I was contacted today by Martin Long, director of communications at the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, on behalf on Bishop William Lee. He shared Bishop Lee’s statement which explains his resignation was due to serious health reasons that have recently worsened. Long states that Agence France-Presse Foundation (AFP), which reported the original story, gravely defamed Bishop Lee in their coverage. He goes on to say that AFP acknowledges their mistake and has apologized. They have since removed the story from their Web site.
As a blog, we frequently link to press stories and broadcast reports. When we find that those outlets have pulled their coverage due to inaccuracy, we will follow suit. We have no interest in furthering lies. The laity has had enough of that. There is no shortage of horrible truths to expose.
He goes on to share an independent audit published by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic in Ireland. Click to read report. The content includes comments such as, “The review team strongly commends Bishop Lee for his personal commitment, leadership and absolute desire to keep children safe.”
According to IrishCentral, Bishop Lee publicly apologized in 2010 after admitting his “response to child abuse allegations in the mid-1990s was ‘seriously inadequate.'” We are happy the audit showed progress in the protection of children.
That’s where I would have liked to have ended this post. But Long continues with another request to “publish an apology to Bishop Lee in a phrasing to be approved in advance” by Long on Lee’s behalf. He continues, “Your website is available in Ireland on the internet and accordingly your defamatory statements are subject to the laws of Ireland. Bishop Lee has consulted lawyers in relation to this matter. His instruction to me is that he would wish that the continuation of the grave wrong done to him be halted by you immediately in order to avert further damage to his reputation. The effectiveness with which you act will determine his next steps. Your response is demanded before 10.00am (Irish time) tomorrow.
Do you really want to talk about grave wrongs? You’re going to approve an apology from me?
Hmm. With public relations prowess such as this, it’s no wonder the Catholic Church pews are practically empty in Ireland. Demands and threats – that’s the way to influence people and spread God’s message of love and forgiveness. I’m sure Pope Francis would be proud.
On behalf of Ireland’s clergy sex abuse victims, you can kiss my Irish (rhymes with lass).