‘... the fear of the hierarchy about its priests, fuelled by the press, is today leading to a kind of witchhunt’ Father D Peter Burrows on the fruits of the Nolan report, page 7
CPS saysCardinal Murphy-O’Connor should not face trial
Police abandon investigation of negligence case
Why can’t (or won’t) the BBC find ‘suitable’ Catholics?
Dwight Longenecker, Comment, page 6
25 July 2003 - Year of the Rosary - 80p (Republic of Ireland €1.20)
T HESPIRITUAL leader of the Catholics of England and Wales will not be prosecuted in connection with his handling of a convicted paedophile former priest, the police have announced. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) advised Sussex Police that a possible case of negligence against Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, should not proceed to court. The decision ends a ninemonth investigation which began when a person in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, where the Cardinal was bishop between 1977 and 2000, made a complaint following the conviction of Fr Michael Hill last November. Hill, 68, was sent to jail for five years after he was convicted at the Old Bailey, London, of six counts of indecent assault against three boys aged between 10 and 14 years. One of his victims was suffering from cerebral palsy and another was wheelchairbound. Hill began abusing them after he was installed as chaplain to Gatwick Airport by Bishop Murphy-O’Connor. The bishop had initially
suspended Hill after complaints of abuse in the early 1980s, but allowed him a second chance after he received “conflicting psychiatric reports” from medical experts. He has since issued a number of public apologies for his mistake, both as bishop and Cardinal. The police issued a statement last weekend to confirm the case had been dropped. “Following advice received from the CPS we will not be making any charges against Cardinal Cormac MurphyO’Connor,” it said. “The original complainant has been informed of this decision, as has the Cardinal’s office.” Aspokesman for the Cardinal said: “I have spoken to briefly to the Cardinal, who is on his way to Lourdes as part of the annual diocesan pilgrimage. He was, of course, pleased to hear this confirmation from the CPS. “Sussex Police informed us on Saturday afternoon of their decision. I am happy to confirm that Sussex Police did not, at any stage, contact the Cardinal in connection with their investigation into the original claims.” The police contacted the CPS for formal advice at least twice before they were told
to abandon the case altogether. ACPS spokeswoman said details of the advice given to the police was confidential. Hill’s conviction last year ignited media speculation that the Cardinal was guilty of other mistakes in his handling of alleged clerical sex abusers. The BBC accused the Cardinal of turning a blind eye to paedophilia and claimed knowledge of eight other abusive priests in his former diocese. BBC Radio Four’s Today programme also accused the Cardinal of inappropriately handling a complaint by a man who said he was abused at a Westminster seminary as a 17-year-old, even though the diocesan authorities had followed the draconian Nolan recommendations on child protection to the letter. A Newsnight journalist later admitted to Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton that they were “out to get his [the Cardinal’s] resignation”. The Times joined the witchhunt. It accused the Cardinal of “moral failure”, and falsely claimed to have uncovered “paedophile hotspots” and falsely accused the Church Continued on page three
Editorial Comment: Page 7
War without end: WestAfrican bishops appealed this week for the deployment of an international force to halt Liberia’s civil war, which has brought misery to thousands of people in the capital Monrovia
Wembley to host biggest Mass fordecades
T HEBIGGEST Mass to be held in Britain since the Pope’s visit in 1982 is to be held in September. At Your Word, Lord, a programme of spiritual and pastoral renewal within Westminster archdiocese, will be launched with a Mass at Wembley Arena on September 26. Some 200 parishes will be involved and an anticipated congregation of 70-80,000 people is expected to attend. In 1982, 100,000 pilgrims packed
into Wembley Stadium, waving banners and placards to greet the Pontiff on his historic visit to Britain. Organisers of At Your Word, Lord hope to recreate that aura of excitement this September. Joe Kennedy, a member of the organising team, said: “We’re extremely excited about the prospect of gathering together as a diocesan community to celebrate this launch of our process of renewal. When we get to Wembley, proceedings will be centred around a celebration of Mass
during which there will be representations of all the communities, parishes, chaplaincies and schools in procession. There has been lots of interest from parishes and schools. We’re bringing together all the clergy of the diocese. It’s a way of changing the life of the parishes. We hope not only to develop our relationship with God, but to be better witnesses to our Christian-Catholic faith.” He continued: “As we draw to the end of the second set of core community workshops as part of the
programme, the overall impression is one of energy and enthusiasm in so many of our parishes. Anumber of parishes are still in the early stages, but the important thing is that they have made a good start. At Your Word, Lord is not about reaching a goal; it is about beginning a process in which we all grow spiritually and pastorally.” The Mass, at which Cardinal Murphy Cormac O’Connor will officiate, is the culmination of several months’work and heralds the start of the At Your Word, Lord season one.
Missionaries of the Sacred Heart YOUR LIGHT MUST SHINE “No one lights a lamp to put it in a tub,they put it on a lampstand where it shines for everyone in the house.In the same way YOUR LIGHT MUST SHINE in people’s sight,so that, seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in Heaven”. (Mt.5:15-16)
Would you consider following Jesus Christ as a Missionary of the Sacred Heart?
We are a congregation of priests and brothers,whose mission is to bring the Heart of Christ to the world.
Ours is a spirit of family and of brotherhood formed by kindness and understanding,by compassion and mutual forgiveness,by gentleness, humility and simplicity,by hospitality and a sense of humour. For further information please contact: Fr Fintan O’Driscoll, M.S.C. St Albert’s 31 Hollow Croft Stockbridge Village Liverpool L28 4EA Tel:(0151) 228 7126
Archbishop denounces conspiracy of silence overdeath of DrKelly
T HE A RCHBISHOP of Birmingham has challenged journalists and politicians to examine their consciences over the death of Dr David Kelly, the government scientist who committed suicide last week. Speaking during a civic service in Lichfield cathedral, Staffordshire, on Sunday, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham said Dr Kelly’s death exposed an “unholy alliance” between the media and the political elite. He also accused senior establishment figures of withholding information about the scandal and of valuing secrecy more than human life. Dr Kelly, a weapons expert, was found dead in a field with a slit wrist near his home in Southmoor, Oxfordshire, on Friday, July 18. His
suicide came days after he was named as the source of a controversial BBC report on the Government’s dossier on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. The BBC claimed the dossier exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s regime. The Government vehemently denied the accusation. The archbishop said: “Today we cannot gather in prayer without remembering Dr David Kelly. We must pray for him, for his widow and for his daughters. We do not know what motivated him as he took his last walk. But we commend him to the Lord. “His death must also cause every one of us to reflect, especially those of us involved in public life. There is, in our country, something of an unholy alliance between the media and the politician.
Both, quite rightly, deal with public opinion. Both seek to be responsive, formative, even manipulative of that opinion. “But today we must reflect again on the grave responsibilities to the truth that are to be upheld by all those so involved. It distresses me deeply to think that there are people in positions of eminent public responsibility who know the answer to the questions Dr Kelly was being asked. Yet they remain silent, believing that the confidentiality of their sources is more important. More important than one man’s life? I think not. “Nor do we know the kind of political or personal pressure put on Dr Kelly. Certainly he complained of the harassment of the media. But there were other pressures too. I trust that in due
course we will learn the truth about them. When public life and the media are so devoid of compassion, and become cavalier with the truth, they become a distortion of their true purpose. It is time for us to recover some of our finer qualities and enshrine them again in our public and civic life. “Let us resolve that each of us, in our own way and in our own circumstances,will strive always to speak and honour the truth, and extend to others, especially to those in need, a measure of the infinite compassion of God.” Dr Kelly converted to the Baha’i faith four years ago during a visit to the United States. The Methodist Church was comforting Dr Kelly’s family this week.
Mary Kenny:Page 6 Nick Thomas: Page 8
Sorry, Bernie Ecclestone — it won’t happen again
O FCOURSE , HEHAD to be one of ours. The maniac who nearly got himself and others killed when he invaded the British Grand Prix race track was a Catholic priest.
Fr Neil Horan, 54, sprinted on to the course at Silverstone, where he is believed to have wanted to perform his “peace dance” as Formula One racing cars tore towards him at 185mph. He sported placards with the words: “Read the Bible — The Bible is Always Right.” He wore a kilt, beret and the tricolour of the Irish Republic around his waist. Fr Horan was bundled to the ground by a race marshal then dragged away by his leg as organisers dispatched a
safety car to slow down the race drivers at the event last Sunday. He had earlier scaled a 20ft fence to make it on to the track in time for Lap 12. He was first spotted as he jogged towards a bend known as Hangar Straight. Fr Horan, a priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark, is no stranger to controversy — both inside and outside the Catholic Church. His faculties to preach and administer the sacraments were withdrawn by Arch
bishop Michael Bowen after he told churchgoers that the Apocalypse would occur in the year 2000 and that a “glorious new world” would take its place. Born in Scartaglin in County Kerry, he now lives in Nunhead, South London, where he is sometimes spotted still wearing his Roman collar — and a paper bag over his head. He has previously performed his selfstyled peace jig outside the House of Commons and the racecourse at Cheltenham.
Cuba: Witness Hope Amid Despair
“How people survive here is a bit like the Gospel story of the loaves and the fish – a miracle. But what they really yearn for is food for the soul.” Missionary in Cuba. Poor and oppressed, people in Cuba are turning to the Church for hope. Please can you help them?
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