Church Sacks Abuse Critic

By Ellen Whinnett
The Mercury [Australia]
October 26, 2003

A CATHOLIC Church adviser has been sacked from three important committees after making a formal complaint about the way the church dealt with sex abuse complaints.

Retired Launceston businessman Patrick Murray has been involved with the Catholic Church in Tasmania for 48 years and has provided top-level advice and support.

But on October 16, he was sacked from his roles on the church's diocesan finance committee, the executive remuneration committee and the diocesan property committee.

Mr Murray's dismissal came after he and fellow church adviser, retired barrister Peter Roach, twice wrote to Archbishop Adrian Doyle expressing concern at the way the Archbishop had dealt with complaints lodged by his son Drew against Monsignor Philip Green.

"I believe that the way in which the current sexual abuse matters had been handled was disgraceful," Mr Murray told the Sunday Tasmanian.

"I said that I believed the archbishop's performance was so bad he should resign.

"We (Mr Murray and Archbishop Doyle) met on October 16 at my request.

"I said I felt uncomfortable.

"That was when he told me of his decision that I should not continue in any position."

Mr Murray, who now lives in Hobart, has been a lobbyist and adviser for the church for decades, and represented the Catholic Church in Tasmania on a national level in lobbying for funding of schools.

He had chaired the diocesan finance committee for 12 years before the October 16 decision. Mr Murray believes his removal from the committees was a direct response to his complaints about the archbishop's handling of sex abuse matters, particularly those involving his son Drew.

And Mr Murray said public letters and statements of support which had come from several Catholic figures after sex abuse problems were first revealed by the media in August were coming from people who did not know how the complaints were being handled.

He said few people outside the archbishop's inner circle knew of two complaints against Monsignor Green, or of a third complaint laid against another senior figure in an unrelated matter.

"My other major concern is the unbelievable lack of information being given to his own clergy, priests of the archdiocese and teachers at the schools and the laity generally," Mr Murray said.

He feels doubly betrayed by the church -- first by the actions of Monsignor Green and secondly by the actions of the archbishop in sacking him.

Mr Murray said Monsignor Green had caused a 20-year rift between him and his son.

Drew Murray had told his father of the behaviour of Monsignor Green -- but Mr Murray did not believe that Monsignor Green, a close personal friend and respected church leader, could have committed such acts.

It is only in recent years that Mr Murray and his son healed the rift and worked together for justice in the church.

It was Mr Murray's autobiography, self-published and entitled Life Is But A Sigh, that eventually prompted Drew Murray to make a complaint to the church about Monsignor Green.

An international skipper on large yachts, Drew Murray was flying to the United States when he read his father's book and noted an acknowledgment at the conclusion to Monsignor Green.

It was enough to make all the anger inside boil over.

Patrick Murray attended a facilitated meeting between Drew Murray and Monsignor Green in Launceston in August 2002, where he says Monsignor Green admitted his actions in front of two church officials.

"It was awful, someone made the comment there wasn't a dry eye in the room except Green's," Mr Murray said.

It is not yet widely known within the church that Mr Murray has been removed from his committee responsibilities.

He has penned an angry 13-page letter back to the archbishop, listing 26 individual areas of concern in the handling of sex abuse cases.

Now it is beginning to sink in that the church he has served for almost half a century has turned its back on him.

"It's devastating, I don't even think it's hit yet," he said.

In a letter to priests dated September 13 and obtained by The Mercury, Archbishop Doyle tells his clergy there are people who have called for his resignation. The circular was written in response to the letter by Mr Murray and Mr Roach.

"I regret their point of view, although I firmly uphold the right of any parishioner to make known his or her own point of view," the archbishop said in his letter.

"I wish to make it very clear however that I have no intention of resigning.

"I want to assure everyone that I have nothing to hide and that no attempt has been made, nor will one ever be made, to evade, deny or cover up any matter."

Yesterday Archbishop Doyle apologised through The Mercury to sex abuse victims and said the church would improve its handling of such complaints.

He confirmed that he had asked Mr Murray to stand aside from the committees.

Through spokeswoman Anjanette Murfet, the archbishop said the meeting had been cordial and he had thanked Mr Murray for his many years of work.

"Unfortunately the fact was that Patrick had put his signature to two letters asking the archbishop to resign," Ms Murfet said.

"The archbishop told Patrick he was very sorry for what was happening to him and his family.

"He asked if he would stand aside until these matters were resolved.

"Sadly, it was believed there was no longer a level of trust between them."


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