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Daly calls for end to clerical celibacy Report, page 36

Chaplain ‘lacked courage’, army abuse inquiry finds

Sam Adams

A CATHOLICarmy chaplain has been accused of failing to report evidence of abuse suffered by Iraqi prisoner Baha Mousa shortly before his death in British custody. Fr Peter Madden was criticised by a gov- ernment inquiry for not alerting senior officers to the “shocking and shameful” treatment of 10 Iraqi men, including Mr Mousa, at a deten- tion centre in Basra by soldiers from the 1st Battalion the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment in September 2003. Mr Mousa suffered at least 93 injuries prior to his death, including fractured ribs and a broken nose. Sir William Gage, the retired judge who led the inquiry, described Fr Madden as a “poor witness” and accused him of “lacking the courage” to report the abuse that he had

allegedly witnessed. “He ought to have inter- vened immediately, or reported it up the chain of command but, in fact, it seems he did not have the courage to do either,” said Sir William. It is understood that Fr Madden, who is now a parish priest in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, could face internal church dis- ciplinary action as a result of the report’s findings. A spokesman for the Archbishop of Birmingham, Bernard Longley, says he plans to interview Fr Madden when the priest returns from holiday. Mgr Stephen Alker, who was the principal Catholic chaplain for British land forces at the time of Mr Mousa’s death, said criticism of Fr Madden was “unfair”. “Peter is a quiet lad, but he is also a very good priest. The job of a Catholic chaplain is extremely difficult and demanding.”

Bishops consult on pitfalls in Equality Act

CATHOLICS INEngland and Wales have been asked to voice their concerns over the impact of the Equality Act ahead of the launch of official guidance on the legislation by the Bishops’ Conference, writes Sam Adams. A consultation document has been sent to dioceses, schools and other bodies, with bishops hoping to use the responses to advise Catholics on how to avoid contravening the anti-discrimination law, which came into force last October. There is concern that dioceses could be sued if parishes refuse to allow gay groups or other organisations which conflict with Catholic teaching to rent their property, in particular church halls. The consultation ends on 15 October.



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17 September 2011 | THE TABLET | 35

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