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The quantity & quality of bishops in Ireland

Fr. Vincent Twomey, a former professor of moral theology at St. Patricks College, Maynooth, Ireland, did his doctoral dissertation under the guidance of the present Pope. He is one of the former students who gather with their former professor once a year for theological conversation. Perhaps this gives greater weight to the column he wrote for the Irish Times on the scandal now shaking the Church in Ireland.

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"Its not about abolishing the national conference, but a real systemic change in how the clergy understand their role and how accountable they are."But without a national conference bureaucracy, perhaps the buck really would stop with the bishops. Perhaps it would increase their accountability.

I have the same visceral rage for sexual predators that other folks on this thread have expressed. I also think I hate even more the Church leadership who sheltered them. But, I find myself feeling really sorry for all of the good priests out there who are the targets of people's anger for not being outraged enough. The priests I know are better Christians than I am, and I think they're put in a horrible position by this terrible scandal. I think some people also look at them with suspicion now, and I think maybe they deserve better than that for a life of service.

George D:James Joyce stated a belief many years ago that approximates what you mentioned above (12/13 @ 11:06 : Reminds me of the quote of some Christians as those who love Jesus but hate people.):There is no heresy or no philosophy which is so abhorrent to the church as a human being. Letter to Augusta Gregory (1902-11-22), from James Joyce by Richard Ellmann (1959) [Oxford University Press, 1983 edition, ISBN 0-195-03381-7] (p. 107)

Fr. O'Leary --Yes, there is such a thing as social conditioning. But don't you think it's odd that *all* of those Japanese girls all said the same thing? Please consider the possibility that it wasn't a matter of social conditioning. Even animals can be aware that they are the objects of preditors' inerest and be extremely frightened.

Fr. Joseph:Yes that is right. It is not necessary for you to believe that I am, as a result of these postings, any more righteous or upstanding than anyone else. You should not believe that simply because I speak this way that necessarily means that such sentiments turn to action. It does not mean that I would behave any differently faced with such circumstances (necessarily). The only thing I can be measured on is deeds. That's it. I am to be judged is a direct result of my deeds and I am not saying that I do not have my own accountability to face as a result of sins of omission. And I certainly believe that anyone speaking this way on threads like this has a responsibility in that regard.But if I were to here the Pope say that we made a lot of mistakes handling this issue. a lot of people were hurt because of how we chose to address it beginning with him, those words would in fact go a long way because they would be deeds. They would be words that reflect and acknowledgement of wrong doing.

After all to whom much has been given much is expected.

Mr. D.: I was referring, not to you or to your credibility, but to the advice the woman gave her daughter: "Believe nothing a man tells you," which I thought over the top and think is self-defeating for a man to approve. My quip had nothing to do with your righteousness, but with the advice I thought was silly.

I was not impugning the evidence of my class of Japanese girls. I think the demonization of Bishop Donal Murray is basically myopic and unjust. He was perhaps too timidly a man of institutional procedures, but I see no evidence that any other bishop did better (unless you count Abp Martin, safe in Rome during all those years, and who did not speak up any more than anyone else about things he was aware of and shocked by as a priest; and now flown in for masterly damage control). If Bp Murray is removed, who is supposed to replace him? This is not a rhetorical question. I have no doubt that many good Irish priests have refused bishoprics, for very obvious reasons.

Jimmy Mac. I thought Mozart and Dostoevsky were dubious sources, but James Joyce takes the biscuit. He was a great writer, but his sexual attitudes are rotten; the scene of Bloom's masturbation as he spies on a young girl on the beach is not one to uphold either as model or mature morality or even of sexual liberation.

"Visceral rage for sexual predators" is not taking us anywhere. Most of these gropers are suffering from a pathology.

What I take from the 'Japanese girls' is that they all reported it as being the most frightening experience of their life. Perhaps it is not as obvious to men as women - I don't know - but one is not to know that 'molesting' and 'groping' will stop at molesting and groping and not proceed to something worse. And that girls often blame themselves for this and indeed are blamed for it - "You must have led him on" etc, or given him some wrong signals. And any girl who has entered real biological puberty fears pregnancy. Molesters and gropers are causing great misery and fear, and if they do it to somebody already abused, already asking themselves if there is something about their body and behaviour that invites it, great damage is being done. Please do not underestimate it. May I explain who I am? I do not hold any of the positions most of you seem to hold. I am not a Catholic or a Christian. I found you - I cannot remember how - last May when I was frantic for some response to the Ryan Report that was not of the idiotic "What else would you expect from sky pixies?" brigade, nor the Catholic-or- religion haters. It seemed to me to raise such theological and - what through you I have come to call ecclesiology questions [apologies if I have got that word wrong in either meaning or spelling ]. I read "Virtue Theory and the Irish abuse cases" and all the correspondence that followed - it was like being at a 7-day seminar. It was so much more intelligent, vigorous and nuanced than anything I coudl find in Britain. My personal interest was driven by having been in Care myself as a child, but in totally secular local authority Care. I had also read Mary Raftery's book, and Frances Finnegan's book "Repent or Perish". I am not totally biblically illiterate nor , I think, totally theologically illiterate, so I hope you will not mind me looking in from time to time. I have felt quite desperate over the 'silence' - apart from you - over the Ryan report and I feel that the Murphy report will somehow continue that silence and not be connected with what I see as the greater questions that should be asked about the whole situation - the Magdalen Asylums, the children's institutions, and these priests. I bought myself some of the books that were mentioned in the '7-day seminar' and they were very helpful. Thank you everybody. Lorna Crossman

I was sexually assaulted as an adult while I was a Peace Corps Volunteer. It was definitely one of the worst things that had ever happened to me in my entire life. If it had this effect on me as an adult, I can't even begin to imagine what it would do to children, especially if they suffered from it repeatedly. I really appreciate Lorna's (as well as some earlier commenters) weighing in and urging us not to minimize the impact this sexual violence has on its victims. My burning question, though, is how do we protect people from these criminals? It doesn't much matter to me whether we call it "a pathology" or "evil"; how do we protect our children?I was on Grand Jury duty in the South Bronx not too long ago. We had a few child sex abuse cases. It was absolutely wrenching to hear the children testify (they have to use detailed and explicit language to make the charges hold up). In one case, while the 11 year old girl was not raped, pretty much everything else imaginable was done to her and done to her repeatedly. After we indicted her abuser, we learned that he had been convicted of a previous sex offense against a minor and was not supposed to be living in a home with children. When he was arrested he was living with a 3rd family, also with young girls. Several people on the panel were very critical of the girl's mother for not better protecting her daughter. The prosecutor said that type of feeling can be a real problem since sometimes the jury during trials are so mad at the parent they are reluctant to convict the abuser. When we asked the prosecutor why the legal system couldn't better protect the victim, especially since her abuser had a prior record, she got a bit defensive and said the legal system can only do so much.So, it seems like there's a lot of finger-pointing and blame to go around, but at the end of the day what do you do with a man like this? Short of putting him in jail and never letting him out, he is unstoppable.

Most everything that Vincent Twomey has said in his article can be said of situtation in the United States and in countries around the world, in short, it is the system that is corrupted. The actions of the bishops are indictative of that corruption. Changes need to be made from the top down. Church structures have been solidly centralized through the long pontificate of John Paul II but they have failed. The reports in Ireland and, around the world, have documented that for all to see. There can be no argument. It is now up to the People of God around the world to see that things are not allowed to return to the way they were. In the states there is a movement afoot supported by many, many groups. Visit it at -- www.americancatholiccouncil.orgI pray for all the peoples in Ireland. At least you have a decent man willing to stand up and speak the truth in Dublin's Archbishop Martin. We had no bishop of that caliber in the United States.Sister Maureen Paul TurlishVictims' AdvocateNew Castle, Delaware, USAmaureenpaulturlish@yahoo.com

Why resignations? Because they failed to uphold canon law:- first Code of Canon Law 1917, Canon 2354 - if a cleric is convicted of raping a youth of the opposite sex, they will be punished by an eccliastical tribunal according to the degree of the fault, with sinecure, privation of office & dignity, even deposition. Canon 2359 states that if a cleric engages with a minor in a number of sexual acts including sodomy, he will be suspended, declared infamous, and deprived of any office, dignity, or benefice. In these cases, the bishop was required to hold a formal penal trial if he wanted the cleric dismissed from the clerical state but he could remove the cleric from ministry using an administrative action. - very few dioceses throughout the world ever used or applied these canonseven though a bishop could act on his "informed conscience" dating back to the Council of Trent- futhermore, the canons specifically stated that if a bishop was required to take action because of the above and did not, then he was charged with an ecclesiastical crime e.g. example - if a bishop knew that one of his priests was guilty and did nothing, then he could be charged with cooperation in that crime;- in 1922 and again in 1962, secret Roman instructions were forwarded to all bishops clarifying the canons above - 1922 instruction elevated sexual abuse of a minor to a "worst crime" - minor here meant 12 for girls and 14 for boys.- altho the instruction outlines diocesan tribunals, none were set up until the 1940's.....also, laity could report a crime but once it reached the bishop, then these instructions required all catholics to maintain secrecy- both the 1922 & 1962 instructions were never mentioned until 2001 by a letter from Ratzinger/CDF in which he mentioned new norms for sexual abuse of minors which centralized all diocesan cases to Rome- meanwhile, the new revised Canon Law of 1983 was promulgated. Canon 1395 stated that a cleric who persists with sexual abuse of minor is to be punished by suspension and if he continues, that punishments be elevated upto dismissal from the priesthood. Canon 1336 outlined the prohibitions that a bishop could enforce on a cleric e.g. where to reside, etc.- Canon 1389 states that any ecclesiastical officer including a bishop who acts with cupable negligence and fails to perform their rightful eccliastical governance, can be penalized including removal from office.- but the 1983 canon law also increased limitations on action - statute of limitations was five years; no bishop could take "informed conscience" approach and act unilaterally; it added due process, etc. such that the accused cleric had increase rights e.g. privacy if an accusation is made until it comes out in a civil court but the canon law completely ignored the victim and their rights.- again, in the period of 1983 to 2001, there were almost no diocesan tribunals for the abuse of minors around the world- the Ratzinger 2001 directive, increased the age of minors to under 18; statutue of limitations would be ten years starting at the age of 18; ordered all cases to Rome - the local bishop can only hold an inquiry and then submit the case; - Canon 1722 does allow the bishop to use some disciplinary actions;- in 2002, CDF allowed a bishop to waive the ten year SOL and take action without a formal trial- given these centralized changes, the CDF has been overwhelmed with cases since 2002 impeding and delaying actionVarious conferences in the last 10 years have taken steps to develop their own protocols - e.g. US Charter. Interestingly, none of these conferences addressed the role of a bishop if complicit with abusers or bishops who ignored, avoided, or failed to apply canon laws and left accountability at the doorstep.Canon Law since 1917 has clearly laid out the obligations that a bishop has in dealing with clerics who abuse minors and it clearly lays out what "can" occur if a bishop is not accountable. The worldwide record is that canon law especially when it comes to bishops was and is never applied. So, why are we arguing about these Irish bishops being asked to resign?

Bill DeHaas, please point to a clear instance where Bishop Murray, for example, broke the Canon Laws you cite? Note that what you quote from the 1917 code refers to a cleric convicted of rape. How many priests in the Murphy report are even accused of rape? How many are convicted of rape? (1? 2?).

I am sorry the main take-away by JO'Leary from Bill deHaas' excellent review of canon law vis-a-vis sexual abuse cases appears to be that Murray did not commit rape. Such an approach seems to presume that Irish bishops who mishandled accusations should be exempt from canonical penalties like resignation or removal from office, given the Murphy Report.Not so, IMHO. Our canon law case filed in 2003 sought the resignations of Bishops John McCormack and Francis Christian, NH's auxiliary with a shameful record of 19 years, with comparable negligence.--- (perjury and false statements to a court, anyone? See http://votf.org/Survivor_Support/truth_list.html and Attorney Generals Overview of Investigation, 3-3-03, p. 98 hard copy. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/resources/resource-files/reports/Ne... p. 104 of 160)---Through some unusual connections, the canon case, the only one ever filed by laity that anyone knows of, was delivered to a member of the papal household who found it a professional document. Needless to say, we beamed at that one. I regret our canon case is no longer online, but we hope to remedy that before long at www.bishopaccountability.org. I shall not burden readers beyond this post and another. The correspondence back and forth with Rome was priceless for its bureaucratic round-about, as the case was bound never to be adjudicated. In anyones wildest imagination, Rome would never embarrass two bishops by ruling for resignations based on any case filing, much less from horrors the laity, no matter how well argued.

Still, the point is that many canons have validity for bishop resignations, and I believe they are applicable to the facts disclosed in the Murphy Report. We wrote, Of particular relevance to our understanding of the law in this case are the canons governing the resignation of ecclesiastical officials, the resignations of diocesan bishops in particular, the canons that instruct on the reasons a pastor may be removed from a parish (which we interpret to apply by analogy, and which we read in light of the canons defining the role and pastoral responsibility of diocesan bishops), and the canon that addresses punishment for one who abuses ecclesiastical power or an office.Then we provided abundant evidence for each of these canons, based on numerous public sources like attorney general investigations, depositions, etc: Canon 187: Anyone who is capable of personal responsibility can resign from an ecclesiastical office for a just reason.Canon 401, 2: A diocesan Bishop who, because of illness or some other grave reason, has become unsuited for the fulfillment of his office, is earnestly requested to offer his resignation from office.Canon 1740: When the ministry of any parish priest has for some reason become harmful or at least ineffective, even though this occurs without any serious fault on his part, he can be removed from the parish by the diocesan bishop.Canon 1741: The reasons for which a parish priest can lawfully be removed from his parish are principally1. A manner of acting which causes grave harm or disturbance to ecclesiastical communion.2. Ineptitude or permanent illness of mind or body, which makes the parish priest unequal to the task of fulfilling his duties satisfactorily.3. The loss of the parish priests good name among upright and serious-minded parishioners, or aversion to him, when it can be foreseen that these factors will not quickly come to an end.4. Grave neglect or violation of parochial duties, which persist after warning.5. Bad administration of temporal goods with grave harm to the Church, when no other remedy can be found to eliminate this harm.Canon 1389, 1: A person who abuses ecclesiastical power or an office, is to be punished according to the gravity of the act or the omission, not excluding by deprivation of the office, unless a penalty for that abuse is already established by law or precept.Canon 1389, 2: A person who, through culpable negligence, unlawfully and with harm to another, performs or omits an act of ecclesiastical power or ministry or office, is to be punished with a just penalty.I submit there is similar compelling evidence for complicit Irish bishops. But it doesnt matter in the end, really. The power dynamics that best keep Rome divorced from the fray will prevail, as Robert Mickens analysis shows. The calculus is when the bishops in question become more of a liability than is worth enduring. Brutta figura, nein. Besides, cushy sinecures in Rome provide much consolation, especially in an environment where you can be seen as a poor victim yourself. Again, what does beat in their breasts?JOLeary and I shall probably never agree on this one, but the discussion certainly consumes a lot of ink. I am bowing out now in favor of family obligations for Christmas. And in the last analysis, in gratitude for the faith we all share. He comes!

"I am sorry the main take-away by JOLeary from Bill deHaas excellent review of canon law vis-a-vis sexual abuse cases appears to be that Murray did not commit rape."Carolyn Disco, I suggest that you are playing fast and loose with Bishop Murray's reputation. Your inaccurate and emotive reply to my very reasonable questions about the actual implicit accusation made by Bill DeHaas against Bp Murray only confirms my impression that Bp Murray has been made a target for lazy popular prejudice, and that most of those who vent their indignation against him have not even read carefully what the Murphy Report says about him. They are prepared to believe the worst, without any attempt at objective justice.

"Such an approach seems to presume that Irish bishops who mishandled accusations should be exempt from canonical penalties like resignation or removal from office, given the Murphy Report."Not at all. But citing long lists of laws is not a proof that any given individual has broken them."perjury" etc. may be relevant to the American bishops you mention, but no one has accused Irish bishops of this.Again, I would ask how anyone can be confident that they would have done a better job of policing sexual deviants than Bp Murray did. The glorification of Abp Martin also seems to me to be OTT -- the good Archbishop was in ROME all the time covered by the Murphy Report. He can claim the innocence of ignorance just as Ratzinger et al. Then he is sent back to Ireland to clean up the mess as a pair of clean hands. Is that not a tad convenient?

You don't know your own canon laws nor how they apply to bishops but then very few have ever really applied them. Your comment about implying rape to the bishop shows your own confusion and lack of knowledge.Would agree with your last paragraph - let's not overly praise Martin - he was in Rome; thus, able to avoid having to deal with the messiness. But, to date, he has done a better job than all the others put together dating back years. Sorry - his words and actions already surpass anything our pope has yet done.

Bill DeHaas, this is absurd. Can you read English? I never said that you accused the bishop of rape; in fact I said that Carolyn Disco was being emotive in suggesting I had been guilty of such nonsense. The implied accusation against the bishop is that he broke the canon laws you cite. But you did not formulate any clear accusation. Again this really undercuts your credibility. Tossing out accusations in this lazy and sloppy fashion is unconscionable.For precise accusations, see Vincent Browne in today's paper: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/1216/1224260758613.html

Oh dear. As I read the posts here, no one accused Murray of rape, no one. Please put that to rest. I did not suggest, period, that JO'Leary was guilty of any such accusation.I just found it curious that of all the canons and instructions Bill quoted, the one that O'Leary focused on referred to rape (which certainly did not pertain to Murray), but as though the rest of the canons was basically immaterial. I see no "implicit accusation" against Murray by Bill of any rape charge. He was quoting what's out there in the code, not insisting that every complicit bishop broke every one of the cited canons.Perhaps "being emotive" goes both ways.I can fit Murray into many paragraphs in our canon case, but have not the time or space to quote beyond the outlines I gave. The case is many, many pages not available to link to, and the evidence section is too lengthy to handle. I just disagree that "inexcusable" conduct really is benign. And Lord help us if no one could have done any better job than Murray. That is more a comment on the "inexcusable" mindset of the entire hierarchy than anything.What really does beat in their breasts?Anyway, this is beyond the beyond, and I really do sign off now.

"Bill DeHaas, please point to a clear instance where Bishop Murray, for example, broke the Canon Laws you cite? Note that what you quote from the 1917 code refers to a cleric convicted of rape. How many priests in the Murphy report are even accused of rape? How many are convicted of rape? (1? 2?)."The point, to be clearer, is that Bp Murray is accused of being "complicit" in child abuse. I suggest that a more charitable interpretation is perfectly possible.The second point I make is only loosely related to that. I point out that rape is rarely mentioned in the Murphy Report. Scanning it I find the following:Accused of rape and/or buggery are: Frs Marius, Daryus, Cassius, Benito, Rufus, Ricardus, Klaudius.Convicted of rape: Fr Reynolds. Thus the 1917 law cited by Bill DeHaas would have applied only to one case.I have not found where the Report calls Dr Murray's behavior "inexcusable". This is all I found:"The reaction of Archbishop Ryan to the 1982 complaint was totally inadequate. The Archbishop had a comprehensive psychiatric report detailing Fr Moore's problems with alcohol and with his sexuality. Given that the Archbishop had already ignored the advice of the psychiatrist (in 1977) about not locating Fr Moore in a parish setting, the Archbishop's response to the 1982 complaint was inexcusable."Bp Murray was an auxiliary bishop to Archbishop Ryan in 1982.

Carolyn Disco: "I see no implicit accusation against Murray by Bill of any rape charge. He was quoting whats out there in the code, not insisting that every complicit bishop broke every one of the cited canons."Of course I never claimed that Bill had made any such accusation; why do you raise this red herring again immediately after saying you are putting it to rest? The implicit accusation in Bill's list is that the cited canons (some of them) were breached by Bp Murray to such a degree as to make his resignation imperative under church law. And of course I never suggested Bill was saying the bishop broke all the laws he quotes (though I did point out that the first law he quoted could apply only in the case of Fr Reynolds, since it deals with clerics convicted of rape).I think now that the Vatican should not accept Bp Murray's resignation unless a civil or canonical court has found him guilty, in a fair trial with due process, of having broken a law. Personally, I cannot imagine Donal Murray, a man of integrity and decency, as a law-breaker.

Again, Carolyn Disco, you claim that I regard "the rest of the canons as basically immaterial". You seem to specialize in groundless accusations. On the contrary, I regard all the canons cited as matters of extreme gravity, which it why I would like to defend Bp Murray against the implied accusation that he was in breach of them. I simply asked a very obvious question: which canon does Bill think he broke, that makes Bill so certain the Bishop should be subjected to punitive dismissal? Bill has not answered my question, but blustered instead; obviously, he does not know the answer -- he just has the impression that the Murphy report called the bishop's behavior inexcusable.I don't know the answer either, which is why I asked the question.

The one law cited that might be likely to be invoked against Bp Murray is Canon 1389, which states that any ecclesiastical officer including a bishop who acts with culpable negligence and fails to perform their rightful ecclesiastical governance, can be penalized including removal from office.Bp Murray denies that he is guilty of culpable negligence.

Note also that as quoted the law does not make penalization mandatory and furthermore that the penalization need not necessarily entail removal from office.

This is a very fascinating conversation! I am not competent or well enough informed of the facts to be able to add anything concerning Bishop Murray.However, I do know that Rome is very hesitant to impose canonical penalties on bishops -- when they are requested or insisted upon FROM BELOW, i.e. when their power or authority is contested by the non-ordained (the so-called laity).The reason for this is fairly obvious. Their is the fear that ousting a bishop because of popular demand could lead to precedent and encourage protests against other members of the hierarchy.The Vatican only allowed Cardinal Bernard Law to resign under canon 4012 (the catch-all canon) only because he was, literally, unable to walk out of us his own residence. He could no longer govern his diocese. Rome forced him to stay in Boston until it became physically impossible for him.(Here is the cardinal's statement upon resignation, for those who are interested: http://212.77.1.245/news_services/bulletin/news/12460.php?index=12460&po...)Will higher church authority (that favourite and nebulous word Rome loves to use) allow or demand Bishop Murray to stand down? Hard to tell.

I heard that the Vatican also did not want Bishop Eamonn Casey of Galway to step down; probably they prefer bishops to stand their ground and brave public anger and paparazzi if at all possible.But even in democratic countries like Ireland or Britain politicians are very loth to resign or have their colleagues resign in response to popular or media pressure. In some cases the person forced to resign is later much missed (the case of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern).

This thread really is interesting. I find it encouraging that, at least from what I'm reading here, the people of Ireland do have some options: through grassroots pressure like that Robert Mickens described in Boston, combined with creative tactics put forward by Carolyn Disco & Mr DeHaas using lawsuits based on canon law, Irish Catholics might be able to force change if that's what they want. I think Sister Maureen Paul Turlish is right that it is up to the people to fix the problem. It will be interesting to see where the Irish go with this.

Rev. O'Leary - "I simply asked a very obvious question: which canon does Bill think he broke, that makes Bill so certain the Bishop should be subjected to punitive dismissal? Bill has not answered my question, but blustered instead; obviously, he does not know the answer he just has the impression that the Murphy report called the bishops behavior inexcusable."Allow me to continue to "bluster" versus your solid, factual, and documented approach as in this comment - "I think now that the Vatican should not accept Bp Murrays resignation unless a civil or canonical court has found him guilty, in a fair trial with due process, of having broken a law. Personally, I cannot imagine Donal Murray, a man of integrity and decency, as a law-breaker".Thanks to Carolyn Disco for placing my canon law timeline in proper context unlike Fr. O'Leary who continues to react emotionally but provides few facts beyond statements of loyalty. Based on what? No, I provided relevant canon law statutues that all of these bishops have failed to implement. No, I did not detail or connect the dots to any specific bishop - it would not take an expert to do that. Yes, you are correct that canon law builds in steps that gradually move to removal from office.....and, yes, canon law basically leaves the interpretation and imposition of any penalties to a tribunal, Rome, or bishop. That, by the way, is part of the problem. History documents that there are very few, if any, cases where a bishop has been removed under various available canon law statutues.Here is a link to one of the cardinals involved (now retired): http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/1216/1224260758613.html......."My point is that we all knew in 1995 that Desmond Connell had made funds available to compensate a victim of abuse by a priest in the diocese, that Desmond Connell had lied about it, that Desmond Connell had failed to tell garda about the crime of abuse, that he failed to move the priest in question away from where he would have contact with children, that he made no effort to inquire into whether the priest had abused others in the course of his ministry.And if we all knew about it, you can be assured the Vatican knew about it. And what did the Vatican do about it? Did they institute inquiries of their own into how the Payne case had been handled? Did they summon Desmond Connell to Rome to explain why he had told lies about the compensation? Did they demand to know why Desmond Connell had not removed the priest from ministry, immediately he knew of the crime?"Here is another link: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/1216/1224260763817.html........"the report found some priests were aware that particular instances of abuse had occurred. A few were courageous and brought complaints to the attention of their superiors. The vast majority simply chose to turn a blind eye.It continued: the cases show that several instances of suspicion were never acted upon until inquiries were made.My bluster: from my earlier post - "the canons specifically stated that if a bishop was required to take action because of the above and did not, then he was charged with an ecclesiastical crime e.g. example if a bishop knew that one of his priests was guilty and did nothing, then he could be charged with cooperation in that crime"......you can parse this as much as you want; you can argue that Murray did want he needed or that he was well-intentioned or that he was not guilty but a jury in a court, presented with the evidence in the Murphy Report would probably find that he violated this canon law and could be charged by the church with an ecclesiastical crime. Interesting that you would rather see Murray face a civil court case to clear his name.....again, a consistent pattern in which the church is unable to deal with its own and must rely upon the laws and courts to find justice and the truth.

To address your comment about my bluster and what canon law - from the Murphy Report (have you read it?):Highlights from a civil court case today: "A priest named in a damning report on child abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese has been jailed for three years for sexually abusing an altar boy. Fr Thomas Naughton, 78, abused the boy between 1982 and 1984 in the parish of Valleymount in County Wicklow. The judge said the abuse was "shocking and horrific". He said Naughton abused his position of trust and said the abuse was "premeditated". The last 12 months of his sentence were suspended. Naughton's abuse featured heavily in last month's Murphy report which found there was a cover-up by the Catholic hierarchy in the Dublin Archdiocese between 1975 and 2004. Bishop of Limerick Dr Donal Murray has come under pressure to resign for his "inexcusable" failure to investigate an allegation of abuse against Naughton. The report found he did not deal properly with the suspicions and concerns that were expressed to him about Naughton while he was an auxiliary bishop of Dublin. When, a short time later, factual evidence of Naughton's abusing emerged in another parish, it found Bishop Murray's failure to reinvestigate the earlier suspicions was "inexcusable". In May 1998, Naughton admitted six counts of indecent assault on three boys. He was jailed for three years, reduced on appeal to two and a half years."

Bill DeHaas, I myself forwarded the link you give to Vincent Browne -- perhaps you didn't notice.You accuse Bp Murray of breaking Canon Law and ask me to supply facts establishing his innocence. That is rather unfair of you, since you did not even formulate a clear accusation.I mentioned the civil court only on the supposition that some may accuse him of having broken the civil law -- an unlikely scenario, I'd say. The point is you should not presume guilt when no legal process has established it. On Fr Naughton, I don't find that the Commission said Bp Murray's behavior was "inexcusable". Here is what they write:The Commissions assessment The Archdiocese 29.53 In the Commission's view, Bishop Murray must take some responsibility for the very poor handling of complaints against this priest. [THIS IS VERY FAR FROM A CRIMINAL CHARGE] The Commission believes it is to his credit that he recognised this when he issued his statement admitting his failure to follow up properly the complaints he had received from Valleymount. 29.54 It is unacceptable that, when the Donnycarney complaints were being discussed by the bishops, he, they and Archbishop McNamara did not return to the Co Wicklow parish and carry out further investigations. This was despite the fact that Bishop Murray told the Commission that he informed the meeting about the two men's complaints about Fr Naughton. 29.55 The archdiocesan authorities were wrong not to inform all priests in Ringsend that there had been a serious complaint about Fr Naughton while he worked in Donnycarney. 29.56 Overall, in their handling of the complaints against Fr Naughton, archdiocesan authorities, particularly Bishop Murray, the Valleymount parish priest and Archbishops Ryan and McNamara let down those families who, because they were good Catholics, trusted the Church to do something about this man. Archbishop McNamara was slow to respond to the complaint from the Rundles despite the priest admitting sexual abuse. As a result, Fr Naughton was allowed to continue his abusive behaviour for several years thereby severely damaging more victims. It was only when they went to the Garda that they finally received satisfaction. 29.57 The Archdiocese was, at best, evasive in its referrals of Fr Naughton for medical treatment in Ireland. Nowhere was there a full revelation of its concerns or its knowledge. In particular, following the first report from the first psychiatrist who saw him, which was clearly based on wrong information, the Archbishop's response was merely to write a note thanking the psychiatrist for his most helpful report. Fr Naughton was then going to be retained in his ministry. It was not until the next complaint surfaced, which in fact happened the following month, that he was sent to Stroud to which a full report was provided. 29.58 The Archdiocese did, however belatedly, act correctly in the view of the Commission, in arranging for Fr Naughton to live with his former Society when the Ringsend complaints were made. Dismissing him then would have led to a situation where he could have continued his activities unsupervised. Returning him to live with his former Society meant that his activities could be strictly monitored and controlled. Indeed, his former Society is to be commended for accepting him. 29.59 Fr Naughton's case is symptomatic of the Dublin Archdiocese's attitude to child sexual abuse in the 1980s. Until the problem became so great it could not be hidden, the archdiocesan procedure was to do all in its power to protect the wrongdoer, while almost completely ignoring the effect of this abuse on the victims. Monsignor Stenson states that the aim was to rehabilitate the wrongdoer rather than to protect him. Regardless of the aim in respect of the wrongdoer, the welfare of the children was not addressed. As a result Fr Naughton was allowed to continue his abuse for several years after legitimate concerns were first raised. This would not have happened if the Archdiocese had fulfilled its duty to the children in the first instance.

I have not downloaded the entire report, so the word "inexcusable" may be applied to this case elsewhere in the report. I have downloaded only the 46 individual cases discussed in the report. I would not believe a newspaper report rather than the text of the Murphy Report itself on this matter.

"Interesting that you would rather see Murray face a civil court case to clear his name..again, a consistent pattern in which the church is unable to deal with its own and must rely upon the laws and courts to find justice and the truth."This is an odd remark; I expressed no such preference. And you fail to note that the church officials in Ireland have taken many, many steps to deal with the problem of a small number of deviant priests -- steps including suspension, laicization, therapy, compensation of victims (causing the selling off of vast amounts of church property) and installation of vigilant procedures to ensure safety of children -- these steps have been taken for many years now -- sometimes priests have accused bishops of overdoing it.

"I provided relevant canon law statutes that all of these bishops have failed to implement."Did ALL bishops named in the Murphy Report fail to implement ALL statutes mentioned? (And were some of the statutes not referring rather to the Vatican's powers to dismiss bishops?) Qui nimis probat nihil probat. "No, I did not detail or connect the dots to any specific bishop it would not take an expert to do that. "Precisely, and when a bishop loudly denies that the dots connect to him, should you not give him a hearing?Again, you say that priests generally did not act on "suspicions" of child abuse. Do you say all priests or only some? Where are the dotted lines in this case? And why stop at priests -- if child abuse were so obvious and visible a phenomenon thousands of others, parents, teachers and police, must have been keeping their lips culpably sealed as well...There is a lot of witch-hunt suspicion-mongering and hysterical accusation going on here. I think we should confine our accusation to clearly noted failures. And we should note too that dealing with suspicions of child abuse is a very difficult matter for all organizations.As an illustration of what the witch-hunt mentality is creating, see http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/12/the-sex-cri... http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2009/12/sexual-predators-2009... kind of knee-jerk vigilante justice which seems so healing and purging is in reality a formula for new injustice.

Witch hunt - knee jerk vigilante justice - new injustice. What hyperbole.Here from the Murphy Report: "The Murphy report is very clear on where responsibility lies for much of this. It said of Bishop Murray: he did not deal properly with the suspicions and concerns that were expressed to him in relation to Fr Naughton (at Valleymount). When, a short time later, factual evidence of Fr Naughtons abusing emerged in another parish (Donnycarney) Bishop Murrays failure to reinvestigate the earlier suspicions (in Valleymount) was inexcusable.The report also found that this inaction by Bishop Murray and other authorities in the archdiocese meant Fr Naughton was allowed to continue his abusive behaviour for several years, thereby damaging more victims.Keep in mind - the Murphy Report is not exhaustive. The 46 cases are only a sample - so, none of us has complete documentation or cases that these bishops and their chancellors were involved in. Again, canon law suggests that ecclesiastical crime can be the failure of a bishop to act appropriately - it does not have to meet the legal or civil requirements that a crime has been committed. One of the victims of Naughton: "Such was the severity of the abuse in Mervyn Rundles case that he was awarded what is believed to be the largest ever settlement paid out by the Dublin archdiocese. It was significantly over 300,000, plus costs"Another of Naughton's victims: "Another man Dave (not his real name) also settled with the archdiocese. Mervyn Rundle knew Dave. He recalled that two days after Naughton pleaded guilty to abusing Dave in Donnycarney, Dave took his own life. He wasnt the only one. Mervyn recalled another man, also abused in the parish as a boy by Naughton, who took his own life before charges were brought in his case."Remarks after yesterday's trial: "Retired Garda sergeant John Brennan, who sought to have Naughton removed from Valleymount in 1984 following complaints by parents, said as justice was done today, I think that it should now be taken a step further. Fr Naughton, Ive always maintained, is a human being with a problem.He continued: It was his superiors who, aware of this weakness, sent him around to other places, and I think they shouldnt be allowed at this stage to resign or retire. They should be the subject of a criminal investigation. If there is neglect and evidence of a cover-up, it shouldnt be a question of somebody resigning. They should be the subject of a criminal charge.Hopefully, this will happen and also involve complicit gardai and government officials.Let's see if the Vatican announces Murray's resignation in a few hours.

Heaven knows what the English language means anymore when communicating in the world of supposedly baseless accusations, lazy popular prejudice, nonsense, implicit accusations, being emotive about Murray, ad infinitum. I find myself left with a never-never-land quality in various exchanges, trying to discern the root cause of what is to me at least a marked disconnect. Lack of specificity of charges against Murray, where other charitable interpretations are possible, seems the core complaint. Though somehow I am left with the impression that there is no possible consensus, given different realities.I do ask, What is the cast of mind that turns away, removes itself, fails to investigate forcefully and promptly at the slightest chance of molestation? In rejecting Murrays culpability, it is possible to parse every word, strain the gnats of procedure, and jurisdiction, and technicality, and interpretation, and liability, --- all to the point of oblivion, BUT NOT INNOCENCE.Here are the applicable canons with evidence to follow from the Murphy Report, in sections: 1) CANON 1741: The reasons for which a parish priest can lawfully be removed from his parish are principally: (remember we interpreted that these apply by analogy to a bishop, in light of canons defining their role and pastoral responsibility)---A manner of acting which causes grave harm or disturbance to ecclesiastical communion.I believe there is ample evidence in the public record that Murray causes grave harm to ecclesiastical communion.---The loss of a priests good name among upright and serious-minded parishioners, or aversion to him, when it can be foreseen that these factors will not quickly come to an end. I hope I do not need to elaborate on Murrays loss of good name and the majority of peoples aversion to him.

More canons and evidence from the Murphy Report:2) CANON 1389, 1: A person who abuses ecclesiastical power or an office, is to be punished according to the gravity of the act or the OMISSION, not excluding by deprivation of the office3) CANON 1389, 2: A person who, through culpable negligence, unlawfully and with harm to another, performs or omits an act of ecclesiastical power or ministry or office, is to be punished with a just penalty. How is Murrays Murray failed by OMISSION to exercise his power to adequately protect Gods children. Taking time to stop and think, then acting accordingly and effectively --- thats where morality happens. Murray chose not to investigate forcefully or promptly despite inklings that something was wrong. Though he often cited a lack of detailed knowledge, he did not make the effort to fill in the blanks. Murrays negligence was culpable, causing grievous and, I would say, inexcusable harm to vulnerable innocents. Murray himself admitted his failure to follow up properly on some complaints. Other times, despite clearly deficient arrangements, Murrays answer simply was not my job. Nor apparently was it his job to help arrange effective procedures that others might implement. He looked the other way and that was it.Evidence McNamee caseP. 11-12 Bishop Murray called to see him shortly before Christmas 1994. He inquired with the superior as to Fr McNamees health and general well-being. He failed to mention to the superior the real purpose of his visit and the concerns which the Archdiocese had in regard to Fr McNamee and his behaviour with young people. 12.24 Bishop Murray then saw Fr McNamee and, in the course of a general conversation, asked whether he had any concerns about the recent scandals relating to child sexual abuse. Fr McNamee claimed that he was not personally affected. The bishop said that there had been some things suggested about him in this area in the past but Fr McNamee replied that this was: just talk, talk, talk. There is a kind of conspiracy going on: people seeing evil where there is none. A lot of what is been [sic] said is evil and mischievous. The people who make false allegations are themselves evil. 12.25 Bishop Murray accepted Fr McNamees denials that he had young people in the car. This was the extent of his inquiries. The bishop did think that there was some unresolved anger and some denial about the earlier situation, of which Bishop Murray said he had no detailed knowledge. P. 17 Bishop Murray and Archbishop Connell must accept responsibility for not communicating fully with the nuns in Co Wicklow. When complaints surfaced in the 1990s about Fr McNamee, Bishop Murray visited the convent but did not explain fully the circumstances surrounding Fr McNamees placement there. He claims he was not fully informed about the details. However it was clear from his memo of the meeting that he was aware that there was an allegation of child sexual abuse made against Fr McNamee in the late 1970s. In the Commissions view neither the bishop nor the Archbishop seemed to have given any consideration to the risk Fr McNamee might have posed to the altar boys attending the convent. Both were aware of his abusive past and that no monitoring system had been put in place in relation to him.

Evidence Naughton casep. 287 29.12 In a statement regarding the Valleymount situation, issued in 2002, Bishop Murray stated that he was very aware that if he had derived more information from the various interviews I conducted ,(HE CHOSE NOT TO INVESTIGATE THOROUGHLY, ACCEPTING DENIALS AT FACE VALUE) it might have been possible (IT WAS POSSIBLE, BUT HE CHOSE LAXITY OVER VIGILANCE) to prevent some of the dreadful suffering of child abuse. I very much wish that I had been able to do so.(HE WAS ABLE TO DO SO; THERE WAS NO INCAPACITY,) It is a matter of the greatest regret to me that I did not manage (at that time to get to the root of the problem. No attempt was made by Bishop Murray to revisit these concerns even after he became aware of Fr Naughtons abusive behavior in Donnycarney and Ringsend (see below). Bishop Murray told the Commission that, when the Donnycarney complaint was raised at an Auxiliary Bishops meeting with Archbishop McNamara in November 1985, he mentioned the concerns of the two men who had approached him in Valleymount. At this stage the concerns about Valleymount were known to two Archbishops and several auxiliary bishops and none of these men thought of revisiting the issue. P. 288 29.15 He (Naughton) did, however, tell Monsignor Stenson about the fact that he had been confronted by Bishop Murray in relation to an allegation. He said that the bishop had told him that it was nothing to worry about and that cranks often make allegations. P. 297The Commissions assessment The Archdiocese 29.53 In the Commissions view, Bishop Murray must take some responsibility for the very poor handling of complaints against this priest. The Commission believes it is to his credit that he recognised this when he issued his statement admitting his failure to follow up properly the complaints he had received from Valleymount.

Evidence: Marius caseMonitoring system, 1997 34.20 In December 1997 Monsignor Stenson spoke to a local priest about the monitoring system that was supposed to be in place. The priest recalled a vague conversation with Bishop Murray but said that nothing was mentioned about a monitoring system. It would appear that the only system that was in place at that stage was one where Bishop Murray inquired from Fr Marius if he was behaving himself. P. 34234.33 There was a major problem about the monitoring of this priest. Despite the fact that he was the area bishop and was in touch with the priest on a regular basis between March 1993 and the time of his appointment as bishop of Limerick in February 1996, Bishop Murray failed to put a proper system in P. 343place. Bishop Murray has said that it was not his responsibilityThats enough to give the idea. In closing, I refuse to bear witness against myself by honoring bishops with dishonorable records; who want to own the solution, but not the crisis. They seek status, lengthen the tassels of their worldly influence, but tie up heavy burdens for those who suffered. Living in a world of abstraction and privilege has dulled their vision of reality, and anesthetized their responses.It is time bishops recognize their role in criminally endangering children, obstructing justice, and lying by mental reservation. It did not just happen all by itself, out of the ethers. They enabled abuse and must stop the denial and spin. Anything less than a fall-on-your-knees penitential stance is cheap grace.

Goodnight, Bill and JO'Leary. We MUST be the only ones tapping away on this thread. I know there is duplication, Bill, in our quotes from Murphy, but I discovered it too late.Gold stars for both of you reading this far. And poor Grant, or whoever on staff may be stuck with moderating.

"Witch hunt knee jerk vigilante justice new injustice. What hyperbole."No, if you read the links I attached, I think you would see that this names a serious problem.

Here from the Murphy Report: The Murphy report is very clear on where responsibility lies for much of this. It said of Bishop Murray: he did not deal properly with the suspicions and concerns that were expressed to him in relation to Fr Naughton (at Valleymount). When, a short time later, factual evidence of Fr Naughtons abusing emerged in another parish (Donnycarney) Bishop Murrays failure to reinvestigate the earlier suspicions (in Valleymount) was inexcusable.I googled the last words here and the only thing that came up was the Irish Times article you quote -- the Murphy Report did not come up...

"I do ask, What is the cast of mind that turns away, removes itself, fails to investigate forcefully and promptly at the slightest chance of molestation? In rejecting Murrays culpability, it is possible to parse every word, strain the gnats of procedure, and jurisdiction, and technicality, and interpretation, and liability, all to the point of oblivion, BUT NOT INNOCENCE."Bishop Murray has stated that he did indeed forcefully and promptly act on all allegations of child abuse that came to his notice. Note that he was only an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese. I don't think you have made any attempt to hear his side of the story, a basic requisite of judging fairly.

Of course, putting a monitoring system in place was not Bp Murray's responsibility. It was the responsibility of the Archbishop of Dublin, who did not delegate it to Bp Murray. Satirizing such a response, a mere statement of face, as evasive is unfair rhetoric.It is like if a surgeon allowed a patient to die through failing to check some machine, which it was his responsibility to check. Supposing a nurse were then blamed by the grieving family. She would be quite right to say "it was not my responsibility" and it would be quite unjust to treat her as callous for pointing out the fact.

correction: face SHD BE factSome of the concrete charges against Bp Murray, now at last raised explicitly, do give one pause.But arguments of guilt from omission should be treated with care. Anyone can be found guilty of anything by using such arguments. "Murray failed by OMISSION to exercise his power to adequately protect Gods children. Taking time to stop and think, then acting accordingly and effectively thats where morality happens. Murray chose not to investigate forcefully or promptly despite inklings that something was wrong. Though he often cited a lack of detailed knowledge, he did not make the effort to fill in the blanks."By this reasoning, any parent could be convicted of complicity in any bad thing their children do. Anyone could be convicted of complicity in anything their siblings or colleagues do. "His power to adequately protect" is probably over-estimated here; it is like telling a parent they had the power to stop their kids becoming murderers, molestors, etc.

"In closing, I refuse to bear witness against myself by honoring bishops with dishonorable records; who want to own the solution, but not the crisis. They seek status, lengthen the tassels of their worldly influence, but tie up heavy burdens for those who suffered. Living in a world of abstraction and privilege has dulled their vision of reality, and anesthetized their responses."It is a pity that your canonical case against the NH bishops did not go to court. You might discover that this kind of rhetoric would not stand up to much cross-questioning. Bishop Murray, for all you know, may have dwelt much more deeply on the problems of clerical abuse of minors than you have. It is interesting that the family of one victim who committed suicide speak of him in the tones of highest praise -- which in your view would have to mean that they are "bearing witness against themselves by honoring a bishop with a dishonorable record".

Googling again, I find that the Irish Time gives the alleged quote from the Murphy Report twice, in two different versions: "failure to investigate the earlier suspicions was inexcusable" and ""failure to reinvestigate the earlier suspicions was inexcusable". I still don't find this phrase in the Report itself.

"In the interview with the Limerick Leader, Bishop Murray again emphasised that he had no specific allegation to work with in the case involving Fr Naughton. He said his conscience was clear that he was not involved in a cover-up and his failings resulted from naivety and inexperience."In short, such failings as anyone could be guilty of.

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About the Author

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.