This is the SEVENTH case in which a lying sexual allegation has been made against an Irish Bishop. (For the other six see "False Sex Allegations against Irish Bishops" - www.alliancesupport.org on 9th December 2006). There are only 26 bishops in Ireland so this represents a false accusation rate greater than "One in Four" (with apologies to Colm O'Gorman).
(It is true that a number of the allegations relate to retired or deceased members of the hierarchy but ALL have been made since 1994.)
The allegation against the late Archbishop Morris is particularly senseless. You can understand why a Bishop might try to cover up PAST abuse by one of his priests. He might argue "I can do nothing about old abuse, it will create a terrible scandal to reveal it and the best thing is to send the priest to a doctor to be cured." This may well be an immoral attitude but at least it is rational.
That's NOT what the late Archbishop of Cashel is being accused of. It is being claimed that he knew that Oliver O'Grady was a paedophile BEFORE he ordained him a priest in 1971. What possible advantage could the Archbishop or the Catholic Church gain by ordaining a man like that?
Once again we are in Witch-Hunt territory. Of the seven accused prelates three are/were Archbishops and one of these was a Cardinal and Primate of all Ireland. Joseph Goebbels once said that it is easier to get people to believe a Big Lie than a small one. Even he might have thought that our anti-clerics are overdoing it!
15 January 2007
I refer to the Irish Independent coverage of 4 January 2007 of a Californian court case - involving a multi million dollar law suit - which was dismissed on 27 December 2006. This dismissed case claimed that the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly knew that the former priest Oliver O'Grady had a propensity to molest children during his time in the Seminary prior to his ordination in 1971 by Archbishop Thomas Morris.
Notwithstanding the court's decision it seems that your sub-editor was anxious to prioritise the reaction of the losing side. Is this an example, perhaps, of not letting a court decision get in the way of a good headline: "I'll pursue Irish sex priest vows US lawyer"?
More significantly, however, the claims reported by the Independent are false:
* the claim made by Mr Manley, the "US lawyer", that my predecessor Archbishop Morris knew of O'Grady's "psychic infirmity" at the time of his ordination is simply fictitious and has no evidential basis. Indeed this is the central proposition that was rejected by the Californian court;
* The claim, also included in this article, that Cardinal Levada had anything to do with this case - in any way - is another bogus assertion made by Mr Manly.
* Mr Manly is also quoted as saying: "Pope Benedict called on the Irish Bishops when he met them recently in Rome for the truth about clerical abuse to be disclosed. This is not so for the archdiocese of Cashel". I wish to assure you, and your readers, that the Archdiocese is only concerned with the truth and, specifically in this case, a Californian court has both upheld our position in this regard while casting doubt, in its judgment, on the credibility of the prosecution.
I agree with Mr Manly that Pope Benedict XVI expressed his concern for the welfare of victims of sexual abuse in his discussions with the bishops of Ireland last October. What Pope Benedict actually said was: "In your continuing efforts to deal effectively with this problem, it is important to establish the truth of what happened in the past, to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent it from occurring again, to ensure that the principles of justice are fully respected and, above all, to bring healing to the victims and to all those affected by these egregious crimes." This is what is important to me.
My predecessor, Archbishop Thomas Morris, continues to be held in affection and esteem by the priests and people of Cashel & Emly, whom he served so faithfully for almost thirty years.
DERMOT CLIFFORD, DD,
CASHEL & EMLY
Irish Independent, 4 January 2007 by John Cooney and Ralph Riegel
A LOS Angeles attorney has pledged to pursue notorious Irish paedophile ex-priest Oliver O'Grady - all the way to the US Supreme Court if necessary.
John Manly made this vow after a Californian court dismissed a multi-million-dollar law suit against the archdiocese of Cashel and Emly for ordaining O'Grady almost 30 years ago.
The court in San Joaquin, Orange County, ruled that there was no admissible evidence that the Irish archdiocese knew that the Limerick-born O'Grady (60) had a propensity to molest children when he was ordained at St Patrick's College, Thurles.
It also exonerated the late Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Thomas Morris, of knowing that the ordination of O'Grady "would give him a position of authority that would permit him to cause harm in other locations".
But last night Mr Manly told the Irish Independent that this was merely "a jurisdictional ruling" by Judge Ronald Sabraw.
"I respect this judge but he never allowed us to conduct discovery of what the archdiocese of Cashel knew about the circumstances leading to O'Grady's ordination in Thurles."
Mr Manly claimed that in 1997, when O'Grady - who is now thought to be living in the Dublin area - was laicised under church law, the canon lawyer for the prosecution, now Cardinal William Levada, head of Rome's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, acknowledged O'Grady's "psychic infirmity" was known to Archbishop Morris. On the basis of that evidence, O'Grady's ordination was decreed invalid, and he was defrocked, Mr Manly said.
"Pope Benedict called on the Irish bishops when he met them recently in Rome for the truth about clerical abuse to be disclosed. This is not so for the archdiocese of Cashel."
Mr Manly said that he would now appeal the case before the California Court of Appeals, "and to the Supreme Court if necessary. This case is far from over."
Last night in a statement, Archbishop Dermot Clifford of Cashel & Emly said: "If Oliver O'Grady's paedophile tendencies had been known by either the authorities in St Patrick's College, Thurles, or by the former Archbishop of Cashel & Emly, Dr Thomas Morris, Oliver O'Grady would not have been ordained.
"I am gratified that the court in California has found that the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly and St Patrick's College played no knowing role in these events in California and that the court has declared that the accusations that anyone in St Patrick's College, or at the Archdiocese, knew that Oliver O'Grady might do such a thing are not supported by any credible evidence."
When O'Grady completed his studies at St Patrick's College in 1971 he was ordained as a priest for the service of Stockton, California. He was never a priest in any diocese in Ireland.
According to church specialists, O'Grady has become the world's most infamous clerical paedophile. He abused 23 young people, including a nine-month-old infant.
Last year he achieved further notoriety in Ireland when he co-operated in an award-winning documentary about his paedophilia.
US Court rejects O'Grady Lawsuit
The Irish Times - Thursday, January 4, 2007 by Seán O'Driscoll in New York
A Californian court has struck down a lawsuit brought against the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly that was taken by a US victim of Irish paedophile priest Oliver O'Grady.
The victim's lawyer, John Manly, said last night that he will appeal the decision and will fight the case "with every last breath of my body".
Mr Manly also said he had now found another victim of O'Grady who was abused in the Cashel and Emly archdiocese and that gardaí have been notified.
In the latest ruling in California, Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland, California, found that there was no admissible evidence that the archdiocese knew that O'Grady was a paedophile while he attended a seminary in Thurles and therefore was not responsible for O'Grady's abuse of children in Stockton diocese in California.
In reaching its decision, the court refused to admit a photograph showing O'Grady dressed in women's clothing during a social event at the seminary.
Mr Manly said that O'Grady admitted in court depositions that he abused some of his victims while wearing women's clothing.
The Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dermot Clifford, said in a statement that he prayed that Oliver O'Grady's victims achieved healing but strongly denied that authorities at St Patrick's College in Thurles or the former archbishop, Dr Thomas Morris, knew that O'Grady was a paedophile.
The Catholic Church press office released a statement saying that "many inflammatory accusations" had been made against the archdiocese and these allegations had now been rejected by the court.
O'Grady served seven years in a Californian prison for abusing two brothers. He returned to Ireland in 2000 and has been living in Dublin.
Deliver Us From Evil, a documentary about the O'Grady scandal, is a favourite for a best documentary Oscar nomination, according to the New York Times.