18Nov David Quinn congratulates Fr Kevin Reynolds and the ACP

Thu, 17/11/2011 – 22:28

The anti-Rome tendencies of some in the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) is not to my taste and I believe that Association would be more acceptable to more priests without it, but it deserves tremendous credit for standing by Fr Kevin Reynolds when almost everyone else had abandoned him after RTE’s Prime Time had falsely accused him of sexually abusing a teenager and fathering her child.

The ACP found top-notch legal advice for Fr Reynolds who fought Prime Time every inch of the way and successfully vindicated his name, helped of course by a DNA test that established Fr Reynolds is not the father of the child in question.

Fr Sean McDonagh ably defended Fr Reynolds before the media outside the Four Courts today and blasted a partly media-created culture that has removed the presumption of innocence for priests.

He quoted The Iona Institute poll, conducted by Amarach Research, which found that 42pc of the public believe a minimum of one in five priests hae abused a child. There would be uproar, he said, if the public had a similarly distorted view of any other profession.

Of course, this loss of the presumption of innocence for priests is what paved the way for that disastrous Prime Time programme.

It seems clear that in the case of priests, RTE has replaced the presumption of innocence with a presumption of guilt. It needs to take a long, hard look at itself and ask how this attitude has become so entrenched within the station and what are the other ways in which it manifests itself in its often extremely hostile coverage of the Church.

But congratulations once again to the ACP, and of course to Fr Reynolds himself.

David Quinn’s blog

15 Responses

  1. Bernadette

    David makes a fair point here.

    But in today’s Ireland, even if many priests share David’s worries about some of the views of the ACP, this case will leave them fearing they may have more to lose by being outside this association than being inside.!

    Let’s hope for better standards from both media and church protocols in the future.
    Justice is not served by any group becoming the new ‘victims’

  2. Gail

    In celebrating Fr. Reynold’s rightful vindication, let us not forget those who have been abused, denounced and pilloried by their own bishops, forced to leave their homes, on the flimsiest of evidence. It is, sadly, the bishops themselves who have been the prime originators of guilty until proven innocent. The standard approach to a priest against whom abuse has been alleged should be precisely that as applies to another citizen. Noticeably in some parts of the world, bishops accused of abuse do not apply these same standards to themselves.

  3. Pat Rogers

    David,
    Thanks for your endorsement of the ACP’s support of Fr. Reynolds.
    While you refer to “anti-Rome tendencies of some in the Association of Catholic Priests,” I wonder whether those tendencies are really “anti-Rome” at all, since one may take as fairly axiomatic that a Catholic priest will value the pope’s role of pastoral and even doctrinal leadership, in some kind of succession to Peter’s role as the leading apostle of Jesus. One can be very definitely “pro-Rome” in that sense, desiring continuity in the worldwide community of faith, while being quite critical of a harshness and dominance in the Vatican style in recent years, that seems to reject or undervalue much of the authentic progress in human rights and interpersonal values which is part of the modern Zeitgeist.
    Our church is not a democracy, certainly. But neither is it a monarchy. It is a community of love and faith, led by generous servant-pastors, with the “Servant of the servants of God” as its highest office-holder. Groups like the ACP are speaking up for that ideal of church, so well articulated in many texts of the 2nd Vatican Council. While we cannot juridically hold our hierarchical leaders to account, we can at least remind them and ourselves of the Gospel foundations on which our church rests; and of the kind of fraternal exchange that is so evident both in the epistles of Paul and the Acts of the Apostles. The claim to silence all further discussion through irreformably infallible edicts is quite hard to fit in with that New Testament church which we love.

  4. e murphy

    Congrats to Father Kevin and ACP….. over the years RTE and the print media have been calling for accountability which might involve resignations for bankers..politicians…civil servants… etc..etc and rightly so….I am sure the public would like to know if the team involved in the defamation of Father Kevin have had their employment terminated.. just to show that RTE practises what they preach

  5. Eddie Finnegan

    Bernadette, I appreciate that the ACP is decidedly NOT a Trade Union, but I’m sure the worst possible reason for a priest to join the Association would be “for the insurance” or to shelter under the umbrella of the obviously excellent legal team. Burgeoning numbers should be spurred by the main objectives. I speak from decades of experience of trying to build up an active teaching union branch, only to be dragged down by a majority who just needed the insurance but could never be bothered to attend a meeting, never mind think of action that might threaten a day’s pay or, perish the thought, the chance of promotion.

  6. Rory Connor

    Re David Quinn’s comments, when the Association was first formed, I told one of your members that I thought that TWO Associations were needed – one to promote the “liberal” agenda and another to defend falsely-accused priests. I am pleased to admit that I was very much mistaken!

    I must say that I still find the Association’s denunciation of the revised liturgy and condemnation of Irish bishops over the top – although I can’t say too much since you seem to be the ONLY group who are defending priests! I will point out however, that old school bishops like John Charles McQuaid and Cornelius Lucey, would have defended their own priests against slander as a matter of course. And in 1999 when John Cooney (and the Sunday Times) published obscene slanders about Archbishop McQuaid, the Dublin Archdiocese then led by Desmond Connell protested furiously and to good effect.

    However when the Irish Independent made Mr. Cooney its Religious Affairs (!!) correspondent in 2006, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin did not utter a peep of protest. Indeed he and Cooney seem to get on just fine. Is it not the case that Dublin priests have no confidence that the current Archbishop will defend them against false allegations?

    I hope that the Association will concentrate on THAT issue in its future dealings with the hierarchy.

  7. Paddy Ferry

    I would like to endorse every word in Pat Rodgers’ comment above. Very well said, Pat. I was about to respond to David Quinn’s “anti-Rome tendencies” remark but your response said everything I wanted to say.

  8. Eddie Finnegan

    @ e murphy (above): Your comparisons are well covered in both the “Five Questions the Irish Missionary Union are asking RTÉ” (taken up by Ronan McGreevy in this morning’s Irish Times – Home News) and more fully in Noel Whelan’s “RTÉ’s credibility on line in handling of Reynolds libel” in their Opinion&Analysis section.
    Funny I can’t recall either RTÉ or the Irish Times suggesting that “It’s very difficult for a rolled head to learn anything” in the case of, say, Bishop Donal Murray three years ago.
    Meanwhile, should ACP issue an SOS for that “Religious Correspondent” of record, Patsy McGarry, who seems to have suddenly gone AWOL without trace. I fear he has been kidnapped by Preternatural Beings from Mars.

  9. Mary Burke

    Pat Rogers writes. “One can be very definitely “pro-Rome” in that sense… while being quite critical of a harshness and dominance in the Vatican style in recent years, that seems to reject or undervalue much of the authentic progress in human rights and interpersonal values which is part of the modern Zeitgeist.”

    An example of that dominance might be the Vatican’s insistence on appointing Wolfgang Haas as auxiliary bishop in Chur, Switzerland in 1988 and later bishop in 1990 despite almost universal opposition.

    Some Irish priests have even been known to have worked in Chur.

  10. Eddie Finnegan

    Genevieve Carbery (Irish Times, November 21st) paraphrases Fr Reynolds’ solicitor, Richard Dore, as saying on RTÉ’s ‘This Week’ yesterday that ‘If there was a “loose canon” prepared to make malicious statements against Fr Reynolds they could make such statements against another person.’

    I distinctly heard Mr Dore refer to a “loose cannon”. Does Genevieve know something the rest of us don’t?

  11. Martin

    She heard it from Mr Dore! Or have I missed something?

  12. Eddie Finnegan

    Just that second ‘n’ maybe, Martin. Missing it opens up an entirely new CHAPTER.

    But my apologies for doubting Patsy McGarry. He’s returned and delivered the goods (Irish Times,November 22nd: Opinion & Analysis). He’s a man who could face a canon, a cannon or a minister. Now it would be nice to hear from Alan Shatter, Noel Curran and even Tom Savage – a man who knows a thing or two about church, government ministers and communication.

  13. Karen

    When you google Fr Kevin Reynolds you will come across a very disturbing libel of Kevin Tracey who was set up to be framed. To date this defamation has been covered up. Will the media not stand up and admit their mistakes here too and call to justice the wrongdoers.

  14. Karen

    This defamation concerning Kevin Tracey is as bad or even worse than that of Fr Kevin Reynolds. The fact is that four national newspapers are covering it up to protect the person who was responsible. It is disturbing.

  15. Mick Leahy

    I would like to express my gratitude to the ACP for their support of Fr Reynolds. It was obviously a Gracious act. I think it goes without saying that supporters of this position are like-minded followers of Christ, but I don’t think it can be emphasised enough how important it is today, in the maw of the Babylon that assails us, that we stand loyal behind the Pope who is the Vicar of Christ, the successor of Peter, and in the person of Paul VI, JP the Great and Benedict nowadays, has, in my lifetime held the line in the sand.
    On a more frivolous level, perhaps some of us with time on our hands might adopt that slogan used in the sixties against Lyndon Johnson by anti-Vietnam protestors, and picket around RTE with the words: “Hey, Hey, Aoife K, how many priests did you frame today?”!