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Friday, February 19, 2010

Catholic Church Scandal in Ireland

Deutsche Welle reported on February 15:
"Pope Benedict XVI began talks on Monday with a delegation of Irish bishops summoned to the Vatican to discuss a child sex abuse scandal, which has shaken the Catholic Church in Ireland.
"The talks, which are to last two days, stem from a report last November about unchecked child abuse in the archdiocese of Dublin over a period of nearly 30 years. The Murphy Commission report detailed a litany of abuse perpetuated by priests against more than 300 victims and strongly criticized the Irish church's handling of the situation...

"Revelations of pedophile priests also have rocked the Church in recent months after similar scandals in the United States and Australia... Anti-abuse campaigners, meanwhile, have called on Pope Benedict to visit Ireland to meet the victims of the pedophile scandal. Christine Buckley, herself an abuse survivor... criticized that many of the accused Irish priests had left Ireland and gone to countries such as Australia and America, where they continued their abuse."

BBC News added on February 16:
"As the Roman Catholic Church prepares to celebrate the penitential rites of Lent, during which the faithful beg forgiveness for their sins, an unprecedented act of private penance has been held behind closed doors at the Vatican.

"Pope Benedict spent two days in one of the Vatican's sumptuous marble audience halls closeted with 24 Irish bishops who both individually and collectively confessed to him their shortcomings and omissions in the paedophile clergy scandal which has shocked the entire Catholic world.

"... we know from the official Vatican communique issued at the end of this extraordinary crisis meeting that the Pope strongly condemned the child abuse scandal which has been the subject of an official Irish government inquiry... Pope Benedict did not spare his words in addressing his Irish bishops. He said that child abuse was a 'heinous crime' as well as a 'grave sin'. He lambasted the bishops for failing to act effectively over cases of sexual abuse of young people.

"Seated at two long tables, the red-clad bishops were invited by the Pope to describe individually... how they had dealt with cases of priestly paedophilia in their own dioceses, and to explain why so many cases had been systematically covered up during a period of decades. Although four Irish bishops have tendered their resignations over the scandals, only one of them has had his resignation accepted by the Vatican...

"At stake is not only the credibility of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, but also a lot of Church money... The Vatican fears that just as in similar scandals of priestly paedophilia in other parts of the world, including the United States, claims by paedophilia victims in Ireland could eventually bankrupt several religious orders as well as individual dioceses...

"The sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy has been reported from many countries, and dealing with these scandals has in fact been a worldwide problem for the Pope... But the crisis within the Irish church goes deeper perhaps than in any other country with a significant Catholic population."

The Associated Press and USA Today reported on February 18:
"Pope Benedict XVI told Irish bishops at a special summit meeting Tuesday to be courageous in confronting the pedophile priest scandal that has rocked that Catholic nation's church, but took no action on victims' demands the Vatican take some responsibility... activists troubled by what they contend is a pattern of Vatican denial of responsibility were branding the talks a failure...

"Victims had already warned the talks would be a failure unless the pope demanded resignations of bishops who had any role in concealing wrongdoing. They also demand that the pope accept in full the findings of the Irish investigations, which some church officials in Ireland have criticized as unfair.
"[Irish Church leader Cardinal Sean] Brady said Irish church leaders needed to do penitence for the scandal that would be 'the equivalent of sackcloth and ashes' and have a 'change of heart.'"

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