Friday, February 08, 2008

Cardinal: Jail Me for My Files

Already top news in Ireland, what's become known as "Papergate" has taken an even wilder turn: the Irish Catholic reports that Dublin's retired archbishop, Cardinal Desmond Connell, had signaled that he was prepared to go to jail rather than release privileged documents on clergy sex abuse to a government inquiry. (Connell is shown above right with his successor, current Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.)
Cardinal Connell told unnamed friends in Rome he would risk prosecution rather than breach the confidentiality of church files.

[The newspaper] says he made the comments in late 2006 when the Irish Bishops were reporting to the Pope [on ad limina visit].

Last week in the High Court, the Cardinal accused the Government-appointed Murphy Commission of unlawfully keeping him in the dark about agreements it reached with his successor, Archbishop Martin, to waive privilege on about 5,000 diocesan documents.

The paper reports that when the Cardinal complained to the commission that he was not being informed, as a relevant third party, of discussions between it and Archbishop Martin that led to the papers being handed over, the commission replied it had told the Archdiocese that relevant third parties could be informed.

Archbishop Martin's spokeswoman said he had informed Cardinal Connell of his intentions and motivations with regard to the legally privileged documents.
Ordained archbishop of Dublin in 1988, Connell -- once a professor of metaphysics at University College Dublin -- was made a cardinal by John Paul II at the consistory of 2001. He retired in 2004.