A judgment is expected in the coming weeks on whether a Cork priest is to be defrocked by a secret ecclesiastical court because of sex abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne.
Eleven complaints of sexual abuse were
made to gardaí about the now retired priest but he has not been
convicted of abuse in a criminal court.
However a number of people have
received financial settlements from the diocese.
known as Fr Ronat in the Dublin archdiocese report into child abuse in
Cloyne, can appeal the decision of the canonical tribunal to Rome.
Ecclesiastical sources say that if he is unhappy with the outcome,
the sentence can be suspended pending appeal to the Church’s
Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. Appeals can take years to
Complaints against Fr Ronat constituted the biggest
chapter in the Dublin archdiocese’s commission of investigation into
the handling of abuse in the Cork diocese.
The secret court
was initially established in 2009 after the National Board for
Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church’s (NBSCCC) issued its
damning report on the handling of abuse in the diocese.
The board described the priest as Father B.
But the court was suspended once the Dublin Archdiocese Commission
of Investigation were asked to examine the Co Cork diocese.
This report was published in late 2011.
The priest’s alleged victims gave evidence to the Church’s own court last summer when it convened in Co Cork.
Three priests — two clerical canon lawyers and a notary — assessed
the evidence given by the alleged victims and the priest, and all
involved had to sign an oath of secrecy.
Once all evidence was heard, the canon law court drew up its report and its recommendations were sent on to the Vatican.
Dermot Clifford, the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly and apostolic
administrator of the Cloyne diocese, reconvened the secret court after
The process began in 2009 but was suspended because
victims wanted to wait until after the publication of the Dublin
archdiocese commission’s report into the handling of abuse in the
Chapter nine of the report, which related to Fr
Ronat, was published in Dec 2011. It was published later than the
original report due to legal proceedings.
It is not known
whether the canonical court decision will be made public before Canon
William Crean is ordained as bishop of the diocese at the end of the
He has spoken of his apprehension at accepting the
appointment in light of the troubled history of the diocese where his
predecessor failed to protect children from clerical sex abuse.