20 Nov 2010

Dublin Archbishop says apology not enough, criminal behaviour by priests must be prosecuted

Google News - AFP January 20, 2010

Pope summons Irish bishops over child abuse scandal

By Gina Doggett (AFP)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI has summoned Irish bishops to the Vatican in February to chart a way forward over a child sex abuse scandal that has shaken Ireland, a spokesman said Wednesday.

The February 15-16 meeting will address the aftermath of revelations that Church authorities covered up for paedophile priests in the mainly Catholic country for some three decades.

The pope already met on December 11 with Ireland's two most senior Roman Catholic churchmen, primate of all Ireland Cardinal Sean Brady and Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, following a shock government report on the scandal in the Dublin archdiocese, Ireland's biggest.

The pope said then he shared "the outrage, betrayal and shame felt by so many of the faithful in Ireland (over) these heinous crimes" catalogued in the report issued in late November.

One priest admitted to sexually abusing over 100 children, while another accepted that he had abused on a fortnightly basis over 25 years.

Four bishops have so far resigned following the report, which revealed that church leaders did not report abuse to police as part of a culture of secrecy and a determination to avoid damaging the reputation and assets of the church.

The scandal caused deep pain and outrage in Ireland and sparked a crisis of confidence in church leadership.

Brady, at the funeral of his predecessor Cardinal Cahal Daly earlier this month, said the "shameful" revelations had brought the Church in Ireland to a "defining moment in its history".

The Irish bishops conference said in Dublin on Tuesday that they would hold an extraordinary meeting Friday to continue debate over the revelations.

The bishops will also be "preparing for Pope Benedict XVI's address, by way of pastoral letter, to the faithful of Ireland," the bishops conference said in a statement.

The Vatican said in December that the pope would address a pastoral letter to Irish Catholics setting out a way forward.

The Vatican-watching news agency I.media said the letter would be handed to the bishops during their visit in February.

Britain's Guardian newspaper said the text was to be read out to Irish Catholics on February 17, the first day of Lent, the Christian season of penance, reflection and fasting leading up to Easter.

Dublin Archbishop Martin said criminal behaviour by clerics must be investigated and prosecuted at a Christmas Eve mass in Dublin.

"No words of apology will ever be enough for the hurt caused," he said, adding that the church must "honestly and brutally" recognise what had happened.

"Renewal must begin with accepting responsibility for the past. Criminal behaviour must be investigated and pursued," he said.

Cardinal Claudio Hummes, who heads the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy, also said last week that paedophile priests should be prosecuted.

"We have to follow through with determination, even through ordinary legal channels," he told the Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano.

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Church Times - UK January 22, 2010

Irish president rebukes Cardinal

by Gregg Ryan Ireland Correspondent

A SENIOR Vatican official who suggested that the recent child-abuse scandals were in some measure peculiar to Ireland drew a rebuke from the President of the Irish Republic, Mary McAleese, in her speech at the annual pres entation of greetings from the Diplomatic Corps on Saturday. The Dean of the Corps, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, is also the Papal Nuncio to Ireland.

In the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, said: “Cer tainly there are some unbecoming situations, but they are very limited in number. Unfortun ately we are talking about situations linked to the human conditions, and that’s what hap pened in Ireland.” He said that the Irish scandals, “painful happen ings”, were not repres entative of most RC priests.

President McAleese said: “These are global problems, and to assume otherwise is to offer abusers the same dis honourable secret veil which gave them protec tion and immunity for far too long. I hope the world’s children will benefit from the greater scepticism and vigil ance that our experience rightly demands in order to better protect our children.”

The Papal Nuncio declined to comment on the President’s remarks.

An extraordinary meeting of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference is due to take place in Dublin today, after news that the Pope has summoned the bishops to Rome to discuss the child-abuse scandal. It is understood that the bishops will meet the Pope and senior Vatican officials over a two-day period in prep aration for Pope Benedict XVI’s address, by way of Pastoral Letter, to the faithful of Ireland.

Four of the five bishops who served as auxili aries in Dublin during the 30-year-period covered by the Irish government’s commission have now resigned (News 1 January). The Bishop of Galway, Dr Martin Drennan, maintains that he did nothing wrong and was not criticised in the report.

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