Cloyne Report chapters cleared for publication and Civil partnerships begin in Ireland, but ‘gay marriage’ still debated

The President of the High Court has cleared the way for the publication of most of the Cloyne Report on clerical abuse in the Catholic Diocese.

But Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns prohibited until mid-July at the earliest publication of references to one priest so as not to prejudice the man’s trial.

It follows an application by counsel for the Minister for Justice for the court to rule that a portion of the report not be published because it might prejudice criminal proceedings pending against one priest named in it.

On the instructions of Mr Justice Kearns, reporters were excluded during the brief deliberations.

When they were readmitted the judge gave his decision.

He said that the 26-chapter Report by the Commission of Investigation into the handling of allegations of abuse against 19 priests in the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne had been ordered by the Government in January 2009 and was completed last December.

He added there was a pending criminal trial against one of them and that he took the view that there was a risk that the trial – to take place very shortly – might be prejudiced if that particular portion of the report, largely contained in Chapter 9 were to be published at this stage.

He said the decision to withhold those parts of the report would be reviewed by the court in mid-July.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said he and the Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald, would make the necessary arrangements for the publication of the report as soon as practicable.

In a statement, Mr Shatter said he understood that counsel for the parties to this morning’s hearing would now move to agree what deletions must be made to give effect to the Judge’s order.

He said that once that process has been completed the two ministers would arrange for publication.

Meanwhile, victim support group One in Four has said Mr Justice Kearns’ decision will come as a relief to the people who were sexually abused as children in the diocese, many of whom have been waiting for years to learn how it was that so many allegations were mishandled.

Executive Director Maeve Lewis said the organization regretted the postponement of the publication of one chapter, but accepted that it was necessary to ensure that current criminal proceedings were not prejudiced.

Noting that very few survivors of child sexual abuse engage with the criminal justice system, she said it was important that the cases which came before the Courts were not jeopardised in any way.

However, she said the charity was concerned that the omission of certain sections might undermine the integrity of the Report and might also mean that the full picture of how children were endangered in the Cloyne diocese would not emerge.

Judge Yvonne Murphy, who headed up the Commission of Investigation, was asked to extend her inquiry to the Co Cork diocese in January 2009.

The investigation followed a damning report by the National Board for Safeguarding Children.

That board, which was established by the Catholic Church itself, found that child protection practices in the Diocese of Cloyne were inadequate and in some respects dangerous.

Judge Murphy’s report deals with allegations of abuse made against 19 priests over a 13-year period to 2009.

But some of those from whom she took evidence had carried the memory of their abuse from as far back as the 1970s.


Civil partnerships begin in Ireland, but ‘gay marriage’ still debated

Ireland has entered into new territory by recognizing civil partnerships for homosexuals, a move which has prompted more calls to recognize “gay marriage.”

The Catholic bishops have said the partnerships undermine marriage and the family, while a gay political analyst has argued that Ireland should refuse to redefine marriage.

Gay people should defend the traditional understanding of marriage “as strong as anyone else,” Richard Waghorne said in an essay for the Irish Daily Mail.

“Given that it is being undermined in the name of gay people, with consequences for future generations, it is all the more important that gay people who are opposed to gay marriage speak up.”

A law creating civil partnerships for homosexuals came into effect in Ireland on January 1.

Six partnerships were registered after the parties sought court exemptions from a three-month waiting period.

The first two people to register without an exemption were Barry Dignam and Hugh Walsh, who registered on April 5.

Dignam told the Irish Times he supports “gay marriage,” but unlike some he did not believe the partnerships should be boycotted until same-sex unions are recognized by the state as marriages.

Waghorne, however, said the creation of civil unions would be “a good time to declare victory and go home.”

He criticized the drive for same-sex “marriage” as not only unnecessary, but verging on “selfishness.”

“The support and status that marriage entails is not a societal bonus for falling in love and agreeing to make a relationship lasting,” he commented.

“Marriage is vital as a framework within which children can be brought up by a man and woman.”

Marriages tend towards child-raising and same-sex partnerships do not, he pointed out, saying that “a wealth of research” demonstrates the benefits the marriage of a man and a woman provides children.

“Why should a gay relationship be treated the same way as a marriage, despite this fundamental difference?” Waghorne asked.

He voiced his “growing irritation” that “principled opponents of gay marriage have put up with a stream of abuse for explaining their position” and have to contend with the charge that they are “bigoted or homophobic.”

The Irish bishops’ conference said that the civil partnership legislation “is not compatible with seeing the family based on marriage as the necessary basis of the social order.”

It contradicts the Irish Constitution’s pledge to “guard with special care the institution of marriage, on which the family is founded.”

“Marriage is a unique union, a relationship different from all others,” they continued in “Why Marriage Matters,” their March 2010 pamphlet. “God is (the) author of marriage.”

Same-sex unions, the bishops said, are “contrary to God’s plan for sexual love” and all Christians are called to holiness and chastity.

They acknowledged the “real issue” about how the law should protect those involved in long-term, mutually dependent relationships, such as elderly siblings or a man who shares a house with his wife’s sisters after she dies.

However, the bishops noted the bill only protects those who are in a sexual relationship.
“This is real discrimination – choosing to help one vulnerable group over another when they are in similar circumstances,” they said.

They also warned of the “very alarming aspect” of the legislation which penalizes a civil registrar who refuses to carry out a partnership ceremony will face a fine and up to six months in prison.

They called this “an extraordinary and far-reaching attack” on freedom of conscience and religion.

About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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