A NEWCASTLE woman has complained to the Catholic Church's professional standards unit about feeling "threatened and intimidated" by a letter from Maitland-Newcastle Bishop Michael Malone following an incident at her father's funeral.
The woman, who received a personal apology from the bishop early this year after alleging she had been sexually abused by a priest as a child, wrote to the bishop in June after a Newcastle priest turned off a microphone and blocked her from completing her father's eulogy.
The priest told the woman her comments about the late Monsignor Patrick Cotter were "totally inappropriate".
The woman, who did not want to be identified, said she repeated several lines from a Herald report in 2007 that revealed police recommended Monsignor Cotter be charged with concealing a crime after "deciding to say nothing" when told about child sex allegations involving priest Vince Ryan.
The woman said she thought it appropriate to raise it at her father's funeral because of his long-standing concerns about Monsignor Cotter.
An investigation by the diocese found the incident at the funeral had occurred but the priest had no case to answer.
The woman contacted The Herald after she received a letter from Bishop Malone on July 22 about "your eulogy at your father's funeral, which caused this trouble in the first place".
He took exception to the description of Monsignor Cotter "covering up the crimes of one of Australia's worst pedophile priests", calling it "a very slanderous statement".
"If you have any proof that what you publicly stated is true, then I urge you to come forward and present that proof," Bishop Malone wrote.
"I know that The Newcastle Herald (sic) expressed as much, but that is not 'proof' I assure you."
Bishop Malone confirmed he had sent the letter by email.
He said he did not understand the woman feeling threatened and intimidated, and she had "hung, drawn and quartered" the monsignor.
He stood by his statement there was no proof against Monsignor Cotter, but said he had not seen the police interview in 1996 that was the basis of The Herald's 2007 report, which ran several months after the monsignor's death.