The serious fall-out following the revelations about the Irish Roman Catholic scandal over clerical child-sex abuse is continuing unabated, nearly three weeks after the publication of the Murphy Report on the appalling situation in the Dublin Archdiocese.
Yesterday the theologian Fr Vincent Twomey, a former doctoral student of Pope Benedict, said that it was a “scandal” that Catholic Bishops who were criticised in the report have not resigned. He also said that the longer their delay in doing so, the greater would be the damage to the Church.
These are strong words after the Rome meeting between the Primate Sean Brady and the Archbishop of Dublin Dairmuid Martin who had talks with the Pope himself, and a high-powered group of Vatican officials.
The Pope, not surprisingly, expressed his distress at the abuses recorded in the Murphy Report, and he has taken the unusual step of promising a Pastoral Letter to the Irish Church and people. This is expected in the New Year, and it reflects the gravity with which the Pontiff and the Vatican view the situation.
Such an initiative is to be welcomed, particularly as the authorities in Rome, and the Papal Nuncio in Dublin, were roundly criticised in Ireland for their lack of co-operation on the Murphy Report, and their prolonged silence, following its publication.
After the meeting in Rome, Archbishop Martin promised that there would be a massive “shake-up” in the Irish Church. He was not specific about details, but this could mean resignations, diocesean re-organisation, and greater co-operation with the Gardai and other bodies.
There has been much talk in the Catholic Church recently about a way forward, but actions will speak much louder than words. The sooner this mess is cleaned up, the better. The welfare of children must be the major priority.