Pope Shares “Outrage, Shame” at Murphy Report.What About the Blame?

The headlines suggest that Pope Benedict XVI, following his meeting yesterday with the two leading Irish prelates concerned, has made a strong and welcome response to the Irish abused scandal.   Closer analysis shows how inadequate this suggestion really is.  He has spoken of his outrage over the original abuses, and about the inadequate response of the Irish Church. This is nowhere near enough.  This is not about just the Irish church, not about responding to specific abuses, nor even about better governance.  Reorganising the Irish church, without restructuring the entire Catholic establishment, rules and culture, just won’t cut it.  Nor has he said anything by way of apology for his own contribution to the problem, which has been substantial.

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Abuse: The Irish Forcing a Response From Rome

The impressive thing about the Irish abuse drama is how inexorably the public reaction is forcing responses from higher up the command chain, with increasing levels of disclosure.  First the bishops’ own Ryan report into the original extent of abuse, then the government initiated Murphy report into the bishops’ decades of neglect and cover-up, now a growing swell of public reaction, which finally is heading in the right direction – demanding accountability from those responsible, and explanations from the Vatican. I am not aware of anything on this scale of public response anywhere else.

I do not have space to offer a comprehensive run-down, so in summary only, these are some of the key recent developments:


Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

Archbishop Martin of Dublin, who (in my eyes) grows in stature every day, has written to all the former auxiliary bishops of Dublin who were implicated in the Murphy report and are still serving elsewhere. He has made it clear he is “not satisfied” with the responses.

Dr Martin has publicly called for the resignations of the implicated bishops. He has been supported in this by a published letter from a respected theologian, Dr Twoomey, who is a regular theological associate of Pope Benedict XVI.  I would assume that Dr Twoomey’s views are influential. Meanwhile, Bishop Murray of Limerick has told his diocese that he will travel to the Vatican , where he will tender his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI, ahead of ahead of the visit by other senior clerics later this week.  As far as I know, this is the first time anywhere, that a bishop is resigning for his failure adequately to deal with the problem, rahter than for his own sexual peccadilloes.  Will there be more?

The full conference of Irish bishops will be meeting on Wednesday to discuss and respond to the Murphy report.  Read the rest of this entry »

Clerical Abuse: The Dublin Cover-up *

This post has moved to my new domain at http://queering-the-church.com/blog