In the wake of the publication of the Murphy Report in November 2009, many people are beginning to question whether the Catholic Church in Ireland has a viable future. This book, with its eclectic mix of contributors – consisting of survivors, cultural commentators, theologians, historians, journalists, a Church of Ireland bishop – interrogates Irish Catholicism post-Murphy and asks some searching questions. To what extent did the dominant culture of secrecy within the Dublin Archdiocese contribute to clerical abusers remaining undetected for so long? Has there been a failure by the institutional Church to communicate its position in a coherent manner? To what can be attributed the lamentable mismanagement of the crisis by the hierarchy? Is it capable of learning from past mistakes? Is there any hope for the Catholic Church if its leaders fail to address the wrongs that have been done to innocent children? This book may upset some people and anger others. It will undoubtedly not meet with universal approval. That is quite understandable. While contributors tackle the issue from differing perspectives, individual chapters have nonetheless the ring of sincerity and authenticity. Such emotions cannot be faked. When they are, the reader senses it immediately. Reading this book will be a step towards understanding the watershed that the Dublin/Murphy Report represents for Irish Catholicism. Contributors are Timothy Radcliffe OP, Andrew Madden, Colum Kenny, Richard Clarke, Marie Collins, Patrick McCafferty, Sean O’Conaill, Breda O’Brien, Eugene O’Brien, Seán Ruth, Enda McDonagh, Eamonn Conway, Eddie Shaw, Donald Cozzens, Garry O’Sullivan and Louise Fuller.
John Littleton is Head of Distance Education at The Priory Institute, Tallaght. Eamon Maher is Director of the National Centre for Franco-Irish Studies in IT Tallaght.