Monday, August 2, 2010

Bishop John Magee and Cloyne Report

I completed the main draft of my article concerning Bishop John Magee yesterday as Judge Yvonne Murphy's Report on the Cloyne diocese is due to be published this autumn. I would expect it to ignore most of the salient issues e.g. the previous false allegations of sex abuse directed at Bishop Magee in 1994 and 1999. Anyway the following are the last two sections of my essay which is at:


Prior to December 2008 the Gardai had submitted several files to the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to allegations against two priests of the Cloyne Diocese. In every case the Director stated that no criminal prosecution should be brought. In December 2008 Garda Superintendent Pat Carey confirmed that there were no current investigations relating to alleged child abuse by priests in the Cloyne diocese.

After Bishop Magee published the NBSC Report in December 2008 there were a spate of further criminal allegations - including one against the Bishop himself. It may be that Bishop Magee published the Report in the expectation that it would "heal the pain" of the alleged victims and "promote reconciliation" with them. If so, he was very much mistaken!


In the early stages of child abuse hysteria in Ireland the Bishops - including John Magee himself - were prepared to defend the innocent even to the extent of suing newspapers and TV stations that published false allegations of child abuse. The Christian Brothers did likewise - at least to some extent. However the Sisters of Mercy grovelled from the beginning and went out of their way to apologise to people who were making, what were obviously, false claims. (Their rationale seems to be that false accusers are suffering deep pain and the way to heal their pain is to apologise to them.)

In 2004 two events combined to end all ecclesiastical resistance to false allegations. These were the appointment of Diarmuid Martin as Archbishop of Dublin and a further dramatic apology by the Merciful Sisters. After this the Bishops - led by Martin - abandoned any effort to defend their priests; in effect they adopted the policy of the nuns. This is what Bishop Magee did in December 2008 when he published a report that both slandered his own priests and made it impossible for them to sue the report's authors.

The effects of this policy of appeasement were catastrophic for Magee, for the Catholic Church and indeed for all falsely accused persons. Of course the Sisters disclaim all responsibility and blame the Bishops! In an article in the Irish Times on 14 November 2009, Patsy McGarry quotes Bishop Willie Walsh (a great admirer of Archbishop Martin):
He had been speaking recently to the leadership team of the Mercy congregation’s southern province, “women who have given their lives in the service of the church”, and who were “very broken, very sad”. They felt “let down by us, the bishops”.

Bishop Willie - like Martin - is a gutless wonder who never condemns false allegations of child abuse. So it is unlikely that the "very broken, very sad" Sisters whom he quotes, are blaming himself. Presumably they are blaming those Bishops who originally defended the innocent!

No doubt every ruling class becomes morally corrupt before it becomes extinct but even a Franz Kafka would find it difficult to do justice to the decadence of the leadership of the Catholic Church in Ireland today.

Kafkaesque = "Marked by surreal distortion and often a sense of impending danger" (Wikipedia definition).

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