Cleric Desmond Connell, criticized during abuse scandal, dies at 90

Cleric Desmond Connell, criticized during abuse scandal, dies at 90
Cardinal Desmond Connell, who retired as the Roman Catholic archbishop of Dublin during a furor over the church’s handling of cases of sexual abuse perpetrated by members of the clergy, died Tuesday. He was 90. The death, in Dublin, was announced by the current archbishop, Diarmuid Martin. A theological scholar with training in metaphysics, then-Father Connell was a surprise choice when Pope John Paul II appointed him to lead the archdiocese of Dublin in 1988. John Paul named him a cardinal in 2001, making him the first archbishop of Dublin to be so elevated in nearly 120 years. During his 16 years as archbishop, he was a stalwart defender of church doctrine, particularly on social issues such as contraception, divorce and homosexuality. At times he came across as too doctrinaire. He criticized Mary McAleese, a Roman Catholic who was president of Ireland from 1997 to 2011, for taking Communion in a Protestant church. At an awkward reception hosted by Bertie Ahern, the prime minister at the time, and his partner (the two were not married), the cardinal spoke of the primacy of marriage and the family. Archbishop Connell used his pulpit to reduce archdiocesan debt, to speak out on issues such as unemployment and to defend the treatment of the Irish Travellers, a nomadic minority that has historically been stigmatized. He was one of the earliest and most senior prelates in Ireland to express concern about the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. But he was best known for his handling of a sex-abuse scandal that eventually engulfed his archdiocese, as it has others around the world. The abuses began to emerge after Rev. Brendan Smyth, a Northern Irish priest, was convicted of child sex abuse and imprisoned in 1994. The next year, the archbishop denied that the archdiocese had paid compensation to victims of abuse by its priests. But in 1998, it came to light that he had quietly lent archdiocesan money to an abusive priest, Rev. Ivan Payne, who then paid an abuse survivor, Andrew Madden. Mr. Madden came forward to reveal the loan, but Archbishop Connell initially denied that he had made it. In the ensuing controversy, he was accused of participating in a cover-up. In 2002, the national broadcaster RTE published a report by investigative journalist Mary Raftery exposing the archdiocese’s protection of eight priests who had sexually abused children. An independent commission was established to investigate the archdiocese’s handling of 325 abuse claims from January, 1975, to May, 2004. But Cardinal Connell mounted a High Court challenge to try to block the inquiry from gaining access to 5,500 files on priests and abuse allegations. He secured a temporary injunction, before withdrawing his action two weeks later amid public outrage. The inquiry, led by Judge Yvonne Murphy, issued a damning conclusion in 2009. “The Dublin Archdiocese’s preoccupations in dealing with cases of child sexual abuse, at least until the mid-1990s, were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the church and the preservation of its assets,” the commission found. “All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities.” Cardinal Connell, the report found, had been “personally appalled by the abuse,” but it had taken him “some time to realize that it could not be dealt with by keeping it secret and protecting priests from the normal civil processes.” His critics said Cardinal Connell had a talent for equivocation. For example, he initially denied using diocesan funds to compensate victims – but later said he had used the present tense to say that payments were not being made at that moment. He had not said that payments had not been made in the past. Desmond Connell was born in Dublin on March 24, 1926, the son of a civil servant. He was educated by the Jesuits at Belvedere College in Dublin and attended Clonliffe College, Dublin’s diocesan seminary. Ordained in 1951, he went on to earn a doctorate in philosophy at University College, Dublin. He later became a professor of general metaphysics and dean of the philosophy faculty there before he was appointed archbishop. He leaves three nephews.

7 thoughts on “Cleric Desmond Connell, criticized during abuse scandal, dies at 90

  1. I wish to show some thanks to the writer for rescuing me from this matter. Because of looking through the search engines and getting principles which are not beneficial, I thought my entire life was well over. Living without the presence of approaches to the issues you’ve resolved by means of your main guide is a crucial case, as well as those which may have in a wrong way affected my entire career if I hadn’t discovered the blog. Your actual ability and kindness in playing with every item was crucial. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I had not come across such a step like this. I’m able to now look forward to my future. Thanks for your time very much for this expert and result oriented help. I will not hesitate to suggest the sites to anybody who needs to have direction about this issue.

  2. I would like to express some thanks to the writer just for bailing me out of such a circumstance. Because of searching through the search engines and getting ways which were not pleasant, I believed my life was gone. Living minus the solutions to the issues you have resolved as a result of your report is a serious case, and the ones that might have adversely damaged my entire career if I had not come across the blog. Your actual mastery and kindness in controlling all the stuff was helpful. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I had not encountered such a stuff like this. I can at this moment look forward to my future. Thanks very much for the skilled and effective guide. I will not think twice to refer the blog to anybody who would need support about this issue.

  3. I抦 impressed, I need to say. Actually hardly ever do I encounter a blog that抯 both educative and entertaining, and let me inform you, you may have hit the nail on the head. Your concept is excellent; the difficulty is something that not enough individuals are speaking intelligently about. I’m very completely happy that I stumbled throughout this in my search for something referring to this.

  4. I in addition to my pals appeared to be reading through the good tips on your web page and so then I got a horrible suspicion I never thanked the web site owner for them. My young boys happened to be for this reason happy to read them and now have extremely been using those things. Appreciation for indeed being quite considerate and for utilizing this form of incredible tips most people are really needing to be informed on. My personal honest apologies for not expressing appreciation to you earlier.

  5. I happen to be commenting to let you understand what a outstanding encounter my cousin’s daughter had visiting your site. She came to find many details, which include what it’s like to possess an excellent helping nature to let other individuals quite simply know selected very confusing subject matter. You really surpassed our own expected results. Many thanks for imparting those helpful, healthy, educational as well as easy guidance on this topic to Mary.

  6. I am also writing to make you be aware of what a impressive experience my cousin’s girl obtained reading through the blog. She figured out many things, not to mention what it’s like to have a great helping mood to let other folks without difficulty have an understanding of a number of extremely tough issues. You actually surpassed my desires. Thanks for rendering those great, dependable, educational and even cool tips about your topic to Tanya.

  7. Thank you so much for providing individuals with such a superb chance to read critical reviews from here. It really is very lovely and also full of fun for me personally and my office friends to visit your blog no less than three times per week to study the new issues you have got. And of course, I’m just at all times contented for the mind-boggling pointers you give. Some 1 facts on this page are basically the most beneficial I’ve ever had.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *