Pope to Write Letter to Irish on Abuse Scandal

Meets With Dublin Prelate Following Report

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 11, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is sharing the «outrage, betrayal and shame» felt by many of the faithful in Ireland over the scandal of abuse by clergy.

A communiqué from the Vatican affirmed the Pope’s sentiments as he met today with Cardinal Sean Brady, president of the Irish episcopal conference, and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin.

The Holy Father called the prelates to the Vatican to discuss the Murphy Commission Report, which details abuse cases in the Dublin Archdiocese from 1975 to 2004. High-ranking members of the Roman Curia also attended the meeting.

According to the communiqué, the Pope «listened to their concerns and discussed with them the traumatic events that were presented in the [report.]»  It added that «the Holy Father was deeply disturbed and distressed by its contents.»

«He wishes once more to express his profound regret at the actions of some members of the clergy who have betrayed their solemn promises to God, as well as the trust placed in them by the victims and their families, and by society at large,» the statement continued. «The Holy Father shares the outrage, betrayal and shame felt by so many of the faithful in Ireland, and he is united with them in prayer at this difficult time in the life of the Church. 

«His Holiness asks Catholics in Ireland and throughout the world to join him in praying for the victims, their families and all those affected by these heinous crimes.»

The Bishop of Rome said the Church will continue to study the matter, seeking to develop «strategies to prevent any recurrence.»

And the communiqué affirmed that the «Holy See takes very seriously the central issues raised by the report, including questions concerning the governance of local Church leaders with ultimate responsibility for the pastoral care of children.»

The statement informed that the Holy Father plans to write a pastoral letter to the Irish, «in which he will clearly indicate the initiatives that are to be taken in response to the situation.»

At home

Meanwhile in Ireland, a group of bishops met with representatives of survivors’ groups on Wednesday and Thursday. A statement today reported that the bishops «decided to provide funding to support services to survivors.»
Bishop Colm O’Reilly of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise said that «today our task was to devise a road map for the future and that is what we have done.»

And the entire bishops’ conference took up the matter at their Winter General Meeting, suspending discussion of other issues on the agenda.

A statement from the conference affirmed: «We are deeply shocked by the scale and depravity of abuse as described in the report. We are shamed by the extent to which child sexual abuse was covered up in the Archdiocese of Dublin and recognize that this indicates a culture that was widespread in the Church.

«The avoidance of scandal, the preservation of the reputations of individuals and of the Church, took precedence over the safety and welfare of children. This should never have happened and must never be allowed to happen again. We humbly ask for forgiveness.»

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