Irish bishops meeting Pope over clerical abuse
Ireland’s bishops have begun a two-day meeting with the Pope and senior Vatican figures to discuss the fall-out from the Murphy Report on clerical sexual abuse of children and the handling of cases by members of the hierarchy.
The twenty-four serving diocesan bishops who are attending the two days’ of meetings were summonsed to the unprecedented talks by the Pope in the wake of the findings of the report which was published last November.
Ahead of the talks, survivors of clerical abuse demanded leadership and accountability from the Pope and called for financial compensation for victims.
Four bishops have already resigned over the Murphy Report, which unveiled a catalogue of child abuse and subsequent cover-ups over three decades by the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland.
Auxiliary Bishops of Dublin, Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field announced on Christmas Eve that they were resigning from their positions over the Murphy inquiry’s findings.
Their announcement followed the resignations of the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin James Moriarty and Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray.
The Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan, who served as an auxiliary in the archdiocese of Dublin during the period of time investigated by the Murphy Report, has repeatedly rejected calls for his resignation.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Irish Bishops Conference, Bishop Joseph Duffy has moved to dampen down expectations of further resignations saying, “It’s not our business as individual bishops to discuss publicly a resignation. That’s something that will happen or will not happen as a result of the overall discussion that will take place.”
When questioned about the supposed pressure put on Bishop Drennan by the Archbishop of Dublin to resign, Bishop Duffy reminded a press conference in Rome yesterday that what the Archbishop of Dublin had actually said was he “expects and expected bishops named in the Murphy report to give an account of themselves, to be publicly accountable.”
Bishop Duffy said, “That’s not the same as saying he believes they should resign, which unfortunately is the meaning people have taken out of it.”
Each of the twenty-four bishops will be given roughly ten minutes to make a presentation at the gathering.
The Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Seán Brady said yesterday he hoped the meetings would be part of a process which will “lead to a journey of repentance, renewal and reconciliation”.