Murray defends 'thorough public response'

Wednesday 02 December 2009 22.24
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Donal Murray - Denies attempting to save position
Donal Murray - Denies attempting to save position
Diarmuid Martin - Irish hierarchy needs to re-establish strong leadership
Diarmuid Martin - Irish hierarchy needs to re-establish strong leadership

Bishop Donal Murray has said he has given a thorough public response to the Murphy Report since its publication last Thursday.

The Bishop of Limerick was responding to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's challenge to ten serving and retired bishops to explain whether they should resign in light of their handling of clerical child sexual abuse while they were prelates in Dublin.

In a statement, responding to Archbishop Martin's comments on last night's Prime Time programme, Bishop Murray says he has done three lengthy media interviews and communicated twice with Limerick's massgoers about criticisms of him in the Report.

Bishop Murray denied that he was attempting to save his position, but rather had merely begun engaging with the people and priests of his diocese about whether his ministry hindered or helped it.

Archbishop Martin said that responses to the Murphy Report were a matter for Catholics in the Archdiocese.

Bishop Murray stressed that full consideration was being given to the opinions of all members of the public, not least those in the Archdiocese of Dublin and, particularly, to survivors of clerical child sex abuse during his term in Dublin.

Later, Bishop Murray told the Limerick Leader newspaper that he has a clear conscience, but admitted that the case of Fr Naughton causes him constant anguish.

He said: 'My conscience is actually clear about Dublin, even though I recognise that some of the things should have been done differently. There was certainly no deliberate omission on my part.'

Speaking on Prime Time, Archbishop Martin urged bishops and priests mentioned in the Murphy Report to admit their mistakes regarding child protection and resign or stand over their belief that they made no mistakes.

The findings from the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin were published last week.

He also challenged them to publicly answer questions raised by the report in parishes of the Dublin Archdiocese where clergy sexually abused children.

Archbishop Martin told RTÉ's Prime Time that he was not satisfied with some of the answers he had heard to the Commission's findings from serving and retired bishops who had served in Dublin since 1975.

Without naming him, Archbishop Martin dismissed Bishop Donal Murray's weekend statement that his decision about whether to stay on would be guided by the faithful of Limerick where he now serves.

The Archbishop said he was writing to Bishop Murray and others to say that their responses to the report were a matter for the Catholics of the Archdiocese and that he would need to be confident his priests could stand over those statements on Sunday.

He said that he did not want to be sitting at meetings with people who he believed had not responded to very serious situations.

The Archbishop said only two Irish bishops had phoned him since the report was published and that both Cardinal Seán Brady and he were strongly convinced that the Irish hierarchy needs to re-establish strong leadership.

A spokesman for the Bishop Jim Moriarty of Kildare & Leighlin said he would not be commenting on Archbishop Martin’s remarks at this point until full consideration is given to them.

Dr Moriarty was an auxiliary bishop in Dublin and in 1993 he received a complaint about contact with young children by the priest named in the Murphy report as Fr Edmondus.

It later emerged he was the priest who had abused Marie Collins in Crumlin Hospital in 1960.

The Murphy Report found that no attempt was made by archdiocesan authorities to check the archives or other files relating to Fr Edmondus when these complaints were received.

The Report added that Bishop Moriarty told the commission he did not have access to the archives, but he could have asked the Archbishop to conduct a search.

At Carlow Cathedral on Sunday, Bishop Moriarty said that while the Murphy report does not criticise him directly, he fully accepted the overall conclusion of the commission, that the attempts by church authorities to 'protect the church' and to 'avoid scandal' had the most dreadful consequences for children and were deeply wrong.