Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Church sends out wrong message

The fall-out continues from the Murphy Report into clerical child-sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin and two more Catholic bishops have offered their resignations.

Bishop Eamonn Walsh and Bishop Raymond Field dramatically announced their decisions on Christmas Eve, after the earlier resignations of Bishop Donal Murray, which has been accepted, and Bishop James Moriarty, whose resignation is expected to be accepted next month.

Four of the five bishops named in the Murphy Report have offered their resignations, but the fifth cleric — Bishop Martin Drennan of Galway — has not yet indicated his attention of doing so.

There are suggestions from a Galway spokesman that he believes he has done nothing wrong, and that his situation is different to that of the other bishops.

Bishop Drennan, who was an auxiliary bishop in Dublin from 1997 to 2005, may feel strongly that he has done nothing wrong, but many people will agree with Marie Collins, a victim of clerical sex abuse in Dublin, who claims that he is sending out the wrong message.

It is difficult to quarrel with her conclusion that Bishop Drennan is not doing the church or himself any favours by staying on. The whole point about the resignations is the fact that they signal the fresh start that is required by the Catholic Church in its long haul to regain public credibility.

This seems to have escaped the Bishop of Derry, Seamus Hegarty, who has said he was “not sure” if more resignations would contribute “in any great way towards healing”.

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This is not the attitude which will inspire public confidence that the Church is serious about closure, about healing and about moving forward.

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