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Irish victims' groups 'depressed,' bishops at odds after Rome meeting

Catholic World News - February 19, 2010

Spokesmen for groups representing Irish victims of sexual abuse said that they were feeling "depressed" and "betrayed" after a February 19 meeting with Dublin's Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. The meeting was scheduled because the victims' groups had expressed dissatisfaction with the results of meetings earlier this week between Pope Benedict XVI and the Irish hierarchy.

Archbishop Martin, who had gone into the meetings in Rome saying that he expected a substantial reorganization of the Irish hierarchy, appeared to have "his wings clipped," according to one participant in the Friday meetings. Others charged that the archbishop was backpedaling from this promises to give them complete support-- a charge that the Dublin prelate denied.

Meanwhile another Irish bishop who has been under fire since the publication of the Murphy Commission report insisted that he would not resign, in spite of the demands of abuse victims. Bishop Martin Drennan of Galway, who was an auxiliary bishop in the Dublin archdiocese during the time covered by the Murphy Commission investigation, said that all the other Irish bishops-- including Archbishop Martin-- supported him in his decision to remain in office. At the same time Bishop Drennan made no attempt to disguise a serious disagreement with Archbishop Martin, saying that it was "inappropriate" for the Dublin archbishop to raise questions in public about his conduct.

Defending his own role in the handling of sex-abuse cases during his years in Dublin, Bishop Drennan said that auxiliary bishops did not have the power to set policy. "All major decisions are made by the archbishop," he said. During his years as an auxiliary the Archbishop of Dublin was Cardinal Desmond Connell, who is now 83 years old and living in retirement.

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  • Posted by: niall - Feb. 19, 2010 6:27 PM ET USA

    Once again the victims are back to the old "collective responsibility" charge & claim that Bishop Drennan didn't challenge the "prevailing culture". Reading the Murphy Report it is clear that the prevailing culture during his time as auxiliary bishop was one that was making serious efforts to come to grips with the situation. The Report actually says as much. Thank God for Bishop Drennan & his stance- a bishop with the courage of his convictions. Shame on those who are trying to scapegoat him.

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