08Jun Statement from ACP in support of Fr. Ciaran Enright

Statement from the Association of Catholic Priests

The Association of Catholic Priests wishes to affirm its full support for the priestly work of Fr. Ciarán Enright, Chaplain Arbour Hill Prison, in the wake of the unjustified criticisms made against him in the Sunday World, 5th June.   During the lengthy imprisonment of Larry Murphy in Arbour Hill, Fr. Ciarán ministered to him in a caring and compassionate manner.  It is part of the Church’s role to break down the social barriers which society tries to erect, just as Jesus did.  No-one, no matter what crimes they have committed, is excluded from the Church’s caring ministry or from the love of God.

The reprehensible manner in which Larry Murphy was released from Arbour Hill prison at the end of his sentence has already been severely criticised in the most recent Prison Chaplains’ Annual Report.   The media coverage fuelled fear and anxiety amongst the general public, could only have added to the distress of his victim and indeed could have put his own life in danger.  The only voice of protest came from Fr. Ciarán.   Being faithful to the Gospel requires the Church to affirm the dignity of every human being, and to insist that this dignity be respected.  This does not always sit easily with the attitudes of many in society.

The media witch hunt which, in the pursuit of profit, demonises some high profile offenders whose crimes are rightly abhorrent to the vast majority of society, only increases the risk of re-offending and consequently makes society less safe.

As prison chaplain, Fr. Ciarán has devoted many years to ministering to those whom society would prefer to shun.  As Catholic priests, we stand firmly with him, and we are encouraged by his faithful witness to the values of the Gospel.

Peter McVerry    087 2579616

Tony Flannery    087 6814699   (on behalf of Leadership Team)

One Response

  1. michelle

    I know Fr Ciaran and he is unbelievably humble, kind, loving, non-judgemental. It is awful to hear him criticised. Nobody deserves criticism less. Whenever I think of the awful suffering that is inflicted daily on fellow human beings through our criminal jusice sytstem in a supposedly christian country, if I feel dispirited I think of Ciaran, that he would understand that the young person, for example, who never had the love they needed growing up and committed a violent act is an anguished person who we as a society have let down twice – the second time with a harsh uncaring prison sentence. In truth, I am not religious, but I can understand there but for the grace of god go I and it is truly heart-breaking. Thanks Ciaran for all that you do.