Friday, March 05, 2010

Sinead voices anger over bishop’s suggestion

SINGER Sinead O’Connor took to the airwaves yesterday to voice her disgust at Bishop of Ferns Denis Brennan’s suggestion that parishioners could contribute towards abuse settlements and legal fees.

The mother-of-four, a longtime vocal critic of the Catholic hierarchy, accused the Vatican of "bringing the name of God into disrepute" by its failure to take responsibility for clerical sex abuse across the world. She said it was disgraceful that parishioners were being told that good Christians would take over the debts.

Meanwhile, Dr Brennan has said he does not want to burden the Vatican with requests for funding to help pay compensation and clerical abuse legal fees.

"I am not familiar with the finances of the Vatican … I do not want to burden others. This is our responsibility and we would like to discharge our responsibilities ourselves. I would like to be part of the solution. We have walked a lot of miles on this road and I am confident we will finish the road together as well," he said.

Ms O’Connor accused the Vatican, whom she believes should pay any outstanding settlements and legal fees, of consistently putting "its business interests before the interests of the Church".

In a letter to the Gerry Ryan show, she said the Vatican should be responsible for paying outstanding bills as they were clearly aware of the scourge of clerical abuse. Ms O’Connor pointed to published documents sent to Catholic clergy by the Vatican in 1922 and 1962 which told them to keep secret complaints of abuse or risk excommunication.

"I would like to know exactly whose idea this (Ferns) plan was, and from where were issued the instructions to make such a statement. The statement and its attempted manipulation of good Catholic people could be described as unbelievable, stupid, comical. But in my opinion the only word that does it justice is evil. A true Christian is someone who, in any given situation is supposed to ask themselves what would Jesus do, and try to do that," she said.

"How an organisation which has acted decade after decade only to protect its business interests above the interests of children, can feel it has the right to dictate to us to do is beyond belief. And if Jesus Christ is to be seen in the vulnerable of this world, then all they have done is crucify the man over and over and over again," she added.

Speaking yesterday, Dr Brennan said it was up to the parishes to decide if they wanted to sell an asset or donate funds and denied he had made a specific request for additional donations to meet compensation claims.

"We are not asking people for money, we are just setting out our stall. These are our options and we told [those at Monday’s meeting] that if they have other [options] we would like to hear them.

"We have not ruled anything in or out. We need to get people’s reactions. We are trying to be as transparent as possible," he said.

Reacting to media coverage, of Monday’s meeting, Dr Brennan its "totality, tone and mood" had not been accurately reflected and said the Diocese would be issuing its statement, to be read at all Masses, this weekend.

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