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Martin 'Unhappy' With Response

Irish Times Dec 01, 2009 by KILIAN DOYLE and LUKE CASSIDY

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said he is not happy with the response of bishops to Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Prime Time tonight Dr Martin said he would write to the priests or bishops named in the report that “had a responsibility to the archdiocese of Dublin” to ask them to “give answers about what happened”.

Dr Martin said: “I believe that the people of the archdiocese of Dublin, where this abuse took place, have a right to have these questions addressed today.”

“My view is they should publicly come forward and answer the questions to the people where these abuses took place.”

“I would much prefer to be in that situation than to be hunted or pushed.”

“It is not enough to say this is a matter for other dioceses where they are now.”

"Everybody has to stand up and accept the responsibility for what they did," he added.

Earlier, priests and parishioners in the Diocese of Limerick voiced their support for Bishop Donal Murray, arguing that demanding his resignation will not help the healing of victims of clerical sex abuse.

The Dublin diocesan report said Dr Murray had handled a number of allegations of abuse badly. In one case, his actions were “inexcusable”, the report said.

About 80 people attended a meeting in Limerick on Sunday to discuss his future, just hours after Dr Murray told Mass-goers at St Joseph’s Church that he would be guided by the priests and people of the diocese as to whether his presence was a “help or a hindrance”.

In a letter of support published yesterday and signed by eight people, claiming to represent the lay people and priests working in the diocese of Limerick who attended the meeting, the group said it would be “a retrograde step” for the continuing development of safeguarding children if Dr Murray stepped down.

Speaking this morning, Vicar General of Limerick Father Eamonn Fitzgibbon said there was “a huge sense of sorrow, of shame” at the meeting. He said the group wanted to express their “horror at the way in which the lives of innocent children had been violated”. They also wanted to examine in detail the specific findings in relation to Dr Murray.

He accepted the commission report reveals “very serious issues”. However, demanding Dr Murray step down would not serve a useful purpose.

“We feel … that targeting individual bishops or seeking the resignation of individual bishops wouldn’t ultimately serve the healing of victims or the healing of the church,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“We would like Bishop Murray to continue in office because his record here in Limerick in terms of implementing the standards and guidelines for the safeguarding of children is exemplary,” Fr Fitzgibbon said. “He has worked tirelessly on this and vigorously on this.”

He said, by seeking the guidance of the priests and people of the diocese, Dr Murray had “made himself accountable”.

Bishop of Killaloe Willie Walsh said yesterday calls for the resignation of Dr Murray were based on a “gross misreading” of the Dublin diocesan report and warned against a desire “to get a head on a plate”.

Abuse survivor Andrew Madden today accused the Catholic Church of engaging in a process of damage limitation. He also said he was shocked at the support for Bishop Murray.

“This is a cause of considerable anger and deep distress to many victims of abuse including myself,” Mr Madden said. “In the 14 years since I first went public I have never seen such people gather together and issue a similar statement in support of a single victim of child sexual abuse by a priest.”

“There was talk recently about a service of atonement at the Pro Cathedral in Dublin planned by more ‘lay people’ in response to the Ryan and Dublin Reports. This service had the full support of Archbishop Martin providing it had the support of victims," he said. "I have now written to the organisers and told them not to bother, as any words expressed by bishops or anyone else at such a service would be utterly meaningless.”

Murray Defends 'Thorough Public Response'

RTE NEWS Wednesday, 2 December 2009 22:24

Bishop Donal Murray has said he has given a thorough public response to the Murphy Report since its publication last Thursday.

The Bishop of Limerick was responding to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's challenge to ten serving and retired bishops to explain whether they should resign in light of their handling of clerical child sexual abuse while they were prelates in Dublin.

In a statement, responding to Archbishop Martin's comments on last night's Prime Time programme, Bishop Murray says he has done three lengthy media interviews and communicated twice with Limerick's massgoers about criticisms of him in the Report.

Bishop Murray denied that he was attempting to save his position, but rather had merely begun engaging with the people and priests of his diocese about whether his ministry hindered or helped it.

Archbishop Martin said that responses to the Murphy Report were a matter for Catholics in the Archdiocese.

Bishop Murray stressed that full consideration was being given to the opinions of all members of the public, not least those in the Archdiocese of Dublin and, particularly, to survivors of clerical child sex abuse during his term in Dublin.

Later, Bishop Murray told the Limerick Leader newspaper that he has a clear conscience, but admitted that the case of Fr Naughton causes him constant anguish.

He said: 'My conscience is actually clear about Dublin, even though I recognise that some of the things should have been done differently. There was certainly no deliberate omission on my part.'

Speaking on Prime Time, Archbishop Martin urged bishops and priests mentioned in the Murphy Report to admit their mistakes regarding child protection and resign or stand over their belief that they made no mistakes.

The findings from the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin were published last week.

He also challenged them to publicly answer questions raised by the report in parishes of the Dublin Archdiocese where clergy sexually abused children.

Archbishop Martin told RTÉ's Prime Time that he was not satisfied with some of the answers he had heard to the Commission's findings from serving and retired bishops who had served in Dublin since 1975.

Without naming him, Archbishop Martin dismissed Bishop Donal Murray's weekend statement that his decision about whether to stay on would be guided by the faithful of Limerick where he now serves.

The Archbishop said he was writing to Bishop Murray and others to say that their responses to the report were a matter for the Catholics of the Archdiocese and that he would need to be confident his priests could stand over those statements on Sunday.

He said that he did not want to be sitting at meetings with people who he believed had not responded to very serious situations.

The Archbishop said only two Irish bishops had phoned him since the report was published and that both Cardinal Seán Brady and he were strongly convinced that the Irish hierarchy needs to re-establish strong leadership.

A spokesman for the Bishop Jim Moriarty of Kildare & Leighlin said he would not be commenting on Archbishop Martin's remarks at this point until full consideration is given to them.

Dr Moriarty was an auxiliary bishop in Dublin and in 1993 he received a complaint about contact with young children by the priest named in the Murphy report as Fr Edmondus.

It later emerged he was the priest who had abused Marie Collins in Crumlin Hospital in 1960.

The Murphy Report found that no attempt was made by archdiocesan authorities to check the archives or other files relating to Fr Edmondus when these complaints were received.

The Report added that Bishop Moriarty told the commission he did not have access to the archives, but he could have asked the Archbishop to conduct a search.

At Carlow Cathedral on Sunday, Bishop Moriarty said that while the Murphy report does not criticise him directly, he fully accepted the overall conclusion of the commission, that the attempts by church authorities to 'protect the church' and to 'avoid scandal' had the most dreadful consequences for children and were deeply wrong.

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