15 Nov 2010

Pope said to be "disturbed and distressed" over Irish clergy abuse, but no mention of Vatican's role in cover-up

BBC News - December 11, 2009

Pope Benedict shares Irish 'child abuse outrage'

The Pope shares the "outrage, betrayal and shame" felt by Irish people over a report that said clerical child abuse was covered-up, the Vatican has said.

In a statement, issued after Pope Benedict XVI met Irish Church leaders on Friday, the Pope was said to be "disturbed and distressed".

A report found church leaders covered up child abuse in Dublin for decades.

He will write a pastoral letter to the Irish people about sexual abuse and the Vatican's response to the crisis.

"The Holy Father was deeply disturbed and distressed by its contents," the Vatican statement said.

"He wishes once more to express his profound regret at the actions of some members of the clergy who have betrayed their solemn promises to God, as well as the trust placed in them by the victims and their families, and by society at large."

The Holy See takes very seriously the central issues raised by the Report, including questions concerning the governance of local Church leaders with ultimate responsibility for the pastoral care of children.

The Holy Father intends to address a Pastoral Letter to the faithful of Ireland in which he will clearly indicate the initiatives that are to be taken in response to the situation.

Finally, His Holiness encourages all those who have dedicated their lives in generous service to children to persevere in their good works in imitation of Christ the Good Shepherd.

Extract from Papal statement
The Pope summoned the Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, to Rome after the Vatican was criticised for failing to respond to the Murphy inquiry.

The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, accompanied the cardinal.

The Murphy report, which was published two weeks ago, laid bare a culture of concealment within the Dublin archdiocese and found that four consecutive archbishops prioritised the church's reputation above the welfare of children who were being physically and sexually abused.

Instead, paedophile priests were moved from parish to parish, free to repeat their actions on new victims.

Immediately after the publication, Cardinal Brady said he was "deeply sorry and ashamed" at the abuse of children described in the report.

Archbishop Martin was praised by victims for his willingness to co-operate with the inquiry which was ordered by the Irish government, unlike his four predecessors who had failed to report paedophile priests to the civil authorities.

The Murphy Commission said the Pope's ambassador to Ireland, Papal Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, had failed to respond to extracts of its draft report, referring to him and his office, which it had forwarded to him.

The papal envoy had complained that the inquiry did not go through the appropriate diplomatic channels in its approach to him, but Archbishop Leanza was then forced to defend himself against allegations that he had treated the investigation with contempt.

Three days ago, he was summoned to a meeting with the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheal Martin, who told the papal nuncio that the Irish government expected the Vatican to respond substantially and comprehensively to the questions raised by the Murphy Commission.

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Catholic News Service - December 11, 2009

Vatican says pope outraged by sex abuse in Ireland

By Cindy Wooden | CNS

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI shares "the outrage, betrayal and shame" felt by Irish Catholics over cases of clerical sexual abuse and the way abuse claims were handled by church leaders, and he plans to write a special pastoral letter to the Catholics of Ireland, the Vatican said.

The letter "will clearly indicate the initiatives that are to be taken in response to the situation," said a statement issued by the Vatican Dec. 11. The statement was released after the pope and top Vatican officials spent 90 minutes meeting with Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh, Northern Ireland, president of the Irish bishops' conference, and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin.

Cardinal Brady said the pope's letter, which is expected early in January, will outline several initiatives, including public services of repentance for Irish bishops and priests.

"I asked him, in my opening remarks, to teach us, to help us be better shepherds of the people, to lead us on the way of repentance and so, therefore, there will be suggestions about celebrations of lament and repentance involving, first of all, us bishops and priests," the cardinal told reporters.

Calling a papal pastoral letter to one nation's Catholics "quite a significant document," Archbishop Martin said it would be the beginning of a whole process aimed at "a very significant reorganization of the church in Ireland."

"The climate in the church," which allowed abusers to go unpunished, will only change once there is a renewal, a willingness to publicly accept responsibility for one's actions and greater involvement by laypeople in all areas of church life, the archbishop said.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said the statement summarizing the meeting was approved by Pope Benedict and "obviously reflects his style and tone" in discussing revelations about clerical sex abuse.

Pope Benedict, the statement said, "was deeply disturbed and distressed" by the contents of a report by an independent Commission of Investigation, headed by Judge Yvonne Murphy, which looked at the handling of some 325 abuse claims in the Archdiocese of Dublin in the years 1975-2004.

The report concluded that during those years, rather than being concerned about the victims, Catholic leaders were more interested in "the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the church and the preservation of its assets."

Archbishop Martin said it was obvious during the meeting that the pope was deeply ashamed by the report's depiction of clerical sexual abuse of children and the lack of action on the part of church leaders.

"I think anybody who has read that report, no matter how much they knew about the problems in the church in Dublin, in Ireland or anywhere in the world, anybody with any sense of decency would be ashamed. And he (the pope) said it himself," the archbishop said.

Describing acts of clerical sexual abuse as "heinous crimes," the statement said Pope Benedict asked Catholics to join him in praying for the victims.

The pope wanted "once more to express his profound regret at the actions of some members of the clergy who have betrayed their solemn promises to God, as well as the trust placed in them by the victims and their families, and by society at large," the statement said.

"The Holy Father shares the outrage, betrayal and shame felt by so many of the faithful in Ireland, and he is united with them in prayer at this difficult time in the life of the church," it said.

The Vatican "takes very seriously the central issues" raised by the so-called Murphy Report, including the report's "questions concerning the governance of local church leaders with ultimate responsibility for the pastoral care of children," the statement said.

Father Lombardi said Pope Benedict "does not want this swept under the carpet," but wants the church to deal with the problem and, in the letter he will write, will indicate ways that could be done.

The Jesuit said the pope's letter would not be "just a letter of consolation or regret," but would try to help the church in Ireland move forward while ensuring that such a betrayal of its mission would never occur again.

The Vatican statement said Pope Benedict "assures all concerned that the church will continue to follow this grave matter with the closest attention in order to understand better how these shameful events came to pass and how best to develop effective and secure strategies to prevent any recurrence."

Father Lombardi declined to discuss the possible resignation of any Irish bishop. He said the Vatican has a specific process for handling bishops' resignations and that it was not part of the Dec. 11 meeting.

Irish news agencies had been reporting that Bishop Donal Murray of Limerick, a former auxiliary bishop of Dublin and the only still-active bishop listed in the Murphy Report, had traveled to Rome earlier in the week to meet with Vatican officials.

The press reports said Bishop Murray was expected to resign in the wake of the report's criticism of his "inexcusable" handling of an investigation of a pedophile priest.

Cardinal Brady said Bishop Murray had met recently with officials of the Congregation for Bishops "and we await further developments."

Both Cardinal Brady and Archbishop Martin said it was clear that the pope and all the Vatican officials present at the meeting had been following very closely the situation in Ireland and the sex abuse scandal in other countries.

Father Lombardi said the top five officials of the Vatican Secretariat of State participated in the meeting: Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of state; Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for relations with states; Archbishop Fernando Filoni, who is in charge of the general affairs section; Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, undersecretary for relations with states; and U.S. Msgr. Peter B. Wells, assessor for general affairs.

The Vatican nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, was part of the meeting as were the heads of four Vatican congregations: Cardinal William J. Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Cardinal Claudio Hummes, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy; and Cardinal Franc Rode, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

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1 comment:

  1. I have prepared a special surprise for the folks in the Vatican. Read the 11/11 post at my blog. They have lied about what they are up to and now you have stunning new proof. The Vatican's long expected demise is now imminent.

    The head in sand pose may temporarily hide danger from the ostrich, but the hungry lion has no misconceptions about the truly dire nature of that bird's predicament.

    Peace and Wisdom...