Bishop Donal Murray
Pope Benedict accepted the resignation of Bishop Donal Murray of Limerick on 17 December . Bishop James Moriarty of Kildare and Leighlin announced his resignation on 23 December while auxiliary bishops Eamonn Walsh and Raymond field of Dublin informed Archbishop Diarmuid Martin late on Christmas Eve that they were submitting their resignations to Pope Benedict.
Bishop Martin Drennan
There is pressure on Bishop Martin Drennan of Galway to resign. He was an auxiliary bishop in Dublin from 1997 to 2005. I can find only one reference to actions by him in the Report. It had to do with a priest who was behaving inappropriately with teenage boys. The Report is in no way critical of Bishop Drennan. However, those demanding his resignation say that all the bishops in Dublin at the time shared responsibility for what happened.
A telling postscript to all of this is that just before Christmas a judge in Tuam, County Galway, seat of the Archbishop of Tuam, a diocese where almost 99 percent of the people describe themselves as Catholics, refused a character reference from a parish priest for a man charged with driving while drunk. 'I don’t want a reference from a parish priest. I have not time for that,' said Judge Browne. He accepted letters from a neighbour of the defendant and from his niece.
The same report added, 'Earlier this month Judge Donagh McDonagh was highly critical of a character reference given by Fr Sean Sheehy at the Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee when security man Danny Foley was sentenced to seven years in jail for sexually assaulting a woman.
Fr Sheehy later stepped down from duties as Castlegregory parish priest'. (Fr Sheehy is a retired priest from the USA who was holding down the parish while the parish priest was recovering from a serious illness. Bishop William Murphy of Kerry dissociated himself and the diocese from Father Sheehy's act. The priest was also one of about 50 men who shook hands with the convicted man, in the presence of the woman he had assaulted.)
I have read at least one letter in an Irish paper from a parent who sees the very presence of a priest in a Catholic school as a danger to children. For some, the priest in Ireland is now the very opposite of a person who can be trusted.
Fr Michael Sinnott
But both letters from my Dublin friends had a note of hope, one saying, As I am writing, Fr Sinnott (the Columban priest who was kidnapped in the Philippines in October and held for just over a month) is being interviewed on the radio. He is a very courageous and brave man. We are all very proud of him. It was a terrible time for him. The other had this to say, The wonderful and joyous event was the home-coming of Fr Sinnott. We were all praying for his safe release and it must have been a very worrying time for you all. He sure is a great man and we couldn’t believe that his wish was to get back to the Philippines.
To some of us, Fr Michael Sinnott and others like him are an expression of the hope contained in the words of Isaiah read at the Midnight Mass on Christmas night: The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen (Is 9:2).