Call to defrock 91-year-old NZ priest

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A theology lecturer at the Catholic theological college that educates New Zealand seminarians is calling to defrock 91-year-old priest Magnus Murray, reports the Otago Daily Times.

Dr Rocio Figueroa (pictured) of Good Shepherd College, Te Hepara Pai, says the Church’s response needs to be “centred on the victims, not covering up the perpetrators or trying to protect the institution.”

If Murray were convicted of his alleged crimes now, there would be no possibility of his continuing as a priest, she says.

She believes that even now, at 91, he should be defrocked.

”I think that if the victims ask, because they want this guy to be laicized (defrocked), I think it’s the right thing to do.

”We have to listen to the victims.

“The victims have never been listened to, and we have to make justice.

“The only way we will heal the victims is with justice.”

Figueroa said, even as a practising Catholic, the church’s handling of Fr Murray had been ”wrong.”

”We have had a culture of secrecy and silence.

”This silence has benefited the abusers and not the victims.”

In 2003, Murray admitted 10 charges against four boys in Otago between 1958 – 1962.

He was jailed for five years but served less than three.

A victim, then a 10-year-old boy, has spent 35 years on a benefit, coping only with part-time work while battling his own psychiatric problems.

While he has retained his Catholic faith he is a long way from forgiving.

“I’m still angry because he ruined my life. I’m still very angry,” he told the ODT.

Originally from the Otago diocese, Murray remains a priest living in an Auckland retirement facility receiving dementia care.

Even though Murray lives in Auckland, he remains the responsibility of Hamilton Bishop Steve Lowe.

Sources

News category: New Zealand.

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