AGM Notice, 4-5 Oct 2011

Annual General Meeting of the Association of Catholic Priests
Green Isle Hotel (near Newlands Cross)
Theme: Priesthood in a Time of Crisis
Tuesday October 4th a Public Session:
7. 30 to 9.30pmSpeaker: Fr. Kevin Hegarty – Priestly Ministry Today, An insider’s view.
This will be followed by a Presentation to Fr. Seán Fagan SM for his years of service to Irish Theology
Wednesday October 5th 9.00- 10.30 am. Business Meeting for members.
11.00 to 12.30 – Dr. Marie Keenan – Challenges for Priestly Ministry in Ireland Today.
Accommodation available at the Green Isle, and also just down the road at Bewley’s, Newlands Cross

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  1. I see that the topic is “Priesthood in a Time of Crisis” and one of the proposed agenda items is “Help for the accused priest”. Can I suggest that the AGM discuss false allegations of child abuse made against priests – especially in view of the Cloyne Report? To summarise the Cloyne issues:
    The remit of the Report was to examine the way the Diocese handled allegations of child sexual abuse from 1996 to 2008. The key chapter is 26 which discusses an allegation against Bishop Magee that is neither sex abuse NOR related to a child. This fact is conceded by the Gardai, the HSE, the National Board for Safeguarding Children. Why is this in the Report at all – other than as a way of smearing the Bishop?
    In three other cases, accusations were made by adults against deceased priests – alleging abuse decades before. (In fact a fourth case almost certainly relates to a deceased priest). These were of no interest to the HSE – which is supposed to protect children – or to the Gardai – who are supposed to catch criminals. So in what way was the response of the Diocese lacking?
    In three other cases allegations were made against elderly priests who died shortly afterwards. What precisely could the secular authorities have done that the Diocese did not do?
    In four cases, the Director of Public Prosecutions decided against pressing charges, and although charges were brought in a fifth case, no criminal prosecution took place. ONE priest has been convicted of indecent assault (mutual masturbation) of a 16 year old youth and got a suspended sentence.
    In one case, Monsignor O’Callaghan explained that he did not report a case to the Gardai because the alleged victim asked him not to – and Judge Murphy castigates him for this. Since then the Government have announced that their new proposals on Mandatory Reporting will EXCLUDE such cases! (So what is the current staus of the Judge’s criticism? Does black become white, when the Government so decides?)
    The Cloyne Report omits all reference to false allegations against priests – including those against Bishop Magee himself.
    (A) In 1994 the UK Guardian was forced to publish an apology after it claimed that an unnamed Bishop (actually John Magee) was a member of a paedophile ring!
    (B) In 1999 TV3 had to apologise for a separate slander against the Bishop.
    These experiences MUST have influenced the Bishop’s attitude to allegations against his priests – especially when they were trumpeted by the same anti-clerical media. Yet Judge Murphy makes no reference to them. Did she actually believe they were irrelevant?
    May I suggest that the coming AGM is a obvious forum in which to air these issues? (Fr Kevin Reynolds libel action against RTE regarding their “Mission to Prey” programme is a related issue.)

  2. Details of the two false allegations against Bishop Magee are on my website – linked to the following article
    However details of both can ALSO be found on the website of the group “Alliance Support” which supports victims of child abuse! See
    for apology by The Guardian (UK) in April 1994 AND
    for apology by TV3 in September 1999
    If a child abuse victims group are prepared to publicise such apologies for false allegations against clergy, then the Association of Catholic Priests can certainly discuss them!

  3. Heartfelt prayers for all the contacts and discussions of this coming week. And thank you to all participants for standing up and being prepared to be counted.

  4. Prayers and good wishes to the Association and all its members – indeed all priests – at this time of crisis and opportunity. Thanks for your dedication and committment. May this Conference be a source of hope and courage for all.

  5. I was at the initial meeting on Tuesday evening and was pleased to see that the Association are strongly supportive of Fr Kevin Reynolds in his libel action against RTE. Note that when the media FIRST started to publish/broadcast vicious lies about clergy and religious in the 1990s, the Bishops and some religious superiors DID speak out and successfully threatened libel actions. However the Sisters of Mercy took the attitude that they should apologise to false accusers – in order to “heal their pain”!! Nowadays the Bishops have adopted the attitude of the nuns and are behaving like whipped curs. It is great that SOMEONE is prepared to fight and congrats to Fr. Reynolds and the Association.
    My own website will probably go down for a few days so if you want to read about some previous successful fight-backs, see the “Alliance Support” website and in particular:
    “False Sex Allegations Against Irish Bishops”
    One of my liberal friends (well acquaintances) raised some objections to my analysis so I did a follow up article:
    “Objections to ‘False Allegations Against Irish Bishops’ ”
    HOWEVER the fact that these Bishops were vindicated has practically disappeared from the public consciousness and most of those who falsely accused them are still riding high. (One is a Minister in the current Government). The same will happen in the case of Fr Reynolds, unless there is a systematic campaign to defend the innocent against media slanders.

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