News & Press

Archdiocese of Boston Provides Information Relating to Accused Irish Priests

(Braintree, Mass.) - In response to the tragic news from Ireland, and the recent publication of names of Irish-born priests accused of sexual misconduct and who served in the United States, the Archdiocese of Boston issued the following statement:

"Our hearts and prayers go out to those in Ireland who have been harmed by the tragic reality of sexual abuse of children by clergy. We know from our own experience the profound impact and suffering caused by the harm perpetrated on children and young people. Over the past decade, we have worked diligently to respond to this crisis and ensure it is never repeated. We remain committed to doing everything in our power to protect children from the threat of sexual abuse.

“Among our comprehensive policies and procedures in place to assure the protection of children, we immediately notify law enforcement of all allegations received and publicly disclose, through press releases and Archdiocesan web site postings, when an accused priest is removed from active ministry or convicted, either criminally or canonically.
Furthermore, prior to any priest from another jurisdiction being granted faculties to serve in the Archdiocese of Boston, Archdiocesan officials receive assurances from the priest's Bishop that the priest is fit for ministry and specifically confirm that he has not been the subject of any allegation of inappropriate behavior concerning children."

“Based on a review of Archdiocesan records, no priest on Bishopaccountability.org’s list of accused Irish-born priests currently has faculties in Boston.  Of the 70 names Bishopaccountability.org published, our records show that only three priests (Brendan Smyth, Joseph Maguire, and Dennis Murphy) ever had faculties in the Boston Archdiocese.   A review of our records also shows that, at the time these faculties were granted, we were not aware of any accusations having been made against these priests.  Based on our research, none of these three priests was the subject of an allegation here in the Archdiocese of Boston.  

“In each of these three priests’ cases, the priest’s religious order or home diocese asked the Archdiocese of Boston to grant faculties so that the priest would be permitted to celebrate Mass while he was present in the Boston Archdiocese over a certain period of time.  A request was made  to  grant faculties to Joseph T. Maguire, a priest from the Diocese of Manchester N.H., to work with the Stigmatine Fathers at the Espousal Center in Waltham from   1981 – 1985.   Dennis P. Murphy, from the Diocese of Richmond, VA, was granted faculties to serve at St. Cecilia’s, Boston from 1/5/96 – 5/31/96 and 6/7/96 – 5/31/97.  Brendan Smyth, a religious order priest (O. PRAEM ), was granted faculties for two days, 8/3/91 – 8/4/91 for Mission appeals at St. Camillus, Arlington, MA.  This is the best information we have at this time regarding authorized service in the Archdiocese of Boston.

“There is one instance of an Irish priest allegedly abusing a child here in the Archdiocese and that case remains under investigation.  The abuse was alleged to have occurred approximately thirty years ago.  The accused priest has not been in the Archdiocese for decades.  As is our practice whenever we receive an allegation, we immediately notified law enforcement about this complaint.  We also notified the priest’s religious order.  Ultimately, any action to be taken against the priest would be made by his religious order in Ireland.

“As the news from Ireland continues to unfold, we recognize that the revelations may serve as a painful reminder of the wounds many survivors carry. We invite any individual who has been harmed by clergy sexual abuse to contact our Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach for support.”