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Bishop of Limerick Apologises to Massgoers

Paddy Murray blasts brother's 'vilification'

Limerick Leader, 21 December 2009 by Nick Rabbitts

THE former Bishop of Limerick, Dr Donal Murray, who stood down last week after criticism of him by the Murphy Commission, has offered his "deepest apologies" to massgoers in the diocese.

In an open letter, read at masses across Limerick yesterday, Dr Murray apologised for taking so long to confirm his intention to leave his post following the findings of the Murphy Report - which described as "inexcusable" his failure to reinvestigate complaints in Valleymount of the behaviour of paedophile priest Fr Tom Naughton, while an auxiliary Bishop in the Dublin Archdiocese.

Meanwhile, the Limerick Leader understands Dr Murray is to spend a low-key Christmas in the USA. And according to reports, the Limerick Diocese will offer him a "modest pension" of between €20,000 and €30,000.

In the letter, Dr Murray confirmed he had decided to step down just days after the Murphy Report was published, saying his decision to resign was "for the good of the Church in Limerick and Ireland as a whole."

"I took some time to study the Murphy Report after its publication on Thursday, November 26. I informed the Vicars General of the Diocese on the afternoon of Tuesday, December 1 of my decision to offer my resignation," he wrote.

It was after this, Dr Murray added, that he arranged a meeting with the Congregation of Bishops in Rome, where it was agreed his letter of resignation be presented to Pope Benedict on Saturday, December 12.

"I very much regret that you were left in a kind of limbo for the last couple of weeks, but it would not have been right to announce my intentions before they were presented to the Holy Father and he had an opportunity to respond. In my years in Limerick, I am aware that I must have irritated, offended or failed many of you. I offer you my deepest apologies," Dr Murray wrote.

Dr Murray's brother, journalist Paddy, over the weekend criticised those who have "vilified" the former Bishop.

"For the past three weeks I, and other members of my family, have watched, listened and read as our brother was wrongly accused of appalling behaviour ... He was cast aside by members of the clergy who displayed a complete and utter disregard for facts, decency, forgiveness, tolerance and compassion. Some even continued to call on Donal to 'do the right thing' when they knew full well, he has, probably impatiently, waiting for the wheels of Vatican bureaucracy to turn.

"A good man has been vilified. A man whose heart is filled with compassion, who has devoted his life to God and those less fortunate than himself, who has, by his own admission, occasionally failed, has been scapegoated by those who should and do know better," Paddy Murray concluded.


Bishop was Sentenced Without Trial, says Brother.

The Daily Mail (UK), 21 December 2009

HE journalist brother of Bishop Donal Murray launched an attack on the cleric's critics yesterday saying most things being said about him are untrue.

Paddy Murray said his brother, who announced his resignation last week following three weeks of intense pressure, has been 'damned, convicted without a trial and sentenced without appeal'.

He said his brother did not cover up abuse or move priests from parish to parish.

The Murphy report into child sex abuse in the Dublin archdiocese said Bishop Murray 'handled a number of complaints and suspicions badly'.

It found he did not deal properly with the suspicions and concerns expressed to him in relation to serial abuser Fr Thomas Naughton.

Mr Murray denied his brother knowingly facilitated paedophiles, covered up activities of abusing priests, moved abusers from parish to parish knowing them to be abusers, failed to act upon complaints, participated in a cover-up and refused to resign.

'If any one of the allegations were true, he should certainly resign not now but a long, long time ago. Only none of the
allegations is true,' said Mr Murray. 'You may read my words and think: "He would say that, wouldn't he?" but no I would not defend the indefensible and nor would any other member of my family. But I will defend a good man who may not have done precisely the right thing but certainly did not knowingly do the wrong thing.'

However, One in Four, said the criticism is not a personal attack on Bishop Murray but he must be held accountable for being part of a culture of cover-up. Executive director Maeve Lewis said: 'Nobody is suggesting Bishop Murray abused children but he was auxiliary bishop at a time of a massive cover-up and a system which was purposely  protecting priests to avoid scandal for the Church.

'He was part of the decision making process and he and others should take responsibility.'
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