3 Jan 2011

Irish priest calls for Archbishops and investigators to pin blame on Vatican for central role in global clergy crimes crisis

Belfast Telegraph - October 6, 2010

Catholic archbishops told to target Vatican over child abuse

By John Cooney in Rome

A leading priest has called on Ireland's four Catholic archbishops to point the finger of blame at the Vatican for its central role in the global clerical child abuse crisis.

Ahead of today's long-awaited meeting with senior Vatican officials, Fr Sean McDonagh, an expert on the environment and ecology, has also appealed to an international team of investigators to join forces with the four Irish church leaders in putting the Vatican under fire.

The Irish delegation is led by Cardinal Sean Brady, and the nine-member team of outside investigators is headed by the senior English churchman, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. Fr McDonagh said yesterday they should insist from the outset that the Vatican be held accountable for the worldwide abuse crisis.

"I believe the Irish archbishops and the team of visitors should begin by scrutinising Rome's own handling of sex abuse allegations," Fr McDonagh, a co-founder of the Association of Irish Priests, last night told the Irish Independent.

He instanced how for decades the Vatican shielded the late Fr Marcel Maciel, the notorious Mexican paedophile founder of the ultra-conservative Legionaries of Christ, as "one of the greatest failures in terms of accountability any where in the church".

However, there was no comment on Fr McDonagh's challenge from the Irish camp and the investigators, who privately sang from the same hymn sheet that they were all in the dark as to how Pope Benedict wants to conduct the Irish inquiry he announced last March.

A timetable is expected to be agreed today when Cardinal Brady, accompanied by Archbishops Diarmuid Martin, Dermot Clifford and Michael Neary appear, as summoned, before the Congregation of Bishops.

On his arrival in Rome yesterday, Archbishop Neary told the Irish Independent that he would not know if the investigators would consult priests and laity until he knew the outcome of today's meeting.

Also already in Rome are the heavyweight churchmen from the US and Canada who have been specially assigned by the Vatican to compile an inventory of their conclusions for presentation to Pope Benedict on the shocking findings of the Ryan and Murphy reports.

As well as analysing the causes of the huge scale of clerical child abuse in the archdiocese of Dublin and in industrial schools run by religious orders -- as well as their cover-up -- the investigating team is to examine the current child protection schemes. How abuse victims are being treated will also be a key feature of the probe.

The investigators will be mandated by the Holy See to come forward with recommendations on how to "assist the local church on her path of renewal".

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1 comment:

  1. NSS call for Northern Ireland child abuse investigation

    by: National Secular Society May 7, 2012

    The National Secular Society has called on the Northern Ireland Justice Minister to launch an investigation into child abuse in the Catholic Church.

    The NSS wrote to Justice Minister David Ford following a serious allegation made in the BBC’s This World programme that a church inquiry in 1975 involving Brady, then a priest, was given the names and addresses of children abused by a serial paedophile priest. The programme claimed that this information was then not passed on to the families or the police, allowing the abuse to continue for at least another decade.

    As a number of Catholic dioceses straddle the border, this is an issue that involves Northern Ireland too. In 2011 the NSS wrote to the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland urging him to consider and all Ireland investigation. That request as ignored but the National Secular Society says it now hopes the Justice Minister will take the necessary steps to ensure that individuals within the Catholic Church are not permitted to evade the law which others are expected to follow.

    In a letter to the Justice Minister, the National Secular Society said:

    The Criminal Law Act (NI) 1967 makes clear that it is the duty of anyone aware of a criminal offence having been committed to inform the police. We therefore call on you to investigate whether Cardinal Brady – or anyone else in the church – broke the law by withholding the knowledge of crime from the police in Northern Ireland.

    However, Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton yesterday said there would be no knee-jerk decision on whether to launch a police investigation.

    Mr Hamilton did however confirm that the offence of withholding information from the police was on the statute in Northern Ireland in 1975 but said it had not yet been established whether the BBC documentary provided prima facie evidence the law had been broken.

    He said officers would “do the right thing” based on where the evidence led them.

    Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society commented: “Brady not feeling any need to resign, or the Church any need to sack or even suspend him, are the actions that speak louder than words. Such a response confirms that the Curia right up to the Pope himself continue to consider the Church to be beyond the law for its officials’ criminal actions, however heinous or widespread.

    “The time has come for Governments and international organisations, including the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the International Criminal Court, to apply pressure onto the Vatican to release all the incriminating evidence it holds to justice agencies in the relevant countries.

    “We include in this the UK Government, who should have raised this on behalf of the thousands of abuse survivors when Baroness Warsi visited the Vatican earlier this year. Victims of abuse are being are being abused again by the Church in denying them justice.”