Friday 20 April 2018

Bishops show they just don't get that they're the ones who owe us

Any attempt to hit the faithful for a bailout for the crimes of priests is horrifying, writes Emer O'Kelly

An email letter came to the Sunday Independent last week. It was headed 'Completing the work of justice and healing in Ferns Diocese, and was signed by Rev John Carroll, Diocesan Communications Officer. The tone was injured, the gist that every organ of media in the country had got it wrong: that when Denis Brennan, the Bishop of Ferns, was reported as saying last Monday that the diocese may be forced to sell properties if it cannot raise enough "donations from parishioners" to fund compensation arising from abuse claims, he didn't mean that, at all, at all.

In fact, when Brennan said that a request for financial help from parishioners was not about sharing blame, but about "asking for help to fulfil a God-given responsibility", he didn't mean that he was going to ask for it. It was only, according to John Carroll's letter, that the diocesan authority was "continuing to consult with members of the diocesan family" . . . a process that "happens each year at the annual Finance AGM". In fact,

a decision "will only occur after the conclusion of consultation over the coming months, and perhaps years, with churchgoers".

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