Time for real change in the church

IT’S crystal clear once again with the revelation in the Murphy report into the Diocese of Cloyne that the institutional church’s secrecy and methods of operation are dysfunctional.

This method of operation continued with apparent inability to act with human and Christian propriety despite all their promises and good intentions.

The problem goes deeper than just the guidelines for protecting children; it goes to the structure within the institutional church where we see bishops and priests sworn to secrecy concealing the truth from their fellow bishops, priests and even civil authorities.

This was highlighted last year when Cardinal Sean Brady and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (a man of integrity who seems to be standing alone during these dark times for our church) went to Rome on behalf of the Catholic people of Ireland concerning revelation on clerical child sexual abuse case that Cardinal Brady had investigated some 30 years earlier and was now coming to light through the courts.

In 2008 and early 2009 when it became obvious that Bishop John McGee had lost his way and needed to step aside from his position as Bishop of Cloyne — Cardinal Sean Brady, Archbishop Diarmuid Clifford and the Archbishop of Tuam said he should stay on as bishop. Bishop McGee was exposed in the Murphy report with at least reneging and evading his responsibilities on implementing child protection procedures and falsifying a report on this to his own diocese.

Bishop McGee can still do us all some service if he returns and gives a truthful account to the victims, their families, his diocese, his fellow bishops, clergy, the people of Ireland and the civil authorities.

For too long bishops have let us all down by upholding these dysfunctional procedures. It’s time now to say stop to all this dysfunctional behaviour and let Rome know we have had enough of excuses without taking responsibility. Apologies sound insincere and hollow now — it’s change we need that’s rooted in our Christianity.

It’s up to our cardinal, the bishops and clergy to inform the people of Ireland that they are taking corrective action to reform our institutional church to reflect the message of Jesus Christ.

I remain in hope for real change within the church so it lives within the true compassion of Christ’s love

Willie Keane

Clonslee Estate

Nenagh

Co Tipperary

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