Disgraced Bishop of Cloyne John Magee will come forward to speak about the damning report into child abuse in his diocese – believes the man who succeeded him.
Archbishop Dermot Clifford has told an ordination ceremony in Limerick that he is hopeful that Dr Magee, currently in America, will come forward and publicly address the issues raised in the report.
Bishop Clifford admitted after the ceremony at St John’s Cathedral that ‘a small number of people have done immense damage to the Catholic Church’.
He also outlined his belief that Bishop Magee, believed to be staying with relatives in the United States, will come home to face the storm brought about by the allegations that his diocese failed to pass on claims of clerical sex abuse to the civil authorities.
“He will probably, I hope, come forward,” said Archbishop Clifford. “This is a very excitable time. Maybe there is a time when things are quieter for him to come and meet a media group representative, which would not only tell people here, but people who know him across the world. We hope that will happen.”
The current Bishop of Cloyne admitted the report is just the latest in a series which have done untold damage to the Catholic Church in Ireland.
He added: “There was Ferns, then there was Dublin and now there is Cloyne.
“It has done huge damage. A very small number of people have done immense damage.
“In Cloyne, it wasn’t handled, guidelines, which we all agreed including Bishop Magee. They ignored them because Monsignor O’Callaghan didn’t believe in them, he had a better way he thought himself.
“He omitted to do the reporting which would prevent the priests from getting access to other children.
hat was the big omission in allowing people to stay on, they had opportunities to abuse other children.”
Having addressed all parishioners in his diocese in an open letter on Sunday, the Archbishop again re-iterated his intention to ensure no such scandal ever occurs again.
“An awful lot will have to be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again but this is being tackled,” he insisted.
“It is not words we need now, it is actions and proof that genuine things are being done. The media never put in the things that are being done because a huge effort has gone into the diocese of Cloyne. Eight hundred lay people are working loyally in the parishes.
“It is also important at the present time that priests would be with the people because people love their local priests and scandals won’t put them off their love for their local priest even though what happened is a scandal and very regrettable.”