Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Priest allowed to say Mass despite sex abuse allegations against him

Priest allowed to say Mass despite sex abuse allegations against him
PÁDRAIG COLLINS in Sydney
Irish Times

Tue, Jul 13, 2010

A SYDNEY-BASED Irish Catholic priest was allowed to say Mass two years ago in Ireland despite allegations of sexual abuse against him.

ABC television last night revealed that on at least eight occasions Fr Finian Egan was given exemptions to conduct weddings or funerals while supposedly banned from doing so and under investigation by the church. In May 2008 Fr Egan was allowed to go home to Ireland and say Mass.

Fr Egan was subsequently found by the church to have abused two girls. He denies all of the allegations that were upheld in the church’s investigation.

Bishop David Walker of Sydney, who gave Fr Egan the exemptions to conduct Masses, admitted to ABC he did not inform church authorities in Ireland that he had allowed Fr Egan to minister there or that he was under investigation and banned from ministry in Australia.

Patrick Walsh of the Irish Survivors of Child Abuse organisation last night called for Bishop Walker to resign.

“The Catholic Church is a universal Catholic Church . . . Therefore if a priest is banned in Australia he’s banned in Ireland . . . There’s no rocket science about that, it’s quite clear, unequivocal, and I think it’s shocking, I can’t believe it,” said Mr Walsh.

“I blame the bishop who gave him the green light to do it. That bishop really and truly, I think he should step down, he should resign. He shouldn’t have to wait for me to ask him to resign, he should go.”

There were further allegations of sexual abuse made against Fr Egan last night by twins, now in their 50s, who came forward after seeing a television programme about other allegations against him. “I remember looking up above me and I saw Jesus Christ on the crucifix and I just thought ‘is this my life? Have I done something terrible in my life?’,” said Peta.

Fr Egan has denied all of the twins’ allegations.

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