Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Catholic Church abuse survivors quiz reforms

Bishop James Moriarty quit over mishandling of abuse allegations

A group supporting clerical abuse survivors questioned the Vatican's commitment to child safety despite Pope Benedict accepting the resignation of a third Irish Bishop over the handling of allegations.

Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin James Moriarty, who announced he was quitting his post last December over the mishandling of claims during his time in the Dublin Archdiocese, said the move was the toughest decision of his career.

Support group One in Four praised the Bishop's honesty and courage for accepting he had failed to challenge the culture of cover-up and secrecy in the church, but questioned whether that culture had changed.

Maeve Lewis, executive director, said: "When both the Pope and Cardinal Brady have been implicated in protecting sex offenders, does the resignation of individual bishops contribute to the protection of children?

"When the most senior churchmen consistently deny responsibility for their failures, can we have any confidence that the culture of secrecy has changed?

"When the Vatican attempts to portray coverage of the scandal as anti-church media hysteria or clerical sex abuse as a homosexual issue, can we really believe there is a genuine commitment to prioritise the safety of children over the power and status of the Church?"

Despite previously insisting he should not resign, Bishop Moriarty follows former Bishop of Cloyne John Magee and former Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray out of office.

Bishop Moriarty, who served as an auxiliary bishop in the Dublin archdiocese between 1991 and 2002, was named by the Murphy inquiry over inadequate church investigations into a paedophile priest in Dublin in the 1990s.

In a statement the senior cleric again apologised to victims and their families, adding that the Church was learning from its mistakes, putting in place child safeguarding procedures and being aware of the need for constant vigilance to protect children.

"The truth is that the long struggle of survivors to be heard and respected by Church authorities has revealed a culture within the Church that many would simply describe as unchristian," the Bishop said.

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