Spiritans religious order to be audited on sex abuse

 

THE IRISH province of the Spiritans (Holy Ghost Fathers) congregation will be the first Catholic male religious order internationally to undergo an audit to establish “the reality of the sexual abuse of children and minors by clergy, religious or church workers”.

The audit, at the Spiritans’ own request, was announced on its website ( spiritans.ie) yesterday and will be conducted by the Catholic Church’s National Board for Safeguarding of Children. It will take place in May.

The Spiritans manage some of the best-known schools in Dublin, at Willow Park, Blackrock College, St Michael’s College, St Mary’s College, Templeogue College and Rockwell College in Co Tipperary.

The congregation said it believed “only a public audit of the reality of abuse committed by Spiritans can free the congregation to carry out its mission of service among God’s people. That mission includes the congregation’s outreach to those who were abused.”

It said that “until a complete picture is known of past and present abuse, within the church, there can be no possibility of authentic accountability or renewal.”

In March 2009 a Spiritan priest, Fr Henry Maloney, was convicted of abusing Mark Vincent Healy and another man when both were pupils at St Mary’s College, Rathmines, between 1969 and 1973.

Fr Maloney had previously been convicted of child abuse in 2000. He taught at St Mary’s between 1968 and 1973, after which he was transferred to Sierra Leone.

A second Spiritan priest accused by Mr Healy, Fr Arthur Carragher, died in Canada in January 2011. He taught at St Mary’s in 1969. In 2001 two brothers made abuse allegations against Fr Carragher but there is no extradition treaty between Ireland and Canada, where he then lived, and he successfully resisted being tried in Ireland. The priest later admitted abusing the brothers.