Father Mathew Ring, who is still a priest and works in social services in Britain, said: “It is only by keeping their money in their pockets that the congregations can make their disgust felt. Ordinary Catholics should still go to Mass and still receive their sacraments but they must make their feelings known. The hierarchy will only really listen when they are hit where it hurts them most,” he said.
Fr Ring expressed his sympathy for the “ordinary priests” in the diocese who he said had been “gagged” by Archbishop Dermot Clifford and who feel “frustrated and agitated” at the latest revelations.
It’s understood a letter from the archbishop to the people of Cloyne will be read out at Masses in the diocese tomorrow. Yesterday, Fr Ring called for Cardinal Sean Brady to resign because of his support for Bishop John Magee in early 2009.
It emerged in the Cloyne report this week that at the time Cardinal Brady was aware of a complaint of “inappropriate behaviour” against the bishop.
Fr Ring, from Ballyhea near Charleville, said he was “profoundly saddened” by the revelations in the Cloyne report but added: “I was not shocked by the report as it just mirrors what I experienced in the diocese. I believe, however, that there are an awful lot more questions to be answered around his stewardship of the diocese of Cloyne and the wider practices of John Magee and Monsignor O’Callaghan. They created a culture of fear and intimidation in that diocese.
“Mgsr O’Callaghan speaks of a pastoral approach. I saw no evidence of that. Just listening to him on radio yesterday, he called the victims ‘accusers’ — that is both degrading and insensitive,” added Fr Ring.