Father Thomas Mullen was a defrocked, disgraced, paedophile Catholic priest who died of cancer at the age of 80.
But his recent funeral attracted hundreds of Catholic mourners unphased by the dark stain of child abuse. Their willful ignorance of the horrors Mullen inflicted is astonishing.
Mullen’s best friend was Father Brian Gowans. He conducted the funeral with five other priests, giving Mullen full honours with all the pomp and ceremony befitting a faithful servant of the Church. You’d never have known he was defrocked for the sexual abuse of primary school children.
The mourners listened to Gowans in the pulpit describe Mullen as “a man of love and compassion”. There was not a word about his victims or his dramatic fall from grace. There was no mention of the immense hardship, shame and suffering he inflicted upon innocent children.
There was no official church apology for his known victims, two girls and a boy who were abused by Mullen when they were in school. The police charged Mullen only to withdraw due to time limitations.
A church investigation had found the allegations were plausible and stripped Mullen of his Holy Orders. But none of this made any difference to the esteem that Catholic parishioners and priests had for their man. They flocked to his funeral, news of which had spread by word of mouth.
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Image source: BBC