Published 18/01/2012 | 05:00
• There has been a sharp focus on those wounded and sexually abused by Catholic clergy -- understandably and rightly so. I write to point out that there has also been a plethora of false accusations and injustices, which have left innocent Catholic priests demoralised, traumatised and social outcasts for the rest of their lives. That is patently unjust. Some would have me bludgeoned and silenced for daring to exercise the priestly role, inherently aligned to sacramental ministry -- namely, to speak this truth.
The presumption of innocence, unless legally proved otherwise, is the cherished right of every Irish citizen, even though the EU is already seeking to abolish this right. The law of the land applies equally to every person. Irish priests should not be treated otherwise, as if they were ecclesiastical serfs without legal rights. All priests tend to be tarred with the same brush; some are ridiculed or jeered and spat at in public.
Within the context of the Irish church, the objective norms of the Catholic Church's more humane canonical tradition have been sidelined, including the crucial principle of just law 'audiantur partes omnes' (let all sides be heard).