Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

fire him-- and give him a gold watch

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Mar 25, 2010

After Pope Benedict accepted the resignation of Cloyne's Bishop John Magee, who had thoroughly botched the handling of sex-abuse complaints, Cardinal Sean Brady, the Primate of All Ireland, issued a statement, which is herewith reproduced in its entirety.

“I wish to acknowledge the long and varied ministry of Bishop John Magee in the Church. I thank him for his contribution to the work of the Irish Bishops’ Conference over the past twenty years, particularly in the area of liturgy. I assure him of my prayers at this time and wish him good health in his retirement.

“However, foremost in my thoughts in these days are those who have suffered abuse by clergy and those who feel angry and let down by the often inadequate response of leaders in the Church.”

Having read that statement carefully can you point to any sign, any intimation that Bishop Magee ended his "long and varied" episcopal ministry on something short of a high note? That he was not the very model of a modern Catholic bishop? Feel free to read Cardinal Brady's statement again if you like…
Need a hint? There's one word-- and one word only-- that betrays the existence of a problem.
Give up? It's the first word in the second paragraph: "However." Having praised Bishop Magee, the cardinal signals that there is some discontinuity between his respect for the outgoing bishop and his concern for the victims of sexual abuse. Reading between the lines, the astute analyst can infer that Bishop Magee was among the Church leaders guilty of an "inadequate response."
The astute reader can draw that inference, I say, because the cardinal never makes the point openly. And why not? The reason for Bishop Magee's premature resignation is no secret. Although the bland Vatican announcement only pointed to the now-familiar Canon 401-2, everyone knows that the Irish bishop has been removed because of his gross mishandling of sex-abuse complaints.
Day after day after wearisome day the Church is being hammered in the world's major media for failing to take action on sexual abuse. On those rare occasions when a bishop is called to account for that inaction-- and everyone knows it-- there's absolutely nothing to be gained by hesitating to acknowledge that reality. 

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.