Posts Tagged Ireland
“That the bishops and the nuncio don’t want to engage in a structured way with the ACP (Association of Catholic Priests) is symbolic of a church adrift, a church stuck, a church in denial, a church with 26 kingdoms, an Irish church on a parallel path to that which Pope Francis speaks about, an Irish church attached and addicted to an ecclesial vision that is at variance to what Pope Francis is trying to build.” (Redemptorist Fr. Gerry O’Connor)
Irish priests’ ever-increasing workload is threatening to turn this aging, demoralized and declining group into ‘sacrament-dispensing machines’ who find pastoral work less and less satisfying, a co-founder of Ireland’s Association of Catholic Priests has warned.
“In his address to the association’s annual general meeting in Athlone Nov. 16, Fr. Brendan Hoban highlighted how suicide is on the rise among Irish priests, a group he said was also increasingly prone to depression.
“With the vast majority of Irish priests now age 70 or over, elderly diocesan priests are living increasingly isolated and lonely lives and are constantly ‘reminded that we no longer really matter, that at best we’re now little more than a ceremonial presence on the sidelines of life,’ he said.”
By Sarah Mac Donald, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
“… criticizing the mentality of protecting the institution which dominated the church’s approach to child abuse in the past …”
One of Ireland’s best known priests, who is one of six clerics in the Irish church censured by the Vatican in recent years, claimed that a number of women who were sexually abused by notorious pedophile Norbertine Fr. Brendan Smyth, later committed suicide because of their ordeal.
“In an interview with the Irish magazine, Hot Press, popular BBC radio presenter Passionist Fr. Brian D’Arcy, says he personally knew ‘young women, who took their own lives because of what Brendan Smyth did to them.’
“Criticizing the mentality of protecting the institution which dominated the church’s approach to child abuse in the past, D’Arcy suggested these women ‘could have been saved, if it [the abuse by Smyth] had been reported earlier.'”
By Sarah Mac Donald, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
“After all, until last weekend (Apr. 9-10) there had not been a synod in Ireland in over half a century, and none in Limerick for 70 years.
“Having come from Dublin it was an opportunity for Bishop Leahy to get a feel for his flock. More importantly still it was a clear indication that this was a bishop willing to listen and take heed of what his faithful were telling him.
“Fast forward 18 months and Bishop Leahy now describes the synod as an ‘incredible journey’ that began because he ‘wanted to hear from the people exactly what they are concerned about and what we can do in the future to improve our Church and how it serves the people.’
“‘The great thing about it is that it has been a people-led journey. The people decided what would be on the agenda and the people voted,’ Dr Leahy said.”
By Cathal Barry, The Irish Catholic — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Warned by media and friends to compare the movie Spotlight with the 1976 classic All the President’s Men I am now intensely grateful for that misdirection. It meant that Spotlight was a complete surprise, and a stunning reminder of the Catholicism that for most of my own lifetime did not want to look closely at clerical sexual abuse of children …
“So far none of the reviews of Spotlight that I have read have noticed that at every level this 2015 movie not only overturns the Hollywood clichés of All the President’s Men, it defies the Hollywood star-as-hero convention also, and obliges us – if we are paying close attention – to re-examine all of our own assumptions about heroes and villains and the triumph of good over evil. Those who find the 1976 movie superior need to think again.
“To start with, few will come out of Spotlight remembering the individual names of the team who finally exposed the scale of concealment of clerical child sex abuse in Boston. The reason is the superior understanding on the part of writers, director and cast of the haphazard nature of ‘heroism’ – and of the even more important fact that no one is always a hero, or always necessarily a villain either.”
By Sean O’Conaill, Association of Catholics in Ireland — Click here to read the rest of this review. Sean O’Conaill also is a member of Voice of the Faithful in Ireland.
Voice of the Faithful, a Roman Catholic Church reform movement focusing on issues surrounding the clergy sexual abuse scandal and the laity’s role in Church governance, will hold its 2015 National Assembly on Saturday, April 18, at the Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford.
The featured speaker will be Marie Collins, a Catholic clergy sexual abuse survivor from Ireland who pioneered child protection policies there and is on the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
Organizers also have scheduled five interactive workshops to allow attendees to offer opinions and learn about VOTF activities surrounding several issues:
- Degrees of Transparency: The Good, the Bad, and the Confusing in Diocesan Financial Accountability
- Towards Healing the People of God
- Let’s Talk About It: Can Clergy & Laity Speak to Each Other as Equals
- Survivor Support: A Discussion with Fr. Tom Doyle
- Your Voice for the Synod on the Family
Collins was among the first in March 2014 whom Pope Francis appointed to his Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. She has spoken out for years on the Church’s need to provide better protection for children and justice for clergy sexual abuse survivors. She helped the Dublin Archdiocese set up its Child Protection Service in 2003 and was a member of the Lynott Committee drafting the Church’s all-Ireland child protection guidelines. She was among survivors who lobbied the Irish government for the Murphy Commission, which reported in 2009 extensive clergy child abuse and coverup in the Dublin Archdiocese. In 2012, she spoke about being a clergy abuse victim at the Vatican symposium on child sexual abuse “Toward Healing,” which was attended by Church leaders from around the world.
The documentary “A Matter of Conscience: Confronting Clergy Sexual Abuse” also will be screened at the Assembly. The film, produced by Boston College faculty members John and Susan Michalczyk, features several members of Catholic Whistleblowers, a group Catholic priests and religious formed in 2013 to support other whistleblowers and identify shortcomings in Church child protection policies.
Registration for the 2015 National Assembly is at the Voice of the Faithful website, votf.org.
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at votf.org.
On fifth anniversary of publication of Murphy report, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin reflects / The Irish Times
The fifth anniversary of the publication of the Murphy Report on the management, by both Church and State organizations, of allegations of the sexual abuse of children by priests working in the Archdiocese of Dublin, brings back to me the horror of the revelations that the report contains.
“Inevitably, my first reaction is to remember and recognize the horrible abuse that children experienced, which has left them with wounds and hurts in their lives which still remain today. The second reaction is to note how their hurt was in many cases made worse by the inadequacies of the responses of Church leaders and of the HSE and Garda Síochána.
“Looking back over these past five years, and over the years examined by the Murphy Commission, my thoughts have curiously been dominated in these days by one group, rarely mentioned, but who are real heroes of the abuse scandals: the mothers and fathers of children who had been abused who turned to the Church authorities, not with a reaction of hostility but simply with a passionate concern to ensure that no other child would have to endure what their child did.”
Commentary in The Irish Times — Click here to read the rest of this commentary.
Vatican accepts resignation of Cardinal Sean Brady, leader of Catholic Church in Ireland / BBC News Northern Ireland
2010 lawsuit implicated him in covering up child rape in the 1970s (Associated Press in The Boston Globe)
The Vatican has announced that it has accepted the resignation of the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Seán Brady.
“Last month, Dr Brady, who has been the leader of Ireland’s Catholics for 18 years, confirmed that he offered his resignation to Pope Francis in July.
“His tenure had been beset by clerical child sex abuse scandals and claims that he helped to cover up one case.”
By BBC News Northern Ireland — Click here to read the rest of this story.
In Rare Move, One Roman Catholic Diocese Sues Another over Transfer of Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing Boys / Associated Press
In a rare legal move, a Roman Catholic diocese in Minnesota is suing a diocese in Ireland, alleging it transferred a priest to Minnesota without warning that the man had been accused of sexual abuse. A report by Minnesota Public Radio News and KARE-TV said the Diocese of New Ulm filed the lawsuit in February against the Diocese of Clogher in Ireland and the Servants of the Paraclete religious order.” By Associated Press in Star Tribune — Click here to read the rest of this story.
The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland appears to be backpedaling from earlier strict stances on child protection. Voice of the Faithful® in Ireland cites two examples.
First, Sean O’Conaill of VOTF in Ireland pointed out that Ian Elliott, CEO of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland for the past six years, has alleged that “over the past four years, there has been a successive reduction in the NBSCCC budget.”
Now retired, Elliott has published an article in this month’s issue of St. Patrick’s College’s monthly The Furrow, in which he said, “History has shown that the effective monitoring of (child protection) practice within the Church requires independence, and adequate resources. I would argue that to site investment within individual church authorities, and to starve the national Board of the support that it requires, is running the risk of a lapse back to poor risk management or possibly worse. I see no justification for it other than a desire to limit the role of the Board by covert means.”
“This is truly an alarming statement,” O’Conaill said. “Already, well informed Irish Catholics,” he continued, “have deep misgivings about the lack of strong structures of accountability for their bishops, especially on the issue of child protection. what Elliott warns about is a weakening of the limited accountability system that he established for bishops and religious congregations in Ireland.”
Second, O’Conaill indicated, the Church in Ireland has gone forward with development of spiritual support services for survivors after only token early meetings with survivors. This was done despite survivors having outlined the need to be “fully included in the development and delivery of such services” during meetings with the Irish bishops in 2008 and again in 2010 … On both occasions we felt sure that the bishops attending had heard this central message of the need to involve survivors in the development of pastoral support for themselves.”
Pastoral support for survivors is under the purview of Toward Peace, a program established in 2009 following from priorities the Irish bishops established to respond to survivors. O’Conaill quoted the bishops’ news release distributed at the end of their December 2013 meeting: “It is planned to launch Toward Peace in 2014.”
“We know of no survivor who heard of, or who attended any of the early meetings on this theme of spiritual support for survivors, who was subsequently fully involved in the development of a spiritual support service’ for survivors, or who has any idea of what this now forecast service ‘Toward Peace’ will provide – despite recent requests for information.
“Most importantly, we know of no survivor who is awaiting this soon-to-be launched ‘Toward Peace’ service with any trust or confidence – given the lack of transparency, the exclusion, the discourtesy and the condescension implicit in their experience of its development. These characteristics are diagnostic of the Catholic clericalism that has continued to delay their healing since their initial experiences of clerical sexual abuse – and are entirely incompatible with properly respectful and sensitive pastoral care, as well as with an understanding of the Church as the people of God.”
O’Conaill’s point is further elucidated by coverage of this issue in the Jan. 20 edition of the Irish Independent, “Survivors of Abuse Hit Out at Church Support Service.”
Two examples may not indicate a trend, but the situation bears watching.
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.
Renewal of the Catholic Church in a “post-Catholic” Ireland depends on a homegrown effort by the laity to overcome clericalism and witness the Christian message in a secular society, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin told a New York audience (at Fordham University).” By Beth Griffin, Catholic News Service
Read the entire article quoting Archbishop Martin, “Laity Key to Irish Church’s Renewal, Dublin Archbishop Says at Fordham,” by clicking here.