herald

Sunday 20 October 2019

Best thing Magee can do now for everyone concerned i s disappear

THE RTE website yesterday reported that a spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops has welcomed Bishop John Magee's offer to meet survivors of child sexual abuse in the diocese of Cloyne.

The article doesn't say who this spokesperson is but the Catholic Bishops don't have an official spokesperson.



penance

The spokesperson also, we are told, "singled out for praise Dr Magee's sentiments on meeting survivors."

Amazing how the official Church can find merit in something Bishop Magee should have done long ago and has only now agreed to under the media spotlight.

It's a real demonstration of how the media battle has been lost to the Church.

So much more has been lost to the Church.

Some have called for Bishop Magee to do an act of penance, others have said as victims they would be wasting their time bothering to meet him.

Some of his fellow priests including the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) have been critical of his statement.

It is difficult to see what value there is in Bishop Magee meeting with victims unless they believe there is some for them.

Bishop Magee couldn't help them when he had the opportunity so it seems there is little he can do now.

The best thing Bishop Magee could do is go quietly into the sunset and cause no more harm.

It is interesting to note that some of the harsher comments on his TV statement came from priests.

So many decent priests are at their wits' end. Yet there is little to be got by dragging Bishop Magee out in front of a press conference to be savaged by the media.

There is also little he can do now to repair the hurt caused to victims. Unless he is going to assist Garda investigations, he needs to move on and let the rest of us do the same.

We are all tired of apologies that ring hollow.

The former bishop has said how he and his delegate, Monseigneur Denis O'Callaghan who was representing him, failed many of the victims.

While the focus is on Bishop Magee, there is little focus on Msgr O'Callaghan who is still adamant that he did nothing wrong.

He was party to the drafting of the 1996 Guidelines on Child Protection drawn up by the Catholic Bishops and yet fundamentally disagreed with aspects of the policy and refused to implement it.



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After the Murphy report in Dublin, we had Msgr Maurice Dooley equally refusing to admit that his version of out-dated clericalism had served the Church badly.

Msgr Dooley was eventually told to make no further statements by his Archbishop because of the damage he was causing.

Garry O'Sullivan is Editor of The Irish Catholic

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