2 Dec 2010

Third Irish bishop resigns, UK bishops apologize, another UK priest on trial for assaulting three sisters

BBC News - April 22, 2010

Catholic bishops express sorrow over abuse scandals


Catholic bishops in England and Wales have offered a full apology and said there were "no excuses" for child abuse scandals that have hit the Church.

A statement by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales offered a "heartfelt apology and deep sorrow to those who have suffered abuse".

It described the crimes by some priests and religious figures which recently came to light as a "profound scandal".

This comes as a third Irish-based bishop quit over how abuse was handled.

Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin.

Bishop James Moriarty admitted in December that he had not challenged the Dublin archdiocese over concealing child abuse complaints from police.

He served as an auxiliary bishop in the Dublin archdiocese between 1991 and 2002.

The joint statement issued by bishops will go out to all parishes in England and Wales - it said those who had carried out the abuse brought "deep shame to the whole Church".

"Catholics are members of a single universal body. These terrible crimes, and the inadequate response by some church leaders, grieve us all," it said.

The statement went on: "We express our heartfelt apology and deep sorrow to those who have suffered abuse, those who have felt ignored, disbelieved or betrayed.

"We ask their pardon, and the pardon of God for these terrible deeds done in our midst. There can be no excuses."

Worldwide allegations

And it said the Church would work with safeguarding commissions within its dioceses to ensure relevant steps were taken to protect against any further abuse and atone for those who were already victims.

The statement was presented by Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, who said the words were "very heartfelt" and "unambiguous".

Archbishop Nichols told BBC News: "We say there are no excuses.

"We simply apologise profoundly for the hurt and the lasting damage that is done through childhood abuse, and for the inadequate ways in which in the past these things have been handled."

In recent months there has been a wave of child abuse reports across the globe against the Catholic Church.

In recent months victims have come forward in the Irish Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and the US.

And critics have accused the Church of failing to deal adequately with the problem.

This article was found at:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8636581.stm

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Reuters - April 22, 2010

Pope accepts resignation of 3rd Irish bishop

Pope Benedict has accepted the resignation of Bishop James Moriarty, the Vatican said on Thursday, bringing to three the number of Irish bishops who have stepped down due to the sexual abuse crisis.


VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict has accepted the resignation of Bishop James Moriarty, the Vatican said on Thursday, bringing to three the number of Irish bishops who have stepped down due to the sexual abuse crisis.

Moriarty tendered his resignation in December, after an official report named him among Church leaders in the Dublin archdiocese who had covered up cases of child sex abuse by priests for 30 years. He was auxiliary bishop of Dublin from 1991 until his appointment as bishop of Kildare and Leighlin in 2002.

Hundreds of cases of sexual and physical abuse of youths in recent decades by priests have come to light in Europe and the United States in the last month as disclosures encourage long-silent victims to finally go public with their complaints. Pope Benedict, under criticism from victims for not taking more energetic steps to counter the sex abuse scandal, pledged on Wednesday that the Roman Catholic Church would take action.

In a statement released in Ireland, Moriarty said he was part of the Dublin hierarchy "prior to when correct child protection policies and procedures were implemented".

"I accept that from the time I became an auxiliary bishop, I should have challenged the prevailing culture," he said. "I apologize to all survivors and their families."

Two other bishops named in the report have also offered to resign, but the Vatican has not yet announced any decision in their cases.

Cardinal Sean Brady, the patriarch of Ireland, has come under heavy pressure to resign because he was involved in having abuse victims sign secrecy agreements decades ago. He has said he would not step down.

In Germany, Augsburg Bishop Walter Mixa offered his resignation on Wednesday evening after admitting he physically abused children while a parish priest decades ago. (Writing by Tom Heneghan, Editing by Lin Noueihed)

This article was found at:

http://www.canada.com/news/story.html?id=2937748

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BBC News - April 21, 2010

Priest child abuse trial begins


A Catholic priest has gone on trial accused of indecently assaulting three young sisters from County Fermanagh.

Father Eugene Lewis, who is a member of the Society of Missionaries of Africa, denied 11 charges of assault between 1963 and 1973 at Omagh Crown Court.

The offences span a 10-year period when Father Lewis lived at the White Fathers College in Blacklion, County Cavan.

The abuse is alleged to have taken place when he visited the family at their home in County Fermanagh.

The victims said the abuse began when they were as young as seven.

The sisters said Father Lewis would often visit the family when it was their bath time or bedtime.

A number of the charges relate to claims that he touched them when they sat on his lap in their night clothes, and others that he abused them while telling bedtime stories in the dark.

One of them will also give evidence that he raped her, but as the alleged offence took place in Dublin he cannot be tried for that in a Northern Ireland court.

Father Lewis, is now aged 75 and his address was given as the Cypress Grove House, Templeogue, Dublin where the Missionaries of Africa is based.

He was ordained in 1958 and after his time at the college in Blacklion between 1960 and 1970, he went to Dublin and then served on missions overseas.

More recently he has worked in west Belfast and as a parish priest in Dunmurry.

When interviewed by the police, Father Lewis said he never touched the children, that the claims were a total fabrication and that he was the victim of a "family lynching mob".

The trial is expected to last several weeks.


This article was found at:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/8634925.stm

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BBC News - April 28, 2010

Priest child abuse case continues


A woman who claims she was abused by a priest said she decided to report him to police after discovering he was working at a girls school in Belfast.

Father Eugene Lewis, 75, is accused of abusing three sisters in their County Fermanagh home over a 10 year period between 1963 and 1973.

The woman, who cannot be named, said she thought he might be abusing again.

Fr Lewis, who is a member of the Society of Missionaries of Africa, denies 11 charges of indecent assault.

The abuse is alleged to have started when the sisters were as young as seven.

On Tuesday at Omagh Crown Court, one of the sisters said she remembered Fr Lewis entering her room to tell her a story, but abused her as he did.

By the time the woman was 15 she said she realised the sexual nature of what the priest had been doing.

The woman told the court that after seeing Fr Lewis at a party at one of her sisters' houses she discovered he was working in a girls school and involved in community work.

She made a complaint to the police in May 2008, shortly before this she said her sister contacted her out of the blue to say she was taking a case against him for abusing her as a child and raping her when she was older.

On Monday, the court heard how one of the sisters alleged Fr Lewis had raped her when she had gone to seek counsel about an affair she was having with a married policeman.

The jury had already heard the woman was sent to the Dublin headquarters of the 'White Fathers', Society of Missionaries of Africa, after her family discovered she was having an affair.

Because the alleged rape took place in the Irish Republic, Fr Lewis cannot be tried for that offence in a court in Northern Ireland.

Fr Lewis was ordained in 1958 and after his time at the college in Blacklion between 1960 and 1970, he went to Dublin and then served on missions overseas.

More recently he has worked in west Belfast and as a parish priest in Dunmurry.

The trial is expected to last several weeks.


This article was found at:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/8648637.stm

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