Clean-out needed 'to show younger people that change . . . is possible'
LOCAL REACTION:THE ACCEPTANCE by Pope Benedict XVI of Bishop Jim Moriarty of Kildare and Leighlin’s resignation was largely welcomed within the diocese, albeit with some sadness and respect for Dr Moriarty who had served as bishop there for eight years.
“We’re sad to see him go,” said Fr Declan Foley, parish priest at Bagenalstown. “His record was absolutely superb in the Kildare and Leighlin diocese. We understand and respect the decision he made to step down, and maybe it will be seen as a show of leadership to the hierarchy, as being a proactive move on his part. I feel his credibility has been enhanced very much by showing leadership in the whole area.”
Fr Adrian Carbery, parish priest in Kildare town, said Dr Moriarty’s resignation is “the strongest statement he could possibly make in relation to the issues concerned and regarding the importance of protecting people rather than the kind of reaction that was endemic in the church previously”.
He added: “In retrospect, he’s taking a very honourable stand and is doing the most difficult thing in his life as a priest in offering his resignation.
“He was a very pastoral man and a man of the people within the diocese, and we’ll miss him greatly.”
Outside Carlow Cathedral most people believed Dr Moriarty made the right decision in stepping down following the publication of the Murphy report.
“If he did know about the abuse of children and didn’t inform gardaí then he was right to go,” said Jane Canavan of Tullow, Co Carlow.
“However, saying that, people can’t be blamed for crimes they did not commit, and not all priests or bishops are the same.
“There’s a real double-standard in society where a lot of people are quick to condemn the church and then opt for consumerism and flashy, selfish lifestyles,” said Ms Canavan.
“Yes, I believe he was right to go. A clean-out is needed to show younger people that change and healing is possible,” said Betty Murphy of Carlow town.
“It’s very sad as there are a lot of older people of faith whose trust in the church has been broken for ever,” said Ms Murphy.
Paul Flynn, from Ballina, Co Mayo, who is studying humanities at St Patrick’s College in Carlow town, said: “Personally, I feel the church in this country are screwed, but I think it’s the pope who needs to resign . . . He’s really out of step with the rest of the world and is taking the church back to the dark ages. As for Bishop Moriarty, I met him once and he seemed like a nice man.”
“Unfortunately the damage has been done and will always be there,” said Annie from Carlow town who didn’t want to give her second name. “I’m a practising Catholic and I can’t understand why that abuse happened or why it was allowed to happen.
“ I know Bishop Moriarty didn’t do anything really bad, but then he could have done more as a person at the time to stop the abuse, so I feel he made the right decision to resign,” said Annie.
Declan Ryan, a student in St Patrick’s College, Carlow, said: .“There are not enough leaders in the church and I think a move like this will help move things along in a compassionate way for the victims of clerical abuse.”