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Friday 24 February 2017

Priest attacks prelate for accepting abuse report

JOHN COONEY

AN influential retired priest has launched a scathing attack on the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, for accepting the shocking findings of clerical child sex abuse in the Murphy report.

Writing in the February issue of 'The Furrow', Fr Padraig McCarthy, who has 42 years' experience in ministry, expresses strong reservations about key findings in the report.

Fr McCarthy's article comes after the 'Irish Catholic' newspaper published letters circulated to priests by retired Dublin auxiliary bishop, Dr Dermot O'Mahony, urging them to question the findings of the Murphy report of abuse cover-ups.

"The commission, I am sure, would not wish to be burdened with any claim to infallibility -- nor do I," writes Fr McCarthy.

"We must not make the report the final and absolute word."

Specifically, Fr McCarthy questions the Murphy report's conclusion that the majority of priests in the Dublin diocese were complicit in the concealment of abuse by simply choosing to turn a blind eye.

"The report does not offer precision," to this conclusion, Fr McCarthy states bluntly.

Fr McCarthy suggests that the work of the Murphy commission was made easier because the diocese kept such full records of abuse complaints.

He also calls for a similarly thorough report into how bodies such as the HSE and the Garda dealt with abuse claims.

"If the HSE, Garda and other records are not of equal standard, it may indicate, paradoxically, that the diocese, however faulty, had a great sense of pastoral responsibility for the abused person and for the abuser," writes Fr McCarthy.

"For the fullest possible protection of children, an investigation no less thorough needs to be carried out in those other spheres."

On Dr Martin, Fr McCarthy writes that the archbishop was under great pressure in the days and weeks after the publication of the Murphy report late last November.

But implying that Dr Martin is remote from his clergy, Fr McCarthy adds: "What was and still is missing, however, is a considered diocesan response. This is surprising, in view of the fact that we have known for some years that the report was coming."

However, Fr McCarthy likens its impact to a runaway train hitting the Dublin diocese and the country.

"I have been angry at the long-lasting suffering of those abused as children, whether by clergy or by others", he writes in 'The Furrow'.

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Irish Independent

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