24 August 2011
Statement from the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dr. Dermot Clifford, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Cloyne
In his letter to the Irish Catholic, Msgr Denis O’Callaghan, former Vicar General and Delegate for the safeguarding of children in the Diocese of Cloyne, states that he should have had resigned when he came to realise the implications of the Framework Document of 1996 for the overriding duty of pastoral care.
I agree that he should have resigned at that time, once he came to the conclusion that he could not implement the 1996 Framework Document from the Catholic Bishops on safeguarding of children. His Bishop, Dr. Magee, has signed up to implementing the Framework.
As Judge Murphy pointed out in her report on the Diocese of Cloyne: “the commission takes the view that the implementation of Church guidelines does not, in any way, preclude a pastoral response. The pastoral response, while good in itself, should be an adjunct to, not a replacement for, the procedures set out in the Framework Document. The Commission is satisfied that a number of complainants benefited from the counselling put in place for them. However, the pastoral approach espoused by Mgr O’Callaghan is not a sufficient response to allegations of child sexual abuse. It does not provide for a proper investigation of the complaints whether by State or Church authorities.”
I would re-emphasise that our first priority at all times must be the protection of children.
I would kindly request Msgr. O’Callaghan, now retired, to refrain from any further public comment on this controversy as it will only cause further distress and hurt to survivors of child sexual abuse and their families.
Note to Editors:
Archbishop Clifford will not be giving interviews
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