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)