Wednesday 22 November 2017

Cardinal Connell was ill-suited to deal with the child abuse scandal

Controversial former Archbishop of Dublin, Cardinal Desmond Connell, dies aged 90, writes Liam Collins

Mourned: Cardinal Desmond Connell’s coffin at his funeral Mass at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral Dublin. Photo: Collins
Mourned: Cardinal Desmond Connell’s coffin at his funeral Mass at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral Dublin. Photo: Collins
Liam Collins

Liam Collins

Cardinal Desmond Connell, who died overnight last Monday in Dublin, at the age of 90, was a sincere and learned academic theologian, ill-equipped to deal with the sexual abuse scandal which had engulfed the Irish Catholic Church and into which he was plunged after his appointment as Archbishop of Dublin in 1988.

According to the government commission which produced the Murphy Report (2009), Dr Connell, as Archbishop of Dublin until 2004, was "slow to recognise the seriousness of the situation" and badly handled a number of cases which came under his remit.

Some of those who met him to voice their complaints found him "sympathetic and kind" but with little understanding of their plight, while others found him to be "remote and aloof".

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