In a statement late on Friday evening, Bishop Crean said the case involved “a former priest of the diocese who, after a trial and appeal under canon law, was dismissed from the clerical state with effect from January 2015”.
This meant that the former cleric could not act as a priest in any way.
The bishop said that when Mr Meagher met the former priest last June as part of his duties, he discovered that the man was still celebrating Mass at his home.
The former priest said he was acting on the advice of a canon lawyer who, unknown to Bishop Crean, “had further appealed the penalty of dismissal from the priesthood to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome”.
In his statement, Bishop Crean said he believed “this recourse was not legitimate.
“However, I believed that no further action by me was possible until I received notification from the CDF. This led to Mr Meagher resigning, as he did not agree with my position.”
The bishop was subsequently assured that no further appeal was possible in the case.
He contacted the man and told him he could not act as a priest “in any manner whatsoever”.
Mr Meagher’s deputy, Fr Patrick Winkle, accompanied him to the meeting with the former priest last June.
Fr Winkle has been appointed as Cloyne’s new child protection officer on an interim basis, Bishop Crean said.
Ger Crowley, director of safeguarding in Limerick diocese, has been appointed to support him.
Two weeks ago, it emerged that Bishop Crean advised the parish pastoral council of Killeagh parish in Cloyne to withdraw an invitation to Fr Tony Flannery to speak at a local community hall later this month.
Fr Flannery is currently under suspension from public ministry in a dispute with the CDF in Rome.
Cloyne diocese covers east Co Cork.
Cloyne child protection officer quits in bishop row
The first lay person to assume the position of child protection officer in the Catholic diocese of Cloyne has resigned in a dispute over the handling by Bishop William Crean of the case of defrocked priest Dan Duane.
Bill Meagher, a former HSE social worker who was appointed the designated liaison person for the diocese in 2011, quit his post yesterday after Bishop Crean sought clarification from the Vatican over the position of the former 75-year-old Mallow priest who has continued to celebrate Mass in defiance of the Church ruling.
Mr Duane, who was laicised after being found to have sexually abused minors, had appealed directly to Pope Francis and the Church’s Supreme Court, the Apostolic Signatura, the decision of the Canonical Court in Ireland to dismiss him from the priesthood.
He lost that appeal in January and made a further appeal to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a department of the Roman Curia formerly known as the Inquisition.
In a statement last night, Bishop Crean said when he learned of the second appeal by Mr Duane he believed that he could take no further action against him until after he had received clarification from the CDF. “This led to Mr Meagher resigning as he did not agree with my position,” said Bishop Crean.
As part of his work, Mr Meagher and his deputy, Fr Patrick Winkle who will now assume the role for 18 months, met Mr Duane in June and was told that he was celebrating Mass privately at his home. He defended his action on the basis of the second appeal.
The bishop added: “I then sought further advice on the matter which confirmed my conviction that no further appeal was possible. I then wrote to the former priest to reiterate that, as he is dismissed from the priesthood, he cannot act as a priest in any manner whatsoever.”
One of Dan Duane’s victims said last night: “A good man has gone down as he could not work with the bishop’s interpretation.”
6 Sep 2015, Sunday
Rome rejects appeal by former Cloyne priest against dismissal from clerical state over child sexual abuse
There will be no further comment at this time