Abuse groups query record of Roman Catholic clerics sent to Ireland
You might think - would you not - that the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander would be the last member of the Cabinet the Prime Minister would appoint to carry out an investigation into the dubious but 'within-the-rules' practice of 'flipping' houses to avoid Capital Gains Tax.
Cranmer has purposely chosen Mr Alexander because he has neither been found guilty of any wrongdoing nor has felt a twinge of conscience, like so many others, to repay any amount to HMRC or even to donate it to charity.
So it comes as something of a shock to child abuse groups that some of the senior Roman Catholics who constitute the Apostolic Visitation to Ireland, charged with investigating the Church's chronic failure in child protection, are themselves not as squeaky clean and beyond reproach as an impartial investigator really ought to be.
It is rather like asking members of Haringey social services to investigate the failures which led to the death of Baby Peter Connelly, or the Israeli Government to investigate the events which led to the death of 9 'peace protestors' at sea.
The findings of such reports would be undermined from the outset and lack any credibility.
The Irish Times tells us that abuse groups have no confidence at all in two cardinals and one archbishop:
They believe the child protection records of the former primate of England and Wales and Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor; of the Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Séan O’Malley; and of the Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, disbar them.Cranmer awaits for these child protection workers to be accused of being anti-Catholic extremist Protestants, out to denigrate and undermine the Roman Catholic Church at every turn.
Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor has been appointed apostolic visitor to the Armagh archdiocese, Cardinal O’Malley to the Dublin archdiocese and Archbishop Dolan to the seminaries at Maynooth and the Irish College in Rome. The MACSAS (Minister & Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors) group in the UK have said they were “deeply amazed and concerned” at Cardinal Murphy O’Connor’s appointment.
MACSAS founder Dr Margaret Kennedy referred to the cardinal’s decision in 1985, when he was bishop of Arundel and Brighton, to move the priest Fr Michael Hill to a chaplaincy at Gatwick airport. Eighteen months previously the cardinal had removed Hill from ministry because of child abuse allegations but then allowed him back to work at the airport where Hill abused a child. Hill was jailed in 2002.
Dr Kennedy said yesterday that the cardinal’s handling of the case “has never been examined by independent inquiry”. Hill had “abused a very vulnerable, lost, learning-disabled boy. Hill also abused other disabled children.”
Many in the UK survivor movement “would wonder why a bishop with a record of mishandling his own cases could independently look at another bishop’s handling of cases”, she said. It was a “truly farcical and deeply insulting situation” which showed that “the Vatican does not yet fully grasp the notions of ‘justice, truth or accountability’,” she said. “The Armagh people should not accept Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. However, I guess Cardinal Brady is rather happy about it.”
In a statement the US group bishopsaccountability.org has said it was “dismayed by the Vatican’s selection of Boston’s Cardinal Seán O’Malley to advise and monitor the Dublin archdiocese’s handling of child sexual abuse allegations against clergy.”
The cardinal’s “career ascent has been fuelled by his ability to walk into dioceses racked by horrible revelations of child molestation and enshroud them again in silence”, they said. Since 2003 “he has released almost no information about new allegations against Boston priests”, they said.
They also claimed he had reinstated “at least three accused priests [Rev Jerome Gillespie, Rev Eugene Sullivan and Rev Charles Murphy] about whom troubling questions persist” and that in his diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts, the district attorney in 2002 was so disturbed at Cardinal O’Malley’s failure to inform the public of sexual offenders that he himself went public with a list of names of accused priests.
It concluded that “for an apostolic visitation to have any chance of success, the participating bishops cannot be guilty of the same offences they are investigating”.
Barbara Dorris, of the United States’ SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), said that both Cardinal O’Malley and Archbishop Dolan had “troubling track records on abuse”. She said “just a few years ago Boston’s [Cardinal] O’Malley was found in violation of the US bishops’ sex abuse policy for refusing to make sure that all parishes were offering abuse training. And [Archbishop] Dolan let a priest sue his accuser in St Louis and fought against reforming Wisconsin child sex abuse laws.”