May 212010

That John Magee, the Bishop of Cloyne, Ireland, resigned on March 24, 2010, two years ahead of the 75 year retirement threshold set forth in the Code of Canon Law, as a casualty of the on going Irish clerical abuse scandal is sad and unfortunate – but appropriate. One, however, is struck that Magee, yet again, appears to be a sacrificial lamb!

His resignation, though germane, is unlikely to quell the clamor in Ireland. Magee, despite what some would say was an enviable career, was still but a bishop. The Irish, however, appear to want some ‘red’ – though, thankfully, not in any liquid form.

Ironically, this is not the first time John Magee appears to be taking one ‘for the team!’ In reality this is John Magee’s second high-profile brush with cover-up, conspiracy theories and controversy.

John Magee has been portrayed today, in the media, as a personal secretary to John Paul II (#265), and thus providing a rather vicarious link between the scandal and the iconic pope. While this is indeed true, it is not, however, John Magee’s real claim to fame.

John Magee was personal secretary to three (3) popes: Paul VI (#263), John Paul I (#264) and John Paul II. That he was a native English speaker was a part of his appeal.

Per the Vatican accounts it was John Magee who discovered the body of John Paul I. Many have doubted that. But, he went along. He never said otherwise.

Anura Guruge

Consequently, John Magee has been discussed and dissected in many accounts to do with John Paul I’s tragic passing away. He is discussed in detail in John Cornwell’s ‘A Thief In The Night’ (Life and Death in the Vatican). He comes across as a loyal but erratic character. He did all that was expected of him by the Vatican. For that, he was eventually made a Bishop – but he never came close to the ‘red.’ Now he has resigned. It is all very sad.

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