ShareThe “neglected” sacraments and devotional practices that the Pope says could have prevented this did not just wither on the vine: they were actively discouraged by bishops and priests. In the period when this abuse was rampant, there was just one mortal sin in the Catholic Church: daring to celebrate or attend the Latin Tridentine Mass. A priest raping altar boys would be moved to another parish; as for a priest who had the temerity to celebrate the Old Mass – his feet would not touch the ground.There was a determined resolve among the bishops to deny any meaningful catechesis to the young. That is the generation, wholly ignorant of the faith, that in Ireland achieved material prosperity in the “Celtic Tiger” economy. Initially it still attended Mass (or what passed for Mass) out of social conformity. Then the sex abuse scandal gave Irish post-Vatican II agnostics the perfect pretext for apostasy: tens of thousands who had never been abused, nor met anybody who had, found an excuse to stay in bed on Sunday mornings.