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Retired Anglican primate defends ‘heroic’ Irish Catholic priests

September 02, 2010

Archbishop Walton Empey, who led the Church of Ireland as Anglican archbishop of Dublin from 1997 to 2002, has written a letter to the Irish Times defending the “heroic” Irish Catholic priests who continue to minister amid the abuse scandal.

“As a retired priest and bishop of another Communion (Anglican) I was loathe to comment on the current situation within the Roman Catholic Church as it might be interpreted at best as meddling in the affairs of another church and at worst to be seen as patronising in tone,” the retired Anglican primate wrote in a letter published in the newspaper on September 2.

He recounted:

Some years ago I was walking to the Mater Private Hospital to visit a good friend, Archbishop Joe Cassidy. On the way, I passed a group of teenagers who shouted, “Abused any children lately, Father?”

On reaching the hospital I sat down for a few minutes to compose myself before my visit. I thought of all the fine priests who had to suffer such insults and worse almost every day and wondered if I could have endured it. It is shameful that they should be tarred with the same brush as those who committed such horrendous crimes. I would add my voice to the plea that they “not be left alone at the altar”. They deserve the support and respect of every Christian regardless of denomination.


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