Tuesday 26 September 2017

Cardinal Connell should make statement on abuse -- bishop

John Cooney and Edel Kennedy

A senior bishop last night broke ranks and demanded Cardinal Desmond Connell make a statement on the Murphy report into clerical sex abuse in Dublin.

The stark request by Bishop of Killaloe Willie Walsh put huge pressure on Cardinal Connell to address his handling of paedophile priests that has opened a serious rift in the hierarchy.

"I would like to see Cardinal Connell issue a statement," Bishop Walsh said on the RTE 'Spirit Level' programme in response to questions by presenter Joe Duffy on Cardinal Connell's position in the fallout from the Murphy report which censured him for not referring complaints of child abuse by priests to gardai until late 1998, some 10 years into his tenure as archbishop of Dublin.

Yesterday Cardinal Connell refused to be drawn into a row with the embattled bishop of Galway over claims it was the cardinal and not his auxiliary bishops who made all the "major decisions" in relation to abuse claims.

Bishop Drennan claimed all the major decisions about handling paedophile priests in the Dublin Archdiocese were made by the cardinal.

Allegations

Bishop Drennan, a former auxiliary bishop in Dublin from 1997 to 2005, also claimed limited knowledge of allegations against notorious paedophile cleric, Noel Reynolds, who admitted sexually abusing over 100 children.

Bishop Drennan said that at the time of his appointment, he was not furnished with information concerning priests working in his pastoral area of Bray and East Wicklow.

"During the period covered by the Murphy report, when I was an auxiliary bishop, the archbishop made all major decisions, which was his responsibility by virtue of his office," said Bishop Drennan in a statement last week.

Last night Cardinal Connell refused to comment, referring all queries to the archbishop's house. A spokeswoman did not return calls for comment.

Bishop Drennan has repeatedly said he did nothing wrong and that there are no grounds for his resignation.

In his interview last night, Bishop Walsh, who retires on age grounds at 75 this year, advocated more accountability for bishops. Recently, Bishop Walsh said that he and many of his fellow bishops would welcome a state inquiry into abuse complaints in their dioceses.

Irish Independent

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