No Grounds to Resign, Says Bishop Moriarty

By Patsy McGarry
The Irish Times
December 11, 2009

STATEMENTS: THE BISHOP of Kildare and Leighlin Jim Moriarty, who was named in the Murphy report, said last night, “I do not consider that there are any grounds there upon which I should resign from office.”

An auxiliary bishop in Dublin from 1991 to 2002, he received in 1993 a complaint about a particular priest’s contact with children.

It was this priest – identified in the report by the pseudonym Fr Edmondus – who abused Marie Collins in 1960 when she was a patient at Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin.

Bishop Moriarty discussed the complaint with local priests and the then archbishop Desmond Connell. “No attempt was made by archdiocesan authorities to check the archives or other files relating to Fr Edmondus when these complaints were received,” the Murphy report said.

It continued, “Bishop Moriarty pointed out to the commission that he did not have access to the archives but he could have asked the archbishop to conduct a search.”

This failure to check about other complaints “meant that the concerns were not taken as seriously as they should have been. There was no proper investigation of these concerns. For example, the youth workers who first raised them were not even interviewed at the time,” the report said.

In a statement last night, Bishop Moriarty said: “I repeat that I fully accept the overall conclusion of the Murphy report that the attempts by church authorities to ‘protect the church’ and to ‘avoid scandal’ had the most dreadful consequences for children and were deeply wrong.”

He wished to have it noted “that I am briefly mentioned but not criticised in the report, and not otherwise referred to, either in the overview of the report itself (Chapter 1) or in the assessment of Chapter 13, where the single mention occurs.”

In Maynooth yesterday, the Bishop of Derry Seamus Hegarty said he would welcome an extension of the remit of the Murphy commission to include Raphoe diocese, where he had been bishop.

“I hope, if a decision is made [to extend the remit], that Raphoe will be first on the list. I’ll be co-operating totally and completely with any inquiry in Raphoe,” he said.

He didn’t feel Raphoe was under a cloud. “There’s a lot of talk about it but it’d be great to have an adjudication by a competent body as to what did or did not happen.” As long as the report was “informed and objective, I’m up for it”, he said.

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Cashel Dermot Clifford explained it was legitimate to employ mental reservation “in very extreme circumstances.” This would include being “in a very hostile environment where somebody was running and you were trying to shield them”, but that was very rare.

“It shouldn’t be used at all in communicating with people in our Irish situation,” he said.


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