Bishop speaks of 'testing' times


The Catholic Church is enduring a difficult time having been rocked by the barbs of a secular culture on the outside and the “sins and crimes of priests” within, Bishop Philip Boyce of Raphoe has said.

Dr Boyce, who has promised to soon publish a report into clerical abuse in the diocese, urged Catholics not to lose confidence in their faith and to act with hope and patience during difficult times for the church.

“The moment of history we live through in Ireland at present is certainly a testing one for the Church and for all of us,” Dr Boyce said.

“Attacked from the outside by the arrows of a secular and godless culture, rocked from the inside by the sins and crimes of priests and consecrated people, we all feel the temptation to lose confidence.”

Dr Boyce said the troubles seemed to be the worst ever for the church but that this was “simply because they are the ones we struggle through at present”.

Dr Boyce made the comments, which were not released to journalists until last night, during the Novena at Knock in Co Mayo at the weekend.

The review of the Raphoe diocese by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic investigated all complaints or allegations of clerical child sex abuse made to the diocese from 1975 up to this year. It is expected to be published next month.

The diocese was previously accused of covering up abuse perpetrated by convicted paedophile Fr Eugene Greene, who served as a priest in Raphoe in the 1980s and early 1990s.