People betrayed by 'medieval' church


PRIEST SPEAKS OUT:THE CATHOLIC CHURCH is stuck in a “feudal and medieval”model and has betrayed the people, a Dublin priest has said.

Fr Fergal MacDonagh also called yesterday for the Bishop of Limerick Dr Donal Murray to resign to alleviate the hurt felt by victims of clerical sex abuse.

“You see the model of church that we have – it is feudal, it is medieval. That is finished. It serves no purpose,” said Fr MacDonagh, who is a curate in Ringsend parish, where Fr Thomas Naughton was sent by the church authorities despite multiple complaints he had abused children.

The Murphy report criticised Bishop Murray for his “very poor handling” of complaints against Fr Naughton, who in 1998 was convicted of abusing three boys.

In an emotional interview on RTÉ News at One yesterday, Fr MacDonagh strongly criticised the church hierarchy for its cover-up of clerical child sex abuse.

“It didn’t, doesn’t realise what the church is. The church is the people of God in the pews who were betrayed – good faithful Catholics whose faith was endangered by a system,” he said.

“My parish is one of the parishes that were hurt, hurt because of the actions of a priest in the parish who abused children in our parish. We were also hurt because the priests at the time in Ringsend were deceived.

“They were told lies. The people doing that to them didn’t even understand what the church was because whatever they were trying to protect, they weren’t protecting the people of God.”

He said the auxiliary bishop structure within the diocese was incapable of doing justice or doing the right thing.

Asked whether Bishop Murray should resign, Fr MacDonagh said he should stand down “in fairness to victims, who are hurting and who have asked him to go”.

He said the predominant feelings in Ringsend were “huge sadness, hurt, confusion and despair”. “They are good people in Ringsend; they deserved far, far, far better,” he said.