Wednesday, July 22, 2009

4 archbishops, 15 bishops investigated
Four archbishops under spotlight
By John Cooney
Wednesday July 22 2009

A TOTAL of 19 bishops have been investigated in the report of the Dublin Archdiocese Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.

Immense spiritual and political power over the lives of ordinary Catholics and their children was exercised by four archbishops and 15 assistant bishops in the nation's biggest and most important diocese during the period in question.

The four archbishops at the centre of the inquiry by the commission are Cardinal Desmond Connell, 1988-2004; Kevin McNamara, 1985-87; Dermot Ryan, 1972-1984, and John Charles McQuaid, 1940-1972. Of these four prelates, only Cardinal Connell, now aged 83, is alive and living in retirement in Glasnevin on Dublin's northside.

His handling of allegations and suspicions of child abuse is expected to be put under the spotlight by the commission.

Although Archbishop Kevin McNamara's tenure lasted only two years in office, his period will be censured for the archdiocese taking an insurance policy to reduce the cost of complaints against it.

This will be considered evidence of the church authorities' knowledge of the large scale of clerical abuse.

The 12-year reign of Archbishop Dermot Ryan will also be severely examined for his failure to rein in some of the most notorious abusers, such as Fr Ivan Payne, the late Fr Noel Reynolds, and the late Fr Tom Naughton.

Although the Commission's time-frame is from 1975 to 2004, it could trace cases back to 1940, the year in which John Charles McQuaid, the most powerful churchman of 20th century Ireland, began his 33-year rule of the Dublin archdiocese.

- John Cooney

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