Sunday 23 July 2017

Defiant bishop focuses on protecting children

John Cooney, Religion Correspondent

THE defiant Bishop of Galway, Martin Drennan, has summoned an emergency meeting of his clergy next week to undertake a comprehensive review of child protection procedures in the diocese.

The gathering of priests will take place at St Mary's College in Galway on Tuesday.

The initiative aims to bolster Bishop Drennan's shaky position after he resisted repeated calls before Christmas for his resignation because he was named in the Murphy report into cover-ups of paedophile priests in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

Bishop Drennan is the only one of five former auxiliary bishops in the archdiocese who has not resigned after being called to account for their handling of abuse complaints by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

Archbishop Martin invoked the principle of collective responsibility for the resignations of Bishops Donal Murray, James Moriarty, Eamonn Walsh and Ray Field.

But Bishop Drennan has insisted he did no wrong and he revealed that all the major policy decisions about paedophile clergy were made by the former Archbishop of Dublin, Cardinal Desmond Connell.

Listed for debate at the meeting will be diocesan child protection policy and an examination of how well structures put in place in schools and parishes for safeguarding children actually operate.

Vetting

The vetting of sexual records of priests and religious in the diocese and of those clergy seeking to apply for posts there will also be discussed.

The final item will look at support systems in the diocese to assist survivors of clerical child abuse.

In another development, 'The Irish Catholic' newspaper will today support the renaming of the Archbishop Ryan Park in Merrion Square, Dublin, in honour of victims of clerical child abuse.

Last night, editor Garry O'Sullivan told the Irish Independent that Dublin City Council should change the name as Archbishop Dermot Ryan's behaviour, as outlined in the Murphy report, "is nothing short of scandalous and appalling".

On the initiative of Councillor Mary Freehill, Dublin City Council has voted to change the name, following a consultation with Dubliners.

Meanwhile, the monthly religious magazine 'Reality' has hit out at Catholic church leaders who, it says, "appear to be more interested in silk robes and the Latin Mass and east-facing altars than in examining why our church has not been a safe environment for its most vulnerable members".

Irish Independent

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