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Priest close to Pope calls for mass resignation of Irish bishops

By on Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Benedict XVI meets Ireland's bishops in 2010 (CNS photo/L' Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

Benedict XVI meets Ireland's bishops in 2010 (CNS photo/L' Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

A theologian who is a former student of Pope Benedict XVI has called for every Irish bishop appointed before 2003 to resign.

Fr Vincent Twomey, emeritus professor of moral theology at Maynooth seminary, said the Irish Church had been “without any leadership effectively for the last 15 years”.

He said that all bishops appointed before Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin in 2003 should stand down even though there were many good bishops among them. “We need new leadership,” he said.

Fr Twomey told RTE radio that he was “incandescent with rage” after reading the Cloyne report. He said the conduct of Bishop John Magee and other officials was “mind-boggling”, describing it as “incompetence, inertia, and lies”.

“I can understand the outrage. The people most upset by this are the people who have stayed faithful to the Church. They have been let down, to put it mildly,” he said.

The report recorded stark disagreement among bishops over whether Bishop Magee should resign in 2009.

At an emergency meeting of the Irish bishops’ conference, Archbishop Martin argued that Bishop Magee should resign while Cardinal Seán Brady insisted he should stay.

  • Harper

    Fr Twomey is correct. Nothing but a mass clearout will suffice. The fact that the bishops were divided about Magee’s resignation, together with their deliberate destruction of sacred interiors of Irish cathedrals, demonstrates how far they have diverged from Catholic doctrine and – even more seriously – how they lack even a basic moral compass. It is time that the croneyism epitomised by their demotic overfamiliarity – “Bishop Tommy”, “Bishop Willie”  etc.- was brought to an end.

  • Disappointed

    “Cardinal Seán Brady insisted he should stay.”

    Why on earth is Cardinal Brady still in place?!

  • EditorCT

    Catholic Truth has been asking for mass resignations of bishops  all over Scotland and the wider UK for years now.  All of a sudden it’s the fashion, but only if there’s child abuse involved.  Curious, since, horrific though child abuse is, two things need to be recalled. Firstly, such abuse is an imprisonable criminal offence, with financial compensation in place for victims of crime. Thus, the parents of victims should head straight for the police, especially these days with  the disclosure of cover-ups on record.   We’re way past “Last Chance Saloon”.  Secondly, nobody ever went to hell for being abused, in any way.  The perpetrators risk hell not the victims.

    Christ’s warning in Matthew  18 - often wrongly  applied to paedophiles – is  that “those who scandalize one of  these little ones, who  believe in Me (better a  millstone etc.)  It is the falsifying of Faith, the leading souls away  from Christ that is the  theological crime, not (just) the temporal suffering caused, horrific, as I say, though  that is. If one of these abusers has led even one of these children away from the spiritual safety of Christ’s Church and Sacraments, better a  millstone be put round his neck and he be drowned in the depths of  the sea -  Christ’s words.  “Better” than what?  I won’t risk being accused of being “judgmental” but it’s worth reflecting on Christ’s warning about  leading souls away from His Church. 

    What we need are truly Catholic bishops who can look at this whole problem as God looks at it. Then there would be no cover ups, and, in due course, no more victims.  Additionally, and  most  importantly, there  would be no more covering up  and toleration if not promotion of dissent from Catholic Faith and morals. THAT’s  the way  to solve this terrible scandal.  This is all about much more than child abuse.

    For the fact is that  you will NEVER find a fully believing Catholic priest abusing anyone, children included. This is not an issue about sexual deviance, but about Catholic Faith and the kind of rubbish (literally) that has been accepted into seminaries for the past fifty years.  Poorly formed priests who are writing heresy  in Catholic newspapers  and taking centre stage on Catholic premises to preach the very opposite of the Truth.  Then hands are thrown up in despair as we witness debauched clergy, when they’re not  engaging in  affairs with men and women, often with  the tacit approval of their bishops, are abusing children.  Who needs Sherlock Holmes when you’ve got a decadent episcopate and clergy.

    Yes, the Irish bishops should resign en masse. But so should the bishops of England and Scotland. Like, now.  

  • Anonymous

    Why stop at the Irish bishops? Both Harper and EditorCT are spot on with their posts.

    Why, with a new set of Bishops in situ world-wide, Pope Benedict XVI might even be able to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary without risk of schism.

  • Ken Purdie

    A total clear out would be the best way forward. They have managed to achieve in Ireland what Henry V111 did not. The Destruction of the True Church. They will have much to answer for when they meet their maker.In the meantime they should resign. Starting with The Cardinal.

  • Harper

    Indeed so, Ken. They have betrayed the church every bit, if not more, than the infamous Miler Mcgrath, apostate Catholic priest and later Protestant Archbishop of Armagh under the Tudors and Stuarts. Somehow he seems less culpable than this crew:”To those who have much shall be expected.” Of course they have given licence now to every liturgical and gender radical of “the People of God” to advocate a more “accountable” church, by which they mean a wholly relativistic one. Still, that fight is for another day. Meanwhile, the rotten bishops – including the Cardinal – should go and go now.

  • Geraldodoire

    I think that we do need a fresh start with regards to the Irish hierarchy whose members have been directly or  indirectly tarnished by association with the child-abuse scandal revelations.  There are 3 dioceses without a present incumbent  bishop and Vatican watchers in the know think that there might be surprise announcements concerning them.  Resignations will allow younger, fresher candidates to lead the Church back to a spiritual re-connection with Her founder, Jesus Christ.  Vincent Twomey is a much respected and orthodox theologian whose opinion is not given lightly and in this case he makes a lot of sound sense.

  • Honeybadger

    Spot. On.

    Well done, Fr Twomey! At last, common sense!

    If anything, clearing out these errant bishops with Pope Benedict XVI appointing good, solid, no-nonsense bishops (the Holy Father’s track record speaks for itself) can only prove not only to be a clean break but provide the opportunity to start afresh. Faithful Irish Catholics are heartily sick of the state things have been for many years. This needs to happen as soon as possible before the rot sets in deeper and further as to render the crisis beyond repair.

    Enda Kenny’s laughable statements (to put it mildly) of late with regards the seal of confession and the Vatican do not help matters one jot. His behaviour is not statesman-like and pushes down further any credibility the Irish Government has left… which is very little.

  • Brian A Cook

    May God bring justice and healing.

  • Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh

    As a Catholic physician who has met many, from around the world, who have been sexually abused by priests, I find that all roads of real responsibility for this mess lead to the policies of the Vatican and to the policies of Pope Benedict XVI, as Pope and when he was known as Cardinal Ratzinger and head of the office of faith and morals for 24 years; the office that dealt with priest sexual abuse cases.  Pope Benedict XVI chose to continue the policies of secrecy that had been going on for centuries.

    Whatever about the cover-up of priest sexual abuse in Ireland, the problems of priest sexual abuse in Belgium, in Germany, in the USA, and around the world show that there has been a worldwide systematic cover-up of priest sexual abuse cases, due to poor policies from the Pope and Curia in the Vatican in Rome, as I see it.

    The hierarchy around the world must begin to use their charisms, unite, and have their voices heard.  Also, the sense of the faithful must begin to be respected by the leaders of the Church, as it was in the early Church!

    If there is to be a future for the Church, the hierarchy must be free to speak their truth!  Right now, I feel that Pope Benedict XVI and members of the Curia are bullying the bishops into an obedience that lacks integrity! 
    Would Jesus do that???  

    It was Lord Acton, an English Catholic historian in 1870 who disagreed with Pope Pius IX when he claimed he was infallible for political reasons.  Lord Acton’s words are as true today as they were in 1870, when he said of the Pope that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!

    Innocent children have been assaulted by clergy and the Pope, who readily gets rid of clergy who are not towing his line of orthodoxy, this Pope even seems to honor hierarchy who have been complicit in child sexual abuse cases, for example, Pope Benedict XVI’s protection of Cardinal Law in Rome to escape from investigation by civil law in Boston.

    Fr Twomey respects the courage of Archbishop Martin of Dublin in his search for the truth.  From my personal experience of Dr Martin’s care for the victim/survivors, I totally agree with Fr Twomey’s assessment.

    Why is the Pope not willing to admit to his own personal role in allowing the scandal to flourish worldwide?  

    Why is the Pope still protecting members of the hierarchy who have been abusers?  There are at least 19 documented bishops accused of actually being abusers in the USA, according to

    If the truth will set us free, where is the transparency of Pope Benedict XVI when he chooses to claim diplomatic immunity, so that he will not have to open the files in the Vatican, on worldwide priest sex abuse cases, to investigation by police?

    Pope Benedict XVI and the Curia need to be investigated, so that the truth will indeed set us free and we, as Church, can begin again to strive to follow Jesus and proclaim His message of healing to the whole world for the greater glory of God!

    Sincerely,   Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, Chicago, USA,

  • Parasum

    “…said the Irish Church had been “without any leadership effectively for the last 15 years”” ?

    ## *If* so, why was the Irish Church in that state that long ? 

    1. Kick out the bad eggs

    2. Keep the good ones

  • Tiggy

    Whilst I do not doubt your experience, your conculsions are, for whatever reason ,faulty.I agree that the the structures of the Vatican need to be investigated. But I think we all know that the Holy Father has been consistant and inspirational, in condemming, and trying to bring these Priests to justice.

  • Harper

    “Innocent children have been assaulted by clergy and the Pope.” “and the Pope”? What malicious nonsense. The real reason for Dr McHugh’s ire follows: “[The Pope] who readily gets rid of clergy who are not towing his line of orthodoxy.” This is the real focus of her anger. She claims to support totally Fr Twomey. I think not, for Fr Twomey is a staunch defefender of Benedict XVI and an opponent of the kind of half-baked heterodoxy, based on an utterly false interpretations of the “early Church” and of the “spirit of Vatican II’ which Dr McHugh and her friends at the National “Catholic” Reporter regularly assert. This is not the first time that the Church has been attacked by secular governments in Catholic countries – France, Spain, Portugal – there are plenty of such cases, but the Church survived. It will survive this too. Dr McHugh and her friends can set up their own “NewChurch”, or join one of the many who share their views on doctrine, authority and liturgy, but they will not succeed in recreating the Catholic Church. Their lack of success in this regard, despite attempts to use horrific scandals to this end, explains their growing frustration and deep anger.

  • Tiggy

    I agree. Its a sad day when people use these read scandals within the Church for their own ends.

  • EditorCT

     It’s interesting to read the facts about alleged priestly child abuse and compare it to the propaganda.  At least, that’s what one Jewish gentleman thought.  Here’s his findings.

  • Dcruz

    This won’t solve the problem but the celebacy law should be abolished or made optional as long as a preist can abstain from bad behaviour.Some priest or bishops make too many statement without a second thought and later regret it or feel people have misunderstood them.Such statement must be addressed to the Pope  and his curia .


    It is so easy for academics such as Fr Toomey and writers on here  to decide who should stay and who should go as bishops. Being in the “hot seat” is so much different than Monday morning reviews of  the weekend’s sports. We have the same human nature, endowed , with  Grace and flawed by Sin at work in the whole society of Church and State so new bishops would ne as human with sin and grace as ther present group and the poresent group would never ever repeat the mistakes of the past one would hope and expect… Each makes prudential judgments with the facts and wisdom available at the time, The young Father Sean Brady swearing people to secrecy over a priest who was later seen as a seriously sick pedophile and his wanting Bishop Magee  to stay in Cloyne before knowing how much he and his VG who handled everything as the bIshop took a hands-off approach. He knew  a different Fether Magee when they were in the Vatican together.


    As head of the CDF it was only late in JP11′s days that Cdl Ratzinger was given care for the clerical abusers of children- so .adjust your 24 years please. As POPE he began to create policies and continues to develop  them since as new wisdom and insight are provided. The vast amount of abuse is in the family and every profession – public school teachers and coaches male female and married and single to this day abuse in your USA Dr- also , physicians. dance instructors psychologists and dentists. Despite its horror we must needs put the Catholic clergy scandal in perspective. Work as a sinful-graced PEOPLE on a PILGRIM Walk to purify ourselves and work to purify the Church with the compassion of JESUS who asked us to mirror  the Merciful forgiveness of GOD who allows the rain to fall on all – just and unjust. The Word of God trumps any merely human answer tothe Mystery of Evil and  the Mystery of a God-Man who chose 12 sinners as the Foundation of His Church. It turned out pretty well overall if we take the BIG PICTURE viiew and keep a balanced perspective and let JESUS be the ultimate JUDGE  of the Harvest when the wheat and the weeds are taken in and the fish are separated into good and bad. HIs examples from His parables..


    I  worked with Protestant clergy in the USA and arond every professional group. Sexual relations  does not cure sinful urges, and ot having sex does not either.


    Please excuse typos above around, relations do not and not. Thanks 


    It cannot be assumed that students of  Professor Josef Ratziner are “close friends” with him as Pope  unless there is more evidence other than a photo op.. 

  • Kennyinliverpool

    Yes at last someone in the church who ‘gets it’! Until people resign and the church is seen to ‘do something’ people will not be willing to forgive the church for what it did to the children put in its care. Guilty people need to be punished, and bishops who failed in their role need to be removed.

    I hope this happens.

  • Kennyinliverpool

    A lot of priests are gay — and the church states all gays should abstain. Does the failure of priests abstaining imply the church’s position toward the gays is naive?

    Just a thought.

    This thought is from an article a read today, which made a distinction between homosexuality and paedophilia, stating that we had experienced a ‘scandal of homosexuality’ rather than of paedophilia. 

    Interesting thought, but as a gay man myself I don’t want the abuse / cover-up passed onto the wider gay community.

  • Parasum

    Twomey’s only a priest, & Martin’s been ignored by the Vatican:

    “Dublin’s Archbishop snubbed from Vatican abuse symposium

    Too radical in the methods used to combat sexual abuse of clergy. The Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, Diarmuid Martin was not invited to the meeting on pedophile priests that is due to take place in February at the Vatican. Monsignor Martin is a bishop who is not loved by all departments of the Roman Curia due to his intransigency and excessive public visibility in sex scandals.”

    “Dr Diarmuid Martin said he was ‘ashamed’ of the church

    The Archbishop of Dublin said there are groups in the Vatican and the Irish hierarchy trying to undermine child protection measures.

    Speaking on RTE on Wednesday, Dr Diarmuid Martin said there were systems in place that were ignored.

    His comments come after Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny launched an attack in parliament on the Catholic Church.”

    The rest is here:

    Prospects for change for the better: none, zero, non-existent.
    Prospects for Vatican busness as usual, no matter the human cost: 100%

  • DB McGinnity

    How apt! The beautiful Gothic St Macartan’s Cathedral in Monaghan Ireland was desecrated by a group of ultra right wing Irish speaking clerics under the leadership of Bishop Joseph Duffy. They pulled out the altar rails and pulled down the Stations of the Cross, and erected hideous structures in the mistaken view that modern is progress. Now the Sanctuary looks like a film set for making Camelot or some other blockbuster Roman Epic. Have a look for yourself.

  • Davidanthony Davies

    I would want to support the Bishop of Dublin, who is a man of integrity, honesty and empathy coloured with profound intelligence. He is the one who should lead the Irish Church into the future. May the Spirit continue
    to inspire him.

  • marijose

    Dear Rosemary,
    As you said, as a Catholic, the ” Church is not a Museum of Saints but  a hospital for sinners’ and thats what Catholic Church is. Pope Benedict is not a problem here, He is actually the major part in the  solution.
    This issue of abuse doesn’t mean the Church does not have a future. It is really sad to read  that Many Catholics such as you have lost their faith because of this.
    IF you are truely Christ’s follower, you’ll always stand by him in every situation. In Europe sadly, people take this as a headline of the day in a very awful manner. If we could take sometime and examine our self, we should realise that this is the very time that those people( priest and Bishop) involve in  the abuse need our  prayers and encouragement to have the courage come forward and  with true sincerity  of heart to solve this problem in whatever way necessary.

    Although, we looked at them as  bad  and senseless clergy,  The Lord Jesus still loves them as everyone else. Can we do the same and help our brothers in this difficult times?

    Through Mary and Jesus. Have Mercy and pray for us  the sinners.

  • EditorCT

    Here’s a very good blog by a priest in Ireland on the subject. Almost word for word what many of us have been saying since this scandal blew up. Note his comments about parents and protestants and ask yourself, why are the media silent about the many more “paedophile parents” and “paedophile protestants” than about the relatively tiny number of priests who abuse children?, I’m not defending that relatively tiny number.  One Judas is bad enough whether in the first or the twenty first centuries.  But one has to ask questions about a media frenzy purporting to be concerned about children, who, nevertheless ignore the” log” in the eyes of parents and protestants, while going, big time for the “speck” in  the priesthood.

  • EditorCT

    Here’s a very good blog by a priest in Ireland on the subject. Almost
    word for word what many of us have been saying since this scandal blew
    up. Note his comments about parents and protestants and ask yourself,
    why are the media silent about the many more “paedophile parents” and
    “paedophile protestants” than about the relatively tiny number of
    priests who abuse children?

    No, I’m not defending that relatively tiny number.  One Judas is bad
    enough whether in the first or the twenty first centuries.  But one has
    to ask questions about a media frenzy purporting to be concerned about
    children, who, nevertheless ignore the” log” in the eyes of parents and
    protestants, while going, big time for the “speck” in  the priesthood.

  • Mark Castilano

    You spend an inordinate amount of time laughing, mocking and scoffing at people. Most of your texts are scathing attacks on the sort of phenomena that someone like you could never possible understand, never mind have an opinion about. Before you express any further opinions please check your blog with some literate person. Mr Kenny has been democratically elected by the people or Ireland and he has a has a mandate to rule. I admire his stance not to be dictated to by foolish old men in skirts and frocks who have no right or mandate to rule anyone.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    I am Irish Canadian and I thank you for speaking the truth in bold plain English it’s about time somebody somewhere is raising the alarm bells

    the Pope can not do this on his own he needs Bishops and Priests who are inline with church teachings in order to clean up this mess

    God Bless the Pope

  • carmen

    Brian he will in his own time. remember that God’s time is different from our time but justice and healing he will bring  i predict sooner than later, just keep the faith!

  • EditorCT

    What is not coming out on this blog is the fact that the notoriously “liberal” Association of Catholic Priests want rid of the bishops so they can start their own independent Church – independent of Rome.

    This makes them de facto schismatics.  Now, this has to be formalised.  Do we hear a peep from any Irish bishop or from the Vatican, formalising this schism?

    Thought not. Thus  the souls in the care of these schismatic priests are endangered, while those who attend SSPX Masses are warned not to take on a “schismatic mentality.”

    Unbelievably brain-dead stuff. 

  • patrick

    Maybe you haven’t read the beginning – the opening preamble – of Ireland’s constitution. Then you can tell me about where Ireland’s government draws its ‘right’ to govern from

  • patrick

    This is disgusting. Im not entirely sure what you mean when you post:

    “The hierarchy around the world must begin to use their charisms, unite,
    and have their voices heard.  Also, the sense of the faithful must begin
    to be respected by the leaders of the Church, as it was in the early

    I can only assume that you’re talking about the cardinals and bishops when you say heirarchy and the Vatican when you say leadership. Charisms.. unite.. voices heard..???? what are you talking about?? Im not too sure if you are Catholic or not but whatever you are, you need to read up about the Church, especially the ‘early Church’! Mabye start with the Book of Acts

  • noddy

    It isn’t just pedophilia, the kids aren’t being taught their Faith.the clergy/religious for the most part aren’t living The Faith, we are using a Mass put together by 6 protestant experts a mass oriented towards disbelief in the Real Presents, the teachings of the Church aren’t defended by the Sheppard s  eg. cases in point last four things, Humani Vitae, pluralism  universal salvation ecumenicism as applied etc. etc. etc. a whole museum of errors and heresies that should have been sacked 40/50 years ago”.MODERNISM” is a heresy for crying out loud.This is not the Church that those of us in our 60s were Baptized into.aaaaaaaaand are dumped on in every way possible for trying to stick to the TRADITIONS of the Church

  • noddy

    from previous post should read “a whole museum of errors and heresies eg  pluralism  universal salvation ecumenicism as applied etc. etc. etc  these are to be understood as in odds to the teachings of the Church

  • Vandrefalk

    Did the people of Ireland elect Mr Kenney so that he could try to interfere with the sacraments of Holy Mother Church?

  • EditorCT

    No politician, Kenny included, has any right to rule the Church.  Nobody elected him Pope. 

    When the Church comments on moral issues such as euthanasia and abortion, the ignorant scream about the church having no right to interfere in politics. So ignorant they don’t even know that moral issues are not  “politics” – just because a politician passes a law to permit thieving and murder doesn’t make these immoralities, moral.  And it doesn’t give anyone the right to steal and kill.

    So, please think about what you are (rather ridiculously, with respect) saying and writing.  Kenny has NO right to interfere in Church teaching and Sacraments.  Absolutely none.  He is an arrogant pup whom, as i have said elsewhere, would be in the lead, if it existed, for the Nobel Pride Prize.

  • Father Robert Pearce

    We are still suffering the effects of the Vatican II takeover where Benedict XVI was a moderate leftist.  Maybe we see the Ope doing Penance with the revamp of Ireland….

  • Anonymous

    In response to Harper and Dr. McHugh:  And, please add to that their lack of obedience, respect and most importantly, their lack of knowledge of their faith.   Since Vatican II, in the early 60s (I believe.) the Bishops ran with a misinterpretation of it and removed the catechism from Catholic Schools and CCD classes.  It is no wonder that the average Catholic does not know his faith at all! In other words, generations including priests and religious men and women have grown up lacking the religious education, the Catechism necessary to know their faith.  Will Dr. McHugh blame this on Pope Benedict XVI, too?  She has not learned that to criticize the Pope is to criticize Christ.  She should apologize immediately for the disposition of her soul is at risk. 

  • Sisterchristina

    Leadership of the Irish church is only the tip of the iceberg when we consider the church as a whole. The Vatican boys are still concerned with power and prestige rather than with servant leadership.Transparency is the last thing on the minds of these guys. Nothing but building a church “from the bottom up” will change anything.

  • EditorCT

    Unfortunately for you, Christ didn’t agree.  He established a hierarchical Church and there’s an end to it.

    Plus, it is nothing short of hilarious that you think a “church (built) from the bottom up” would be an end to all our woes  When was the last time you dealt with the hierarchy among the laity in a parish?  Arrogant blankety blank so & sos in my wide experience of parish life north and south of the Scottish border. 
    The “leading lights” in most parishes are so full of themselves it’s amazing they can fit in a drink of water.

    No thanks.  Let’s stick  with the way Christ established His Church.  I’d rather have a priest-pope as Christ designed it, that Mrs Smith who thinks she has the right to do everything except confect the eucharist and hear confessions.  And that’s only a temporary situation, in her mind.  Power?  She’s got it and she flaunts it..