Monday, January 18, 2010

Madden leaves Church over failure of bishops to resign

Madden leaves Church over failure of bishops to resign
PATSY McGARRY Religious Affairs Correspondent

Mon, Jan 18, 2010

THE FIRST person in Ireland to have gone public - in 1995 - about his abuse by a Catholic priest has formally left the Catholic Church.

Andrew Madden, who was abused when an altar boy in Cabra parish in Dublin by Ivan Payne, wrote to the Dublin archdiocese before Christmas saying he wished to leave the Church. He received notice of his “cessation of church membership by formal act of defection. . .” from church authorities last week.

He also received a letter, dated January 11th, from Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin expressing sadness at the decision to leave and saying it made him wonder whether the church could learn from it.

In a response to Archbishop Martin at the weekend, Mr Madden said that following publication of the Murphy report, he was “appalled, as I believe you may have been, by the behaviour of your fellow bishops as they did everything to try and hold onto office, four of them failing”.

The bishops “added insult to injury by a collective failure to immediately offer their resignations in acknowledgment of what they had done, or failed to do, and out of respect for the experiences of children sexually abused by Catholic priests in Dublin”.

He continued: “A church whose leading members behave in this way is not a church I want in my life, not even in name only. A church whose bishops shielded paedophile priests is not a church I want in my life.

“A church whose priests congregate to express support for those bishops continuing in office in direct opposition to what many victims asked for is not a church I want in my life. “A church which finds Bishop Drennan acceptable in its episcopal ranks, despite having been part of a church in Dublin between 1997 and 2004 which covered up the sexual abuse of children is not a church I want in my life . . . A church which parades itself as a state when it wants to avoid accounting to the citizens of a country whose children it has abused is not a church I want in my life.”

He said: “No priest will ever preach to me standards his own church doesn’t even try to live up to. No priest will ever comfort me when I am sick. No priest will hear my ‘sins’. No priest will instruct me in penance. No priest will bless my relationship with my beautiful partner, Alan. No priest will pray over my coffin when I am dead. And no priest will bury me in ‘consecrated ground’,” he added.

He recalled that in 1983, the church in Dublin decided he was not suitable for the priesthood.

“Two years earlier the same Catholic Church had allowed Ivan Payne to continue as a priest despite knowing that he had sexually abused

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