Bishop John Magee statement


“I TAKE this opportunity to refer once again to the statement issued on my behalf on the day the Cloyne report was published, in which I accept full responsibility for the failure of the diocese to effectively manage allegations on child sexual abuse. I also apologised to victims of abuse in this statement and I unreservedly apologise to these victims again today. I publicly apologised to victims of abuse in the diocese, in Cobh Cathedral, on Christmas Eve 2008.

In the statement issued in July, I said: ‘Given my position of responsibility, I am particularly saddened when I read the accounts of the complainants describing the effects of the abuse, knowing that I contributed to their distress. I have met some of the complainants personally and heard their stories. The people, who were so terribly abused by priests, found the courage to come forward to talk to me, or to my delegate, Msgr O’Callaghan who was representing me, and in many cases we failed them. I am sorry that this happened and I unreservedly apologise to all those who suffered additional hurt because of the flawed implementation of the church procedures, for which I take full responsibility.’

I wish to stress this particular part of the July statement again today.

I also want to say that I feel there is nothing I can say now, which will ease the pain and distress for victims. I fully understand why they are angry – I let them down, by not fully implementing the guidelines which were available to me. I deeply, deeply regret not ensuring that the guidelines, which were my responsibility to implement, were complied with and I ask for forgiveness for the way in which I have carried out this critically important aspect of my work. I would be very willing to meet with victims and their families privately, if they so wish and if they felt this could help in any way. This can be arranged through the diocesan office.

I also wish to emphasise again, what I said in July in response to the report, that: “I accept in its entirety the commission’s view that the primary responsibility for the failure to fully implement the church procedures in the diocese lay with me.” I wish to point out that I answered all questions put to me by the commission of inquiry and my responses are on the public record, as part of the published report. I have nothing to add to the answers given at that time.

I also take this opportunity to say that I let the many good priests of the diocese down. So many priests do such good work and by not addressing the issues which confronted me I made their important work more difficult. I also want to apologise to the people of the diocese for not managing this important work more effectively.

I offered my resignation to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on the 9th March 2010 and this was accepted on the 24th of March. I am a retired bishop living at a house so kindly provided for my use by the diocese, in the parish of Mitchelstown. I now ask for some privacy.”