A local priest, now retired, has died. In his sleep. In Ireland. Michael O’Grady, a priest since 1958, was designated a monsignor by Pope John Paul II. According to the newspaper report, O’Grady, 85, moved around a lot, with stints at churches throughout the Valley — at least six, from Mesa and Tempe to Phoenix and Scottsdale.
The article is accompanied by a photo of the broadly smiling priest, described as having a “great humor, demeanor and holiness.” Another description included the words, “humble and generous, especially to the poor.” Yet another recalled him as “so human, so humble and truly one of a kind.” At one parish’s yearly St. Patrick Day Party, O’Grady told jokes, sang songs and danced the reel.
One nun described how much O’Grady “cared about people, especially children.”
As Shakespeare‘s character Hamlet, was known to have said, “Therein lies the rub.”
It took student reporter Claire Rafford eight paragraphs to use the word, “however” in the following paragraph:
O’Grady, however, was accused of covering up for a fellow priest during the diocese’s sex-abuse scandal. He was accused by at least one victim and his family of failing to act when told that the Rev. Patrick Colleary, an associate at Holy Spirit. (a Mesa Church), was suspected of molesting the child in the late 1970s. The diocese reached a settlement with the victim in 2005.
Contemptible Rev. Colleary strenuously fought extradition from Ireland where he ran, claiming among other things that then–Sheriff Joe Arpaio made the inmates wear pink underwear which the child molester thought demeaning. Colluding with Colleary, Ireland refused to extradite him.
O’Grady, given glowing praise in death, was equally disgraceful. He gave child molester Colleary cover. Interesting that the two of them ended up together in Ireland — which refuses to extradite criminals even when the death penalty is not being considered.
Since 2003 BishopAccountability.org has maintained an extensive database documenting the church’s sexual abuse crisis. Patrick Colleary, along with his photo and news reports is midway down on the ‘Ireland Database.’ You’ll find more facts there than in the feeble newspaper account.