‘I think he is as much a victim as anyone in this’

MORE than 200 people, including about 50 priests, were present in St John’s Cathedral yesterday when Bishop Donal Murray announced his resignation.

Breeda Ryan was typical of many who were supportive of the bishop.

“I did not want him to resign. He was a good man there for Limerick, a good bishop for Limerick.”

Another man who asked not to be named said the bishop may have made mistakes, but God would be the ultimate judge.

“They put Jesus Christ before a crowd and they all shouted ‘crucify him, crucify him’. God knows more than we do.”

Redemptorists priest Fr Adrian Egan said in his view every bishop in the country should now resign so there can be a new beginning with greater participation by the laity in appointing new bishops.

“I think in some respects in what he has done he has taken a lead in what many of the bishops, if not all of them, need to do, as a collective act of sorrow, remorse and accountability and responsibility and as a challenge to the whole institution of the Church.

“All the bishops... should allow the people themselves to come up with new ways of how we appoint or elect our leaders and decide what people we want to elect into the future.”

Fr Egan went on to say that what had happened was not down to one person, but was a product of a whole system and a structure that has been outdated for a long time.

“That needs to be challenged. I know it’s unlikely to happen. Again I say, as a sign of collective accountability, responsibility, sorrow and remorse, the bishops should take a lead and challenge the Church to rethink how it wants its leadership to develop into the future.”

The clergy and laity, he suggested, should all sit around to come up with ideas into how the Church is led into the future.

“That leadership should then come from among the people themselves,” said Fr Egan.

Pat Lynch from Kilcornan, Co Limerick, said he had conveyed his view to Bishop Murray that he should not resign. Mr Lynch said: “I have come here today to show solidarity with Bishop Murray, as I liked the man and I think he is as much a victim as anyone in this horrible situation. I suppose it was inevitable, being the man that he is, that he would resign in spite of the best efforts of good people to keep him here. And all those efforts were well meant. In my heart I knew he had to go, but at the same time I did not want to see him hounded out and I thought there was a bit of hounding done. The media didn’t help either.”

Mr Lynch said he had sent a message to Bishop Murray that they were with him and would stay with him in spirit and would go with whatever decision he came to.


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