- 16 Apr 01
1994 was the year when paedophile priests were finally forced out of the closet. But the Church is still refusing to answer the vital questions. Report: Eamonn McCann.
ON THE morning of the 18th of last month, a Friday, I phoned and then faxed a series of questions about alleged child sex-abuse by a priest in Derry to the Catholic Press and Information Office (CPIO) in Dublin. The details of the case don’t matter for the moment. What I’m concerned about here is the way the Church refused to answer the questions, and the implications of this refusal.
I’d contacted the CPIO after being advised by the bishop’s residence in Derry that this was the appropriate path to the people I wanted to speak with: the diocese couldn’t deal with such queries themselves, that’s what the CPIO was for.
My enquiries were directed to three Derry bishops – the current bishop, Seamus Hegarty, the former bishop Edward Daly and the auxiliary bishop, Francis Lagan – and to Cardinal Cathal Daly and to the head of the church institution where I believed the alleged child-abuser was living. I was hopeful of reasonably speedy replies: Cathal Daly and various bishops had been protesting for weeks that while they may have secreted away such scandals in the past they were now willing to face up to the unpalatable facts.