Monsignor Denis O’Callaghan, who acted as former Bishop of Cloyne John Magee’s deputy, has admitted that he should have resigned from his position as child protection delegate as he disagreed with the child protection guidelines.
He said “In hindsight, I accept that I should have resigned on the point of principle from my role as delegate once I came to realize the implications of the 1996 guidelines for the overriding duty of pastoral care.''
O’Callaghan, alongside Magee, was criticized in the Cloyne Report for failing to respond to abuse allegations within the Church. At the time he held the responsibility of safeguarding the children in the diocese.
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In a letter published in the Irish Catholic newspaper he said his focus had always been pastoral care of “everyone suffering the consequences of sex abuse, primarily the victim but also the transgressor".
O’Callaghan claimed that Judge Yvonne Murphy was “aware of the Cloyne commitment to pastoral care but the commission focused on its remit of reporting on whether or not procedures were fulfilled".
He continued "''For most of those priests accused in Cloyne, the complaints alleged incidents dating back over 30 or 40 years. Of those priests, some would now be terminally ill while others would be under constant medical care. The literal guidelines did not allow for any discretion to bishops and to their delegates. Reporting was to be made immediately. No exception was to be made even when an accused priest was on his death-bed.''
Upon the release of the Cloyne Report in July O’Callaghan said he was sorry he had not reported the abuse but said he sometimes became “emotionally and pastorally drawn to the plight of the accused priest".
On Monday former Bishop John Magee gave his interview since the publication of the report. He apologized abjectly and admitted his responsibility to the children. The Association of Catholic Priests said his apology was inadequate.