Media 'unfair and unjust' - Bishop


Catholic Bishop of Elphin Christopher Jones has accused the media of being “unfair and unjust” to the Catholic Church through a concentration on the handling by church authorities of the clerical child sex-abuse issue.

“Could I just say with all this emphasis on cover-up, the cover-up has gone on for centuries, not just in the church… It’s going on today in families, in communities, in societies. Why are you singling out the church?” he asked.

A member of the Bishops’ Liaison Committee for Child Protection, he was speaking at a press conference in Maynooth yesterday where the Irish Episcopal Conference was concluding its three-day spring meeting.

He continued: “I object to the way the church is being isolated and the focus on the church. We know we’ve made mistakes. Of course we’ve made mistakes but why this huge isolation of the church and this huge focus on cover-up in the church when it has been going on for centuries?

“It’s only now, for the first time ever, that victims have been given a voice to publicly express their pain and their suffering. And, before that, for centuries, no one spoke.”

He said when Sigmund Freud alluded to the high levels of venereal disease among children, “he had to withdraw it. That’s the kind of cover-up that has gone on for centuries. I think you are unfair and unjust to the church.”

Bishop Jones also described the Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan, who served as an Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin for seven years during the period investigated by the Murphy Commission, as “a scholar and a holy man” and that any reference to him in the Murphy report had been positive. It emerged yesterday that Bishop Drennan has invited representatives from all parishes in his diocese to a service of reparation at Galway Cathedral on Palm Sunday, March 28th.

According to the current issue of the Irish Catholic newspaper he has asked that each parish place a sprig of palm on the altar at the service “to express the penitential mood of the day.” In a letter to his priests Bishop Drennan has said “we’ll be asking God’s forgiveness for crimes of physical, sexual and emotional abuse that have brought shame on all of us.”