Sunday 20 October 2019

Church has not learned from past mistakes


A SURVIVOR of clerical abuse from Swords says he believes children are no safer now than when he was abused at the hands of a paedophile priest more than 30 years ago..

The depressing assessment of just how little the Church has learned from the abuses of the past comes from Bernard, a victim of paedophile priest Fr James McNamee who featured in the Murphy Report on clerical abuse in Dublin. Bernard's comments come after the release of the Cloyne Report which showed abuses continuing at the hands of paedophile clergy up to 2005 and despite recent Government attempts to grasp the nettle, he believes children are no more protected now than he was more than 30 years ago

'The Cloyne Report mirrors the Murphy Report and if the Government is serious about tackling this then there has to be a concerted effort by every Government department to deal with it,' Bernard told the Fingal Independent. A PARISH Priest in Rush has strongly criticised Catholic hierarchy for what he called their ' abysmal and inexcusable failure' in dealing with the horrors revealed in the latest report on child sexual abuse in the church. In some of the strongest local comments made by any member of the church on the issue, Fr Kieran Coghlan rounded on the Irish hierarchy and even the Vatican itself for their ' mishandling' of the child abuse scandals that continue to rock the foundations of the church.

' The Vatican does have questions to answer, there is little doubt it has questions to answer about its own handing of the issue on a worldwide basis, not just in Ireland,' Fr Coghlan told the Fingal Independent. The members of the hierarchy who ' failed in their responsibilities' must acknowledge those failures and account for them, according to Fr Coghlan who has been the Parish Priest in Rush for the last five years. He had particular criticism for Bishop John McGee who has made no public utterance about his failures in Cloyne. Fr Coghlan said a public acknowledgment of the hurt the bishop caused and an apology for his actions was ' the least he could do'.

In an absolutely unequivocal statement on the issue to his congregation, the Rush priest said: ' As was widely expected it contains a shocking account of abusive and criminal behaviour by some priests of the Cloyne diocese and, even more startlingly, the abysmal and inexcusable failure of the diocese to follow its own Church guidelines in dealing with these cases. ' Even more damning is the fact that the report covers a period when the issue of child sexual abuse within the Church was well known about.

' There is no excuse or justification for the failures to act in a proper manner when these allegations of abuse were received.'

He said this is what sets the Cloyne report apart from the others, because the events within its pages are recent and happened at a time when the church had policies in place that should have prevented the abuse and certainly not shielded it.

' There were policies in place to deal with this in ' 96 and they were ignored. You can't even say they were flouted – they were completely ignored,' Fr Coghlan said.

He called on all those who failed to protect children in the Church to acknowledge what they did and the hurt it caused before ' healing and reconciliation' can take place.