DUBLIN (Reuters) - Pope Benedict was very upset by revelations that priests and nuns had beaten and raped children for many years in Irish industrial schools, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin said on Monday.
A harrowing report into the systemic abuse in Ireland’s now defunct system of industrial and reform schools has shocked the once devout Catholic country and put pressure on religious orders who ran the institutions to pay more compensation.
“He was very visibly upset, I would say, to hear of some of the things that are told in the Ryan Report and how the children had suffered,” said Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.
Martin and the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, met the Pontiff last week to update him about the fallout from the report. Benedict, who apologized for sexual abuse by clergy during a visit to Australia last year, has not commented publicly on the Irish revelations.
Brady said Benedict told them to ensure that “justice is done for all” following the report, which was chaired by High Court Justice Sean Ryan.
The report did not name any abusers following a successful legal challenge by the Christian Brothers, a Catholic order.
The 18 orders named in the report, including the Brothers, have said they will pay more compensation to thousands of victims following public and political pressure.
A 2002 deal capped the orders’ contribution to a redress fund at 127 million euros ($175.7 million). The total bill is now expected to top 1 billion euros.
In the United States, the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed in 2007 to pay $660 million to 500 victims in the largest compensation package of its kind.
The Irish report detailed floggings, slave labor and rape by priests throughout the 20th century, describing over thousands of pages how children were also preyed upon by foster parents and volunteer workers.
Reporting by Carmel Crimmins, editing by Mark Trevelyan