Read the statement that Bishop Jim Moriarty has issued in response to the Dublin report including his own personal comments in Carlow Cathedral.

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Bishop Moriarty’s Homily in Carlow Cathedral

Last week Bishop Jim Moriarty issued a statement which he asked to have read at all Masses in the diocese on 28/29th November 2009 (see full text below)

In this statement Bishop Moriarty apologised to all who have been hurt and acknowledged that

“outrage has rightly been expressed in all quarters, not only that this abuse took place but also very particularly because Church authorities failed over many decades to respond properly to such criminal acts. Past practice in the matter was all too clearly seriously flawed.”

Bishop Moriarty also gave a detailed account of the current child protection policy and practices of the Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin and relevant associated information.

In addition to the standard text Bishop Moriarty made the following personal comments during his homily in Carlow Cathedral at 11am Mass on 29 November 2009

“As you are aware, I served as an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Dublin from 1991 until my appointment here in 2002. While the Murphy Report does not criticise me directly, I feel it is important to state that I fully accept the overall conclusion of the Commission – that the attempts by Church authorities to protect the Church and to avoid scandal had the most dreadful consequences for children and were deeply wrong.”

Clarification Murphy Report

In regard to reporting on references to Bishop Moriarty in the Murphy report, it is important to note the following

  1. Bishop Jim Moriarty is not mentioned in the overview of the report of the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation (Chapter One).
  2. Bishop Moriarty is mentioned in chapter 13 of the report. He is not mentioned in the Commission’s assessment of that chapter (13.69 and following).

Click on link to download – Murphy Report – chapter 13

The full report is available on www.justice.ie

Bishop Moriarty’s Statement

This is a dark and dispiriting chapter which has scandalised and shamed our Church and I wish to apologise to all who have been hurt.

Statement from Bishop Jim Moriarty in response to the report of the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation to be read at all Masses in the diocese 28/29th November 2009

Click on link to download Statement by Bishop Moriarty

My dear friends,

The report of the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation has once more confronted us with the terrible truth of child sexual abuse by priests and religious. This is a dark and dispiriting chapter which has scandalised and shamed our Church and I wish to apologise to all who have been hurt.

First and foremost, we think of those who have suffered abuse. We can never forget that the suffering inflicted in childhood remains an often crushing burden in adult life. We must continue to pray for them and for all those in our community who carry such pain, whatever the source. May they find healing and new hope in their lives.

Outrage has rightly been expressed in all quarters, not only that this abuse took place but also very particularly because Church authorities failed over many decades to respond properly to such criminal acts. Past practice in the matter was all too clearly seriously flawed. It is of the highest importance that everyone should now feel assured that, as Pope Benedict has urged, we are taking all necessary steps to ensure that nothing of this kind ever happens again.

I want to make clear what action has been taken to this end in our own diocese. In September, we published a revised policy and procedures document that reflects best practice as identified by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church. Key elements include having independent professional advice and a close working relationship with the HSE and An Garda Siochana.

The fundamental principle of our practice, as already implemented in recent years, is that all child protection concerns must be reported to the civil authorities without delay. Any priest or church worker who is the subject of a child protection concern is asked to step aside from their ministry and duties until the civil and church investigations are complete.

We have fully complied with the recent national HSE audit of diocesan records in regard to clerical abuse. As reported in that audit, there are presently two of our diocesan priests out of ministry due to child protection concerns. Once more, I want to encourage anyone who has been abused to come forward and to assure them that they will be sympathetically received.

In regard to prevention and on-going reporting, we have been working to recruit and train at least one designated person in each parish who will be responsible for promoting best practice and for dealing with child protection concerns. I would like again to commend those who have undertaken this role. Our diocese requires all diocesan and parish staff, including all priests and seminarians, to apply for Garda vetting.

All expenditure in regard to safeguarding children  including settlements, counselling and training  are recorded each year in the diocesan financial statement, which is displayed in every church.

This coming week, on Thursday 3rd December, a special diocesan service  a Liturgy of Hope will be celebrated in all our churches at 8pm. Everyone will be most welcome. In this time of economic, social and personal uncertainty, this prayer service is an opportunity to show solidarity with one another and to reaffirm that together we are brothers and sisters in the Lord, each precious in his sight.

In Advent we seek the light that the coming of Christ brings, knowing that his gentle love can give hope even to the darkest corners of our lives. As scripture says, Christ is the light that darkness could not overpower. In all that we are facing, in all our brokenness, it is this truth that leads us forward.

May the grace of this Advent season be with you all.

Jim Moriarty
Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin

Supporting Notes

Notes to accompany Bishop Moriarty’s statement in response to the Dublin Report

Click on link to download Notes

Kildare & Leighlin Diocese

  • The Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin has: 56 parishes; 110 priests/parish pastoral workers; a Catholic population of approximately 225,000; 117 Catholic Churches; and the Patrons of the Diocese are St Brigid, St Conleth and St Lazerian.
  • The Diocese includes County Carlow and parts of Counties Kildare, Laois, Offaly, Kilkenny, Wicklow and Wexford.
  • Bishop Jim Moriarty became bishop of the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin in 2002. He was ordained a priest in 1961 and an Auxiliary to the Archbishop of Dublin in September 1991.

Safeguarding Standards in Kildare & Leighlin

Much work has been done in the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin over recent years to ensure that it is compliant in every way possible with the best safeguarding children standards.

  • In September 2009, the diocese published a revised policy and procedures document in regard to safeguarding children. This document closely follows and adopts the structure, resources and language within the Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland published by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC). This document is available on our diocesan website  Safeguarding
  • The fundamental principle of our practice, as already implemented in recent years, is that all child protection concerns must be reported to the civil authorities without delay. Any priest or church worker who is the subject of a child protection concern is asked to step aside from their ministry and duties until the civil and church investigations are complete.
  • Over the last year the diocese has been working to recruit and train at least one designated person in each parish who will be responsible for promoting best practice and for dealing with child protection concerns. The training is the Keeping Safe  Children First programme which is run in collaboration with the HSE. As well as the lay people trained to serve as parish designated persons, all the priests of the diocese will also have completed the training course by the end of the year.
  • Our diocese requires all diocesan and parish staff, including all priests and seminarians, to apply for Garda vetting.

HSE Audit

  • The diocese has fully complied with the recent national HSE audit of diocesan records in regard to clerical child abuse.
  • As reported in the recent HSE audit – there are presently two Kildare and Leighlin priests who are out of ministry due to child protection concerns. One of the two was convicted in the criminal courts and received a suspended sentence. This is the only priest from this diocese who has been convicted of offences against minors.
  • In the same HSE audit, the diocese reported that our records show that there were three Kildare & Leighlin priests  now deceased  about whom there were child protection allegations/concerns.

Financial Information

  • All expenditure in regard to safeguarding children including settlements, counselling and training are recorded each year in the diocesan financial statement.
  • In 2003 and 2004, the diocese paid a total of 341,625 towards the Stewardship Trust which was a special fund set up by the Irish Bishops to provide financial assistance to dioceses and to cover running costs re child protection at national level.
  • In 2006, 2007 and 2008 the diocese reported on its annual financial statement that it had spent a total of 115,617 – from its capital reserves under the heading of child protection costs. This includes expenditure on counselling, training, legal fees and insurance.

Settlements

  • The diocese has contributed to the settlement of two civil cases involving priests of this diocese
  • In 2004 the diocese contributed to a financial settlement in a civil case involving a deceased priest of this diocese. At the time of his death in 2002, this priest was facing very serious criminal charges but died before the scheduled trial took place. The diocese contributed a total of 133,835. As was the practice at the time, the diocese received 90% of this payment from the Stewardship Trust.
  • As our accounts for 2009 will show, the diocese contributed a total of 175,000 to the settlement of a civil case against the priest of this diocese who was convicted in the courts in 2009 (see above). A further 24,300 was also paid in legal fees in 2009 along with 27,359 in 2008. A combined total of 226,659.

Helplines

Please click on link to access ‘Need to Talk?’ listing of helplines