Resignation Letter "A Step Forward", Says Victim Acceptance of Collusion "Huge"

By Genevieve Carbery
The Irish Times
December 24, 2009

Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Dr Jim Moriarty. announced yesterday that he had offered his resignation to the Vatican.
Photo by Thomas Nolan

REACTION: BISHOP OF Kildare and Leighlin Jim Moriarty’s acceptance that he should have challenged the “prevailing culture” was described as a “step forward” by victim Marie Collins yesterday.

Ms Collins was abused by a priest identified in the Murphy commission report by the pseudonym Fr Edmondus in 1960 when she was a patient at Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin.

The report found that Bishop Moriarty received a complaint about Fr Edmondus in 1993 when he was an auxiliary bishop of Dublin and he could have asked Archbishop Desmond Connell to research the files.

Ms Collins said that despite Bishop Moriarty not taking personal responsibility for not investigating Fr Edmondus, accepting that he should have challenged the culture was “huge”.

“I am encouraged by him having courage,”she said.

“The truth in the Murphy report is beginning to achieve something by making men of the cloth realise that there has to be accountability for what went on,” she said.

It was important that the remaining bishops did the same, she said. “They have to take responsibility that it was happening on their watch. If they didn’t stand up and shout stop they were colluding with what was going on.”

Even though it was a “pity” the resignation had taken so long people had to be “encouraged that it is happening now”, she said.

She hoped a forthcoming letter from Pope Benedict would bring a complete reorganisation of the church in Ireland and the structure which allowed the culture to prevail.

Bishop Moriarty’s decision was welcomed by Andrew Madden, who was abused by former priest Fr Ivan Payne.

Both Bishop Donal Murray of Limerick and Bishop Moriarty had resigned “for the good of the church and without accepting any responsibility for the cover-up of child sexual abuse”.

However, Mr Madden was not surprised that they did not accept responsibility for the cover-up.

Mr Madden and support group One in Four yesterday reiterated calls for the three remaining bishops named in the Murphy report to resign.

“Ultimately, the resignations of all the auxiliary bishops named in the report are inevitable,” the group’s chief executive Maeve Lewis said.

“It will be immeasurably damaging to both survivors and the Catholic Church if this process is dragged out indefinitely.

“We call on all concerned to provide real moral leadership by finding the courage to acknowledge responsibility for their actions and inaction and to resign immediately.”

She urged ordinary members of the Catholic Church to convey their feelings to the leadership this Christmas.


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