Divine Mercy stands by Fr Radcliffe in ‘bullying’ claim

Guest speaker will appear this month, organisers insist

Michael Kelly and Paul Keenan

Organisers of this month’s Divine Mercy Conference have insisted they will not disinvite their keynote speaker despite what they claim is an “orchestrated campaign to bully him off”.

Renowned Dominican preacher – and former head of the worldwide order of priests and brothers – Fr Timothy Radcliffe is due in Dublin’s RDS on February 22 to address the annual gathering.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic, organiser Don Devaney dismissed what he described as a “scurrilous and vitriolic” campaign against Fr Radcliffe.

He insisted that the conference is the victim of “a kangaroo court trying to decide for us what we should do”.

“Fr Radcliffe is in good standing with his order and with Rome,” Mr Devaney pointed out, adding: “Treating him like this is just not acceptable.”

The latest salvo against Fr Radcliffe came this week in an email sent by Simon Galloway of the Steering Committee for the National Consecration of Ireland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (SCNCI) to the Divine Mercy chaplain, Fr Michael Ross SDB. In it, Mr Galloway expresses his sadness at the choice of Fr Radcliffe for the conference before threatening to boycott the event, while simultaneously offering to supply a replacement speaker.

Responding to the SCNCI’s mail, and its allegation that Fr Radcliffe is “well known to have celebrated ‘gay Masses’ in Soho, London”, Mr Devaney pointed out that the Soho Masses were an outreach initiative “launched by Cardinal Basil Hume and with the backing of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger” during his time at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“Fr Radcliffe, like true supporters of Divine Mercy,” Mr Devaney stated, “knows that God’s mercy is not just for those in the Church but for all people.”

“Fr Radcliffe is an excellent man and a great spiritual writer,” he continued, “and we have to be mature enough to engage with him, not boycott him.

“People can boycott the Divine Mercy Conference, but more mature Catholics will go,” he said.

Mr Galloway declined to comment when contacted by The Irish Catholic.