RTÉ’s ‘Mission to Prey’ (on an innocent Catholic priest!)

Posted: October 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/1006/apology.html

“Apology – Fr Kevin Reynolds

On the evening of the 23rd May 2011, RTÉ broadcast a Prime Time Investigates programme entitled “A Mission to Prey”.

Before this broadcast Prime Time conducted an interview with Fr. Kevin Reynolds, the then parish priest at Ahascragh in Galway.

This interview took place beside the parochial house
after the annual First Holy Communion Mass.

During this interview allegations were made against Fr. Reynolds. He immediately protested his innocence and denied all the allegations.

Between the interview and the broadcast, Fr. Kevin Reynolds, through his Solicitors, repeated his protestations of innocence, asked RTÉ not to broadcast the interview and volunteered to
undergo a paternity test.

Prime Time duly broadcast the programme accusing Fr. Reynolds of raping a minor named Veneranda while he was a missionary in Kenya and fathering a child named Sheila as a result of this rape.

He was also accused of secretly providing funds to Sheila.

Both Veneranda and Sheila were interviewed in the programme to corroborate the allegations.

As a result Fr. Kevin Reynolds was obliged to stand down from ministry and was removed as the parish priest of Ahascragh. He had to leave his home and his parish.

He was compelled by the actions of RTÉ to institute High Court defamation proceedings to vindicate his good name and reputation.

RTÉ acknowledges that the material in the programme concerning Fr. Reynolds ought never to have been broadcast.

RTÉ now fully and unreservedly accepts that the allegations made by Prime Time against Fr. Kevin Reynolds are baseless, without any foundation whatever and untrue and that Fr. Reynolds is a priest of the utmost integrity who has had an unblemished 40 year career in the priesthood and who has made a valuable contribution to society in Kenya and Ireland both in education and in ministry.

RTÉ acknowledges the defamation has had a devastating effect on Fr. Kevin Reynolds, his family, his peers, his parishioners in Ahascragh, those in the diocese of Kakamega in Kenya who were aware of the allegations and all those who know him or of him.

RTÉ fully and unreservedly apologises to Fr. Kevin Reynolds for this defamation and deeply regrets the serious consequences suffered by him. He was entirely innocent of the allegations
broadcast about him.” – RTÉ website posted on Thursday 6th October  2011 (Eve of the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary)

http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/1006/apology.html

…………….

In May of this year,

THE FAMILY AND MEDIA ASSOCIATION ATTEMPTED, WITHOUT SUCCESS, ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS, TO POST THE FOLLOWING COMMENT ON RTE’S BLOG FOR PRIME TIME INVESTIGATES: A MISSION TO PREY

“Good that more terrible abuse has been brought, in a certain sense, into the light, particularly in the ‘forgotten continent’. Strange, however, that the absence of any criminal conviction and the assertion of innocence should be presented as proof of guilt. Not sure also about the producers’ confidence in Africa’s criminal justice systems — was under the impression that concerns had been raised, in particular about Uganda’s proposed execution of those accused of homosexual rape. A recent documentary on South African prisons also showed the horrific lawlessness that obtains there…Will be following with interest the results of that paternity test. Hope I’ll be able to find them easily on the RTE website, whatever the outcome...” (emphasis added)

(RTE has still not posted this comment!)

FAITH IN THE MEDIA 25 MAY 2011
Just how shameful the behaviour of RTÉ was, in this case, can be seen from its determination to press ahead with the broadcast of the programme ‘A Mission to Prey’, in spite of the immediate protestations of innocence by Fr Kevin Reynolds,  in spite of Fr Reynolds’ volunteering to undergo a paternity test and in spite of the severe negative consequences this innocent priest was sure to suffer.

‘RTÉ’s Vision is to grow the trust of the people of Ireland as it informs, inspires, reflects and enriches their lives’ – RTÉ website

'Blind Passion'? RTÉ was determined to press ahead with the broadcast of the programme, 'A Mission to Prey' on 23rd May, despite Fr Kevin Reynolds' immediate protestations of innocence, despite the damaging consequences to the priest and in particular, despite Fr Reynolds' volunteering to undergo a paternity test at that time

'Blind Passion'? RTÉ was determined to press ahead with the broadcast of the programme, 'A Mission to Prey' on 23rd May, despite Fr Kevin Reynolds' immediate protestations of innocence, despite the damaging consequences to the priest and in particular, despite Fr Reynolds' volunteering to undergo a paternity test at that time

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Comments
  1. Fiona Loxley says:

    It’s all very well for RTE to issue this paltry ‘apology’ but what about the damage this has done to the faith of all of the young people of Ireland not to mention the huge upset it has inflicted upon all of the faithfull. The damage has been done RTE and we must now insist that the BCI do something. For a start all Prime Time staff should resign. I urge everybody to put pen to paper. Rise up Irish people, start reclaiming our territory, start making RTE accountable to us, we pay their licence fees. Perhaps we should start with this and refuse to pay this silly fee if we are not getting proper news reporting.

  2. Brenda Walsh says:

    Every Faithful Catholic wherever they may be on this planet has a duty to defend the Catholic Church and our Priesthood. Hence each of us must respond to the appalling vitriol attack on the innocent Irish priest
    Fr Kevin Reynolds by the Irish Broadcaster, RTE. Write to the complaints dept at ………. complaints@rite.ie and also to the Irish Broadcasting Authority at …… info@bai.ie

    Irish Faithful Catholics need to stand up and defend this attack on them through the attacks on our Lord’s Church given to us through the Catholic Priesthood. No priest, then there is no Church because we can only have the Sacraments which are supernatural through the priest.

    We must threaten RTE with an all out BOYCOTT – pick a whole weekend where we turn off the RTE TV and Radio stations. Tell them we are going to get Catholic Companies to pull out their Advertising and indeed why not advocate a complete Ban on RTE by not buying a TV Licence for a whole year. It has always worked for us in this Network – every time we held Boycotts or just even threatened a Boycott, the culprits always succumbed in humility to our just demands. You see Mammon is ruling and once we get that into our heads, then we know what to do – hit them where it hurts – the pocket. Why should, we Catholics pay Licence Fees to a Henchman’s Tool like RTE to promote the Masonic Agenda whose ONLY purpose is to destroy the Catholic Church.

    Ireland, you are mad, quite literally mad to PAY for a TV Licence whereby the Priesthood and the Catholic church is under attack at every other moment. They Masonic Agenda is propagated by the Media and their only agenda is to destroy the Catholic Church. So stop paying Licence Fees and stop buying Newspapers which are also tools of the Masons. The devil is laughing his head off, all the way to the bank as he destroys the Catholic Church and our Faith whilst we actually pay him to do so! It is time for us to get organized and hit back. It is pay back time for RTE – organize a Boycott in your area NOW. “Do not be afraid” to quote Pope John Paul II.

    Brenda Walsh
    London

  3. Lynda Finneran says:

    Rte has been consistent for many years in irrationally attacking and smearing the Catholic Church and anyone who is a member thereof. None of the usual rules of decency, fairness, objectivity, which are required by morality, professionalism AND THE LAW ar

  4. Caoimhe says:

    It’s pretty clear that there is a witchhunt operating in this country and a double standard that should shock and be a focus in itself of a lot of media attention except it is totally ignored. The determination to press ahead with accusations of the most serious nature without giving any reasonable right to reply if one is a member of the clergy, shows the attitude of Prime Time and R.T.E. to the Church.
    Some years ago I met Nora Wall, herself a victim of a false accusation at a Christening. I recognised her and noticed that in a room full of people, she was sitting by herself. I went over and chatted to her without any mention of the whole saga that she had been subjected to. Though we never discussed it, I was taken with the fact that it was reported that she had totally forgiven her accusers despite having had to touch base with a local garda station regularly and the ferocious trial by media she had suffered. I read recently that she has never been compensated which may be as much due to the fact that this is in keeping with the Christian witness she has given but I suspect is as much to do with the fact that the powers that be do not want to deal with it.
    How many more cases are there of people who either unbalanced or with an axe to grind or with financial compensation in mind, make accusations that are untrue? I know through a friend of another case where it took 2 years for the case to go to court before being thrown out. By the time it was, the priest in question had had a nervous breakdown and has been unable to resume ministry. He is unable to speak in public.
    No survivor of abuse wants the wrong person accused, but in the white heat of anger there is another agenda operating. We saw the clamour to get Senator Norris a presidential nomination depspite his repeated assertions that he doesn’t agree with an age of consent but with a principle of consent. If you don’t agree with an age of consent but only the principle, then you have to forsee a situation where a paedophile who grooms and brainwashes a child into “consenting” taking comfort from the petition that allegedly was signed by 10,000 Irish citizens.
    Richard McIlkenny, one of the Birmingham Six during his years of incarceration for a crime he never committed, confessions having been beaten out of all six men, wrote of fantastic poem, called “What price?” which was addressed to those who knew and allowed them to rot because they wanted convictions and didn’t care if they were innocent or not.
    He too forgave his accusers having gone from bitterness to a deep faith which saw him through to his release and an untimely death shortly after his release from cancer.
    Those who accuse true Christians falsely are probably lucky that they are true Christians who do not take revenge.
    However perhaps Fr. Reynolds should consider taking action to highlight that there can be other victims from the abuse scandals in addition to the survivors. If only to prevent another Salem from happening and to highlight those that may have happened.

  5. Mrs. Rene O'Riordan says:

    I agree we have to start making this shower pay attention to our legitimate demands that RTE begin to show respect for the “truth in the news” – this calumny against Fr. Reynolds is nothing short of criminal. Thanks Brenda for the addresses where we can lodge our complaints – Blessings – Rene

  6. The broadcaster RTÉ has apologised for falsely accusing a priest of abuse. It’s not the first time for Irish media, sadly – Catholic Herald – Mon 10th October 2011 http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2011/10/10/the-broadcaster-rte-has-apologised-for-falsely-accusing-a-priest-of-abuse-it%E2%80%99s-not-the-first-time-for-irish-media-sadly/

  7. Donncha O'Cathail says:

    I hope that RTE will now take the initiative in making an appropriate compensatory payment to Fr Reynolds for a charity of his choosing. And I dont mind if they use my many annual licence subscriptions to that end.

  8. RTÉ’s apology to priest – 2 letters in the Irish Times – PÁDRAIG McCARTHY and SEAN Mac MATHUNA http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/letters/2011/1011/1224305577334.html

  9. Rob Fuller says:

    I tried to complain yesterday about the whole matter to the broadcasting authority of Ireland (email address in Brenda’s comment above), but received the reply that my complaint will not be heard since it wasn’t presented within 30 days of the original broadcast. Nevertheless, I think the matter is worth pursuing. Apart from whatever legal resolution is met the national broadcaster is deserving of an official reprimand over this matter.

  10. Time for Shatter to apologise http://todayinthedoyle.blogspot.com/2011/10/time-for-shatter-to-apologise.html

    “In short, Minister, you rushed to judgment. It’s bad enough to be defamed by the national broadcaster, but to have the Minister for Justice follow up with such comments must have been very difficult for Fr Reynolds.”

    http://todayinthedoyle.blogspot.com/2011/10/time-for-shatter-to-apologise.html

  11. Senators muzzled over Prime Time’s ‘Mission to Prey’? Seanad – Oireachtas Report (18 mins into video) http://www.rte.ie/player/#!v=1116560

  12. http://www.rte.ie/player/#!v=1116560 “Senators called for an urgent debte into the role of the media in Ireland” RTE Oireachtas Report (18 mins into video) http://www.rte.ie/player/#!v=1116560

  13. Joe Jones says:

    We all know of RTE’s hidden agenda to get rid of the Catholic Hurch in Ureland,and especially to defame Priests and Family Life. Those at the top should be brought out into the open to explain their policy – and how they have got away with it for so long. Aoife cavanagh should be dismissed immediately.
    Joe Jones

  14. Rachael Wall says:

    the patronising and bullying tactics carried out by rte shows the serious issue of monopoly and zero regulation. The fact that despite all he could do to stop the broadcast, Fr Kevin Reynolds was still subject to this despicable stampede by rte with zero regard for Fr Kevin’s dignity and humanity. RTE can apologise all they want but this was a deliberate act and apologies are no good, nor are they well intended in this case. RTE were instrumental in bringing about a host of reports and were free to do so because it was the ‘in thing’ to do. There would have been no outcry except from Fr Kevin, his parishioners and families. Sure what do they matter to RTE? who cares about Catholics it seems is the question that RTE and the like ask. The fact that they carried out this shocking act without any regard or thought for the consequences meant that they knew what they were doing and didnt give a damn about Fr Kevin or his welfare. It just goes to show you that the determination to stamp out this ‘evil empire of Catholicism’ will carry on and escalate until they have succeeded in bringing Catholicism to its knees and beg for mercy and recognition to the larger RTE led crowd with mocking laughter as a response. When is this going to stop? when is enough enough?

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