Thursday, December 31, 2009

Vatican has questions to answer on abuse scandals

Vatican has questions to answer on abuse scandals

BY ANY reckoning, 2009 has not been a good year, North or South.

In Northern Ireland, it seemed at times as though the bad old days were rising up again like a malign spectre to mock our optimism and complacency.

Dissident republicans murdered two soldiers and a police officer, actively targeted other security personnel, issued a range of death threats, and carried out numerous “punishment” shootings and beatings. Failed bomb attacks and hoax warnings periodically disrupted towns, villages and city centres, along with the everyday lives of hapless commuters and resident communities. There was a weary dawning that the dissidents are more than just a minor irritant; they pose a real and growing security threat.

Constant bickering and jockeying for supremacy signalled an end to the DUP and Sinn Féin honeymoon period – such as it ever was – and awakened us to still another harsh reality: we can’t take the political process for granted either.

Racist and sometimes murderous sectarian attacks; the recession and consequent job losses; general economic insecurity and necessary belt-tightening: it all made for a bleak year in the North.

Aside from security concerns, the Republic had it even worse. The naked greed and ineptitude of a once cosy cabal of bankers, property speculators and politicians finally killed off the Celtic Tiger and brought the Southern economy to its knees.

Resulting in hard recessionary times, with talk of youngsters having to emigrate to earn a living, reminiscent again of a dark dreary past thought to have been consigned forever to the dustbin of history. When the “Hand of Henry” ruined the Republic’s chance of a place at the World Cup finals, it seemed perversely fitting to an already demoralised and dispirited people.

Overshadowing everything, and what will define 2009 after all else is forgotten, was the publication of the Ryan and Murphy reports, detailing decades of sexual and physical abuse of children by priests and nuns of the Catholic Church in Ireland. The litany of abuse was horrifying enough, but how far the church went, often in collusion with agencies of the State, to cover up crimes, protect perpetrators and disparage the claims of victims was also truly shocking.

The church does not learn lessons easily. Except for a few notable individuals, such as Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, it has continued to behave badly. Damage limitation and eventual re-establishment of the position of the institution remains its prime consideration. Almost every statement issued has contained a line or two about the dire need to restore public faith in the integrity of the church.

Actually, the dire need is for complete openness and honesty and justice and recompense for victims; and where at all possible for criminal charges to be laid against perpetrators and those who aided and abetted them, either by action or deliberate inaction. If faith in the integrity of the church is restored as a byproduct of that, then so be it, but it shouldn’t be an aim in itself.

Worse have been the Pontius Pilate-like machinations of the Vatican to try to ensure that ultimate responsibility does not land at its door. Just as in Ireland, it is determined that similar horrific revelations in, among many other countries, the United States, Canada, Australia, the UK, France, Italy, Austria, Poland and Argentina, be faced up to and dealt with by the local church. We are meant to believe that the Catholic Church is an autonomous entity wherever it has a problem. In the United States, the Vatican has sought and been granted diplomatic immunity against numerous legal claims that it be held responsible for incidents of abuse by priests.

It is in this wider context that one should view the refusal of the papal nuncio in Dublin to reply to correspondence from investigators for the Murphy commission, and never mind subsequent waffle about proper diplomatic channels not having been gone through. This deliberate distancing of itself by the Vatican has more than monetary concerns at its root – though holding on to its treasures is doubtless of major concern. By insisting on local responsibility the Vatican is engaging in a large-scale damage limitation exercise.


In Ireland, as in every other country affected, the public and media focus is understandably local, as is the notion of where solutions must lie. That is precisely how the Vatican wants things to remain. If it were even once to admit any measure of responsibility then the focus would immediately shift to Rome. Realisation would follow that the issue of child sex abuse and cover up by agents of the Catholic Church is far from a set of local problems but a worldwide phenomenon that demands fundamental change from the top downwards. The danger for the Vatican is that people may lose faith in the centre, rather than in just a few relatively peripheral individuals. Some monetary recompense and the sacrifice of a few bishops is a small price to pay to ensure that the Vatican remains immune. Untouched and unchanged, as secretive and as powerful as ever.

Happy New Year. Let’s hope 2010 is a better one.

Schismatic ‘bishop’ arrested on drug charges, investigated for abusing minors

Schismatic ‘bishop’ arrested on drug charges, investigated for abusing minors
December 31, 2009

A former Catholic priest who is now a schismatic “bishop” was arrested on drug charges on December 29. Antony Martinez Garduno is also being investigated for sexually abusing minors after a young man alleged Garduno abusing him.

In 1993, Garduno left his parish after a man accused him of improper activity during a marriage counseling session. In 2003, Garduno became the first person to face an ecclesiastical trial in the Diocese of San Bernardino for heresy and schism.

Ireland confronts its sex abuse crisis

Ireland confronts its sex abuse crisis
Article Details
'Massive agitation ... a seething anger among traditional, ordinary Catholics'
Analysis The recent government investigation into clergy sex abuse in Ireland, which produced a scathing critique of church officials and their role in attempting to protect the reputation of the institution at the expense of young victims, has resulted in the resignation of four bishops and sparked calls for cutting the number of dioceses in Ireland and for deep reform of the hierarchical culture.
By Tom Roberts
ireland20091230.jpg [1].Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, Ireland and Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh, Northern Ireland, address the media just outside St. Peter's Square in Rome Dec. 11. (CNS/Paul Haring)
Analysis

The recent government investigation into clergy sex abuse in Ireland, which produced a scathing critique of church officials and their role in attempting to protect the reputation of the institution at the expense of young victims, has resulted in the resignation of four bishops and sparked calls for cutting the number of dioceses in Ireland and for deep reform of the hierarchical culture.

The report of the government commission, headed by Judge Yvonne Murphy, severely criticized the church for being preoccupied with “the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal and the preservation of its assets.

“All other considerations,” said the report, “including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities. The archdiocese did not implement its own canon law rules and did its best to avoid any application of the law of the state.”

The Murphy Report, which covers the period from 1975 through 2004 in the Dublin archdiocese, is the latest of at least three government investigations that together paint a sordid picture of widespread clerical sex abuse in Catholic institutions throughout Ireland.

While the accounts of abuse and cover-up by the hierarchy are similar in many ways to the scandal that has plagued the church in the United States since the mid-1980s, the situation in Ireland is different in several key respects:

•Four Irish bishops have already resigned or have submitted their resignation letters to the pope as a result of the scandal: Dublin Auxiliary Bishops Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field, and Bishops Donal Murray of Limerick and James Moriarty of Kildare and Leighlin. They were all named in the Murphy Report. A fifth bishop named in the report, Martin Drennan of Galway, has refused to resign, but according to press reports faces increasing pressure to step down. By contrast, in the United States, no bishops have resigned because of their role in covering up abuse or shuffling priests from parish to parish. Cardinal Bernard Law was forced out of the Boston archdiocese, but he was reassigned to Rome, where he continues to hold positions on some of the most powerful Vatican agencies, including the congregation responsible for appointing bishops.
•All of the investigations in Ireland, unlike those in the United States, have been conducted by independent, national government agencies. Ireland’s latest, the Murphy Report, was a judicial proceeding done under legislation that provided investigators with full judicial power, including the power to subpoena documents. In the United States, only in a few instances — Boston, Philadelphia, Rockville Centre, N.Y., and Bridgeport, Conn., among them — did investigations go deeper than the data self-reported by church authorities. In those cases, the revelations came about only after pressure by media, local grand jury investigations or protracted legal battles.
•Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, unlike members of the U.S. hierarchy, cooperated with the investigation and handed over thousands of pages of documentation. In an April sermon, he described how the church would be humbled by the revelations. In an interview before the report was published, he spoke of reading the files over a weekend and becoming so disgusted with the contents that he threw them to the floor.
•Ireland, unlike the United States, is a predominantly Catholic country, so the hierarchy is unable to blame the scandal, as is the case with a number of U.S. bishops, on anti-Catholic media or an anti-Catholic culture.
•In the case of Ireland, Pope Benedict XVI has acted immediately. Following a Dec. 11 meeting with the country’s Catholic leadership, Benedict expressed the “outrage, betrayal and shame” he shared with Irish Catholics over the scandal. He has promised a pastoral letter on the crisis early in 2010. In contrast, the late Pope John Paul II largely ignored the crisis for most of his tenure and even celebrated the late Fr. Marciel Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, who had been repeatedly accused by former members of the order for abusing young seminarians.
Perhaps in a sign of how thoroughly the persistent scandal has worn away the normal rationales advanced to explain the crisis, Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, former master general of the worldwide Dominican order and a highly regarded religious leader in the British Isles, recently told a two-day gathering of Dublin priests: “I’m convinced this whole sexual abuse crisis is deeply linked with power and the way power operates in the church at all levels, from the Vatican to the parish sacristan. Often, it is not the power of Jesus who is gentle and humble of heart.”

According to a report of his talk in The Irish Catholic, a national, independent newspaper, Radcliffe said the church “has been infected by the same culture of control” as that found in the wider society. The scandal, he said, was “much more than a crisis about sexual abuse; it is a crisis of a clerical culture,” one that elevates clergy to “our high towers” and involves an “understanding of priesthood so often in terms of power.”

“Most priests are holy, humble, unpretentious people, but this is often in the face of a clerical culture, fighting against a clerical culture which values high titles and positions — Your Eminence, all these ridiculous distinctions, right reverend, very reverend … this crisis may be the beginning of a profound renewal of the church.”

Some, like Dominican Fr. Thomas Doyle, one of the few U.S. priests to be critical of the church’s handling of the crisis since it first surfaced in the early to mid-1980s, thinks the Irish version of the scandal will not change much in the structure that he considers at the heart of the issue. While he generally admires Martin as being “more forthright than I’ve ever seen in any other bishop,” he was highly critical of an initial reaction from the archbishop when he said that he had written to bishops implicated in the scandal, asking them to use their consciences in deciding whether they should resign. “That’s gibberish,” said Doyle, a canon lawyer who has aided lawyers for plaintiffs in hundreds of cases in the United States. “They had no conscience or they wouldn’t be where they are. The Vatican should mandate that anyone involved in a cover-up should be forced to resign.”

Regarding implications of the crisis, Doyle said, “What will happen is what’s been happening: dissolution, corrosion of the ecclesiastical kingdom. People will continue to walk away from the institutional church; there will be a continual rise in anticlericalism of the Irish people.

“What it shows is that in spite of the stranglehold the church had over the government, it didn’t save them from these awful revelations. What was severely lacking in the church was Christianity. Something was radically missing. The church concentrated on myth and rituals and forgot the essentials,” Doyle said.

Author Jason Berry, whose reporting in the mid-1980s broke the story nationally in the United States and who has been covering aspects of the scandal ever since, said: “The core problem is that Vatican justice, such as it is, has an inherent double standard. Bishops and high church officials are not held to the same standards as ordinary priests.”

When the U.S. bishops were forced by revelations in 2002 to come up with guidelines for handling abusive priests, he said, “the system was unable to include bishops under the rubric of investigation by a lay review board. The Vatican insisted that bishops not be included in the same level of scrutiny.”

Ultimately, he said, what happens will depend somewhat on how much attention the Irish press can train on the Vatican. He said that Benedict “incrementally has done vastly more than John Paul and is yet constrained by many of the internal restraints of the [hierarchical] culture.”

The Irish Catholic has been reporting on the scandal since the early 1990s and the most recent revelations have caused a deep revulsion among ordinary Catholics, said Michael Kelly, deputy editor. In a recent telephone interview he told NCR that there is now “massive agitation … a seething anger among traditional, ordinary Catholics.” He said that a priest who made a pilgrimage from the south of Ireland to Dublin reported that the people who were most annoyed were not those “agitating for women priests and other reforms” but ordinary Catholics “coming out to pray the rosary with him. They are at their wits’ end, they’ve had enough.” After “20 years of mismanagement, they are looking for some kind of meaningful reform.”

The disturbance over the scandal cuts across the normal conservative-liberal divides, said Kelly. Some very traditional theologians in Ireland are calling on bishops to resign, he said. “That points to how deep this crisis is.”

“A lot of the anger is obviously directed at the abuse, but coming from different sources. It’s coming from the woman with eight children already who’s told she can’t use contraception. Or the young gay man who sees a rot at the heart of the very church telling him there’s no place for him.”

Kelly said the church is fortunate that Martin, a veteran Vatican diplomat, was sent back to Ireland as archbishop in 2004. “More than any other bishop, he has the credibility to reform. He is enormously popular,” said Kelly. “This is five to midnight in the church of Ireland. If it weren’t for Diarmuid Martin, it would be midnight.”

Martin can be effective, said Kelly, because “he has no fingerprints on this crisis. He has the credibility to lead some kind of reform.”

When Martin and Cardinal Sean Brady met with the pope, they kept emphasizing, “It is the grandmothers of Ireland … the devoted and faithful Catholics who are upset.”

One of the reforms being advanced in some quarters, said Kelly, is a reduction in the number of Ireland's dioceses, some of them with very small populations,from 26 to at least half that number.

If substantial reform occurs in the church, said Kelly, it will be in part due to the fact that the crisis is felt more acutely in Ireland than elsewhere because of the importance the church has held in the wider culture. “There is a massive symbiosis between Irish Catholicism and Irish nationalism. To be Irish is to be Catholic,” he said. Because the church wielded such influence and power in Irish society, its institutions are part of the national fabric, so politicians “have no appetite to remove church from those institutions. In that regard, the church is very lucky. Politicians have not been very opportunistic about the sins of the Catholic church,” said Kelly.

Yet how those sins are dealt with in society, who is held accountable and the consequences of that accountability could have implications far beyond Ireland. If Irish bishops are expected to resign because of their roles in covering up decades of abuse against children it remains an open question whether the same will be expected of bishops in other countries. What is clear is that Ireland, in investigating the crimes committed by clergy, publishing the results and demanding the resignations of at least four bishops, has set a new standard for transparency and accountability.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

155 reasons why the church must change or it will surely die

My 155 reasons why the church must change or it will surely die
Belfast Telegraph
Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Well, it gives me no great pleasure to announce that I was right, after all. And the Catholic Church in its current form is well-nigh doomed.

And before anyone rushes to tell me to give over and wise up, I have every right to submit my opinion because I've done my time as a practising Catholic: more than 20 years of it. And I know what I'm talking about.

Here are some of the things I believed in when I was young and foolish.

The Catholic faith is the only valid faith in the world. It is a sin not to attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation. It is a sin to eat meat on Fridays. It is an unforgivable sin to have an abortion: punishable by excommunication from the church.

It is, however, a forgivable sin to plant a terrorist bomb in a town centre if you attend confession afterwards.

Birth control is allowed for Protestants, but not Catholics.

All men are designed to want sex all the time.

It is a woman's duty to withhold sex before marriage. Women who do not withhold sex before marriage are shameful and subversive and a threat to social cohesion.

Women must not, under any circumstances, withhold sex after marriage.

Married women must bear all the babies that God sends to them and obey their husbands in every way.

Opinionated women were an embarrassment to their husbands and indeed to their entire family circle. Being a gay man carried such a terrible stigma it was rarely mentioned, let alone countenanced.

As for lesbians: well, obviously there were no such things as lesbians. Except maybe in godless England.

Luckily for me, I was born with an extremely rebellious nature. So even as a young person I always took these nuggets of wisdom with a pinch of salt.

What was the point in having a big family, I asked myself, if they all had to scatter to England or America in search of work?

Why did God bother to make women at all if they were so completely useless, except as skivvies?

Why did God make Protestants if they were all going to hell in the end? (This was in the days before we even thought about the fate of Muslims, Hindus, Jews or Buddhists.)

Why were convicted IRA men entitled to a Christian burial on consecrated ground, but any girl or woman who terminated a crisis pregnancy was not?

Why didn't God just make the whole world Irish? And full of Irish Catholic men? Just remove all females and all non-Catholics and be done with it?

And shouldn't sex have something to do with love, instead of all this withholding and pursuing and being pursued?

I asked so many questions in RE, it was embarrassing. And that was before I heard about the industrial Magdalene Laundries, the plight of the 'Maggies' who worked there, the clerical abuse and the decades-long cover-up.

It's all so utterly, utterly shameful. I can see no way for the Catholic Church to survive in its current form.

Would any parent happily wave their child off on a camping trip with a priest now?

How can any free-thinking woman continue to make donations to an institution that bars women from office?

How can anyone with a scrap of sensitivity continue to support an organisation that made a fortune out of slave-labour and forced adoptions?

I have thought about this subject many times over the years and (in spite of the many good priests and nuns) I simply cannot forgive the physical and psychological damage done to Catholics around the world by the Roman Catholic Church. I don't care how many bishops retire early on a good pension; it will never make up for the misery of unhappily married couples, the environmental madness of uncontrolled fertility, or the suffering of the abused.

It will never make up for the shame and embarrassment every Catholic feels when yet another wave of scandal comes to light.

Sometimes I wonder if it's all been a bad dream and one day I'll wake up. But no, it is true, it is real and these awful things did happen.

At Christmas time I sometimes hanker after Midnight Mass, but the hankering diminishes when I think of the 155 nameless 'Maggies' of Drumcondra in Dublin whose bones were cremated to make way for a property sale.

That's the reality of the Catholic Church. Never mind the Virgin Mary and her precious boy child. When they finally tell us the identities of the 155 'Maggies' who were taken from that unmarked grave in Drumcondra and reduced to ashes, I may reconsider my position.

Abuse suit filed against Texas diocese

Abuse suit filed against Texas diocese
December 30, 2009

A man who claims he was abused by a priest of the Diocese of San Angelo from the time he was eight until the time he was sixteen has filed suit against the diocese. When Father David Espitia was initially accused of abuse in 2003, he protested his innocence to Bishop Michael Pfeifer and committed suicide.

“I am dismayed by the claim that the diocese, and I personally, are somehow responsible for some claimed sexual abuse of a minor child by the late Father David Espitia,” said Bishop Pfeifer. “Father Espitia himself was the first to report to me that he had been so accused. He totally denied these accusations.”

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bishop's life out of touch with reality

The Irish Times - Monday, December 28, 2009
Bishop's life out of touch with reality
A child's shoe tied to a senior citizen's cane displayed during the silent march of solidarity for victims of institutional abuse in Dublin earlier this year.
Photograph: Matt KavanaghIn this section »

OPINION: Martin Drennan is the last bishop standing of all those who served in Dublin during the intensive cover-up of clerical child sex abuse, writes MARY RAFTERY

THE STRONGEST impression one gets of Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan these days is of someone who has lived a life blissfully disconnected from reality.

He, of course, is the last bishop standing of all those who served in Dublin during the period of intensive cover-up of clerical child sexual abuse discovered by the Murphy commission.

The bishop believes himself to be different from all the others mentioned in the report, as he alone was not asked to give evidence to the commission. This he appears to equate to some form of vindication.

He has further stated on radio that he believes that as his appointment as bishop in 1997 post-dates the watershed publication of guidelines on clerical child abuse cases, known variously as the “1996 Framework Document” or the “Green Book”, his time in Dublin was entirely blameless.

In this context, Bishop Drennan stated last week that “in 1995 the Dublin diocese decided on a policy of reporting all allegations to the Gardaí”. He added that from 1996 onwards “all allegations were reported to the HSE and the Gardaí.” This is an extraordinary statement. For example, we know from the Murphy report that in 1995, the names of “at least 12 priests” against whom complaints of child abuse had been made were withheld from the Garda by the Dublin archdiocese. At that time, Archbishop Desmond Connell provided the Garda with details of only 17 of the priests against whom complaints had been made.

It was only in 2002 that the Garda became aware of a more complete picture of the extent of clerical child abuse known to the archdiocese. This was five years into Bishop Drennan’s period as auxiliary bishop of Dublin.

We also know that Dr Connell did not take the 1996 Framework Document seriously. Far from being the watershed now described in hindsight by Bishop Drennan, the approach in the late 1990s frequently displayed all of the failures and cover-ups of earlier periods.

For instance, in 1996 Archbishop Connell defended his refusal to pass on information on “Fr Edmondus” to the Garda by saying that he had to protect the good name of his priests and that it would damage the Church were it to get out that files were being passed to the Garda.

He even went so far as to tell abuse survivor Marie Collins that as the Framework Document had no standing in either canon or civil law, he felt free to follow only whatever parts of it he chose to.

For example, as late as 2002, the archbishop continued to assert concerns for confidentiality in the face of the church’s own short-lived attempt to have an internal inquiry into the handling of child abuse, chaired by retired judge Gillian Hussey.

All of this defines the nature of the culture of concealment and cover-up that clearly persisted in the Dublin archdiocese well past the so-called “watershed” of the introduction of the guidelines in 1996.

For Bishop Drennan to assert that everything changed and improved post-1996, and consequently during his period as bishop, simply does not accord with the facts as we know them from the Murphy report.

Just as seriously, the Murphy report states that the dismissive manner in which victims were treated by the archdiocese changed little in the period after 1996 and the publication of the guidelines – the period during which Bishop Drennan was one of its leaders. It was to be 2003 (six years into Bishop Drennan’s tenure) before that callous and insulting culture came to an end, with the introduction under Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of proper support systems for abuse victims.

In addition, there are the specific responsibilities that Martin Drennan himself had as auxiliary bishop. These included overall responsibility for all the parishes in his own designated area of south Dublin and north Wicklow. His direct predecessor here, by the way, was Donal Murray, subsequently of course Bishop of Limerick.

In acquainting himself with his new responsibilities on his elevation to bishop in September 1997, did Martin Drennan notice that there had been a serious hiatus in the parish of Glendalough? Its parish priest, Fr Noel Reynolds, had been transferred out only two months previously.

We know that Fr Reynolds was one of the foulest and most brutal of Dublin’s child rapists, having admitted abusing over 100 children. We also know that as chairman of the board of management of the primary school in Glendalough, he had daily access to the local children.

A number of questions arise for Bishop Drennan from this case. Did he ascertain the reasons for the removal of Noel Reynolds as parish priest? Did he inquire as to whether any special attention might have been required on his part towards the parish of Glendalough, given its obvious difficulties?

Was he aware that the archdiocese knew of complaints by parents against Noel Reynolds from as far back as 1994? Did he know that that Reynolds himself had admitted to the archdiocese that he was sexually aroused by children, and that despite this, no action had been taken to remove him from Glendalough for several years?

But of course all this was before Bishop Drennan’s time. Not his responsibility.

But as soon as it did become his responsibility – in September 1997 – did he seek to discover the new location of the parish priest who had so recently and so abruptly been transferred from one of his parishes – a highly unusual event at any time? Noel Reynolds of course had been not been moved far. In fact, he remained within the bishop’s geographical area of responsibility, and had been appointed chaplain to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, which had 94 child patients.

We know that the rehab hospital had not been informed by anyone in the archdiocese of the concerns and complaints surrounding Noel Reynolds when he was assigned there as chaplain. He served in the hospital for one year before finally being removed in July 1998, when further allegations were made. It was to be 2002, in the wake of the Cardinal Secrets programme, before the rehab hospital was made aware of Noel Reynolds’s past crimes.

It is of course possible that Bishop Drennan knew nothing of the seismic events that had taken place at the heart of his direct area of responsibility. The Murphy report, after all, makes no reference to him in this context.

Bishop urged to quit

Irish Independent
Bishop Drennan, it's time to fall on your crozier and quit
By JOHN COONEY
Tuesday December 29 2009

AT a Mass in Dublin's St Michan's Church marking the opening of the law term, in October 2000, a Catholic bishop ascended the high moral ground in his sermon to the legal and judicial luminaries when he lambasted the British media tactic of "naming and shaming" convicted offenders.

This lamentable practice "has had frightening consequences", intoned the bishop to an audience which would have included Frank 'Ferns' Murphy, Sean 'Industrial schools' Ryan and Yvonne 'Dublin' Murphy, all three shortly to become immortalised for "naming and shaming" archbishops, auxiliary bishops and religious superiors who covered up heinous crimes against innocent children by paedophile priests.

That day's preacher-bishop was an Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin, Dr Martin Drennan, who nine years later as Bishop of Galway was named in the archdiocese of Dublin report but remains unashamed and unmoved by the appeals of victims Andrew Madden and Marie Collins to step down.

The Kilkenny-born bishop has gone into hiding leaving behind his spokesman to say that he did no wrong and that he was not criticised by Judge Yvonne Murphy for referring for treatment a priest, named as 'Father Guido', who had a passion for taking photographs of naked adolescents, especially rugby players.

Not mentioned by the Galway spokesman is that further investigation by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin led to this cleric's departure from the priesthood. The fact that Archbishop Martin included Bishop Drennan in his call for examination of consciences speaks volumes.

Before leaving his mansion on Galway's plush Taylor's Hill, Bishop Drennan had ample time to take to heart the words in the resignation statement of the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Jim Moriarty, that "from the time I became an auxiliary bishop, I should have challenged the prevailing culture" of cover-ups prevailing in the archdiocese of Dublin from January 1, 1975 to April 30, 2004.

Where and when during his eight-year stint in Dublin from 1997 to 2005 is Bishop Drennan on the public record as speaking out to challenge that system of cover-up which was embedded under the equivocating authority of Cardinal Desmond Connell? Please supply chapter and verse, Bishop Drennan, if your conscience is as undisturbed as you claim.

For his silence, Bishop Drennan should read the repentant words from Bishop Moriarty that "The Murphy report covers far more than what individual bishops did or did not do. Fundamentally, it is about how the leadership of the archdiocese failed over many decades to respond properly to criminal acts against children."

Now fall remorsefully on your crozier, Bishop Drennan, as part of the shaming process necessary for the restoration of the moral credibility and authority of bishops that has been abjectly taken by Jim Moriarty, Eamonn Walsh, Ray Field and Donal Murray.

In the immediate aftermath of the shocking Ferns report in October 2005, Dr Drennan, as the new Bishop of Galway, appealed to victims of child sexual abuse by priests to contact him if they needed help. But what is more striking was his admission under media pressure that six Galway priests had been the subject of a total of 13 allegations of child sexual abuse since 1950. Two of the six were still in ministry, and one was convicted by the courts.

Bishop Drennan's personal mentor and so-called Metropolitan in the western province, Dr Michael Neary, the Archbishop of Tuam, shoved out the dire news that, since 1940, allegations of child sexual abuse were made against 27 priests in his archdiocese.

Do Bishop Drennan and Archbishop Neary not believe that a Murphy-style probe is merited for the diocese of Galway and the archdiocese of Tuam? I certainly do. So most certainly do abuse victims.

Bishop Drennan claims he has the support of 60 Galway priests, but he has not yet responded to Andrew Madden's appeal to sit down with 60 victims to hear their stories and their demands that he quit.

Nor, I wonder, has Bishop Drennan given a thought to the older generation devastated by the Murphy report's conclusions that the structures and rules of the Catholic Church facilitated cover-up, and put the good name and assets of the institution above the welfare of children, which should have been its first priority.

One of the many emails I received yesterday was from a friend in America who informed me that her cousin from Co Laois spoke of two elderly women, devout church-goers, who no longer attend Mass as a result of this horrific scandal.

"It takes a lot to shake the faith of our elders, but the Murphy report of the sex abuse of minors in the Dublin archdiocese has been a tipping point for many," she wrote.

For their sake, the sake of victims and for the church he serves, Bishop Drennan should bow his head in shame and add his own name to the Litany of Fallen Bishops.

Group release names of accused Irish priests who worked in US

Group release names of accused Irish priests who worked in US
December 29, 2009

BishopAccountability.org, which maintains an Internet database of names, articles, and documents associated with the clerical abuse crisis, has released the names of over five dozen Irish priests who worked in the United States and were accused of clerical abuse.

“Bishops [in Ireland], just like bishops here, have been moving accused priests around, even though they know they are dangerous,’’ said Terence McKiernan, codirector of BishopAccountability.org. “Unfortunately the places where they put them include our own backyard. So the Irish crisis, basically, has become our crisis, too.’’

Details sought on Ireland, US clergy abuse cases

Last updated December 28, 2009 3:56 p.m. PT

Details sought on Ireland, US clergy abuse cases
By BOB SALSBERG
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

BOSTON -- Victims of clergy sex abuse and a group that tracks pedophile priests called on local Roman Catholic leaders and the Irish government Monday to publicly detail known connections between the clergy abuse scandals in the U.S. and Ireland.

Two Irish bishops resigned on Christmas Day, joining two others who had quit since a government report in November revealed how Dublin church leaders had shielded pedophile priests from the law.

Terence McKiernan, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, said the report detailed evidence that some accused priests in Ireland had been transferred to parishes in the United States.

"Unfortunately the places they have been moving include our backyard," said McKiernan, who spoke at a news conference held in front of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the residence of Cardinal Sean O'Malley of the Boston archdiocese.

"So the Irish crisis has become our crisis, too," McKiernan said.

The organization said it was creating the first-ever database of Irish priests accused of sexual misconduct who had spent time in U.S. dioceses. It sent letters Monday to O'Malley and Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Providence, R.I. diocese, asking that they scour their own personnel files.

"It's imperative that you release a complete list of all credibly accused Irish priests who were transferred to the Boston archdiocese," the letter to O'Malley stated.

"And you would serve both children and the church by exhorting your fellow bishops in New England to follow your example," stated the letter, which did not name any names. McKiernan said he was unaware of any accused Irish priests who are active today in U.S. dioceses.

The letter, which also was signed by the head of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the Irish report only named pedophile priests whose crimes were well documented, using pseudonyms for other suspected priests.

Without responding directly to the letter, the archdiocese said in a statement that it has established "comprehensive policies and procedures" to protect children from sexual abuse, including a provision that any priest moving to the archdiocese from another jurisdiction be certified by his former bishop as having no past allegations of abuse.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to those in Ireland who have been harmed by the tragic reality of sexual abuse of children by clergy," the statement read. "We know from our own experience the profound impact and suffering caused by the harm perpetrated on children and young people."

Karen Davis, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Providence, said church officials were not aware of any allegations made against a priest from Ireland who served in the diocese except for the Rev. Brendan Smyth in the 1960s.

Helen McGonigle, an attorney now living in Brookfield, Conn., said she was abused by Smyth, who was accused of preying on children during a 40-year career at parishes in Ireland, Rhode Island and North Dakota.

"He started molesting me in the first grade, when I was 6, he molested five other individuals, he molested my neighbor, said McGonigle, who said the abuse occurred while Smyth was assigned to Our Lady of Mercy parish in East Greenwich, R.I.

The Irish Republic's seven-month delay in extraditing Smyth to Northern Ireland after allegations of sexual abuse surfaced led to the collapse of the coalition government of Prime Minister Albert Reynolds in 1994. Smyth died in prison in 1997, shortly after pleading guilty to 74 counts of sexually abusing children.

Jeffrey Thomas, a neighbor of McGonigle who also said he was abused by Smyth, filed a lawsuit in 2008 against the Diocese of Providence and others.

"It is time for the church to change direction," Thomas said. "We can't keep sweeping it under the rug."

Among the several dozen names on the BishopAccountability.org database is that of the Rev. Joseph Maguire, who served in several parishes in New Hampshire and also lived in Massachusetts, Maine and Ireland. Maguire died in 2005, 10 months after beginning a 44-month prison sentence for raping three altar boys in Dover, N.H.

BishopAccountability.org also sent a letter Monday to Prime Minister Brian Cowen, asking the government to extend its investigation beyond Dublin to all other dioceses in Ireland, and to release a complete list of all offending Irish priests who were transferred to dioceses in America.

The Boston Archdiocese reached an $85 million settlement in 2003 with more than 550 victims of the clergy sex abuse scandal, which resulted in the resignation of O'Malley's predecessor, Cardinal Bernard Law. In 2002, the Diocese of Providence reached a $14.25 million settlement with 37 alleged victims of sexual abuse in Rhode Island who filed lawsuits.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Victims put pressure on Bishop

Independent.ie
Victims put pressure on Drennan
Bishop vows to fight 'guilt by association'

By John Cooney and Brian McDonald
Monday December 28 2009

TWO of Ireland's more prominent abuse victims last night called for the resignation of the last remaining bishop identified in the Murphy report.

The calls come as a second damning report into cover-ups of paedophile priests is now unlikely to be issued.

The embattled Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan reaffirmed his determination to face down Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and rejected the growing clamour for him to step down.

But abuse survivor Andrew Madden yesterday reiterated his call for the resignation of the 66-year-old bishop, a former Dublin auxiliary.

Meanwhile, abuse victim Marie Collins said it was now up to Pope Benedict to demand Bishop Drennan's resignation.

"If the Pope leaves him in place, it will mean that there is no change because he has to go," she said.

Mr Madden also challenged Bishop Drennan's claim that by the time of his appointment as a Dublin auxiliary in 1997, child protection structures were already in place.

"The framework document of 1996, which Bishop Drennan refers to, was flawed and Cardinal (Desmond) Connell told the commission it was not binding in canon or civil law so he could follow only those guidelines he wanted to follow," he said.

Mr Madden said he had emailed Bishop Drennan asking him to invite 60 victims of sexual abuse by priests in Dublin to meet him in Galway.

"Bishop Drennan advises against anger and adds insult to injury when he describes our calls for accountability as vengeful," said Mr Madden.

"He says he met with 60 priests from the Diocese of Galway and seems to enjoy their full support."

Last night, the Irish Independent learned from a source close to Judge Yvonne Murphy that further inquiries by the commission have shown that files brought to its attention on the eve of the report's publication on November 26 had proved to be "minor".

Investigation

"A decision to issue a second report on the Dublin archdiocese is still to be taken but this is unlikely now," the source said, indicating that the commission is now engaged in its new investigation into the diocese of Cloyne, in Co Cork.

Over the weekend, Bishop Drennan stepped up the defence of his term as auxiliary bishop of Dublin from 1997 to 2005 and made it clear he had no intention of following the example of his four colleagues, who have all resigned in the wake of the findings of Judge Murphy.

In a move certain to test the resolve of Archbishop Martin for a clean sweep of the former management of clerical sex abuse cases in the Archdiocese of Dublin, Bishop Drennan challenged the notion he should resign because of "guilt by association".

Last night Archbishop Martin's spokesperson said he was not available for comment.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bishops Pass the Parcel

Independent.ie
Why laity must help choose bishops
Our Rome-appointed bishops have been playing the Vatican's game of Pass the Parcel, says Tim Pat Coogan

GIVEN the scale of what is happening in the Irish Catholic Church, debating the departure of five auxiliary bishops has all the rich, ripe irrelevance to the gravity of the situation as had Taoiseach Brian Cowen's axing of five junior ministers.

The only meaningful departure would be that of the Pope himself. As Cardinal Ratzinger he was probably the best informed man in the Vatican, being both Prefect of the powerful Congregation of the Faith and Dean of the College of Cardinals. These offices mean that he was privy to the ever swelling tide of reports on clerical sex abuse which poured into the Vatican during his tenure in office, from every diocese in the world.

Even non-Catholics are free to access the vast accounts of clerical abuse, available on the web, like a vast open sewer. But apparently the Pontiff has no intention of resigning. Instead, he intends to send us a letter. Presumably it will be prepared by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, as were Pope John Paul II's Irish speeches prepared by the then Bishop Daly.

If that letter is ever sent, it will be the most unpopular and ineffective Papal missive to arrive in Ireland since the Papal Rescript of 1888 which the British-inspired Pope Leo XIII issued condemning the Plan of Campaign

Instead of arguments over whether or not a handful of bishops should be hung out to dry, the Irish public should be concentrating on how they, the people -- who in the end pick up the tab for all that is happening in both Church and State -- could develop a mechanism whereby the laity would henceforth have a say in the selection of bishops.

I would strongly urge our Government to tell Rome that, henceforth, a small but experienced lay panel be appointed to vet any shortlist prepared to fill Episcopal vacancies. Ideally the panel should include a mother, preferably with some knowledge of psychiatry.

Second -- as a direct response to the arrogance and tardiness of the Nuncio in dealing with the Murphy inquiry -- that we close down our embassy to the Holy See and henceforth deal with the Vatican through our embassy in Rome.

These are not matters of faith. The question of clerical sex abuse has serious financial, educational and emotional implications for an Irish society struggling to find a new economic and psychological identity for itself.

The money from the sale of the beautiful, but costly, Vatican embassy could go to restoring the budget cuts in facilities available to blind persons for example.

Let us consider the present situation. Bishops are appointed to dioceses whose inhabitants are expected to shoulder 100 per cent of their lordships' upkeep, and that of their retinue. They are also expected to give 100 per cent obedience to their lordships' pronouncements, but not even one per cent of input in their selection.

While from time to time the Vatican may have a particular candidate of its own for a vacant See, it is normally the Papal Nuncio who has the major say in the appointment of bishops. He tells Rome which of the shortlisted replacements for any vacant See is likely to be the most reliable in implementing the Vatican's policies. His view totally outweighs the wishes of the priests of the diocese. As for those of the laity? Forget it.

Cardinal Desmond Connell, who played an inglorious role at the helm in Drumcondra while the gathering storm that led to the Murphy reports was building up, was appointed not least because he was a friend of the then Cardinal Ratzinger, not because of any reputation for his knowledge and involvement with the lives of the plain people of Dublin.

Similarly, the appointment of John Magee as Bishop of Cloyne -- a post from which he has had to step aside -- clearly owed more to his years as a papal secretary than to his services in Ireland.

We don't know what the ongoing examination of the affairs of the diocese of Cloyne is going to throw up, but, to put it mildly, there is little evidence that the Cloyne report is going to make better reading than the Murphy report.

The plain fact is that the present crisis has arisen because bishops, appointed solely by Rome, were formed and operated in a culture in which the Vatican policy was Pass the Parcel.

Under infectious diseases legislation there are severe penalties for failing to report certain serious illnesses to the authorities. But under the Pass the Parcel policy, what most of us would call an appalling disease -- that of paedophilia -- was covered up and the infectious one deliberately sent off to another parish to abuse trust and children in a manner which had, and has, life-long consequences.

The difference between this awful mental disease and that of a physical affliction like Aids, is that people involved in the implementation of the Pass the Parcel policy got up in pulpits and, with monumental hypocrisy, in their self- appointed role as moral arbiters, instructed people as to how they should lead their lives. Spouting rubbish such as contraception being wrong even in marriage. That sex should be employed only for the procreation of children.

Condoms make the Aids crisis worse, says the present Pope and, to give but one example, the courageous Fr Kevin Hegarty suffered at the hands of the Pope's loyal Irish bishops for daring to say otherwise. Father Gerry McGinty was the senior dean at Maynooth when students came to him voicing their concerns about sexual abuse in the college. But he was speedily transferred to an obscure parish in Louth when he raised the issue with the Church authorities.

The Church's strange, foetid attitude towards sex came about for two reasons. One, a view that if married priests had sex it meant that he approached the altar with "soiled hands". Second, but more importantly, to save money -- as priests' dependents could have a claim on Church property.

In Ireland, clerical preoccupation with sex and contraception veered from the ludicrous to the horrible. On behalf of the hierarchy, Archbishop McQuaid once informed the government that tampons should be banned because they might stimulate young girls to sexual activity and thus lead to contraception.

Later, in collusion with the Master of the National Maternity Hospital, Dr Alex Spain, McQuaid, to help combat contraception, oversaw the spread of the symphysiotomy operation to hospitals throughout the country.

This mutilating form of Dark Ages' midwifery, which involved sawing through the pelvis so that it remained permanently open, left women in life-long pain and remained in use until the Seventies.

Many of the Irish bishops now in the eye of the storm would have received their clerical formation at a time when the shadow of McQuaid and Spain still lay across medical ethics in Ireland. Meanwhile in Rome, in the same era, Vatican thinking was heavily influenced by a document produced by the powerful Cardinal Otaviani which stated that to make public any reference to clerical sex abuse was a grave sin meriting expulsion from the Church.

In the circumstances, now that worldwide public opinion has forced Rome to change its line, it is not surprising that some bishops are receiving a belt of the crozier, unfair though this may well be in some cases.

The truth is that the Church's de facto policy on abuse has until recently been a combination of denial, obfuscation, delay and a grudging admission of as little liability as possible -- vide the compensation deal which it first foisted on the Irish tax-payer through its negotiations with Dr Michael Woods. That package included payments for specialist, Church-provided counselling services for abuse victims. So, having been responsible for buggering young people, the Church then proceeded to charge for rehabilitating them.

And so, as it became patently obvious that this policy was becoming counter-productive, McQuaid and Otaviani were said goodbye to. New guidelines were drawn up. Diarmuid Martin was ordered to Dublin whether he liked it or not. In many ways his arrival reminded me of that of Paul Cullen in the mid-19th Century. Cullen's mission was to assert Rome's ultramontanist view on the Irish Church. He was an extraordinarily able, ruthless man -- an architect of papal infallibility who might well have become Pope himself had he not been sent to Ireland.

He succeeded brilliantly, getting control of the Irish educational system and establishing a devout, mindless type of Catholic obedience which provided an endless supply of nuns and priests and began to be seriously challenged only with the coming of free secondary education and of TV.

Martin is a skilled Vatican diplomat -- just as intelligent, just as determined in doing Rome's bidding, and, as a number of his rather bruised Episcopal colleagues will tell you, just as ruthless as Cullen in pursuing a policy of cleaning up his Church's mistakes.

Insofar as internal Church working and the eradication of clerical sex abuse is concerned, I wish him well. The evil the abusers did lives after them; the good done by a myriad of Irish nuns and priests obscured by their crimes. But insofar as I, citizen of a democratic Irish Republic, am concerned, the era of telling a brainwashed people "do as we say, not as we do" is long dead.

Its mortuary card bears a picture of Eamonn Casey and Mick Cleary prancing around the stage in Galway in 1979 as they warmed up the crowd for the Pope to deliver his famous line: "Young people of Ireland, I love you."

Henceforth, the truth of that statement will have to be demonstrated. If bishops are to be accorded a place of authority in Irish society, then Irish society must demand the right to check on their credentials before they are given that authority.

Pastor Father kills son in domestic dispute

Darby police: Father kills son in domestic dispute
Published: Saturday, December 26, 2009

By AMY BRISSON
abrisson@delcotimes.com

DARBY BOROUGH — A family gathering turned to tragedy on Christmas Day when a son was shot and killed by his father, according to Darby police.

Jordon Caldwell, 21, was found suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest in his family home in the 100 block of Ridge Avenue at about 2 p.m. Friday, said Chief Robert F. Smythe.

Caldwell was rushed to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a half-hour later.

Smythe said it appears Caldwell was shot by his father, Kirk Caldwell, 44, who got involved in a domestic dispute that started between his son and a girl.

Caldwell’s murder was the 21st homicide in the county this year and the third killing in Darby in 2009.

Smythe said it is still not clear exactly what led to the shooting, which was witnessed by 20 or more family and friends. Many of them were still in their slippers and pajamas when police responded to a 911 call, Smythe said.

“We’re trying to put it all together, but at this point what we’re saying is that it was a domestic and the father shot the son,” Smythe said.

Kirk Caldwell was being held by police, but had not been charged as of early Friday evening.

Smythe said he personally knows Caldwell, a pastor at the End Times Harvest Mission for Christ in Philadelphia, to be a “very good man.”

“We got to get to the bottom of the story. The family’s good people. We need to wait until we get through these interviews in the next several hours,” said Smythe.

Besides leading a congregation in Philadelphia, Caldwell has spoken out in the past about violence in Darby. In a July 9 vigil for another young shooting victim, Caldwell was quoted in the Daily Times cautioning residents not to take the law into their own hands.

“Retaliation is never the answer. Retaliation is only going to make it worse,” he said.

The official cause of Jordon Caldwell’s death is pending an autopsy by the Delaware County Medical Examiner.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Drennan on brink as bishops bow out

Independent.ie
Drennan on brink as bishops bow out
Prelates apologise as they offer resignations

By John Cooney and Shane Doran
Saturday December 26 2009

EMBATTLED Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan was last night on the brink of standing down after the resignation of two more prelates named in the Murphy report.

Bishop Drennan spent Christmas Day considering his position after Dublin's only two serving auxiliary bishops, Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field, finally bowed to mounting public pressure.

The departure of the two barrister-bishops comes four weeks after the report into child sexual abuse in the Dublin archdiocese found that it had shielded clergy who criminally abused children from the law.

In a joint statement, released before midnight on Christmas Eve, the bishops said: "We, Bishop Eamonn Walsh and Bishop Raymond Field, have this evening informed Archbishop Diarmuid Martin that we are offering our resignation.

"As we celebrate the feast of Christmas, the birth of our saviour, the prince of peace, it is our hope that our action may help to bring the peace and reconciliation of Jesus Christ to the victims/survivors of child sexual abuse. We again apologise to them."

The statement added: "Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have so bravely spoken out and those who continue to suffer in silence."

Bishop Drennan is now the sole prelate named in the damning Murphy report who has yet to offer his resignation.

As he arrived at Galway Cathedral to celebrate Mass yesterday, Bishop Drennan said: "I have nothing to say at the moment. I'm concentrating on preparing Mass."

But the bishop, who last week publicly insisted he would not be standing down, is expected to confirm his own resignation amid pressure from Dr Martin.

Dr Martin last night said he respected the decision of Bishops Walsh and Field.

He said the two prelates were "extremely good bishops" and had done many things in the Dublin archdiocese for which people were grateful. But he said good people had to be accountable.

He refused to get involved in any discussion about the future of Bishop Drennan.

The latest resignations came after the Irish Independent exclusively reported on Thursday that Dr Martin faced down a behind-the-scenes attempt by Bishop Walsh to rally the support of the clergy.

In a confidential letter, written as part of a lobby campaign among Dublin priests, Bishop Walsh -- who was previously tipped as a future archbishop -- repeatedly said he did no wrong and that it would be an injustice for him to step down. But his position became untenable after Dr Martin refused to back his senior assistant.

Pope Benedict last week accepted the resignation of Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray for his "inexcusable" failure to properly investigate paedophile priest Thomas Naughton.


Responsibility

On Wednesday, the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Jim Moriarty, went a step further after he accepted the principle of collective responsibility for failing to persuade his former boss, Cardinal Desmond Connell, to investigate the criminal history of notorious paedophile priest 'Fr Edmondus' in a secret diocesan file.

Abuse victims yesterday welcomed the latest resignations.

Andrew Madden, who endured shocking abuse at the hands of notorious church abuser Fr Ivan Payne, said it was "an important part of the healing process".

He added: "It is important for me to live in a society where those who have subordinated the welfare of vulnerable children to the betterment of any institution learn that such behaviour is not acceptable."

The Murphy inquiry, based on a sample 46 priests, revealed a catalogue of paedophilia and subsequent cover-ups over three decades -- because the Catholic hierarchy was obsessed with secrecy and granted immunity by gardai.

In his homily at the Christmas Eve Vigil Mass in St Mary's Pro-Cathedral in Dublin -- shortly before the resignations of his two auxiliary bishops -- Dr Martin said it had been "a painful year" for the Church.

"But the church today may well be a better and safer place than . . . 25 years ago," he added.

"The Church in Dublin is called to conversion and to renewal."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dublin: Public dispute between Archbishop Martin, bishop implicated in Murphy report

Dublin: Public dispute between Archbishop Martin, bishop implicated in Murphy report
December 24, 2009

A public dispute has erupted in Dublin between Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and Auxiliary Bishop Éamonn Walsh, who was cited in the recent Murphy commission report for his inadequate response to abuse allegations.

Bishop Walsh sent a letter dated December 17 to all priests in his region of the archdiocese stating that Archbishop Martin had expressed his full confidence in his auxiliary bishops’ ministry following the publication of the report. In the letter, Bishop Walsh insisted that he should not resign because of “guilt by association.”

“When asked at the Citywest gathering of priests if he had confidence in his priests and auxiliary bishops, [Archbishop Martin] replied that he had confidence in the ministry they were carrying out,” an archdiocesan spokesperson responded. “He clearly noted, however, that with regard to the auxiliary bishops, he is still evaluating their positions regarding the manner in which they addressed the question of accountability for the implications of the Murphy report … Archbishop Martin does not believe that anyone could interpret his comments as giving unconditional support and he has, indeed, received critical comments for his not offering such support.”

In early January, the archbishop is expected to offer public proposals in response to the Murphy report.

Ireland: Bishop Moriarty apologizes to victims in resignation statement

Ireland: Bishop Moriarty apologizes to victims in resignation statement
December 24, 2009

The Irish bishop who offered his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI on December 23 has apologized to abuse victims.

“Over the last few weeks, I have been reflecting on what should be my response to the overall conclusion of the Murphy report-- particularly because I was part of the governance of the Archdiocese [of Dublin] prior to when correct child protection policies and procedures were implemented,” said Bishop James Moriarty.

“It does not serve the truth to overstate my responsibility and authority within the Archdiocese,” he continued. “Nor does it serve the truth to overlook the fact that the system of management and communications was seriously flawed. However, with the benefit of hindsight, I accept that, from the time I became an Auxiliary Bishop, I should have challenged the prevailing culture.”

“I know that any action now on my part does not take away the suffering that people have endured. I again apologise to all the survivors and their families. I have today offered my resignation as Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin to the Holy Father. I hope it honours the truth that the survivors have so bravely uncovered and opens the way to a better future for all concerned.”

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Second Irish bishop 'to resign'

Second Irish bishop 'to resign'
Speculation is mounting in Ireland that a second bishop will resign after a damning report which found that Catholic leaders concealed child abuse.

Broadcaster RTE has reported that the Bishop of Kildare Dr James Moriarty, will quit on Wednesday afternoon.

Last week he said that if it was for the good of the Catholic Church he would step down.

The report subjected him to implied criticism for not doing enough to find out all detail about an alleged abuser.

Dr Moriarty worked in the Dublin archdiocese from 1991 to 2002.

In 1993 he received a report about the activities of a priest, Fr Edmondus, who was behaving in a suspicious way around children.

Criticism

The Murphy report into abuse in Dublin noted that Dr Moriarty warned Fr Edmondus about his behaviour and discussed the matter with his Archbishop.

The report also found that no attempt was made by the archdiocesan authorities to check the archives or other files relating to Fr Edmondus when the complaints were received

Bishop Moriarty told the abuse inquiry that while he did not have access to the archives where Fr Edmondus' records would have been held, he could have asked his Archbishop to conduct a search of those records. He did not do this.

The Bishop of Limerick, Dr Donal Murray, resigned earlier this month following criticism of him in the report.

It found that during Dr Murray's time as an auxiliary bishop in Dublin from 1982 to 1996, he was dismissive of complaints about a priest who went on to abuse again.

The report said Bishop Murray did not deal properly with the suspicions and concerns that were expressed to him in relation to one priest, Fr Tom Naughton, in 1983.

A short time later, factual evidence of Naughton's abusing emerged in another parish.

The Murphy report found Bishop Murray's failure to reinvestigate the earlier suspicions was "inexcusable".

LA monsignor called before grand jury

LA monsignor called before grand jury
APNewsBreak: By GILLIAN FLACCUS
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

LOS ANGELES -- A lawyer says a Roman Catholic monsignor has testified before a federal grand jury investigating how the Archdiocese of Los Angeles handled claims of priest abuse.

Attorney John Manly told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the former vicar for clergy Monsignor Richard Loomis testified before the grand jury on Dec. 16 and was granted immunity.

A second lawyer familiar with the federal probe confirmed Manly's account but requested anonymity because grand jury proceedings are confidential.

Manly represents victims of clergy abuse. He says the monsignor's civil attorney told him last week about the testimony because Loomis was scheduled to give a deposition in a lawsuit Manly filed.

Father jailed for encouraging his teenage son to rape and marry his cousin, 12

Father jailed for encouraging his teenage son to rape and marry his cousin, 12
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 11:24 PM on 22nd December 2009

The father of a teenager encouraged to marry and rape his 12-year-old cousin was jailed for three years today.

The 54-year-old man was arrested by Scotland Yard child abuse detectives over an arranged marriage at a house in Woolwich, south east London.

Investigators discovered a 16-year-old boy was told by several family members to illegally marry the young relative and have sex with her.

The fathers of two teenagers who married in a sham Muslim ceremony were sentenced to jail at Wood Green Crown Court
The sham Muslim ceremony took place at his parents' house in front of relatives in March last year.

More...Illegal immigrants 'used loophole to create sham marriages' for the right to live in Britain

The victim's mother alerted police and the teenage boy, his parents and the girl's 29-year-old father were arrested and questioned.

The Metropolitan Police said the boy, now aged 17, was sentenced to an 18-month supervision order at Wood Green Crown Court today.

He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders' register after a jury found him guilty of raping a girl aged under 13.

His parents, both aged 54, and the girl's father were convicted of inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity following an illegal marriage.

The teenage boy's mother received a 12-month jail term, suspended for two years, and was ordered to undertake 200 hours' community service.

The 12-year-old victim's father was jailed for three years and will be placed on the sex offenders' register for life.

In a statement, the victim's mother said: 'What happened to my daughter was a nightmare. These convictions will help us move on.'

Detective Inspector Noel McHugh, who led the investigation, said the sentences should bring closure to a 'really awful crime'.

He said: 'This has been an exceptionally challenging investigation and we are grateful to all those who assisted with the case and ensured the convictions.

'The offences committed are incomprehensible and the victim is a truly brave girl who suffered at the hands of those who should have offered her protection. The girl and her mother assisted the investigation throughout.'

Man charged with murder in 'honor killing'

Man charged with murder in 'honor killing'
Almaleki accused of running over daughter
by Dustin Gardiner - Dec. 22, 2009 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
An Iraqi immigrant accused of slaying his daughter in an "honor killing" has been charged with first-degree murder and could face the death penalty, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said Monday.

Faleh Hassan Almaleki, 48, of Glendale, is accused of using his Jeep Cherokee to run over his daughter, 20-year-old Noor Almaleki, and another woman in a Peoria parking lot on Oct. 20. His daughter died of her injuries.

Almaleki was reportedly furious with his daughter for becoming "too Westernized," police said.
Prosecutors have labeled Noor Almaleki's death an "honor killing," saying the elder Almaleki killed his daughter because she dishonored the family by not following traditional Iraqi or Muslim values.

She reportedly married a man in Iraq and returned to Arizona to live with a boyfriend and his mother in Surprise.

Thomas announced Almaleki was also being charged with attempted first-degree murder in the attack on his daughter's friend, Amal Khalaf, 43. Khalaf is the boyfriend's mother and is expected to recover from her injuries, police said.

Almaleki was charged with two additional felony counts for leaving the scene of a serious injury accident.

Thomas said his office is still determining whether to seek the death penalty for Almaleki. He called the case "tragic," saying the county will prosecute Almaleki to the full extent.

At Almaleki's initial court appearance on Oct. 31, county prosecutor Stephanie Low said he admitted deliberately running down his daughter.

"By his own admission, this was an intentional act, and the reason was that his daughter had brought shame on him and his family," Low said. "This was an attempt at an honor killing."

Almaleki was a fugitive for about a week, fleeing for Mexico and later taking a plane to London, investigators said.

He was detained by British authorities and extradited.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fargo bishop defends diocesan response to abuse

Fargo bishop defends diocesan response to abuse
December 22, 2009

Responding to news releases issued by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo defends his diocese’s response to abuse allegations in a December 22 op-ed piece.

“No form of child abuse or sexual misconduct of any kind is now nor ever was considered acceptable within the Church,” writes the North Dakota bishop. “When an individual reports wrongful conduct of any kind, regardless of the age of the reporter, it is and will continue to be our policy to work with civil authorities as required while, at the same time, respecting the privacy of those who come forward.”

“By honoring an individual’s desire for privacy, the diocese’s ability to respond publicly on these sensitive issues is necessarily limited. At times, our pledge of confidentiality to those with the courage to report is used against the diocese. Despite those injustices, I will not violate the trust of anyone who makes a report to us.”

NY priest accused of abuse cleared

NY priest accused of abuse cleared
Article Details
By Catholic News Service
NEW YORK -- A Vatican congregation has cleared Msgr. Alan J. Placa, a Rockville Centre diocesan priest who worked closely with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, of any wrongdoing related to sexual abuse accusations in 2002.

Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre said in a recent statement that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had instructed him "to restore Msgr. Placa to ministry and to do what we can to restore his good name."

The bishop and the 65-year-old priest agreed, however, "that Msgr. Placa will not be given a diocesan assignment," the statement said. "Msgr. Placa's status is that of a retired priest in good standing."

The Vatican congregation's ruling that Msgr. Placa was "not guilty of the allegation of sexual abuse of a minor which was made against him in June of 2002" confirmed an earlier decision by the tribunal of the Diocese of Albany, the home diocese of the complainant.

Calling the Vatican decision "final and definitive," the statement said Msgr. Placa "is now permitted to exercise priestly ministry freely in the Roman Catholic Church."

"We hope that everyone in the diocese will recognize that Msgr. Placa is a priest in good standing," Bishop Murphy said. "It is my hope and prayer that this decision will bring closure and healing.

"We also ask people of good will to join us in praying for those who were, in fact, victims of sexual abuse," he added. "Their suffering must never be forgotten."

Msgr. Placa, a former vice chancellor in the Rockville Centre Diocese, was placed on administrative leave in 2002 after two men accused him of abusing them 25 years earlier at St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary in Uniondale. At the time of the accusations, the priest was working for Giuliani Partners, a management consulting and security consulting business.

No criminal or civil charges were ever filed in the case against Msgr. Placa, who repeatedly denied the accusations.

Meanwhile, a former priest of the Cleveland Diocese was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years' probation Dec. 14 after pleading guilty to corrupting a minor in 1997.

Patrick O'Connor, now 52, resigned from the priesthood in 2008 after a man alleged that O'Connor had sexual contact with him when the victim was 15 years old in 1997. O'Connor also had been on administrative leave from 2003 to 2007 while the diocese investigated other sex abuse allegations against him.

At his sentencing, O'Connor apologized to the victim, saying, "My actions were inexcusable and I betrayed a sacred trust," according to a report in The Chronicle-Telegram newspaper in Elyria, Ohio.

Monday, December 21, 2009

UK fails to halt female genital mutilation

UK fails to halt female genital mutilation

Girls are still at risk this Christmas as 'cutters' are flown in from abroad to perform the illegal procedure here

By Nina Lakhani


Sunday, 20 December 2009

Hundreds of British schoolgirls are facing the terrifying prospect of female genital mutilation (FGM) over the Christmas holidays as experts warn the practice continues to flourish across the country. Parents typically take their daughters back to their country of origin for FGM during school holidays, but The Independent on Sunday has been told that "cutters" are being flown to the UK to carry out the mutilation at "parties" involving up to 20 girls to save money.


The police face growing criticism for failing to prosecute a single person for carrying out FGM in 25 years; new legislation from 2003 which prohibits taking a girl overseas for FGM has also failed to secure a conviction.

Experts say the lack of convictions, combined with the Government's failure to invest enough money in education and prevention strategies, mean the practice continues to thrive. Knowledge of the health risks and of the legislation remains patchy among practising communities, while beliefs about the supposed benefits for girls remain firm, according to research by the Foundation for Women's Health, Research and Development (Forward).

As a result, specialist doctors and midwives are struggling to cope with increasing numbers of women suffering from long-term health problems, including complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

Campaigners are urging ministers to take co-ordinated steps to work with communities here and overseas to change deep-seated cultural attitudes and stamp out this extreme form of violence against women.

The author and life peer Ruth Rendell, who has campaigned against FGM for 10 years, said: "When I helped take the Bill through Parliament seven years ago, I was very hopeful that we'd get convictions and that would then act as a deterrent for other people. But that has never happened and my heart bleeds for these girls. This mutilation is forever; nothing can be done to restore the clitoris, and that is just very sad for them. I have repeatedly asked questions of ministers from all departments about why there has never been a prosecution and why we still do not have a register of cases. But while they are always very sympathetic, nothing ever seems to get done. Teachers must not be squeamish and must talk to their girls so we can try and prevent it from happening."

FGM is classified into four types, of varying severity; type 3 is the most mutilating and involves total removal of the clitoris, labia and a narrowing of the whole vagina.

An estimated 70,000 women living in the UK have undergone FGM, and 20,000 girls remain at risk, according to Forward. The practice is common in 28 African countries, including Somalia, Sudan and Nigeria, as well as some Middle Eastern and Asian countries such as Malaysia and Yemen. It is generally considered to be an essential rite of passage to suppress sexual pleasure, preserve girls' purity and cleanliness, and is necessary for marriage in many communities even now. It has no religious significance.

The most common age for the procedure is between eight and 11 but it can be carried out just after birth or just before marriage. It carries the risk of death from bleeding or tetanus, and long-term problems include urinary incontinence, recurrent infections and chronic pain. Reversal procedures are necessary in order to avoid major problems for a woman and baby during childbirth.

In the UK, some women have to travel hundreds of miles to one of 15 specialist clinics because services and training are so patchy. There are no specialist clinics at all in Scotland, or Wales, and student doctors, midwives and social workers are not routinely taught to recognise or deal with FGM.

A DVD, paid for by Baroness Rendell, which shows health workers how to reverse FGM will be launched in January. She hopes the next generation of health professionals will be better equipped to help affected women, many of whom suffer from long-term psychological effects such as flashbacks, anxiety and nightmares.

Amina, 55, originally from Somalia, underwent type 3 FGM, with no anaesthetic, when she was 11. One of the lucky ones, she suffered no long-term physical health problems but still carries psychological scars.

She has been vilified by practising communities for campaigning against FGM and for refusing to allow four of her daughters to be mutilated; the fifth suffered the procedure while in the care of her grandmother. The government funding that allowed Amina to work with families in Yorkshire, going door to door, to schools and community centres, talking about legal and health risks, ran out in March.

The Somali model Waris Dirie was mutilated at the age of five. She set up the Waris Dirie Foundation in 2002 to help eradicate FGM. She said: "I am worried about the situation in Europe and the US, as FGM seems to be on the rise in these places. In the 21st century, a crime this cruel should not be accepted in a society as developed as England. No one can undo the trauma that is caused by this horrible crime; it stays in your head for ever. So what we should focus on is that there won't be another victim."

Jackie Mathers, a nurse from the Bristol Safeguarding Children Board, said: "These families do not do this out of spite or hatred; they believe this will give their daughters the best opportunities in life. We would like a conviction, not against the parents, but against a cutter, someone who makes a living from this. We have anecdotal information that the credit crunch means people can't go home, so they're getting cutters over for 'FGM parties'. It is hard for people to speak out because they are from communities that are already vilified as asylum seekers, so to stand up against their communities is to risk being ostracised. But we have to empower girls and women to address this, along with teachers, school nurses and social workers. We can't ignore it; it is mutilation."

A Home Office spokesman said: "We have appointed an FGM co-ordinator to drive forward a co-ordinated government response to this appalling crime and make recommendations for future work."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Catholics urged to send ‘message of anger’ to Pope

Catholics urged to send ‘message of anger’ to Pope

Saturday, 19 December 2009


Irish Catholics have been urged to send a Christmas message to the Pope demanding he take action over the country's child abuse scandal.


A survivor of institutional abuse revealed he will be using a new online service launched by the Vatican to demand the Pontiff reform the church and apologise to the people of Ireland.

John Kelly, from Irish Survivors of Child Abuse, believes few Irish Catholics will be sending goodwill greetings through the internet.

“The victims of abuse and many Irish people feel deeply let down,” said Mr Kelly.

“I will be saying ‘Your Holiness, Please show me leadership, please intervene in what's going on in the Irish Catholic Church and please remove those princes of the Irish Catholic Church whose behaviour has to be questioned'.”

Mr Kelly said he will also demand that a motion is set to reform the Catholic Church and visit Ireland to apologise and seek forgiveness.

The initiative was unveiled by Monsignor Paul Tighe, a Dublin priest who was promoted to become one of the Vatican's most senior media advisers two years ago.

The service allows web surfers to send online Christmas greetings to Pope Benedict XVI through the Pope2You portal, which is run by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

Maeve Lewis, of support group One In Four, said the number of victims seeking help has escalated since the publication of two damning reports into clerical abuse.

“I would urge Irish Catholics to send a card to the Pope, but in it to express the distress, anger and frustration so many devout Catholics feel at the findings of the Dublin Report and the wholly inadequate response of the Irish hierarchy and the Vatican to it,” she added.

Quit now or be fired: final ultimatum to prelates

Independent.ie
Quit now or be fired: final ultimatum to prelates
Archbishop will ask Vatican to act if quartet don't resign

By JOHN COONEY, CIARAN BYRNE and BRIAN McDONALD
Saturday December 19 2009

THE Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin will seek to have four bishops fired by the Vatican if they refuse to step down over the Murphy report into child sex abuse cases in Dublin.

The dramatic development emerged as one of the embattled bishops, Martin Drennan of Galway, accused Dublin's Archbishop Martin of calling his integrity into question.

Bishop Drennan, one of the four former auxiliary bishops who served in Dublin, is under fierce pressure to resign to show "collective responsibility" for the abuse scandals.

The three other bishops facing calls to go are Dublin auxiliaries, Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field, and the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Jim Moriarty, a previous auxiliary in Dublin.

Archbishop Martin last night refused to make a public comment on his tense relations with Bishop Drennan.

But sources told the Irish Independent that if the four bishops -- who say they did no wrong -- do not stand down voluntarily on the principle of collective responsibility, Archbishop Martin will petition the Congregation of Bishops in Rome to fire them.

The prospect of their resignations moved a step closer yesterday after school principals demanded all four should step down as patrons of hundreds of primary schools.

The Irish Primary Principals' Network (IPPN) also wants the four bishops to be accountable for their actions -- or inactions -- in discharging their child protection responsibilities.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen also waded into the row, firmly backing Archbishop Martin's stance and saying it was "a time for leadership and accountability" from the Catholic Church.

Mr Cowen said: "The resignation of Bishop Murray is a welcome indication that those who are in positions of leadership and responsibility in the Church are facing up to their responsibility in the light of the very clear findings of the Murphy Commission."

Despite the developments, Bishop Drennan mounted a robust defence of his position yesterday, hitting back at a call by Archbishop Martin to take collective responsibility for the report into systematic cover-up of abuse complaints from victims of priests.

Interpreting a letter from Archbishop Martin as seeking his resignation as head of the Galway diocese, Bishop Drennan said his conscience was clear and he had no intention of resigning from office.

Support

Earlier yesterday, he hinted he might quit, telling a local radio station he was "not sure" if he would resign. Later he claimed he had received phone calls of support following the interview.

There was growing speculation last night that the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Dr Jim Moriarty may take the decision to step down in the face of grassroots anger at his handling of sex abuse cases.

Some parents in Co Carlow have suggested they will remove their children from religious sacraments officiated by the bishop, a move that might make his post untenable.

Bishop Moriarty has said he does not consider that there are any grounds on which he should resign. But several parents in one parish had decided not to allow their children to attend a Confirmation ceremony if Bishop Moriarty was officiating at it.

Last night a senior Dublin priest openly sided with Archbishop Martin and said that more resignations of bishops named in the Murphy report were "inevitable."

Fr Joe Mullen, chairman of the Dublin Council of Priests, said: "If they don't resign or if this moment that we're in doesn't move in a way that seems to be fuelled by forgiveness and justice and a sense of recognition of hurt and hope for healing, then maybe we'll all be retiring, if not resigning".

In two interviews yesterday, Bishop Drennan pointed out that nothing negative had been said about him in the Murphy report on clerical sex abuse.

- JOHN COONEY, CIARAN BYRNE and BRIAN McDONALD

Catholic Bishops clash as child abuse scandal rocks Irish church

Catholic Bishops clash as child abuse scandal rocks Irish church
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:08 AM on 19th December 2009
Ireland's Catholic hierarchy faced further damage tonight after an under-fire Bishop clashed with a colleague over a sickening child abuse scandal.

Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan, one of five senior clerics named in the Murphy report, claimed Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin had called his integrity into question over the Church's mishandling of paedophile priests.
The Archbishop stopped short of asking former and serving auxiliary bishops in the Dublin Archdiocese to resign but urged them to reflect on their positions.
Row: Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan, left, claimed Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin had called his integrity into question

But Bishop Drennan hit back and said: 'The people of Galway are saying my integrity has been called into question.

'I can't clear myself in this case. I don't know if Archbishop Martin intended that or not but it has put a question mark over my integrity.'
Bishop Drennan responded to a letter from the Archbishop following the publication of the damning Murphy report which exposed the Church's failure to deal with child abuse and subsequent cover-ups by Catholic hierarchy.

The Galway-based cleric, who was an auxiliary in Dublin from 1997 to 2005, insisted his conscience was clear.

'If I couldn't be a source of unity for the diocese I wouldn't want to stay on but I think at the moment I think I have vast support,' he said.

'I'm not claiming to be a saint by a long way but as far as I can remember I handled it as best I could and I have no regrets really about the way I handled the situation there.'
'I'm happy with the way I dealt with things,' he told RTE radio.

Bishop Drennan, along with Bishops Jim Moriarty, Eamonn Walsh and Ray Field, were all based in the Irish capital from 1974 and had some role in dealing with the sample 46 priests investigated in the report.

A fifth high-ranking cleric, Limerick Bishop Donal Murray, stood down after he was singled out in the report for mishandling allegations against an abusive cleric. Bishop Drennan said further resignations were not the answer.

'I would feel we'd get into a spiral of revenge. I can understand that people would be very angry and very good people are angry,' he added.

'What happened was appalling but taking the route of revenge and forcing resignations is not necessarily going to bring any healing.'

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bishop apologises in wake of priest's support of sex offender

Bishop apologises in wake of priest's support of sex offender
CONOR LALLY, KITTY HOLLAND and ANNE LUCEY

Fri, Dec 18, 2009

THE BISHOP of Kerry Bill Murphy has dissociated himself from Fr Seán Sheehy, the priest who shook hands with a sex offender awaiting sentencing in court and provided him a character reference in which he said he was always respectful to women.

The priest later criticised the “extremely harsh” seven-year jail term imposed by Judge Donagh McDonagh at the sentencing hearing in Tralee, Co Kerry, on Wednesday, of Danny Foley (35), Meen, Listowel, Co Kerry.

Fr Sheehy has defended his actions, saying he shook Foley’s hand in court because he wanted to “support him and let him know he was not alone”.

In a statement last night, Bishop Murphy said he wished to dissociate himself and the diocese from Fr Sheehy’s actions and statements.

“I wish to offer my sympathy to the victim and to apologise to her on my own behalf and on behalf of the diocese of Kerry,” he said. “I pay tribute to her courage. I hope what has happened will not undermine the progress that has been made in bringing perpetrators of sexual abuse to justice.”

Fr Sheehy is retired from an American diocese and is substituting for the parish priest of Castlegregory, Fr Tadhg Ó Dochartaigh, who has been ill.

Fr Sheehy was one of up to 50 people who queued in the courthouse in Tralee to shake hands with and embrace Foley before he was sentenced.

In her victim impact statement the woman, who has not been publicly identified, said she felt “judged”, adding that everybody in Listowel knew she was the woman at the centre of the case.

Gardaí on patrol found the victim, then aged 22, semi-conscious alongside a skip in a Listowel car park early on June 15th, 2008, with a man “crouching over her”. She was naked from the waist down. She had extensive bruises and scratching.

Vera O’Leary, manager of the Kerry Rape Crisis Centre (KRCC), said the victim was in court waiting to give her statement as Foley was supported by Fr Sheehy and others.

The victim had been “confused and just completely in shock that this could be allowed to happen”.

The KRCC had been inundated with calls from people dissociating themselves from the actions of those in court.

Ms O’Leary said it was important the victim, who is suicidal, knew she was supported by the majority of the community.

The Irish Courts Service said if an offender was in custody – which Foley has been since his conviction two weeks ago – the issue of people approaching him was a matter for the prison officers who brought him to court or for the Irish Prison Service.

There were no protocols relating to approaches in court to people not already in custody.

A prison service spokesman said it had no role in maintaining order in a courthouse.

‘Religious rite’ behind 40 needles in toddler

belfasttelegraph.co.uk
‘Religious rite’ behind 40 needles in toddler
Friday, 18 December 2009


A toddler's stepfather has admitted sticking more than 40 needles deep into the boy's body, claiming it was a religious ritual.


Angry crowds surrounded the Brazilian police station where Roberto Carlos Magalhaes was being held and had to be pushed back by reinforcements after his confession was made public. Meanwhile, the two-year-old boy was waiting for emergency surgery to remove needles dangerously close to his heart.

Magalhaes told detectives that a woman who went into a trance would “command him to stick the needles in the boy's body,” police said. “According to his confession, he acted under influence of the woman, but it was him who stuck the needles in the boy's body.”

He said the step-father, the woman and one other have been arrested.

Meanwhile the child, who is not being identified, was airlifted to the heart unit of a major hospital, but it was not immediately clear when doctors might be able to operate.

Doctors located 42 needles in the boy, who was in stable condition in Salvador.

More bishops may quit over abuse scandal

belfasttelegraph.co.uk
More bishops may quit over abuse scandal
By John Cooney
Friday, 18 December 2009


Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin last night strongly signalled that his two auxiliary bishops, Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field, will quit in the new year as Bishop of Kildare Jim Moriarty was on the brink of taking early retirement.


Hours after the expected resignation of Donal Murray as Bishop of Limerick, 73-year-old Bishop Moriarty, due to resign in two years' time, said he would go sooner if it would “serve the Church, the victims and the people” — in a clear hint he will bow out in 2010.

A spokesman for Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan, the fifth bishop implicated in the Murphy report, denied there was growing pressure on him to step down after a meeting of local clergy yesterday to discuss the fallout from the report.

Bishop Drennan was a Dublin auxiliary bishop from 1997 to 2005. Despite his continued resistance to resignation calls, a ‘domino-effect' was emerging yesterday after Bishop Murray's resignation.

Bishop Murray made his announcement exactly three weeks after the publication of the damning Murphy report, which called his inadequate monitoring of Dublin paedophile priest Fr Tom Naughton “inexcusable”. The bells of Limerick's St John's Cathedral tolled his official departure at 11am Mass as Bishop Murray told a hushed congregation that Pope Benedict had accepted his resignation.

Bishop Murray “humbly apologised” to victims abused by priests as children and said he knew full well that his resignation could “not undo the pain that survivors of abuse have suffered in the past and continue to suffer each day”.

In a strongly worded statement last night, Dr Martin indicated that the list of fallen bishops would expand after he completes a review in the early new year of how to restore confidence in Dublin archdiocese.

“I believe Bishop Donal Murray did the right thing, for his diocese and for the wider Irish Church and I appreciate the personal difficulty and pressure he has been under,” he added.

Dr Martin revealed he would be meeting “those in this diocese who were named in the report” about radical changes he wanted made. This was a clear reference to the roles of auxiliary bishops Eamonn Walsh and Ray Field, former chancellor Alex Stenson and the present chancellor, Monsignor John Dolan.

“This will not be complete until early in the new year and I will not discuss it publicly before,” said the archbishop. “There will be wider consultations also,” he added in a veiled reference to Rome, the Papal Nuncio and the Conference of Irish Bishops.

“This is without doubt, a period of deep crisis... Priests and people of this diocese see that there can be no healing without radical change. Along with many others, I am committed to that change.”

Bankrupt diocese's insurance company refuses to pay abuse victims following settlement

Bankrupt diocese's insurance company refuses to pay abuse victims following settlement
December 18, 2009

Three weeks after a bankrupt Alaskan diocese agreed to a $10 million settlement with nearly 300 alleged abuse victims, one of its insurance companies is refusing to pay settlement funds.

Referring to the Diocese of Fairbanks and Catholic Mutual, a victims’ attorney said, “It means delay, it means that despite the fact that we have been pursuing the bishop for seven years on behalf of the victims to the point where he has declared bankruptcy and is now emerging from bankruptcy, we still have potentially two to three more years of litigation with the insurance carriers because they refuse to give Alaska Native victims the same treatment as they've given to non-Native victims in the Lower 48.”

McCormack's bid to stop commitment hearing denied

McCormack's bid to stop commitment hearing denied
December 17, 2009 11:54 AM | No Comments
A judge today denied a motion filed by Daniel McCormack, the former priest convicted of sexually abusing five boys, that sought to stop the state from labeling him a sexually violent person.

McCormack, 41, has served more than two years of a five-year sentence. Shortly before his parole in September, Cook County prosecutors and the Illinois attorney general filed a joint petition to have McCormack confined to a state treatment facility under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act.

Illinois law allows prosecutors to seek continued incarceration if a psychological exam leads them to believe another sex crime is likely if the inmate goes free. A forensic psychiatrist hired by the attorney general's office diagnosed McCormack with pedophilia and recommended civil commitment.

In a defense motion filed last month, McCormack's lawyer argued that the Illinois Department of Corrections should have been the one to hire the psychiatrist to evaluate his client, not the attorney general. It also points out that another psychiatrist hired by the DOC in August did not recommend McCormack for civil commitment.

But today, Judge Dennis Porter denied the motion, saying that though the law does say the Department of Corrections must hire a psychiatrist, it does not explicitly require that other agencies cannot hire psychiatrists to evaluate the subject or that the decision to commit must be based on the DOC psychiatrist's findings.

The statute "doesn't say the state is bound by that," Porter said.

Whether McCormack will be committed under the law has yet to be decided. His case is next scheduled to be heard Jan. 19.

McCormack pleaded guilty in July 2007 to abusing five boys at St. Agatha Roman Catholic Church on the West Side.