Bishop Murray Takes One For The Team

Bishop of Limerick resigns to protect the influence of the Catholic church in Ireland.

Bishop Dónal Murray resigned this morning without accepting any responsibility for the wrongdoings exposed by  the Murphy report.  In line with a carefully-thought-out tactic, Murray’s speech concentrated on the victims of clerical sexual abuse.

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

… I believe that my presence will create difficulties for some of the survivors who must have first place in our thoughts and prayers.

… 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 and who endured the terror, helplessness and suffering inflicted by a frightening and dominant adult. They should always have a special place in our prayers.

Very good, you might be thinking.  At last he’s facing up to reality.

I’m afraid not.

The Murphy report is not about clerical sexual abuse.  It’s about the way the bishops handled complaints of these crimes.  It’s about the fact that they ignored and dismissed victims.  It’s about putting protection of the church ahead of the victims’ welfare.  It’s about concealing crimes.  It’s about a cover-up.

Remember the mandate of the Commission as quoted in their report:

The Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation was established to report on the handling by Church and State authorities of a representative sample of allegations and suspicions of child sexual abuse against clerics operating under the aegis of the Archdiocese of Dublin over the period 1975 to 2004.

There’s one major element missing from Donal Murray’s statement: any acknowledgement that he personally bears responsibility for anything at all.

This is the statement of a man who simply doesn’t get it.  He genuinely cannot see that the public pressure is on him because of his inexcusable failures.

Yesterday, Thomas Naughton, a priest of the Dublin diocese, was jailed for abusing children, and we now know that if Murray had acted on complaints against this individual, many children would have escaped the sexual abuse he inflicted on them.

It’s for these failures and this lack of moral compass that Murray has been vilified, and in his statement, we can see a clear strategy, as devised and imposed by the Vatican’s man, Diarmuid Martin.  Keep the spotlight on the victims.  Keep apologising for the abuse.  Keep attention away from the findings of a cover-up in the Murphy report.

Diarmuid Martin is a clever man, and I commend him for it.  A very clever man.

What else would you expect from the brother of the Irish Times Moscow correspondent?  Two smart boys, Diarmuid and Séamus, and two likeable fellows, what’s more.

I find Diarmuid Martin engaging.  I like his humility.  I like his normality.  I doubt very much if Diarmuid Martin would expect the faithful to bend the knee to him or treat him as any sort of prince, much less a prince of the church.   It isn’t his style.

I would share a pint with Diarmuid Martin any time he likes, in the confident expectation of entertaining company and a good night of laughter and storytelling.

Not only that, but I imagine Diarmuid Martin is as horrified and repulsed by the activities of Catholic clergy as I am and as you are.  I imagine he wants, in his private moments, to strangle the life out of the abusers who tortured our children.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is a decent man, a human being with nieces and nephews, and perhaps even children of his own.  Who knows?  It isn’t a crime.  To that extent, I find myself on the same side as him.

He understands my  rage at these perverts and I understand his.

However, there’s another side to Diarmuid Martin   You see, before he was parachuted into the Dublin diocese, Diarmuid Martin was a trusted member of the Vatican inner circle, a diplomat and a canny operator.  It was not by accident that the Vatican decided to place him in Dublin.

Diarmuid Martin was placed in his current position because Rome knew there was a public-relations disaster in the making and Martin was the right man to limit the damage. The Catholic church in Ireland was exposed as little more than a paedophile ring.   Cardinal Desmond Connell and his predecessors had failed  miserably to comprehend that raping a child is a crime, and had colluded in protecting the rapists.  Now there was nothing for it but to put in a man with a safe pair of hands and so they sent in one of their shrewdest operators.

Diarmuid Martin is the Harvey Keitel to the church’s Pulp Fiction.  He’s there to hose down the goons and clean up the crime scene.  He’s there to ensure that the Catholic church in Ireland retains as much of its secular power as possible, and if that means straight talking and kicking a few made men out of a speeding car well and good. What has to be done will be done to protect the Family.

This is why Murray made his begrudging, self-pitying speech of resignation through gritted teeth.  Martin was standing behind him with a knife at his ribs, and you can expect another few goons to quit over coming days.

It isn’t about the victims.  It’s about holding on to power.


Murphy Report Part 1

Murphy Report Part 2


All Bock posts on the Murphy Report

22 thoughts on “Bishop Murray Takes One For The Team

  1. Bock, You right on here but you failed to notice what Bishop Murray also said in his retirement statement. He said he wants to appoint the bishop to replace himself. He should not be allowed to do that. What gall !!!!!. He should not have the privilege of appointing his own successor, that should be up to Cardinal Brady and/or even the pope himself, or even the people of Limerick diocese ,he maintains he defers to the people. I don’t think so. When did catholic church ever consult the people re appointments? Never. Sincerely M .H.Casey, Mesa AZ USA

  2. I couldn’t care less who appoints a bishop in the Catholic church. That’s their own affair. My position is simply that they have no business running schools.

  3. I’m as pissed off as anyone about how the institutions of the church ignored one of the most basic human instincts – to protect children – to cling on to its peverse notions of power. But sitting at the back of St John’s Cathedral this morning, I couldn’t help but feel that Donal Murray had been shafted. He had to resign for failing how he did, but he shouldn’t be the only one. Thankfully, this seems it won’t be the case.

  4. Of course they’re making it out to be all about the victims – anything else would mean incriminating themselves in the cover up.

    The rozzers should have rounded up the lot of them the day the report was published but instead this poxy state is giving them all the wriggle room they need to sleeze their way out of it and sadly, once again, they will get away with it.

    Whatever about having a drink with him, Diarmuid Martin would have acted just as badly if he was in charge at the same time. He would have followed the very same orders that Murray followed. Lets not forget Ratzinger the nazi is ultimately the person responsible for all these cover ups.

    Bastards the lot of them, from the very top all the way down. They’re not fit to run schools, hospitals or anything else that isn’t a scam……

  5. Agreed – But ultimately the Catholic church and most religons are all about following orders without question. The only reason none of these bastards are using the “I was following orders” schtick is because they cant incriminate their infallible leader.

    It’s probably the most annoying thing about all this – the deceit, the lies, the cover up…..

    If you do find yourself sharing a pint with the bould Dermot make sure he gets the first round in……

  6. I wrote to him suggesting a pint on his home ground in Downeys of Ballyfermot, but he hasn’t replied.

    Can’t imagine why. Maybe he didn’t get the email.

  7. If the Irish government had any balls (which they don’t)they would close the Embassy in the Vatican. There would be a review of all abuse and cover up. There would also be an audit done on the cost of all abuse to victims, all church land to be confiscated. Me, I would bring back Cromwell

  8. I couldn’t care less that Mr. Murray has “retired”.
    He should be ashamed of himself for clinging on to power for even one day!
    Good riddance and about time.

    Everyone is full of praise for Diarmuid Martin.
    Fair enough, he seems like a nice man.
    The day that the Murphy Report was launched, do you know what I noticed, and it troubled me?
    Diarmuid Martin was saying all of the right things, o it’s terrible, o the poor victims, I feel ashamed etc… but his body language showed a calmness.
    When he was asked about priests though, and if he thought they were wrong and all of that – well THEN he started to shift uncomfortably in his chair, THEN his body language showed a deep unrest.
    The words coming out of his mouth said one thing, but his body language told me something entirely different.
    What does that tell me?
    Diarmuid Martin is far more worried about his colleagues than any abused child.
    I could be as wrong as wrong could be, but my instincts are usually good.

  9. Bock , I missread murray’s retirement statement, see first comment on this topic.Please delete . I was wrong. Murray did NOT suggest that he himself should appoint replacemnt bishop for Limerick but instead called on the pope to do so . My error. . Sincerely. M.H.Casey Mesa AZ USA

  10. It doesn’t matter. It’s irrelevant who appoints bishops in the Catholic church. That should have nothing to do with a secular state.

  11. And when do crilinal precedings for obstruction of justice start? Will it be tried seperately to Complicity to committ sexual crimes against a minor? Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it was tough to give up the job, but neither Rome nor Martin are the law in this country.

  12. It’s only dawning on some of them that they’re not above the law. Some of these crimes were actively covered up by the police and specific instances of this are identified in the Murphy report.

  13. Closing our embassy in the Vatican would be a funny gesture while we still allow Vatican officers in Ireland to appoint and dismiss Irish public servants, eg Primary Teachers, and to own our so-called National Schools.
    Vincent Twomey, so-called theologian spoke on RTE Radio 1 today. He said the only authority the church should have is moral authority. Sorry Vincent, I couldn’t trust the clergy to behave morally with my dog. But it is correct that the Irish catholic church should immediately relinquish its vast civic power in our land. Get out of our schools. Get out of our hospitals.
    Get away from the children of the nation.
    Why do I not hear this cry from our craven politicians of all parties?

  14. Nothing is changing here – Bishop Murray is resigning to protect his superiors. He’s just a disposable pawn, as is Dermot Martin…..let the archbishops take the flak – Keep Rome out of it

    Murray along with all the others named in the report should face criminal charges and lengthy jail terms – That might concentrate their minds on spilling the beans. As things stand they have just received a slap on the wrist, nothing more and the real culprits are still running the show.

    Lastly, Bock your kind invitation has more then likely been RSVP’d through the magical medium of “Mental Reservation” Dont hold your breath……..

  15. Bock, have mentioned this before here. There is a precedent in law to try people on the basis of joint enterprise, in essence turning the blind eye. The DPP should proceed with a case against the Pope (as head of the Catholic Church) under this law. The difficulty for the politicians and their mandarins would be that if this trial were successful, then they would never be out of court.

  16. Dear Bock,

    My sincere congratulations on a excellent “State of the Church” account in Ireland today. In your article “Bishop Murray Takes One For The Team”, (17th December 2009), there is a clear and objective analysis of the actions, and motivations behind those actions. The Hierarchy is no longer dealing with a peasant people, yet they treat us like fools..

    You have named Dr. Donal Murray’s performance and behaviour most succinctly. The descriptive line where you say, “Martin was standing behind him with a knife at his ribs”. is a powerful word picture. It says it all.

    I have no true sense that the plight of victims and adult survivors of clerical sexual abuse is getting any closure, or healing, in all that is happening. In point of fact, I believe that the “foot dragging” is only serving to enforce the hurt. Dr. Murray only resigned when there was no other option. In doing so, it is not a resignation, it is an ungracious surrender. The fact of his removal from office does not address the culture that brought about this Holocaust among Ireland’s children.

    Dr. Donal Murray’s resignation has come too late for Peter. Sadly, Dr. Murray has demonstrated that he is constitutionally incapable of comprehending the effects of his behaviour and actions. His arrogance by delaying his exit from active ministry has caused considerable hurt to victims of clerical sexual abuse, and to the families of those victims. There are many families in Dublin and Limerick tonight whose children have suffered because of the failure of Dr. Murray to do his job properly.

    Nothing more was expected of him. All he had to do was do his job properly.

    Dr. Murray and his fellow bishops are responsible for the reckless endangerment of children. What part of that fact do Dr. Murray and his fellow bishops not understand?

    Primary School children are better able to process the difference between “Right” and “Wrong” than many members of the Hierarchy. The Murphy Report proves that.

    Why are prosecutions not underway for persons responsible for the reckless endangerment of children?

    Even in his resignation statement, despite many pious words, Dr. Donal Murray has revealed, as a parting salvo, contempt for his victims. Yes, they are his victims! While Dr. Murray and his fellow bishops did not personally indulge in paedophilia, nevertheless they knowingly facilitated, enabled and allowed paedophile Priests move to pastures green, to rape and plunder innocent children, and make victims of the pure goodness that is childhood. I listened yesterday as he spoke at St. John’s Cathedral in Limerick, and he expressed the sentiment that “some of the survivors”. Once more, the devil is in the detail. The word “some” reveals all.

    The exact quote is as follows: ‘I asked the Holy Father to allow me to resign and to appoint a new bishop to the diocese because I believe that my presence will create difficulties for some of the survivors who must have first place in our thoughts and prayers.’

    The tragic reality is that Dr. Murray’s presence has caused untold trauma for All, (not just Some) victims & survivors of childhood clerical sexual abuse, and their families.

    The insertion of the word “some” demonstrates quality of character and sincerity. I suggest you reflect on this and make up your own mind.

    With Dr. Murray’s resignation, the process has inched forward, but until there is true engagement by the Church with the most wounded and devastated of its abused victims, there can be no true healing. The process of healing would be much better if the Church would take true ownership of its responsibility, duty and accountability before Dáil Éireann, the Law of Ireland and God, and embrace the people destroyed by its actions and inaction. This it has failed to do.

    The only remaiining honourable opportunity for Dr. Donal Murray is for him to cooperate fully with an Audit into his stewardship of the Limerick Diocese. I confirm that on behalf of my family, I have written to Minister for Health and Children Ms. Mary Harney TD and asked her to extend the Audit of the Cloyne Diocese to include the Limerick Diocese.

    We are living in extraordinary times. The evil must be purged. It is imperative that Child Protection is a Top Priority in all areas of life for evermore. We must not drop our guard.

    My experience of all that is happening clearly informs me that the Church response is “Church Centered”. The ongoing failure is that the response is not “Child Centered”, and most importantly “Abuse Victim Centered”.

    The Formal Audit of the Limerick Diocese will reveal the truth of Peter’s experience.

    “Soft water, over hard rock, over time, makes hard rock soft.”


    Joseph McCloskey,
    Co. Clare.

  17. ‘Nothing more was expected of him. All he had to do was do his job properly. ‘

    That’s what I also don’t understand.

    Why isn’t the Government, as a minimum, taking these people to court.
    I’d prefer to see them dis-banding the Church, seizing all it’s assets and expelling the papal Nuncio.

    If any other organisation had been found guilty of these crimes this would have happened immediatly.

  18. Ratzinger the Nazi should also be handing in his papers. As far as I understand under the Pole he was the enforcer. That meant that all complaints when to him and he done the covering up.

  19. Yes, Joe, the church must get out of civic administration of all kinds, not only because of the evil it has has done to children in abusing them, and the further evil again in supporting the abusers while terrorising the complainants. The church must be kicked out of the governance of our state institutions, schools, hospitals etc. simply because it is an inherently evil institution which derives its power from patent nonsense such as virgin birth, reversible death and an edible creator. Please don’t credit these cretins with having any truth behind their crimes.

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