Papal cover-up

You report on Cardinal O'Brien's Easter homily (2 April) contained some misleading information about Pope Benedict XVI. His 2001 letter took the handling of sexual abuse claims away from local bishops and into the hands of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This prevented local cover-ups and made it easier to remove abusing priests from ministry.

The letter made Church investigations into abuse claims confidential, to protect the reputations of those who may have been accused unjustly, but nothing in the letter prevented civil authorities being informed.

In the case of Fr Murphy, the abuse claims against him date to 1950-74. Cardinal Ratzinger was informed in 1996, by which time a Milwaukee police investigation had been dropped and no new claims had been made against the now dying Fr Murphy in over 20 years.


Station Road


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John Haldane's defence of the Pope and by extension the Catholic Church on the question of covering up child abuse (Opinion, 2 April) is remarkable. Apparently, everybody else abuses children just as much as Catholic priests do. Perhaps Mr Haldane could direct me to any other organisation which has paid out billions of dollars to thousands of victims and sworn them all to secrecy on pain of something even more awful happening to them.


Muckhart Road