Belfast Telegraph

Full details of Finnegan abuse must be revealed: archbishop

By Sarah MacDonald

The Republic’s most senior Catholic bishop has said the truth needs to come out about Fr Malachy Finnegan after the priest was accused of a litany of child abuse at a Newry school.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin described the stories of sexual and physical abuse that are emerging from St Colman’s College as “horrendous”.

A number of those abused by Finnegan have already spoken out publicly about his conduct there between 1967 to 1987, including Clem Leneghan, the youngest brother of former President Mary McAleese, and Sinn Fein’s Conor Murphy.

Although the disgraced cleric died in 2002 and can no longer be held accountable for his crimes, the PSNI has set up a specialist unit to investigate the allegations against him.

Archbishop Martin said: “I know a lot of people covered up or they didn’t talk or were afraid to talk — but as I say, let the truth come out.”

The archbishop also admitted that misogyny “is present in the Church” and he warned that there was a danger that an all-male priesthood could become “a men’s club”.

He recalled his time in Rome and said: “There was a misogynist culture there in the Vatican.

“Misogyny is really about men feeling that they are in charge; feeling that they have particular rights.”

In an interview with RTE Radio’s Miriam O’Callaghan Show, he added: “I think all of us have to examine our consciences to see where we are on this.”

Asked by O’Callaghan if he thought he would ever see female priests in his own lifetime, Dr Martin replied: “No.”

However, he said he would like there to be “a much stronger female presence in the Church” and he said he believed this was “achievable, even with a male priesthood”.

“Misogynism is a sign of human immaturity and that is a worry. If there are priests who are misogynists then it means they are not mature in themselves and that they haven’t ever had healthy relations with women or don’t understand that.”

Speaking later after Easter Sunday Mass, the archbishop highlighted that Mrs McAleese had quoted his remarks on women’s low standing in the Church and alienation during her address in Rome.

Archbishop Martin, who is president of the World Meeting of Families gathering in August, also said there was no way that the Pope wouldn’t address the issue of clerical abuse and meet survivors when he visits the Republic in August.

Belfast Telegraph

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