Thursday 22 February 2018

Church went too far in its apologies, says Bishop Doran

Reverend Fr Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elfin Photo: North West Newspix
Reverend Fr Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elfin Photo: North West Newspix

Greg Harkin

A Catholic bishop has said the Church has probably gone too far in its apologies but is in a better place because of it.

Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran (62) also says the Church is one of the safest places in society as a result of the abuse scandals.

And he says there are still some priests who avoid children altogether as a result.

Dr Doran also spoke of how he believes Ireland has lost some of its spirit of volunteerism because of State intervention.

The Dubliner was appointed to his diocese - which covers parts of counties Sligo, Roscommon, Galway and Westmeath - two years ago.


He was speaking to the Irish Independent as he launched a plan to appoint new professionally trained lay Catechists to the western diocese to close what he says is a gap in faith teaching to younger adults and parents.

"One of the challenges for us as Catholics is to play a part in forming the way our society works and what our culture is," said Dr Doran.

"In the past there was an overbearing influence on the part of the institution of the Church on society and perhaps in recent years we have tended to apologise too much for that and we've gone the other way.

"The whole child abuse controversies have been very painful for the Church. We are in a much better position now with safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults.

"The Church is probably now one of the safest places in society for children, because there is no way now that a child will be on their own with an adult."

However, he said the Church continues to suffer in some ways from what happened.

"The hardest thing for us in some ways was to avoid backing off (from children); maybe it affects some priests more than others, where some priests feel that the only way they can feel really safe themselves is to have nothing to do with children."

Dr Doran courted controversy last year over comments before the marriage equality referendum and in a social media post on Fine Gael.

"I do stick my neck out at times. If I believe in something I am not afraid to say it. You have to be prepared to take the flak then," he said.


"I put up a post saying they (FG) were entitled to collect at the church gate but given the fact they had spent the last 18 months trying to undermine everything we stand for it might make more sense to collect somewhere else."

Dr Doran said many positions in society which were voluntary are now paid roles because "we got very used to State funding for things".

"I actually think that Irish society to some extent has lost the sense of the importance of volunteerism," he said.

"What I would love to be able to do would be to go down to the local refugee centre and volunteer...but if I went...I'm there as the bishop.

"I still find it very strange after two years as a bishop when I go somewhere it is automatically a special occasion. I am not used to that."

Irish Independent

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