Thursday, 16 November 2017





Cards give priests advice on abuse claims




The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) has issued an information card to assist priests faced with abuse allegations.
The move comes amid claims that guidelines prepared for the handling of such cases by the church’s own child protection watchdog, the National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC), were not being followed by bishops and religious superiors.
The issue was raised at the ACP’s annual meeting in Athlone last week.It had emerged at regional meetings that very little support was being offered to accused priests and many feel the right to due process is being denied to them, Fr Tim Hazelwood of the association’s leadership team said.
It was claimed that priests’ statutory rights were being denied in instances while there was “no strategy for innocence”. It was also claimed that innocent priests were “often grudgingly returned to ministry” and it was unjust “that a priest should be asked to stand down on the basis of an anonymous accusation.”
Such was the current level of unhappiness among priests about the handling of allegations by bishops that “there is an expectation that a priest will eventually sue a diocese for ill-treatment, bad practices, etc.”
There was also a call for a strengthening of the NBSC standard for the care and management of accused priests.
Fr Hazelwood presented the meeting last week with some current cases as examples of what ACP members are concerned about.
No support
One priest was phoned by his superior who asked to see him. No reason was given nor was he advised to have someone with him. He was told there was a complaint against him. The priest asked if he should get a solicitor and was told, “it might not be a bad idea.” The priest was not offered any support.
Another priest was phoned by his superior who asked to meet him. Again, no reason was given and he was not advised to bring anybody. He met the superior and a canon lawyer. The priest was told he did not have to say anything and was advised to seek the help of both a canon lawyer and civil lawyer. He suffered huge trauma and felt someone should have been with him, Fr Hazelwood said.
Civil law
According to guidelines for bishops and religious superiors prepared by the NBSC for such cases an accused priest should be told he may be accompanied at such meetings. He should be informed of his rights in canon and civil law and the right to remain silent.
He should be given sufficient details of allegations so he may offer a response if he wishes. A written record should be sent to him for signing after the meeting and he should be given written information about church procedure in such cases.



Image result for innocent priests


Information card Steps to follow


1. When contacted by your bishop/superior always insist on knowing what it relates to.
2. Bring someone with you who is of strong character and aware of the process. (ACP can provide someone.)
3. We advise you to say nothing at the meeting.
4. Request the diocese to resource a canon lawyer and civil lawyer of your choosing.
5. Sign nothing and give no verbal undertaking at the meeting.
6. Do not be persuaded to ignore or bypass these guidelines no matter how often they say it is in your own best interest.
7. Ask the person who accompanies you to take notes of the proceedings and to sign them.


PAT SAYS:

Generally speaking, I do not have much respect for the ACP.

However, they do have an important point to make on the issue of innocent priests being accused of abuse and not having much support from the bishops and dioceses.

Priests, like all other citizens, must be regarded as INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.

These days all you need to draw suspicion on yourself is to wear a clerical collar.

Innocent priests have been proven innocent in court and still, their lives and futures have lain in tatters.

In fact, I often wonder if the name of the accused - as well as the name of the victim - should remain secret until after a verdict?

I think an accused priest should be provided with both a canon and a civil lawyer by his bishop, superior or diocese.





47 comments:

  1. Everyone who is anyone and a regular reader of this blog knows with what utter contempt I hold Roman Catholic priesthood;it repulses me for its abject betrayal of Christ's explicit command: that his disciples be as servants, not masters.

    However, EVERY accused priest has the absolute right to a presumption of innocence; it is a travesty of justice to remove this from him.

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    1. Magna, what's new in your expression of revulsion? Nothing. You have such hatred in your heart that I pray for you. I can now well understand the miserableness of your existence and why you resort to drunken invective so frequently. You inhabit dark places in your mind. But we'll pray for your healing. Remember - hatred, jealousy and anger are like wolves - they devour our humanity, which is what is happening to you!

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    2. 13:25, you've totally misunderstood and misrepresented my comment.

      My 'revulsion' is directed at a theological concept (Roman Catholic priesthood), not at priests.

      Calling (as I did) for legal and canonical protections for accused priests is not an act of hatred, but of justice.

      Such is your distortion of my comment that I can't help wondering whether you've acted maliciously, or whether your level of comprehension is so poor that you must be under 12 years of age.

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    3. I suppose every sane person in the world wants the innocent to go free. It's hardly something that needs saying nor is it any proof of your sanctity.

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    4. Magna, your problem is that you are so self assured, smarmy and self possessed - really a nasty person - that you cannot accept justifiable criticisms. Many people on this blog have seen through you and have expressed their opinions, which you find difficult to take. Grow up and be a man. Otherwise retreat to your lonely cave.

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  2. Makes sense priests or any accused person should have whatever support necessary to deal with the issue in an objective and professional way. Shows perhaps that priests should have a proper contract of employment with rights and responsibilities. The contract should be renewed at each new appointment where the parish council interview for the post and have the right to refuse if needs be.

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  3. More clerical me me meism. I would have more compassion if they needed help to get over the damage they did. The older priests joined a caste system that tore unwed mothers from their families, enslaved them, enabled the malnutrition of babies and what about the rule that if you went to a Protestant funeral you could only go as far as the gate? The priesthood used forgiveness as a mask for condoning the sectarianism that Catholics feel for Protestants and the latter of course gave as good as they got but that is not the point.

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    1. A shallow and myopic view on the past @10.37. Read a basic sociology text to familiarize yourself with some of the layers of complexity involved when attempting to analyse a historical period.

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  4. Very few priests have been falsely accused. The majority of accusations are credible.

    I think the ACP typically here are having a bit of a pity party. They have not been so energised when it comes to compassionate outreach to those whose lives have been destroyed by some of their colleagues.

    That being said, of course, priests, like teachers, doctors, etc., need protection from those evil or crazy enough to make a false accusation.

    Those who falsely accuse a priest, or anyone else, of sexual abuse, hurt all those who really have been hurt.

    False accusers should be harshly dealt with by the law of the land.

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    1. More hearsay. You claim very few priests have been accused. Citation!

      Without evidence, you accuse the ACP of being less concerned to right one wrong more than another. And you do so as an argument against their attempt to get this one right.

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  5. I entirely agree with the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. I also think it sometimes necessary, depending on the initial assessment of the nature and probable validity of the accusation, (yes I acknowledge that may be contentious, but hear me out!) that the subject of the accusations should 'step aside' until the matter is concluded. And the whole investigatory process should be as expedient as possible in the circumstances prevailing. Anonymous complaints should be dealt with caution. Any person the subject of a complaint or accusation must be provided with its fullest details in good time in advance of any questioning or 'trial' to allow proper preparation and information gathering beforehand.
    Management of all kinds, including church authorities often tend to form a belief prior to proper examination of the facts, and then "use/retain/ignore" information which does not accord with those beliefs.
    I saw such modus operandi many years ago as a non paid and voluntary trade union representative.
    MMM

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  6. Father xxxxxxx xxxxxxx has a lot to answer for. Pat is it true he repaced Ronan with a new lover called Sean?

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    1. What on earth are you on about 14:17? Pat, you should not print comments like that. They serve no purpose at all. If 14:17 knows something, give it to Pat and let him investigate.

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    2. Who is Ronan?

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    3. Sounds like grave scandal is threatening to scandalise the faithful readers of this blog... again!

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    4. To be fair Sean is better looking than Ronan. The word on the corridor is that Ronan is not happy.

      The cat will be among the pigeons soon +Pat

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    5. The two people in question have being staying in hotels on their time off. Why? So no one will walk in on them. Hint

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    6. Poor conan :-(

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  7. Nobody accused of sexual crime should be named in the media
    Clergy, Celebrities, Sports Stars should all entitled to the same anonymity as the accuser. If found guilty shout their names from the rooftops.
    Then remand him to allow other victims to come forward.
    If found innocent publicly name the accuser.
    After what was done to the BBC DJ's who were arrested in a blaze of publicity in the hope of other accusers coming forward.
    One of the worst cases of 'shaking the tree' was Cliff Richard

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  8. Big celebrations in Maynooth last night for launch of book in honour of Monsignor Gillen. All the church music crowd were there, we hear.

    http://www.fourcourtspress.ie/books/2017/a-musical-offering/

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  9. Speaking of Ronan, is it true that Ronan Drury is dying?

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  10. Fanny Mullanny pontificated at the Monsignor's book launch, but it wasn't in Maynooth? Dublin, I thought. Good old Monsignor Gillen. He served their Lordships well and Maynooth too, Ledwith, the Knights of whatever, and that big new Italian organ in the museum, oops, the college chapel.

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  11. What's all this about music in Maynooth and the monsignor?

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  12. Tell us more, pray tell, the monsignor and music in Maynooth> Which one? Ledwith or Gillen?

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  13. Whose in charge of music there now that the monsignor has retired? Seems to have taken a strange turn from what I see on there website. They are taking to attacking Trump! And having a conference on it.

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  14. What are you on about? Trump and Maynooth?

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  15. Where is this on the website?

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  16. Do ya mean the stuff about the white supremacists and Christians? Weird shite from Maynooth.

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  17. Yes, it is true that dear old Kitty Drury is in hospital and dying.

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    1. 18.52 - Thanks for your sympathy!! Ronan

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  18. Is this what you are on about with Trump and the white supremacists? Its some sort of fancy conference.

    https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/news-events/call-papers-medieval-and-renaissance-music-conference-medren-2018

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  19. Yep, that's it alright. Strange stuf

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  20. Since when did the layman Gerard Gillen become a monsignor? Is that an in-joke in Maynooth or the pro.

    Imagine what bliss it was to be alive when Maynooth had four monsignori in residence simultaneously: Ledwith, Devlin, Corish and Cremin. And a canon, O'Donnell.

    Ronan Drury had one of the best appointed apartments in the college, taking up about a tenth of one floor of Long Corridor.

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    1. Premature use of the past tense and exaggerated use if the presence.

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    2. "... of the present"

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  21. A very interesting piece +Pat and I would agree that priests like all people deserve to be assumed innocent until proven guilty. However we see constantly in the media priests being vilified when accused and there is never an apology when they are acquitted or found innocent. It is crazy hype.

    I agree with you +Pat that it would be best if the accused priest is also given name suppression until convicted. The problem is it is very easy for a person reputation to be ruined by a false accusation or rumors. Everyone is entitled to their own good reputation until their actions ruin that (not accused actions but actual actions). The same is true also of the accuser they should also have name suppression.

    I know of a couple of cases where people have scammed The Church of money claiming abuse that never happened and the name of the priest was ruined, only to then later be proven to be innocent. It's a terrible situation we are in.

    The question comes down to what degree of privacy is a person entitled to? I think in today's society and especially with digital media, blogs etc, people hide behind a screen often demanding all sorts of details and vilifying people when in person they wouldn't act that way, nor would they like the same treatment themselves. We need some serious discussions as a society over what should be classified as private/confidential information and what should be public discourse.

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  22. An alternative view, following on from "The Abbott & Sex" blog.
    In the late 80's, I wandered into the bar after exploring Chiang Mai's maze of backs streets and canals. Looking for somewhere to eat, this bar was recommended as an English bar with good cheap food.
    Colin the proprietor made me welcome.I found him well informed about N.I's socio politico scenario, and while reticent on personal details, gleaned he had been a ranking army officer. This interesting conversation was aided by excellent food served by very attractive young Thai waitresses.
    As I was about to leave, Colin casually asked me if I was coming back later, and had decided who I wanted! He replied to my puzzlement by acknowledging my naivite of everyday reality of how sex is seen in Thailand, and many other parts of the East.
    Having subsequently travelled extensively in the Far East, and East Africa, I found the same attitudes prevalent. They are a world apart from our moralistic European perspectives.
    So I neither advocate nor defend these other views, but simply describe them here as I understood them from Colin, and as representative of subsequent travel experiences.
    At this point I have to set aside debate on the economic failings which inveigle women into the sex industry, either under duress, or surreptitiously as a means of survival. I simply say that I abhor this everyday reality and regard it as a wider debate for political consideration and remedy, on which I make no further comment here.
    As Colin explained, and I quote the gist of it:
    ..."These girls freely choose to come here to work knowing they'll earn more in a couple of years here than in back upcountry villages working ten years in the rice paddy fields:
    ...Don't blame me for the economic poverty that creates their needs.
    ...They keep asking if their cousin or sister can come here to work too.
    ...They know before coming that providing sex is part of the deal, and they've absolutely no hang-ups about the morality/rights/wrongs of sex, and simply see it just as any other human appetite.
    ...If you're hungry you eat: thirsty you drink; horny you screw.
    ...I provide their accommodation, food and a basic wage, and they give me a cut of their client takings.
    ...They make enough here so that after about two years they go back home with enough cash to buy a bit of land and settle down to raise a family."
    What I quote here from Colin may well be criticised as an arrogant male chauvinistic viewpoint. I have however widely checked it against female perspectives in those cultures and have found it largely mirrored, particularly in the absence of moralistic considerations related to sex.
    The 'bottom line' seems to be that unlike other religions, Christianity appears hidebound with concerns over sexuality attributing excessive positive and negative moral perogatives to it. Clerics, and particularly those of the Irish brand of Catholicism seem dogmatically besotted and prejudiced with notions of sexual morality far beyond any simple rule of "Do no harm."
    This is sometimes attributed to Pauline misogynism, (1st Epistle to Timothy etc), but whatever its origins it certainly seems the RC church has mandated its own narrow interpretation of sexual conduct as a control mechanism for the laity, and especially for priests of the Latin rite.

    It's obvious that attitudes are changing. Living together before settling down is now commonplace and unremarkable. RC priests now regularly baptise children of unwed parents, and marry couples who have been living together partners for years. There seems to be a growing consensus that sexuality and its expression is an integral part of our human nature, and that its expression is much broader than the narrow prescriptions of the RC church.
    In sharing these views of sexuality I make no case for or against. I'm in my mid 70's, so can look back on a once imperative drive now no longer relevant. But I've many happy memories!
    MMM

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  23. I'm sorry but however you rationalise it, there is no way that young Thai girls being part of the night's menu wasn't degrading to the dignity of women (whether or not they themselves realised it) It was.
    That is also a culture where schoolgirl pornograohy is regarded as mainstream and is freely available in some bookshops. Because of the accepting attitudes of their society, there is no attempt to stop it.
    I remember being appalled.
    I'm afraid I would not be happy to hold this culture up as a role model.
    Far from it!

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    1. Nor am I 'holding it up' as a role model!
      I agree with your sentiments and thanks.
      I've just related the reality of others perspectives without passing judgement.
      MMM

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  24. I hope Mmm you are not saying that because u in your mid 70’s you not interested in sexual relationship.
    That would be a very dated notion....that sexual intercourse no longer happens in older life....how very In accurate.
    Most of your very informative post is really old hat ie we all are aware of most of those ways of living these days.

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    1. But maybe if you're fairly decrepit, set in but content in your own ways, you might just not want to be bothered with the hassle!
      Perhaps looking at the mantelpiece without 'attending to' the fire has its own appeal!
      MMM

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  25. Interesting comments MMM, and calmly put, as usual. No doubt those closeted in the traditional mindset of morality of the Irish RC variety will howl criticism, as is their way.
    But 'keep 'er lit'. Your comments enlighten and entertain.
    Lurgan Larry

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  26. Oh come on M M M .ha ha ha
    Live life to the full
    Sure many active well into their 90 ‘s

    Look at Mugabe still trying to rule a country

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    1. Thanks. Think I prefer to have the grace of acknowledging my limitations now in that capacity than the Grace he's 'saddled ' ....with!
      MMM

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