Irish Prelates Note Regret for Reported Child Abuse

Christian Brothers Congregation Issues Statement of Apology

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DUBLIN, Ireland, MAY 21, 2009 (Zenit.org).- After the release of a report denouncing child abuse in Catholic institutions, the primate of Ireland expressed the hope that its publication will help heal wounds and right past wrongs.

Cardinal Sean Brady affirmed this in a statement issued Wednesday, the same day that Irish Supreme Court Justice Sean Ryan presented the 2,600-page report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.

The cardinal’s statement, publicized on the Irish bishops’ conference Web site, noted that the report «throws light on a dark period of the past.»

Cardinal Brady, archbishop of Armagh, affirmed that the «publication of this comprehensive report and analysis is a welcome and important step in establishing the truth, giving justice to victims and ensuring such abuse does not happen again.»

He acknowledged that «great wrong and hurt were caused to some of the most vulnerable children in our society,» and that the report documents a «shameful catalogue of cruelty: neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse.»

The prelate stated: «I am profoundly sorry and deeply ashamed that children suffered in such awful ways in these institutions. Children deserved better and especially from those caring for them in the name of Jesus Christ.»

The cardinal expressed the hope that the publication will help to «heal the hurts of victims and to address the wrongs of the past.»

«The Catholic Church remains determined to do all that is necessary to make the Church a safe, life-giving and joyful place for children,» he affirmed.

Examination

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin released a statement urging «all church organizations involved in this report» to «seriously examine […] how their ideals became debased by systematic abuse.»

He underlined the report’s recommendations for safeguarding children in the future, saying, «We must find ways of ensuring that the cries and anxieties of children are heard and listened to.»

«If we truly regret what happened in the past we must commit ourselves to a very different future,» the archbishop affirmed.

Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam responded in another press release from the bishops’ conference, stating, «I apologize unreservedly, on behalf of the Church, for our failure to protect children.»

He affirmed: «It is good that this report offers the opportunity to many to have their story heard and believed. In this way I hope and pray that healing may come about.»

The prelate urged constant vigilance for the safety of children, and emphasized his archdiocese’s commitment to this goal.

The Irish agency CiNews reported today that the Christian Brothers congregation issued a statement of apology in response to the report, which directed the majority of the abuse allegations against them.

The congregation apologized «openly and unreservedly to all those who have been hurt either directly or indirectly as a result of the deplorable actions of some brothers, or by the inaction or inappropriate action of the congregation as a whole.»

The statement continued: «We are deeply sorry for the hurt caused. We are ashamed and saddened that many who complained of abuse were not listened to.

«We acknowledge and regret that our responses to physical and sexual abuse failed to consider the long-term psychological effects on children.»

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