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Friday 23 February 2018

Under-fire Drennan defiant on return from Vatican

Edel Kennedy and Ciaran Byrne

BISHOP of Galway Martin Drennan was last night still refusing to resign over his handling of complaints of sex abuse while an auxiliary bishop of Dublin .

The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, heaped further pressure on Bishop Drennan when he urged bishops to "assume accountability and responsibility".

But last night a spokesman for the Bishop of Galway once again reiterated that he would not be resigning.

Archbishop Martin's remarks came after he returned to Dublin from the Irish bishops' two-day meeting with the Pope in Rome.

Asked about Bishop Drennan resigning, Dr Martin said: "That is a matter for those who present their resignations and the Pope.

"Standing down and resigning is a personal decision. It is a decision which involves people assuming accountability and responsibility, otherwise it is not resignation."

Earlier, Cardinal Brady admitted he has "no idea" when or if the Pope will accept the resignation of three bishops who were criticised in the Murphy report.

He also said the church is now realising the extent of the problem and is working to address it.

Of the five auxiliary bishops serving in Dublin at the time, the first to offer his resignation has had it accepted by the Pope -- but three others have not had their offers accepted yet. Only Bishop Drennan has refused to resign.

Returning from the Rome summit, Cardinal Brady said he "didn't know" what was going to happen to offers made by the three bishops to resign and admitted they were not discussed in detail at the meeting.

"That is a matter for each bishop and the Pope," he said as he arrived in Dublin airport. "Resignations came up in general, not about any particular bishop. Obviously it's a serious situation and it was referred to generally but not specifically," he admitted.

"I don't have any idea (if, and when their resignations will be accepted). I don't know anything."

The Bishop of Limerick, Donal Murray, tendered his resignation before Christmas. The Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Jim Moriarty, and bishops Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field -- the only two serving auxiliary (assistant) bishops in the archdiocese of Dublin -- also tendered their resignations.


However, these have not yet been accepted by the Pope.

Cardinal Brady reiterated that there is unity among the bishops despite Dr Martin departing Rome immediately after the meeting.

"There certainly is no discord or disunity. In fact I would say there has never been greater accord."

Addressing the criticism from victims of abuse that the meeting failed to address their concerns, he said he was "very sorry" to hear they were disappointed. "The intention of the meeting was to help the Holy Father to prepare this document (the pastoral letter) which will come out as soon as it is ready," he said.

"That will certainly address the victims and I hope address them appropriately because that was one of the main concerns of the meeting."

He said that no press conference could do justice to the amount of "serious work" which happened when the 24 bishops met with Pope Benedict and his Vatican officials.

"There was no cynicism or no PR exercise.

"I'm convinced, I believe that the church is realising the seriousness of the problem and addressing it with great urgency and commitment."

He said the Pope is well aware that many were disappointed by the reaction of the church to the damning Ryan and Murphy reports.

Addressing the issue of the refusal of the Papal Nuncio to attend a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee, he said it was an issue for the Vatican.

Irish Independent

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