Tuesday 21 January 2020

Bishop Eamonn deserves to lead

I fully support your editorial praising Bishop Willie Walsh for his leadership in the Catholic Church over the past 10 years (Irish Independent, May 19).

Your comment: "Dr Walsh seemed to stand for simple decency, he was compassionate and humane" very appropriately sums up the Bishop Willie.

There is another Bishop Walsh with the same qualities. His name is Bishop Eamonn Walsh, who has tendered his resignation. We who live in Tallaght and south Dublin have experienced the same qualities from Bishop Eamonn.

Perhaps he has not got the same media high profile as Bishop Willie, but his work on the ground with the disadvantaged of society, drug addicts, Traveller, and the ordinary people struggling through life has been immensely valuable.

His work with prisoners in Mountjoy Prison and their families is well appreciated by those within the system.

Bishop Eamonn's work on the Ferns Report is acknowledged as being very professional and uncovered all the previous cover-ups as well as treating the victims with the highest degree of respect and dignity.

His work in drafting church policy on child protection is recognised as world class.

The various reports accurately highlight the church's failures in sexual abuse, and the lack of action.

The victims who came forward are very brave people, and should be congratulated for their courage in doing so. At the same time, there is a danger in the attitude of "get rid of the whole lot" that another injustice compounds the one already committed. While the media are to be praised for their part, it does not mean we agree with all their analyses.

We hear a lot about the church going forward, and the importance of the right people to lead us. Bishop Eamonn Walsh should be to the forefront of that leadership.

Deep down I suggest that bishops, priests, and many laity who have been the recipients of Bishop Eamonn's pastoral care feel the same. To have given so much in the policymaking to safeguard children, and then have your name associated with the abuse resulting in your resignation is a heavy cross to bear.

The only consolation is the Lord will be the real judge, and Bishop Eamonn, a good, decent person, will have nothing to fear.

Aidan Thomas
Dublin 24

Irish Independent

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