Church Split Over Secret Sex Files is Deepening;
Openness: Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Confidentiality: Cardinal Desmond Connell
The Daily Mail (London, England), Feb 8, 2008 Byline: Helen Bruce
THE damaging rift between Cardinal Desmond Connell and ArchbishopDiarmuid Martin is causing increasing turmoil within the Catholic Church as the pair maintain a wall of silence.
Neither voiced an opinion yesterday on the Irish Catholics outspoken attack on the Archbishop, nor the newspapers claims that the Cardinal was prepared to goto jail to protect Church documents.
But priests up and down the country are beginning to get restless and are demanding that the truth be published about what the two men have agreed ordisputed.
Yesterday, Father Aidan Troy, PP at Holy Cross, Ardoyne, in Belfast, said that trust in the Church is at a very low level after Cardinal Connell went to theHigh Court in an attempt to block the handing over of files to a commission investigating clerical sex abuse.
He said: In the area of abuse by clergy, there is only one attitude that is acceptable, according to the Gospel, even according to State law.
That is to come out with your hands up, and to declare everything at one go,because otherwise it might drip-feed a story and this argument and that argument.
Another priest, speaking anonymously, said: Its hard for anyone to come out and say what they feel about such a contentious and divisive issue within theChurch.
No one wants to take sides but, like it or not, sides are being taken and that is not helping the Church here in Ireland, when we are all trying to deal withthe problems of the past and build trust. A further Church source said: Bishops are taking a cautious line on this and no one wants to be the one to speak out on such a sensitive issue.
But there is a feeling among priests that the truth does need to come out.
The Cardinal and the Archbishop are publicly battling over the proposed publication of files that relate to the Cardinals handling of complaintsagainst paedophile priests.
The divisions are hardening between those who support the Archbishops stance of openness and a willingness to hand over documents, and the Cardinals. He has said he will protect confidential diocesan files. Last week, without apparently consulting the Archbishop, the Cardinal went to the High Court to seek an injunction preventing the files from being handed over. The case was adjourned until Monday.
Yesterday, the Irish Catholics editor, Garry OSullivan, said Cardinal Connel ltold friends in Rome just over a year ago that he was prepared to go to prisonrather than breach that confidentiality.
It is believed that several abuse victims approached Cardinal Connell when he was Archbishop of Dublin and spoke to him on the condition of strict confidentiality, Mr OSullivan said. These victims had continued with their lives and didnt want to be part of any Garda or health service inquiries, but wanted the Archbishop to know what had happened to them.
The Cardinal is also concerned about priests who were accused of abuse but whose cases have been left in a legal limbo or who have been accused but not convicted.
It is believed that the Cardinal feels a direct and personal responsibility to those to whom he gave assurances of strictest confidentiality.
An editorial in the paper added: Cardinal Connell has been painted as the bad old face of the Church versus the new can do persona of Archbishop DiarmuidMartin.
Cardinal Connell has remained silent, Archbishop Martin has not. What has become clear is that Cardinal Connells decision to go to the High Court was as a result of feeling unfairly treated in this process.
Archbishop Martins spokesman said there was no comment to be made in response to the papers accusations of a growing rift between the men.
She added that the Archbishop stood behind a statement made last Thursday, in which he said he hoped the legal matters would be dealt with quickly, allowingthe commission to conclude its work.
Cardinal Connell was yesterday said by the Archbishops spokesman to be in hospital and not to have been in further contact with the office. He was reported to have suffered a hairline fracture to his pelvic bone while in Rome last week, but is making a good recovery
Whats He Got to Hide? ; Conflict: Cardinal Connell has Clashed with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin over Access to Diocese Files
The Daily Mail (London, England), Feb 2, 2008 Byline: Ian Carey
WHAT have you got to hide? was the question victims of clerical sexual abuse asked yesterday following Cardinal Desmond Connells controversial attempt to stifle investigations into the Churchs handling of such cases.
Victims and support groups rounded on the Cardinal yesterday describing his unexpected action as deeply disturbing and shameful.
The Cardinal initiated High Court proceedings this week to stop the commission that is investigating child sexual abuse by the clergy in Dublin from examining files dating back to when he was Archbishop.
Some 5,000 documents are at the centre of the legal dispute between Cardinal Connell and the judicial inquiry.
His lawyers who secured a temporary injunction claimed that some of the documents were legally privileged, meaning only he hadthe right to grant access to them.
The Cardinals intervention is in contrast to his successor Archbishop Diarmuid Martins policy of open access to files. He has handed over more than 60,000 documents to the commission.
Andrew Madden, who was abused as an altar boy aged 12 by infamous paedophile Father Ivan Payne, yesterday accused the Cardinal of a cover-up.
My first thought was, shame on you, Cardinal Connell.
We were all promised the full cooperation of the Archdiocese of Dublin and now when push came to shove, we have the former Archbishop running off to the high court to stifle the work of the inquiry.
It is a shameful business that he has now got himself into. What is he hiding?he told listeners to the RT s Today with Pat Kenny programme.
He also rubbished the Cardinals claims that he had a legal right to the documents. If the Cardinal sought legal advice about some priest who was abusing a child, he didnt do it in a personal capacity, he did it as Archbishop of Dublin, so those documents are to do with the dioceses handling of the abuseand that is the very matter that the commission is looking into, he said.
The only person embarrassed by these papers is the f o r m e r Archbishop of Dublin, Desmond Connell, he added.
His claims of a cover-up were echoed by leading canon lawyer Fr Tom Doyle.
Fr Doyle, a Dominican priest who drafted a report 28 years ago on clerical child sex abuse for Americas Catholic bishops, said Cardinal Connells assertion of legal privilege was wrong in canon law.
Clerical abuse victim Marie Collins also spoke of her shock at the attempt to keep documents from the commission.
The woman who brokered the historic apology from Cardinal Connell six years ago said she was stunned by the High Court injunction.
I just cant believe it, said Miss Collins, who was abused by Fr Paul McGennis,a hospital chaplain, in 1960 when she was aged 13.
How many times has the Church promised to cooperate? Cardinal Connell promised that he would hand over all the files. Archbishop Martin must be spitting feathers, because he has tried to ensure full access.
Deirdre Fitzpatrick, from victims support group One in Four, has said she was deeply disturbed, but sadly not surprised by the Cardinals move.
In 2002, the Cardinal said that only when the truth comes out, can we have justice and reconciliation. This is an attempt to prevent the truth from coming out, so where does he stand now on justice and reconciliation?, she told listeners to RTE's Morning Ireland programme.
All the people who have been brave enough to give evidence to the commissionmust be asking themselves what the Cardinal is hiding. It just creates more suspicion, she added.
Patsy McGarry, the Irish Times religious affairs correspondent, said on Today with Pat Kenny that the move has exposed the cardinal as a hypocrite. He is in breach of what he himself said in a famous interview about Eamon Casey; he said retired Bishops should get lost after leaving office, he explained.
Whatever about the legality of the situation, this move is extraordinary. It isa lose-lose situation for the Cardinal.
If he succeeds, he will be accused of stifling justice and if he fails, he will be accused of attempting to cover-up anyway.
He added: He has compounded the view that the Cardinal has dragged his feet allalong with this issue.
In some attempt to quell the growing unrest over the cardinals controversial move, Bishop of Dublin Dr Eamonn Walsh said that the Archdiocese will cooperatefully with the Commission of Investigation into Clerical Sexual Abuse He said that the cardinals actions were only a legal matter and the church would notstand in the way of the inquiry