The son of Bishop Eamon Casey has told of his anger at the way the Catholic Church treated his father following revelations that he had had an affair and fathered a son with American divorcee Annie Murphy.
In an interview in the Irish Times Boston-based Peter Murphy said his father received far more punishment than he deserved from Catholic Church leaders, after he was forced into exile and forbidden from saying in Mass in public ever again.
He said the subsequent paedophile scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church over the past 20 years put into perspective his father’s so-called ‘crime’.
And he also revealed that Casey, 86, who returned home to Ireland in 2006 and is now in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimer’s felt lasting pain at being banned from performing Mass publicly because he never lost his devotion to the Church.
He said: “It was ridiculous. I mean, six years’ penance in a foreign country and then the five years he spent in England made it even more egregious and more painful because of how close he was to his goal and all he wanted to was go home and say Mass. Was that so terrible?
“The last two or three times that we met, that was it. That’s all he wanted to be able to do. He felt if he could do that, he could really be at peace with everything that happened.
“That was one thing that gnawed at him that he wasn’t able to take part in or do…His faith was paramount to who he was. No matter what he believed, that was a massive part of him. And the Church? He loved the Church. No matter what it did to him, he still loved it.
“So, no, especially with what has come across our eyes in the last 20, 17 years…all the paedophile scandals. To tell you the truth, I felt this way from the get-go. What did the guy do? He had an affair.”
The 38-year-old, who works as a salesman for an electronics company in Boston, has spoken about how his father made him feel like a “dirty little secret” when he discovered he made repeated attempts to have him adopted.
But it is now also clear that the pair eventually built up a close bond – even though they were more like good pals than father and son.
Murphy explained: “Did I form a relationship? Did I get to love the man? Sure. But in the end we were never father and son. We were two people who got to know each other. Him, very much in the twilight of his life. Me, as a young adult. We became very good friends. That’s all I ever wanted from him.”
Murphy’s complex relationship with his father will be explored in full later this week in an Irish TV documentary, ‘Print and Be Damned’.
But if his quotes in The Irish Times are anything to go by, it’s clear he has no lasting resentment to Casey and has moved on with his life.
He added: “I’ve no time for that sh*t, to be blunt. There’s enough stresses in my life. I’ve to pay bills. I’m getting fat. I’ve got to lose weight. You know what I mean?
“I’m nearly 40, around the corner. I’m far from perfect. I’ve got my own idiosyncrasies and asinine things, but [I’m not being] angry about things [that happened] over a long period, about stuff I can’t control.”