Denis Brennan

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Denis Brennan
Bishop of Ferns
Coat of arms of Denis Brennan.svg
Motto: "Rejoice and Be Glad"
Church Roman Catholic
See Ferns
In office 23 April 2006 – present
Predecessor Brendan Comiskey
Successor incumbent
Orders
Ordination 31 May 1970
Personal details
Born 20 June 1945
Enniscorthy
Previous post none
Parish Priest

Denis Brennan (born 20 June 1945) in Enniscorthy, County Wexford) is an Irish Catholic bishop. He has been Bishop of Ferns since 23 April 2006. He is the first native of Wexford to have risen to be a bishop in almost 70 years.[1]

Biography[edit]

He received his primary education in Kiltealy National School, and his secondary education in St Peter’s College, Wexford. He then entered St Peter's Seminary and was ordained at St Peter's College on 31 May 1970. In September that year he became a member of the Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament at the House of Missions, Enniscorthy, and conducted missions and retreats in Ireland, Britain and Newfoundland. He was the last Superior of the House of Missions before its closure in 1992. He was Administrator of St Senan's Parish, Templeshannon, from December 1986, and was appointed parish priest of Taghmon in March 1997. Since then he served as Vicar Forane for the Wexford deanery and as the diocesan delegate charged with child protection, and was a member of the diocesan Council of Priests.

Styles of
Denis Brennan
Coat of arms of Denis Brennan.svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Grace
Religious style Bishop
Posthumous style none

Child Protection and payouts[edit]

Bishop Brennan was the current diocesan delegate for child protection and previously Vicar Forane for the Wexford Deanery. Bishop Brennan has been a stabilising force[citation needed] in the diocese in the aftermath of the disclosures of 100 episodes of child sexual abuse as described in The Ferns Report which occurred during the tenure of his predecessors Bishop Donal Herlihy and Brendan Comiskey.

In March 2010, Bishop Brennan told parishioners that the diocese has had to pay more than €8 million to settle 48 civil actions, while a further 13 actions were pending.[2]

Dr Brennan said a request for financial help from parishioners was not about sharing blame, but about “asking for help to fulfil a God-given responsibility”. He said people who suffered abuse were not the cause of the diocese's problems. Instead, the actions of “individual perpetrators, along with mismanagement, poor understanding and/or lack of resolve” were to blame. “The Diocese of Ferns has been on a road involving the settlement of claims for 15 years now. It has been very much a team effort – various administrations and personnel, local diocesan and national church funding,” Dr Brennan said. “Up to 80 per cent of the road of justice has been travelled. As we look to complete this road, it will be necessary to invite the parishes to become part of the process financially.” .[3]

The diocese estimates it will need to raise €60,000 a year from its 100,000 parishioners over a period of 20 years. An alternative plan is to sell assets and properties, including the Bishop's House in Wexford, St Peter's College Seminary, or agricultural land. It insists that none of the money from weekly collections will go towards settlement costs. The diocese has paid the balance through its savings, remortgaging the bishop's residence, and raising a €1.8 million loan. It has paid out a further €2.1 million on legal fees for abuse inquiries, and €836,000 towards the treatment of paedophile priests.[4]

2010 Vatican Summit[edit]

Bishop Brennan took part as did all active diocesan bishops, in the summit with Pope Benedict XVI and senior curial heads from 15–16 February 2010 to discuss the Ryan report and Murphy Report that were published in 2009. Bishop Brennan said that the Irish bishops' meeting with the pope this week as a "watershed moment" that would redefine the relationship between the Church and abuse victims. Dr Brennan said a number of points regarding the mishandling of abuse cases by Church authorities were made by bishops "very honestly" in the presence of the pope. "The Holy Father (i.e., the Pope) has heard the many stories of Irish victims and I can also say they have been believed,” he told RTÉ's Morning Ireland programme today. "To have the Holy Father there for a day and a half, and the nine heads of the Vatican congregations shows how seriously the Church is taking the issue.”Asked why certain issues such as the high-profile resignations of bishops and the findings of the Murphy report were not addressed, Bishop Brennan said the meeting was primarily a briefing session for the pope to help him formulate his forthcoming pastoral letter to Irish Catholics. [5]

Bishop Brennan said on 17 February that the issue of resignations was not on the agenda at talks between the Irish bishops and the pope in Rome earlier this week. He was responding to criticism from victims' groups who expressed disappointment at the failure of the talks to address several issues relating to the church's handling of child abuse cases. Bishop of Galway Dr Martin Drennan did not attend Ash Wednesday Mass in Galway Cathedral yesterday as he was travelling back from Rome. A spokesman for Dr Drennan confirmed that he had not resigned.[6]

Bishop Brennan described the talks as a "watershed moment" that would redefine the relationship between the church and abuse victims. A number of points regarding the church's mishandling of abuse cases were "very honestly" made by bishops in the presence of the pope, he said. Dr Brennan said the meeting had focused on what can be done to safeguard children. He said he understood the negative reaction of victims' groups and acknowledged that many victims had had “a very difficult and often scarring relationship with the church”. “Sometimes they have been made promises that have not materialised, and I can understand they are sceptical. But to have the Holy Father there for a day and a half, and the nine heads of the Vatican congregations shows how seriously the church is taking the issue.” “We understood the damage that has been done,” he said.[7]

Arms[edit]

Arms[edit]

Arms of Denis Brennan
Adopted
2008
Escutcheon
Per chevron Or, semée of crosses pattée purpure, and Sable in base a torch Or flammant proper
Motto
REJOICE AND BE GLAD
Symbolism
The tinctures are a reference to the traditional colours of the county of Wexford, wherein lies most of the diocese of Ferns. The crosses reflect the sowing of the seeds of the gospel, a reference to the new Bishop's time as a member of the House of Missions, Enniscorthy. The lower part of the shield is black and is in the shape of an inverted V. This is a reference to the Blackstairs Mountains, one of the most familiar boundaries of the Diocese and the home area of the new Bishop. The gold torch refers to the Hook Lighthouse at the southern end of the Diocese, the torch is used to illustrate the function of a lighthouse as a beacon shining in the night. The torch and the black field can also reflect John 1:5......'a light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower.’

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Brendan Comiskey
Bishop of Ferns
23 April 2006 –
Succeeded by
incumbent