Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Irish Bishops Reflect on their Rome Meetings

The Primate of All-Ireland Cardinal Seán Brady said this afternoon that were the remit of the Murphy Commission to be extended to other Catholic dioceses in Ireland, the Catholic Church “will co-operate fully with that inquiry.”

He pointed to the Church’s current co-operation with statutory bodies such as the HSE and the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, as they prepare audits on child protection, as an example of such co-operation.

He was speaking at a press conference at the Vatican Radio centre in Rome following discussions between Pope Benedict, seven Curial Cardinals and 24 Irish bishops yesterday and this morning on the clerical child sex abuse crisis in Ireland.

Also in attendance at the press conference was the Bishop of Meath Michael Smith, the Bishop of Clogher Joseph Duffy, the Bishop of Ferns Dennis Brennan, and the Bishop of Achonry Bishop Brendan Kelly.

Cardinal Brady said the Pope had “given a strong message of encouragement” to the Irish bishops in dealing with an issue which “he recognised was not an Irish problem, not an Anglophone problem, not a Catholic Church problem.”

Acknowledging “the failures in our leadership” as bishops he said “we were not made to feel like scapegoats “ but were encouraged “by offers of help from the Curia, he said.

Bishop Brennan said that while “victims (of abuse) were central to all our discussions and remain a top priority,” no plans were made for such victims to meet the Pope. He was sure the Pope would do so “when the time is right. They (victims) will tell us that,” he said.

Cardinal Brady said there had been no discussions of the resignations of bishops. “That is a matter between the bishops (concerned) and the Holy See. It would not be appropriate for us to give opinions on the matter.”

He said the bishops had seen drafts of the pope’s planned pastoral letter to the Irish people and made observations on it. He did not comment on its content.

As regards the papal nuncio’s decision not to appear before the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs, Bishop Smith indicated it was not appropriate, according to Vatican protocol, for him to do so.
Abridged from The Irish Times

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