Thursday, December 3, 2009

Under fire, Irish bishop insists he responded promptly to allegations

Under fire, Irish bishop insists he responded promptly to allegations
December 03, 2009

Facing criticism from Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin and calls for his resignation, Bishop Donal Murray of Limerick defended his response to abuse allegations while he served as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin. Bishop Murray-- who has begun a period of reflection over whether he should remain in office or resign-- said:

At no time did I as an auxiliary bishop of Dublin, receive an allegation of sexual abuse and fail to act; when an allegation of sexual abuse of children by a priest was brought to my attention, I responded promptly and conscientiously and in each case notified the archbishop and diocesan authorities and co-operated fully with them.

I wish to state that I never deliberately or knowingly sought to cover up or withhold information brought to my attention. There were, as the report notes, occasions when roles [and] responsibilities were not clear or where I did not have full information concerning cases in which I was asked to become involved … If I had succeeded in deriving more information, it might have been possible to prevent some of the dreadful suffering of child abuse in that instance. I very much wish that I had been able to do so. It is a matter of the greatest regret to me if any action or omission of mine contributed to the suffering of children who were abused. I sincerely apologize and humbly ask their forgiveness.
Bishop Murray-- who told the Limerick Leader that “I certainly acted in good faith and did my best at all times. I have no pangs of conscience about that”-- “handled a number of complaints and suspicions badly,” according to a recently published report on clerical abuse in the Dublin archdiocese. “For example, he did not deal properly with the suspicions and concerns that were expressed to him in relation to Fr Naughton. When, a short time later, factual evidence of Fr Naughton’s abusing emerged in another parish Bishop Murray’s failure to reinvestigate the earlier suspicions was inexcusable. Bishop Murray did, however, accept in 2002 that he had not dealt well with the situation.”

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