Pope's envoy apologizes to Irish victims of clerical sex abuse

DUBLIN Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:41pm EDT

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DUBLIN (Reuters) - An envoy for Pope Benedict has apologized in person to child victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests, a gesture that highlights the Vatican's concerns over its deteriorating status in Ireland.

Senior Vatican Cardinal Marc Ouellet travelled to the island of Lough Derg, in a remote corner of Ireland, on Tuesday to speak with victims in a meeting which lasted two hours.

The Church in predominantly Catholic Ireland has been rocked by a series of cases of child sex abuse stretching back decades and by church leaders' complicity in covering them up.

Ireland announced last year it would close its embassy to the Vatican, one of the Catholic country's oldest missions, after relations hit an all-time low over the Church's handling of the sex abuse cases.

The cardinal's visit to the island, a site of pilgrimages, coincides with the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, a gathering that takes place every four years and attracts tens of thousands of Catholics from around the world.

"In the name of the Church, I apologize once again to the victims, some of which I have met here in Lough Derg," Ouellet said.

"We have learned over the last decades how much harm and despair such abuse caused to thousands of victims. We learned too that the response of some Church authorities to these crimes was often inadequate and inefficient in stopping the crimes," he said.

The head of the Irish Catholic Church apologized last month to victims of sexual abuse but rejected calls to resign after a TV documentary reported the cleric failed to warn parents their children were being sexually abused by a priest in 1975.

Hundreds of cases of priests sexually and physically abusing youths have come to light in Europe and the United States in recent decades as new disclosures have encouraged long-silent victims to go public with their complaints.

The congress, which was last held in Ireland in 1932, opened on Sunday with the unveiling of a stone as an acknowledgment of the abuse of children with a prayer engraved on the Wicklow granite composed by a survivor of clerical abuse.

(Reporting by Lorraine Turner; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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Comments (2)
Physician wrote:
Cardinal Ouellet said: “We have learned over the last decades how much harm and despair such abuse caused to thousands of victims. We learned too that the response of some Church authorities to these crimes was often inadequate and inefficient in stopping the crimes.”

As a Catholic physician who has met many who have been sexually abused by priests, and as one who was sexually assaulted by a Carmelite priest when I was a young doctor in Ireland, I am saddened by the lack of accountability by Pope Benedict XVI, who was in charge of the office that dealt with clergy sexual abuse cases for 24 years before becoming Pope.

Was Pope Benedict XVI, when known as Cardinal Ratzinger, so ambitious to become Pope that he centralized all cases of clergy sexual abuse to be directly under his control? Did he keep the cases secret, so that his chance of becoming Pope would not be hindered? Was he elected Pope by the other members of the hierarchy, so that he could claim diplomatic immunity and then he and they would be protected from accountability by civil law and protected from prosecution for their complicity in protecting predator priests and predator bishops?

I believe that it is hypocritical of Cardinal Ouellet to give vague reference to “some church authorities”. From all of my research on the clergy sexual abuse of innocent children, I find that all roads of accountability lead to the Vatican in Rome and to the Pope. The bishops have gotten away with it, because the Pope has not made them nor himself accountable for their roles in allowing this terrible scandal in our church to flourish worldwide for years.

The betrayal of innocence cries to heaven for justice! How many more victims will take their own lives by suicide, as they suffer the betrayal of trust by priests and bishops and Popes? How many more victims will be re-victimized by the bishops’ lawyers in court? When will the Pope and hierarchy admit their personal guilt? Only the truth will set the Roman Catholic Church free.

Sincerely, Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Jun 13, 2012 11:04pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
DeanMJackson wrote:
Only non-believers would pass child “abusing” priests onto other parishes instead of severing the priest from the Church. The Vatican would have known that by condoning passing the pries on it was:

(1) encouraging other pedophiles to enter the seminaries; and

(2) the sheer number of sex abuse cases would eventually come out into the open, severely damaging the Church’s authority.

Now believers would have no interest in severely damaging the Church’s authority, so who are these non-believers in the Church?

Obviously the Vatican/Catholic Church has been infiltrated by Communists, as revealed by KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn, the only Soviet-era defector to still be under American Federal protective custody, which means:

(1) the collapse of the USSR in 1991 was a strategic ruse; and

(2) that all other Soviet-era defectors that followed Golitsyn were double agents.

Jun 15, 2012 4:39am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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