D. Vincent Twomey

Beyond the Horizon

Irish Times

Date: 2.12.09



My instinct is to defend the church from unfounded attacks. But the revelations of the Murphy Report are something else. The actions, or rather, for the most part, the inactions of the bishops named there are simply indefensible. At the very least, it would seem, all were guilty of negligence, some, such as Bishop Donal Murray of Limerick whose behaviour was described as "inexcusable", more than others. But all were deemed guilty of inaction, of failing to listen to their conscience, as Mary Rafferty put it on radio and television. They were deemed guilty of putting the interests of the institution above the safety and welfare of children. Their failure to act when necessary, whatever the motivation, caused profound emotional damage to the victims of clerical sexual abuse and their families, and facilitated even more abuse. Their failure to act decisively has also, as Fr Tom Doyle, the American canon lawyer said on Prime Time, caused untold spiritual damage to those entrusted to their pastoral care. To begin with, all bishops mentioned in the report should resign immediately from their current pastoral positions. The longer they delay in doing so, the greater the damage they will do to all faithful Catholics, and in particular to the survivors of abuse who are still paying the price for the sins of their priests and bishops

D. Vincent Twomey svd