Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cloyne bishop John Magee should be arrested

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has led the nation’s fury over an official report into sex abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne and Catholic Church cover-ups.

Former Bishop John Magee of Cloyne, who has been missing since the report from Judge Yvonne Murphy, and is believed to be somewhere in the U.S., has had pressure piled on him to assume accountability in the aftermath of the damning report.

Cover-ups stretched all the way to the Vatican, where Magee was once a high-profile and powerful secretary to three popes. He is accused in the report of hugging and kissing a teenage boy on the forehead and telling him he dreamt about him.

So deep has been the national outrage that there has been no popular groundswell of opinion against plans by Justice Minister Alan Shatter and Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald to toughen legislation and make it illegal for a priest to fail to fail to report child abuse to police, even if he hears it in confession.

Shatter plans to impose jail sentences of up to five years for the failure-to-report offense.

Proposals for a visit to Ireland by Pope Benedict XVI next year are understood to have been shelved.
Jack O’Donnell, whose late daughter Maeve made a complaint to Magee that she was abused while a teenager by a Cloyne priest, supported the call by Father Tom Doyle for members of the hierarchy to be jailed for covering up abuse.

O’Donnell said, “I agree with Father Doyle. Until such time as some senior figure in the church hears a prison door clang shut behind him, then the cover-ups and the concealment will continue. Anyone engaging in a cover-up should be prosecuted and punished.”

Government plans to jail priests for up to five years if they fail to report information on child sex abuse, even if it was obtained in the confession box, put it in direct conflict with the traditional teachings of the church. A Catholic bishops spokesman said the seal of confession “places an onerous responsibility on the confessor/priest, and a breach of it would be a serious offense to the rights of penitents.”

Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny backed the tough new laws to compel priests to report pedophiles to Gardai.

“The law of the land should not be stopped by a crozier or a collar,” Kenny said. Kenny described as “absolutely disgraceful” the attitude of the Vatican to complaints of child sex abuse in the Cloyne diocese.
Full editorial at Irish News

Leading Ireland’s fury, Martin said he did not see a situation in which Magee, who should return instantly from wherever he is abroad, would practice public ministry ever again.

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