Statement from the Association of Catholic Priests in response to Archbishop Martin’s interview on Morning Ireland: Nov. 28th

Statement from the Association of Catholic Priests in response to Archbishop Martin’s interview on Morning Ireland:  Nov. 28th
The Association of Catholic Priests welcomes the comments of the Archbishop of Dublin on Radio this morning.
We are glad that at last a bishop has made a statement on the Kevin Reynolds situation.  And we agree with his conclusions that questions need to be addressed in the wake of this case,
and that it is important, in the question of media bias, that not all media are
tarred with the same brush in the way that priests have been.
But we do believe that this particular case did show what seems to us very much like bias in at least two instances:

  • The fact that RTE were not willing to wait until Fr. Reynolds had a chance to prove his innocence suggests to us that they were confident that anything could safely be said about a priest in the present climate without fear of repercussions; that the Church authorities would not back him, and that people generally would believe the story.
  • That they door-stepped  Fr. Reynolds in both a time and place that is sacred to the Catholic faith. There is, we believe, no doubt that RTE, or indeed any journalist, would not do the same to an Iman in the precincts of his mosque, or to a Jewish rabbi at his synagogue.

Questions need to be asked, also, about whether some bishops, including Dr. Martin himself, have been complicit in the denigration of priests. We are well aware that he has not experienced any harassment by media, since they generally tended to be happy with what he was saying. But the
experience of ordinary priests and religious who have spoken on programmes has
sometimes been very different. The collateral damage done to priests and religious in general, and to innocent priests in particular, has been significant.
It is one thing to lament the present negative and unjust attitude towards priests in general (as the Amarach/Iona survey has shown), but it is another to preside over, as some bishops have done, a situation where there is a serious lack of care for priests, innocent and guilty, and to
effectively demonise them in Church and society.  Archbishop Martin and other bishops, though
thankfully not all, need to demonstrate by their actions rather than their
words that priests have rights like every other citizen. While we rightly value
the systems and structures put in place to safeguard children, bishops need to
be aware that their duty of care extends beyond simply implementing guidelines,
and showing no concern for the consequences not just to the priests involved,
but also to their extended families and parish communities.
Brendan Hoban;  086 6065055
Sean McDonagh  0872367612
Tony Flannery   087 6814699
P.J. Madden    087 2208882

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  1. Brendan McConvery says:

    You are right about the silence of the bishops on this case but I am equally at a loss to explain the silence of CORI, which represents the voice of men and women in religious congregations.

  2. I am left wondering if there are any bishops in ireland who are willing to seek justice for priests who are the subject of false allegations or have the capacity to demonstrate compassion to priests who have been found guilty and imprisoned.

  3. An excellent statement from the ACP. Diarmuid Martin shows himself to be completely out of touch with reality when he says there is not an anti-Catholic bias in the Irish media. What planet has he been living on? The Irish media are certainly not anti-Diarmuid (maybe that’s what he means?), but there are good (bad?) reasons for that! It seems that everything he does is done with one eye, or maybe both, on the Irish Times. The statement is absolutely right too about the disgraceful treatment of priests by some bishops, including the Dublin Archbishop. Not only offenders, but also priests who, for whatever reason, are not “in”, are treated with contempt. I know several really decent priests in Dublin who have been sidelined in an insulting manner because they don’t wear the Martin tee-shirt. This is the new clerical abuse: abuse of the clergy by their bishops! Well done, ACP, for exposing all this.

  4. If it looks like a cult, and acts like a cult, and quacks like a cult, it must be a CULT!

  5. Eddie Finnegan says:

    “We need a new model of Bishop, who does not appear as simply the CEO of the diocese, but who day-in and day-out preaches the Gospel and works shoulder to shoulder with the priests and others in the front line of evangelization. A friend of mine says that the basic requirement for any relationship between a Bishop and his priests is that the Bishop should like priests!”
    [Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, 5 months + 2 days in the job: address to the National Conference of Priests of Ireland at Dromantine, Newry, on 28th September 2004. The Furrow, December 2004, p.662. Maybe, 86 months later, the liking has worn a bit thin. Is it mutual?]

  6. Archbishop Martin likes to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds – especially the Irish Times among the latter. He supports Fr Kevin Reynolds because he sees him as a “winner” and that is all he has ever cared about.
    The contrast with his predecessor Dr Desmond Connell is striking. In an article in the Irish Times on 9 April 2002, Frank McNally wrote:

    Dr Connell’s final riposte as he left the room was almost a cry of pain. “You people,” he began, before correcting himself with a sigh. “I’m very sorry, I shouldn’t say ‘you people’. But you come along and treat us as if we were utterly indifferent to what was going on. And I have gone through agonies over this thing.”

    Now that is something that our current Archbishop will NEVER have to say!

  7. pat sullivan says:

    Dr Connell was involved in cover up of abuse cases while Archbishop Martin was not.

  8. I agree with Pat Sullivan. Diarmuid Martin was never involved in the cover up of abuse cases; nor did he blatently lie to the Irish people on the 6.00 o’clock evening news; nor did he try to obstruct the Murphy Commission’s investigation into clerical sex abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese by taking legal action — in the High Court I think — to deny the Commission access to relevant documents. The tendency on this website during the last week or so to have a go at Archbishop Martin — with nobody willing to defend him until Pat tonight — really baffles me.

  9. Pat, Paddy
    Dr Desmond Connell tried to balance the rights of accused priests against the rights of those who claimed to have been abused. Archbishop Martin simply throws his clergy to the wolves in the interests of making himself popular with the media.
    Martin tried to press Bishop Martin Drennan, (former auxiliary Bishop in Dublin) to resign even though NO criticism was made of him in the Murphy Report in 2009. Since Martin Drennan was, by then, Bishop of Galway he was in a position to decline.
    The most egregious example is the Archbishop’s treatment of retired auxiliary Bishop Dermot O’Mahony. The Archbishop removed Bishop O’Mahony from his position as director of the archdiocese’s pilgrimage to Lourdes and banned him from administering Confirmation on the basis that “I regret that you did not express any public clarification or remorse or apology” (letter dated 2 December 2009). However Bishop O’Mahony had sent a statement to the Archbishop’s Director of Communications on 27 October 2009 which concluded : “I profoundly regret that any action or inaction of mine should have contributed to the suffering of even a single child. I want to apologise for my failures from the bottom of my heart”. The statement was not published by the Communications Office but the director confirmed that the Archbishop had seen it. Bishop O’Mahony released the correspondance to the Irish Catholic and it was taken up by the rest of the media. This was unprecedented in the history of the Catholic Church in Ireland but what else was he supposed to do when faced with a superior like Diarmuid Martin?

  10. Brendan
    Regarding the silence of CORI, one reason may be that IN PRACTICE, it no longer “represents the voice of men and women in religious congregations”. It is led by, and represents women only and it shows.
    In August 2009 the head of CORI accepted an invitation from John Cooney (the journalist who claimed that Archbishop John Charles McQuaid had been a homosexual paedophile) to address the Humbert Summer School which was founded by the same Mr. Cooney.
    In her speech Sr Marianne O’Connor endorsed suggestions that there be a national day of atonement for victims of abuse, and spoke of “a service where a public ritual of reconciliation could occur between representatives of the survivors, the State, the religious and the church”. Noting that her attendance at Humbert was “the first public forum to which religious have been invited since Ryan [report]”, she continued that “I am here, first and foremost, to apologise . . . to do whatever we can to make reparation.” She continued: “We religious are asking for forgiveness . . . Without forgiveness one is stuck, unable to move forward.” Survivors “had the huge challenge, and the huge power, of forgiving . . . But forgiveness, like mercy, blesses the giver and the receiver,” she said. The congregations would “provide money for reparation. But we must do much more than provide money. We must listen and learn, to the degree survivors will permit us, to journey with them as they discover what they need”, she said.
    In an article in the Irish Independent on 24 August, the same John Cooney reported on how victims had responded to Sister Marianne’s touching invitation:

    In turn, survivor Michael O’Brien, the former mayor of Clonmel who captured the nation’s imagination by challenging the platitudes of Government minister Noel Dempsey on an unforgettable RTE ‘Questions and Answers’ programme, bowed to the good judge [Ryan] and thanked him “for the momentous work you and your team have done”. But Mr O’Brien was only prepared to give conditional pardon to the religious congregations who locked up him and thousands of other children in penal institutions as serfs. He will forgive his oppressors only when he knows in his heart that “these people mean it when they say ‘we are really, really sorry’.” “I do not want silly apologies. I want to see repentance,” he said.

    It is my opinion that the (female) leadership of CORI are so deep into self-abasement, that they are incapable of supporting falsely accused religious. Perhaps they regard the issue as an embarrasment?

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