Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

Catholic World News News Feature

Irish prelates clash on release of abuse documents February 01, 2008

In a rare legal clash between Catholic prelates, the former Archbishop of Dublin has gone to court to prevent his successor from releasing documents pertaining to Church treatment of sexual abuse by clergy.

Cardinal Desmond Connell, the retired archbishop, has persuaded the High Court to issue an injunction, halting the release of some 5,000 documents. His successor, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, had indicated that he was willing to hand over the documents to an investigation.

At issue are documents that have been requested by an independent panel, the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation, headed by Judge Yvonne Murphy. Archbishop Martin has said that he is willing to waive claims to confidentiality regarding the documents in question. Cardinal Connell argued that he had waived his own claims to confidentiality, which should still obtain since the documents cover Church conduct during his tenure as head of the Dublin archdiocese.

The High Court is scheduled to weigh the arguments of the two prelates at a session next week.

Archbishop Martin has issued a statement affirming that the archdiocese plans to continue its policy of full cooperation with Judge Murphy's commission. A spokesman for the Dublin archdiocese said that the archbishop and Cardinal Connell maintain friendly ties despite their disagreement over the legal issues involved in the case.

Cardinal Connell headed the Dublin archdiocese from 1988 until his resignation in 2004 at the age of 78. He was in Rome-- where he was hospitalized for treatment after a household fall-- when his lawyers appeared in High Court to stop the release of documents.