Theologian opposes calls for Bishop of Galway to go


CALLS FOR the resignation of the Bishop of Galway, Martin Drennan, “are unfounded”, a former professor of moral theology at St Patrick’s College Maynooth has said.

Rev Dr Vincent Twomey also said: “If I was in any way guilty of inciting such calls, I am sincerely sorry and ask forgiveness.”

In a letter to The Irish Times today Fr Twomey says: “Since I am on record as calling for the resignation of the bishops mentioned in the Murphy report (December 3rd, 2009), I should have expressly excluded Dr Martin Drennan.”

He continues: “The present Bishop of Galway was not found guilty of either negligence or cover-up by the Murphy commission. The one substantial reference to Bishop Drennan in the report (51.1-51.2) indicates that, when he was auxiliary in Dublin, he acted appropriately in the case in question.

“The report itself concludes that ‘The archbishop acted correctly in immediately addressing the concerns and suspicions in this case.’ This amounts, if I am correct, to a recommendation of Bishop Drennan’s initial response with regard to a young priest acting suspiciously with young males.”

Meanwhile, an online petition calling for the resignations of people named in the Murphy report was said to be “going well, but slow” yesterday. Dublin Catholic social activist Brendan Butler launched the petition last week.

Yesterday, Mr Butler said he was “very disappointed” Bishop Drennan hadn’t resigned and quoted Talleyrand, who said “the most difficult farewell is the farewell to power”. The petition is at brendan13/

Meanwhile, The Irish Timeshas forwarded a supplementary question to Bishop Drennan following replies to four questions he sent to this newspaper last Friday. Question 4 asked: “Was he aware of the legal stance adopted by the archdiocese against Martha and Mary after they initiated legal action in 2001? If so, did he do anything about it?” He responded “I was not aware of the legal stance taken.”

Two articles in this newspaper,published in June 2003, gave extensive details of the abuse to which Martha and Mary (pseudonyms) were subjected by Fr Noel Reynolds and of the legal stance adopted by the Dublin archdiocese. It argued that, as it was not a legal entity, no claims could be made against it. It denied it was the priest’s employer or had any supervisory role in relation to him.

It claimed Cardinal Connell was not responsible in law for any alleged wrongdoings by Fr Reynolds and said the wrongs alleged against him were criminal acts and were not a part of his duties. (These wrongs had been admitted by Fr Reynolds in 1998 to authorities in the archdiocese.)

The supplementary question put to Bishop Drennan by this newspaper yesterday was “As details of the cases of Martha and Mary were in the public domain for two years of his period as an Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin and prior to his installation in Galway (July 2005), did Bishop Drennan take (a) any action on their cases; (b) query the legal stance of the archdiocese towards them; and (c) if not, why not?”