Desmond Cardinal Connell † Desmond Cardinal Connell †
Archbishop Emeritus of Dublin, Ireland
Cardinal Priest of San Silvestro in Capite
Mar 24, 1926
Feb 21, 2001
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English Cardinal Desmond Connell dies aged 90
Feb 21, 2017
Former Catholic Archbishop of Dublin and Cardinal Desmond Connell has died.

Born in March 1926, he was Archbishop of Dublin from 1988 until 2004 and a cardinal since 2001.

Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin said that Cardinal Connell, who had been ill for some time, passed away peacefully during the night in his sleep.

Cardinal Connell formally resigned in April 2004 and handed over the care of the Dublin archdiocese to his co-adjutor, Archbishop Martin.

Then, Archbishop Martin said history would recognise that Dr Connell acted in accordance with his conscience when handling clerical sex abuse scandals.

Cardinal Connell (L) with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
Cardinal Connell with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
Cardinal Connell
Cardinal Connell at the ordination of four priests in 2002

Cardinal Connell retained his cardinal's hat and, for two more years, a vote in papal election.

Although he claimed he was appalled at the scale of abuse when he took office, he appeared slow to address the issue, opting for secret internal church tribunals to defrock abusive priests rather than potentially explosive public prosecutions.

The 2009 Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, known as the Murphy Report, found that the then Archbishop Connell's strategies in refusing to admit liability often added to the hurt and grief of many victims of abuse.

In 2008, the cardinal got an injunction against the commission preventing it from examining files.

He withdrew the High Court attempt 11 days later, amid speculation that he may have been persuaded by fellow clergy in retirement to hand over his problems to his successor.

The Murphy Report stated that the commission had no doubt that clerical child abuse was covered up by the Archdiocese of Dublin and other church authorities.

It also found that the structures and rules of the church facilitated that cover-up. It also said that State authorities facilitated the cover up by allowing the church to be beyond the reach of the law.

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