Three former Archbishops of Dublin have been criticised in trenchant terms in a previously unpublished section of a report on the handling of child abuse cases in Dublin.
Chapter 20, which dealt with former priest Patrick McCabe (77), was released for publication by the High Court yesterday and placed in its entirety on the Department of Justice website this afternoon. McCabe walked free from court last March after an 18-month jail term was backdated by the judge.
At 62 pages Chapter 20 is the longest chapter in the Murphy report, which was published in November 2009.
The Chapter’s findings are among the most critical of church and Garda authorities made by the Murphy Commission, which investigated the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations by church and state authorities in Dublin’s Catholic archdiocese between 1975 and 2004.
McCabe was protected; that’s what chapter 20 is about.
The Murphy report found that: “Archbishop (Dermot) Ryan not only about knew about the complaints against Fr McCabe, he had a considerable understanding of the effects of abuse on children. This is one of the few cases in which he took a close personal interest.”
Murphy found that Archbishop Ryan “protected Fr McCabe to an extraordinary extent; he ensured, as far as he could, that very few people knew about his activities; it seems that the welfare of children simply did not play any part in his decisions.”
They let him go off to a new job in Stockton, California without telling anyone there about his history. They protected him and themselves and the church and no one else.
In a statement this evening the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said: “For those abused by Patrick McCabe, the wait for truth has been a long one. They rightly also feel that their fight for justice has been a long one and as I know from my meetings with some of the survivors, justice delayed compounded their suffering. I hope that today, with the publication of the full Chapter 20 of the Murphy Report some of their suffering will ease.”
He said more, but none of it reported was anything like “we behaved abominably.” What was reported was the usual river of elegant words with no sign of actual horror and shame at what his colleagues and his church did.