16 Jan 2009

Ex-Cloyne priest is 'dismayed' at support for Bishop Magee

The Independent - Ireland
January 16, 2009

By John Cooney | Religion Correspondent

A former Cloyne priest, who has sought the resignation of Bishop John Magee, has expressed dismay at Cardinal Sean Brady's backing of his old friend of 50 years.

Father Matt Ring, who is now working as a social worker in England, also spoke yesterday of his high regard for Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, who "must be feeling extremely isolated" after the Cardinal and two other archbishops backed Bishop Magee.

Fr Ring, speaking from Southampton, said he quit his ministry in Cork in disgust at what he described as "a culture of bullying, harassment and intimidation" existing in Cloyne.

He also claimed that Bishop Magee "walked in the dark for 21 years", and he doubted if his former boss "has seen the light" about the heinous nature of child abuse, even though two reports found he had neglected to follow national child safeguard procedures agreed by the Bishops' Conference.

Confirming he had written to Papal Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, Pope Benedict's representative in Ireland, seeking the bishop's resignation, Fr Ring warned of fears that Bishop Magee might not cooperate fully with the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation.

It has been instructed by the Government to conduct a judicial probe the Cloyne diocese's handling of child abuse allegations by clergy back to 1999.

Fr Ring informed the Papal Nuncio that he was being contacted by former parishioners in the diocese of Cloyne, and that "there is seething anger and a demand that something constructive happens".

"The hurt and betrayal is not just confined to clerical sex abuse victims but their parents and families, priests of the diocese and parish congregations," he wrote.

Fr Ring said he had also called for the resignation of Bishop Magee's former chief aide, Monsignor Denis O'Callaghan, a former professor of moral theology at St Patrick's College, Maynooth, who, he said, had "ill advised" his bishop in the handling of allegations against two priests.


For the third day running, Archbishop Martin declined to comment on Cardinal Brady's shock U-turn in support of Bishop Magee in Kerry on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the archbishop said that he was concentrating on preparations for the expected publication of the commission's report on clerical sexual abuse in the archdiocese of Dublin by Circuit Court Judge Yvonne Murphy.

Praising Archbishop Martin for his repeated apologies to victims for rapes which were committed before his appointment in Dublin, Fr Ring said he admired his determination to reveal the full extent of abuse, and to prepare his clergy and people for what will be a horrendous report.

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