Mental Reservation in Bishop Murray’s Resignation Statement

Deconstructing the spin

I thought maybe we might have a closer look at the resignation statement of bishop Donal Murray to see what he really said.   Maybe we could try and tease out some of those unspoken mental reservations these fellows are so fond of.

Here’s what his statement said, with additional  interruptions by me.


I have heard the views of many survivors, especially in the days following the publication of the Murphy Report.

Sorry, Donal, just let me stop you there.  You heard the views of survivors.  What does that mean?  Are you saying you actually spoke to survivors  face to face, or are you saying you heard their views from somebody else?  When you say “many survivors”, how many exactly?   One, ten or a hundred? What sort of survivors?  Were these people personally abused?

Some expressed the wish that I should resign; others asked me not to do so.

Donal, I have to stop you again there.  Who exactly asked you not to resign?

I know full well that my resignation cannot undo the pain that survivors of abuse have suffered in the past and continue to suffer each day.

What pain are you talking about Dónal?  The Murphy report wasn’t about abuse.  It was about how you and the other bishops handled complaints.

I humbly apologise once again to all who were abused as little children.

Donal. The inquiry wasn’t about abuse.  You have no business apologising for that.

To all survivors of abuse I repeat that my primary concern is to assist in every way that I can, on their journey towards finding closure and serenity.

Donal, when are you going to talk about your own negligence?

A bishop is meant to be a person who seeks to lead and inspire all the people of the diocese in living as a community united in the truth and love of Christ.  I asked the Holy Father to allow me to resign and to appoint a new bishop to the Diocese —

Donal, he sacked you.  You hid in Rome while Naughton was being sentenced.

—  because I believe that my presence will create difficulties for —

Donal, you’re resigning because because the Murphy report described your lack of action as “inexcusable”.

— some of the survivors who must have first place in our thoughts and prayers.

Only some of the survivors, Donal?  Are you saying that other survivors are delighted to have a man in place who betrayed their trust?

Let my last words as Bishop of Limerick be those I spoke in St. Joseph’s on 29th November last: ‘We are people who believe that God’s mercy and God’s healing are without limit. We are meant to be bearers of that hope to one another and especially to people whose trust was betrayed when they were just little children —

Their trust was betrayed by you, Donal, and not just by the deviants who abused them.

— and who endured the terror, helplessness and suffering inflicted by a frightening and dominant adult.

Sorry to interrupt you again, Donal, but you keep talking about the abuse.  The Murphy report wasn’t about child abuse.  It was about your handling of complaints.

They should always have a special place in our prayers.

They had no place in your thoughts, never mind your prayers, when they tried to tell you what was happening.  Are you going to say anything about how you handled their complaints?  Are you going to say anything at all about the Murphy report?




13 thoughts on “Mental Reservation in Bishop Murray’s Resignation Statement

  1. Some extracts form the report that I copied from elsewhere;

    Fr Thomas Naughton’s abuse of children was widely known to the bishops of Dublin by the time they transferred him to yet another parish in 1986.

    Bishop Donal Murray was deeply immersed in his case and was aware of his criminal activities in the parishes of Valleymount and Donnycarney.

    Upon his arrival in Ringsend, Naughton was, according to the Dublin report, “despite his background, given responsibility for some work in schools”. Inevitably, he continued his abuse. The principal of the local girls’ primary school complained about his engaging in “horseplay” with the children and refusing to stop when asked. We also know that he sexually abused a number of boys in this parish.

    Fr X (his name is concealed by court order) had a lengthy career of child abuse, much of which was well known to the Dublin bishops. Archbishop Dermot Ryan remarked in the early 1980s that one of the ways he accessed victims was by befriending families involved in “good works” for the parish, including parents who were members of school boards.

    Despite this knowledge, Fr X was glibly transferred around the diocese. In one parish, the Dublin report informs us, he “stepped into the role of the previous curate and in that capacity was given free access to the schools of the parish. No information was given to the three other priests who were ministering in the parish. Fr X was given charge of the Confirmation class in one of the schools and it was from that source that the next official complaint arose”.

    Fr Septimus, a parish priest, abused a number of boys by savagely beating them on their bare buttocks and masturbating during it in at least one case. He used the local school, to which he had a key, for some of this abuse. One child was so badly beaten that he had to remain in bed for three weeks.

    Fr Bill Carney, another serial paedophile, had a long career in schools in Ballyfermot, Ayrfield (on Dublin’s northside), Clonskeagh and Crumlin (Clogher Road). Even after his conviction for the abuse of two young brothers in 1983, he was still saying Mass in schools all over the diocese, and was described by one parish priest as someone who could “really communicate with the children”. This apparently raised no alarm bells among the bishops of Dublin.

    Fr Sergius, another career paedophile, was in a new parish in 1999, and was in and out of the local school instructing the children making their Confirmations. Parents began to complain that he “arrived late, smelled strongly of alcohol and was truculent in his demeanour”.

    There followed a meeting between the principal, the children’s class teacher, the parish priest and members of the board of management. According to the Dublin diocesan report: “the parish priest expressed surprise that Fr Sergius had been appointed as chaplain to the school. This seems to the commission to be an extraordinary statement. As the archbishop is the patron of the school, the appointment of chaplain is delegated to the parish priest, so the parish priest must himself have asked Fr Sergius to deal with the Confirmation class.”

    The report concludes that Fr Sergius “should not have been allowed involvement with the Confirmation class”.

    THE Dublin Archdiocese successfully requested the transfer of a known paedophile priest to County Galway during the 1980s – without ever informing the local Catholic hierarchy that there were child protection concerns surrounding him. Parishioners on Inisbofin were shocked to learn at the weekend that the clergy in the Tuam Archdiocese had no knowledge of potential allegations of abuse against Fr. Noel Reynolds prior to his appointment to the island. The late Fr. Reynolds subsequently admitted abusing children on the island. During his life in the priesthood, he is said to have raped or abused more than 100 children and yet he was dispatched to the Tuam Archdiocese without any warning of a possible risk he might pose to children.

    All the above from the Murphy Report which exposes the Archdiocese of Dublin as a co-conspirator in the cover-up of the rape, buggery and sexual assault of little children by clergy.

  2. Unbelievably one sided discussion on Marian Finucane show right now. All panel seems to be defending Catholic church including Marian herfelf.

  3. Builderfromhell thanks for posting, its worse then I thought.
    Are there no laws in Ireland that convicted paedophiles cannot work with children?

  4. Bock – excellent deconstruction – just one small thing to add – this was what I thinking (reading between the lines) as soon as I heard these words on the radio:

    I know full well that my resignation cannot undo the pain that survivors of abuse have suffered in the past and continue to suffer each day.

    “I also know, but won’t say, that my actions and omissions in the past could certainly have prevented a great deal of the pain that survivors of abuse suffered. As an enabler for abusive priests I have therefore caused much of that pain, and my resignation isn’t going to change that very much. But I know if I keep harping on about the suffering of survivors, I might get people to forget about my causative role as an enabler.”

  5. I know I often seem to be off the point. That’s because I’m coming to this from a different perspective. But I appreciate the opportunity to propose my opinions.
    To each survivor, the details of what happened to her or him are crucially important. Every survivor must have the support they need. And yes, the abusers must face justice, and so must their enablers too. Every diocese must be investigated, and not by sample, but in full.
    But this isn’t just a series of random crimes.
    Yes, the church is rotten at the top. But that’s not the problem to solve. Put in a new top, that will be rotten too. Sorry to labour this point, but the problem is not that the church is rotten at the top. The problem is that the church is rotten at the core.
    I mean its very core.
    Catholicism is a wicked virus. It has no good side. It promotes sexual deviants into positions of authority from where they dictate sexual propriety to the sexually healthy.
    There are no sexually normal priests or nuns. Any person who can agree to opt permanently out of their own sexuality is less than fully human. They have sexual anorexia (with apologies to people who suffer from eating disorders.) A person who can promise lifelong abstention from sexual union with another human is a sexual deviant, whether or not he or she perseveres.
    To me, anyone who embraces their own sexuality and is prepared to share it with a willing adult partner is sexually healthy.
    There is no priest, nun or bishop who can claim to know how sexually healthy people should behave. Much less can they know how sexually healthy men, women and children should be treated. The clergy are, by definition, sexual cripples. Catholic morality is obsessed with sex, and is dictated by sexual and moral cripples with enormous egos and gargantuan arrogance.
    Our republic has grovelled too long to these obscene bullies. You can’t take out lousers and put in nicer bishops. This Irish catholic church is sexual toxin. And the sexual abuse is only the tip of the bullying iceberg.
    The practice of altar serving by minors has to stop.
    The nation has to own and run our national schools, and all state-funded schools and hospitals.
    The Irish catholic church has to stop being a hostile foreign state, and stop being a de facto owner of Irish government departments and institutions.

  6. Mental reservations it would seem has spread throughout the land. Mr Foley of Listowel appeared to have some that prevented him from informing the Gardai af all the details of the sexual assault he committed. Now it appears that Gerry Adams had some relating to the actions of his brother. Lets cut to the chase here, Mental Reservations = Moral cowardice

  7. Audrey, I don’t want to be preachy. I don’t want to be giving lessons about anything. You know it’s hard. Some people are a mile ahead of me, and some are a mile behind. Do you agree with the idea that some people hold a basically healthy attitude to sex, and some don’t? And would you agree broadly with the criterion of consenting adults?
    Backhander, I think Mental Reservation = dirty tricky smug lies.
    I am profoundly frustrated with the idea that someone can fix the church and make everything all right for children. Mine is indeed a voice crying out in the wilderness.
    I am beyond believing church nonsense, the bible, other holy books, online clairvoyants, spinning suns etc.
    I like to understand how all that nonsense works, and why it works on people. It’s not enough just to knock it. Someone has to take the responsibility of analysing and destroying it, and saving themselves, their children and their friends from a life of subjugation to pathetic horseshite such as Marian apparitions, virgin birth, reversible death and an edible creator.
    I think I may have some insights which may help people to free themselves. Joseph Campbell’s comparisons of human cultures across the world and through the millennia convince me that all churches, religions, faiths (three very different things), are opressive obstacles to humanity.
    I’d like to be able to say these things without hurting anybody.
    I’ve been hurt, and reduced to these anonymous protestations because, if I were to put my name to them, agents of the Irish catholic church would immediately destroy my livelihood.
    Come on, Audrey, please engage with me. Also anybody else.

  8. Bock – re “mental reservation” I came across a reference to Eusebius (a third century Christian apologist who is suspected by some to have forged the historian Josephus’s only supposed reference to Jesus) . He thought that lying, which he apparently called “pious fraud” was ok, so long as it was for a greater good. So the idea has been knocking around Christian circles for a very long time.

    Also, Leo, I couldn’t agree with you more, but I would go deeper and wider. Christianity (not just Catholicism), and some other monotheistic religions you could also name, are perversely obsessed with sex and this results in a whole series of warpings of the sexuality of individuals. But deeper than this lies the basic problem. These religions are anti-world. Listen, and they will tell you that “being in the world” but not “of the world” is the virtue. They devote their energies to diverting our loyalty, love and effort away from this world, and from the real people we are connected with, into some otherworldly enterprise, and with the expectation of an otherworldly reward or punishment (and note, because we have such good imaginations, they’ve gotten away with never having to prove either). What I realised, when I left my faith, was that loving and devoting all my energies to this world was the virtue. And that anyone working for an otherworldly agenda is not on the side of making this world a better place for us all to live. And that alienating us from our own natural appetites (I think you’re spot on linking food and sex by the way), is only one part of that larger agenda to separate us from the earthly matrix that is our only home and put our loyalty, love and effort into some other “greater cause” which is whatever they tell us it is.

  9. when will murray and his ilk be charged with aiding and abetting? they knew what was happening and did notthing to stop it. in fact by moving priest from parish to parish they encouraged it. you could even make an arguement that they organized and facilatated these crimes.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.