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Retired Irish cardinal pressed for comment on sex-abuse policies

Catholic World News - January 04, 2010

Two Irish bishops have called on Cardinal Desmond Connell, to address criticism of the handling of sex-abuse complaints during his term as Archbishop of Dublin.

When the Murphy Commission report was issued late in November, Cardinal Connell acknowledged that the findings were “severely critical” of his administration. He apologized to the victims of sexual abuse and expressed his “distress and bewilderment” over misconduct of some priests. He concluded the statement by saying that he would not issue any further comment.

But Bishop Willie Walsh of Killaloe and Martin Drennan of Galway have both suggested that the retired cardinal should explain his administrative decisions. Bishop Drennan, a former auxiliary of the Dublin archdiocese, has defended himself against criticism by saying that the cardinal had the final say on all questions of sex-abuse policy. A statement from the cardinal could strengthen Bishop Drennan’s stand that he should not be expected to resign.

Cardinal Connell-- who headed the Dublin archdiocese from 1988 until his resignation in 2004 at the age of 78-- had vigorously opposed the efforts of the Murphy Commission to obtain Church documents about the handling of sex-abuse complaints. Those documents were eventually released on directions from his successor, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

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  • Posted by: niall - Jan. 04, 2010 6:51 PM ET USA

    Cardinal Connell should most certainly make a statement.Bishop Drennan has been more than forthcoming with information about his time in Dublin-giving radio interviews and clarifying his role to the media.Cardinal Connell should do the same.People are trying to scapegoat Bishop Drennan even though the Commission recognised that the coverup ended befor he became auxiliary & the Archdiocese post-1996 was implementing its new guidelines-indeed,procedures improved during Bishop Drennan's time 97-05.

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