Past and present archbishops of Dublin in court over sex abuse documents
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin / Cardinal Desmond Connell
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin / Cardinal Desmond Connell

.- A dispute between the former and present Archbishop of Dublin involving documents related to sexual abuse cases is puzzling Catholic bishops in Northern Ireland, The Belfast Telegraph reports.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin agreed last June to release some 5,000 documents to a commission investigating sexual abuse.  However, lawyers representing Cardinal Desmond Connell, the former Archbishop of Dublin, argue that Archbishop Martin was not legally entitled to make that agreement.  On Monday the cardinal’s lawyers were scheduled to present a legal challenge claiming the documents are legally confidential.

The Belfast Telegraph reports the dispute has surprised the rest of the Irish bishops, including Archbishop Martin.  Some believe there has been a significant breakdown in communication within the Archdiocese of Dublin that will negatively affect the Church’s efforts to increase transparency and accountability in dealing with sexual abuse.

Cardinal Sean Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, has repeatedly expressed his support for such efforts and to prevent abuse in the future.  A system of “vetting” is being applied to all priests in Northern Ireland, and the Church has been cooperating fully with police and other relevant authorities in child protection legislation.

Paul Goggins, Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office, wrote in a letter to Minister of Parliament David Simpson that he had been advised of allegations of “historical sexual abuse” allegedly committed by Catholic priests.  According to the Belfast Telegraph, he said the Church had cooperated " in supplying all relevant information which has been required or requested.”

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