THE priests of the Raphoe Diocese are expecting to meet with their Bishop, Philip Boyce, “within days” with the audit of child sex abuse in the diocese expected to be published shortly, donegaldaily.com understands.
The clergymen met two months ago to discuss the fall-out from the scandal within the church.
We understand that 17 priests over the period from 1974 until the present day have been identified as abusers – though at least six others prior to that date will not feature in the audit.
One of them – Father Eugene Greene – had dozens of known victims, though experts believe he could have abused more than 100 children.
The priests currently serving in the diocese have been openly critical in the delay in the publication of the audit and we understand they have been promised another meeting with Bishop Boyce ahead of the publication of the audit.
One priest in the diocese told donegaldaily.com: “We are the ones who are suffering because of the crimes of a few who, frankly, should be exposed for what they are.
“We were told this audit was coming out in August, and here we are a few weeks before Christmas and we are still waiting on it. Our leaders need to stand up and be counted, otherwise our church is doomed to fail.
“Most of us (priests) believe there should be a full inquiry, a state investigation, so that those of us who serve the people properly can hold our heads high again and those involved can be named and shamed. Simple as that.”
It is highly unusual for a serving Catholic priest to be so critical – or to speak out.
The priest we spoke to did so on the condition of anonymity, but it is still rare to hear such open criticism of the Church like this, especially in Co Donegal.
We also understand the audit, compiled by Ian Elliott from the church-run body which safeguards children in the Church, will be critical.
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