The Church and its employees were often the perpetrators. Some of Dolores' sons know of this on a first-hand basis. It was indeed prudent for the Catholic Church in Ireland to obtain insurance against claims of abuse in 1987.
We have spoken about this attitude of protecting the abuser and victimising the abused as though it were in the past tense. It is not. See this account from the Irish Independent for a recent example. The damage the Catholic Church in Ireland has inflicted upon itself is legion. See “The Irish Affliction”. To say trust is broken is inadequate. Let us refer to the words of Judge Geoffrey Browne when a man before his bench on charges sought to have his parish priest provide a character reference: “I don't want a reference from a parish priest. I have not time for that.” For an accessible account of how the Catholic Church protects the perpetrators of abuse, no better source can be had than “The Power and The Glory” by David Yallop.
We believe that the attitudes of misogyny and blaming the victim that pervade Irish society have to be considered when trying to understand why it was so difficult to get anyone to hear of Dolores' plight. This is a society that allowed the Catholic Church and Government in lockstep to incarcerate rape victims and force them to perform slave labour, while the rapists were never called to account (and this up until the 1990's). This is a society that averted their eyes from the systemic and systematic abuse of tens of thousands of children for decades. It is no wonder that the default position of most is silence in the face of evil. It still goes on. Victim statements of child abuse perpetrated by Ethan were reported to the HSE while Dolores was in hospital. These also were not pursued.]
Saoirse turned to her brothers and sisters. Surely Dolores' children would have no hesitation standing up for their mother.
The Preamble to the Irish Constitution: