Irish Bishops Apologize to Abuse Victims

Meet With Survivors at Fall Meeting

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MAYNOOTH, Ireland, OCT. 8, 2009 ( The bishops of Ireland apologized to a group of victims who were abused at the hands of clergy and nuns in Catholic schools and orphanages, and promised to take specific steps to prevent similar abuse in the future.

The bishops issued their apology this week within the context of the autumn general meeting of Ireland’s episcopal conference, which concluded yesterday evening in Maynooth. The prelates also discussed the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Report by Justice Sean Ryan.

During the meeting with survivors, which lasted three hours, the victims «outlined the painful legacy of child abuse on individuals and on their families and condemned the vile acts of abuse which took place,» the episcopal conference reported in a press statement.

«Bishops apologized for the failure of the Church to prevent abuse of children in its care and for its failure to listen to complaints of abuse,» the conference added. «Bishops and survivors agreed that yesterday’s meeting was a welcome beginning to a process and that further meetings would follow.

«Bishops agreed to establish a dedicated group to liaise with the survivors of institutional abuse into the future.»

At a short press briefing after the meeting, Cardinal Seán Brady, archbishop of Armagh, revealed that the conference would consider increasing compensation for survivors of abuse.

Missing in Darfur

During the autumn meeting, the bishops also noted that Oct. 11 marks the 100th day of captivity for Sharon Commins of Clontarf, Dublin, and Hilda Kawuki of Uganda.

The two women work for GOAL — an international humanitarian agency that receives support from various high-profile athletes.

Commins and Kawuki were last seen in Dafur, where they were providing assistance to displaced populations.

The bishops asked the faithful to remember the two women in their prayers and at Mass this weekend.

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