October 23, 2002
Canon law is not higher than State law - McDowell

From RTE News Online

The Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, has said that Canon Law is not on a higher plateau than State law.

Mr McDowell, who is due to meet representatives of people sexually abused by Catholic clergy later today, said he found elements of Canon Law disturbing.

The Minister referred to a book by Monsignor Gerard Sheedy titled "The Canon Law, letter and spirit" published in 1995 which he said had the approval of Cardinal Desmond Connell.

Mr McDowell said he was disturbed by some of the passages in the book.

His comments come ahead of a meeting with representatives of people sexually abused by Catholic clergy this afternoon.

They are to discuss with Mr McDowell what they perceive to be the difficulties in pursuing criminal investigations into allegations that priests sexually abused children.

They will also discuss the terms of reference for the non-statutory inquiry into the handling of allegations of child sex abuse in the Diocese of Ferns.

Yesterday the Health Minister, Micheál Martin, ordered the establishment of a non-statutory inquiry into abuse in the Diocese.

The inquiry has been welcomed by Colm O'Gorman, who speaks for a number of victims of the Wexford priest Father Sean Fortune.

On RTÉ radio this morning, Mr O'Gorman said his meeting with Mr McDowell would focus, in part, on how the Government should respond to clerical abuse in other dioceses.

Audio and Video

Morning Ireland: Colm O'Gorman, Director of the support group, One in Four, discusses what type of investigation victims would like to see put in place in Dublin28k

Morning Ireland: Ivana Bacik, Reed Professor of Law, discusses a gap in the law which means that those who have knowledge of a crime cannot now be charged for failure to report the crime28k

Morning Ireland: Justine McCarthy, Irish Independent journalist, says a member of the Hussey inquiry was criticised in the Kincora Boy's home report for sitting on a whistleblowers' report28k

Posted by Colm at October 23, 2002 12:34 PM

The following appears in the first epistle of St Peter. Since he was the first pope perhaps we could call it the first encylical!

“ Live as those who are free; not however as though your freedom provided a cloak for wrongdoing, but as slaves to God’s service. Give due honour to everyone: love your fellow Christians, reverence God, honour the emperor.” (1 Pet 2;16-17)

In modern parlance perhaps we could translate the final sentance as "love your fellow Christians, reverence God, honour the civil authority."

The whole People of God grieves for those wounded by our brothers in the authority of service who have perhaps forgotten the Jesus to whom we are all commited or consecrated.

Posted by: Jack on October 23, 2002 05:59 PM

Since I left the orphanage in 1962.And had seen the way the catholic church behaved towards people in general,its not only child sexual abuse,its their involement in government,the health boards,social welfare,justice and other depts.The church is involved everywhere.They know everything.
I worked for one of the above departments and I could not believe my eyes of how far they would go to get information on some person.But at that time I could do nothing about it.In the end I left before they got rid of me in their nice way.
They are an evil organization who use religion as a front for their many evil deeds.

Posted by: brian on October 25, 2002 10:06 PM
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