St. Barnabas Church in the Bronx

New York Irish Catholic faithful feel let down by Church in sex abuse response


St. Barnabas Church in the Bronx

Irene Coffey, who stopped to see why Tierney was being interviewed, was more than happy to give her own opinion.

“Do you know what’s worse?” asked Coffey, a cleaning lady in her mid-sixties originally from Co. Donegal.

“The fact that the archbishops and the fellas higher up the ladder covered it up when these children came forward. They sent priests, monsters I call them, to different parishes around Ireland, and some of them ended up here in the U.S. doing exactly what they did back home, abusing children, boys and girls,” said Coffey angrily.

Referring to a recent story in the Irish Voice about Father Brendan Smyth, one of the Catholic Church’s most notorious’ sexual offenders, Coffey said, “That woman your paper interviewed, she was very brave to come forward. He ruined the life of her family, did you read it?” she asked Tierney, who responded with a sad nod.

“See, that’s what I mean. He was sent over here because the church at home was trying to cover up his wrong doings, and he violated young ,innocent American children.”

Coffey, who attends Mass every Sunday, will continue to go because “it’s my tradition,” but she added, “It doesn’t mean I have to like what went on all those years ago.”


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