Thursday, January 28, 2010


I wish to express my great disappointment that former auxiliary Bishop Dermot O’Mahony has chosen to challenge the findings of the Murphy Report, specifically the emphatic finding that the sexual abuse of children by priests was covered up. This finding is backed up by a wealth of evidence throughout the Murphy Report and it was further accepted by the Irish Catholics Bishops at their Winter Conference in December 2009 when they admitted that they were shamed by the extent to which child sexual abuse was covered up in the Archdiocese of Dublin and recognised that this indicated a culture that was widespread in the Church.

The references to Bishop O’Mahony in the Murphy Report are quiet shocking as seen in examples below:

1.47 The auxiliary bishops who dealt particularly badly with complaints were Bishops O’Mahony and Kavanagh.

1.49 Bishop O’Mahony’s handling of complaints and suspicions of child sexual abuse was particularly bad..... When he ceased to be chancellor, he failed to tell Archbishop Ryan about a number of complaints, for example, the complaint relating to Fr Vidal on whose behalf he gave a reference to the diocese of Sacramento in California without giving details of his past history.

1.50 In the case of Fr Payne he allowed a psychiatric report which was clearly based on inaccurate information to be relied on by Archbishop Ryan and subsequently by Archbishop Connell

1.51 He failed to tell either the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Archdiocesan authorities or the GardaĆ­ that Fr Reynolds, who was chaplain to the hospital at the time, might have a problem with child sexual abuse.

1.67 Bishop O’Mahony accepted that the policy of giving little or no information to the parish priest was probably there in order to protect the reputation of the priest and that it was a “wrong policy”.

15.21 The Commission is very concerned that Fr Vidal was allowed to return to ministry in spite of his admission of child sexual abuse. It is particularly concerned that Bishop O’Mahony did not provide the diocese of Sacramento with any information about Fr Vidal’s adverse history.

18.7 The Commission has grave concerns about the fact that Bishop O’Mahony gave a reference about Fr Tyrus when he sought a job working with young people at a time when Bishop O’Mahony was aware that Fr Tyrus had had a relationship with a 17-year-old girl when he was a teacher. Bishop O’Mahony told the Commission that there was nothing to indicate that the relationship with the 17 year old was a sexual one. The Commission considers that the description provided by the priest psychologist makes it abundantly clear that the relationship was sexual.

20.106 It appears that Bishop O’Mahony was still concerned that this matter might give rise to scandal ...Bishop O’Mahony disputes the characterisation of his motivation as being the avoidance of scandal. He told the Commission that his motivation was pastoral support for the family and the priest. However, the Commission considers that his notes and those of the local priest suggest that the avoidance of scandal was the primary consideration. Furthermore, there is no evidence of any ongoing Church support for the family once the immediate threat of scandal had passed.

24.79 The initial complaint against Fr Payne was handled very badly and, as a result of the failure to deal with it properly, many other children were abused or potentially exposed to abuse. Archbishop Ryan and Bishop O’Mahony were particularly culpable.

Bishop O’Mahony would do well to spend some time reflecting on the damage done so many children by what he did, and what he failed to do, instead of criticising Archbishop Diarmuid Martin for correctly accepting the findings of the Murphy Report in full.

END - 28/01/2010

Friday, January 15, 2010


Dear Archbishop Martin,

Thank you for your letter of 11th January 2010.

In 1983 the Catholic Church in Dublin decided that I was not suitable for entry into the priesthood. Two years earlier the same Catholic Church had allowed Ivan Payne to continue as a priest despite knowing that he had sexually abused me for 21/2 years when I was aged 12-14 years. The idea that anyone sexually abusing children was more suitable for the priesthood than I was totally devastated me at that time and a belief in God and his Church, which had survived Ivan Payne’s actions, came to an abrupt and painful end.

In November 2009 the Murphy Report was published. I was deeply saddened at the sexual abuse of children and I was furiously angry at how the Catholic Church had caused the further sexual abuse of children by covering up abuse in different ways. My anger soon turned to rage when I saw Catholic bishops, including yourself, fail to articulately take responsibility for what your Church had done. You spoke so well about the awfulness of what some priests had done and the suffering of those abused; but there was no real mention of the sexual abuse caused by Bishops who had covered up for priests.

I was also appalled, as I believe you may have been, by the behaviour of your fellow bishops as they did everything to try and hold onto office, four of them failing, but not before they had added insult to injury by a collective failure to immediately offer their resignations in acknowledgment of what they had done, or failed to do, and out of respect for the experiences of children sexually abused by Catholic priests in Dublin.

A Church whose leading members behave in this way is not a Church I want in my life, not even in name only. A Church whose Bishops shielded paedophile priests is not a Church I want in my life. A Church whose priests congregate to express support for those Bishops continuing in office in direct opposition to what many victims asked for is not a Church I want in my life. A Church which finds Bishop Drennan acceptable in its Episcopal ranks, despite having been part of a Church in Dublin between 1997 and 2004 which covered up the sexual abuse of children is not a Church I want in my life. A Church which baptises babies but is arrogant enough to tell young people, or their parents, that defection is not possible until they are aged 18 is not a Church I want in my life. A Church which does not value gay and lesbian people as it does heterosexual people is not a Church I want in my life. A Church which parades itself as a State when it wants to avoid accounting to the citizens of a country whose children it has abused is not a Church I want in my life.

No priest will ever preach to me standards his own Church doesn’t even try to live up to. No priest will ever comfort me when I am sick. No priest will hear my ‘sins’. No priest will instruct me in penance. No priest will bless my relationship with my beautiful partner, Alan. No priest will pray over my coffin when I am dead. And no priest will bury me in ‘consecrated ground’.

Archbishop Martin, I believe you are a good man. I believe there are good priests, I know some of them. But that is not the same as saying I believe that the Catholic Church will ever change its ways or learn from what it has done.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Madden