Bishop admits 'horrific abuse' occurred in Raphoe diocese

The Bishop of Raphoe has admitted that horrific acts of abuse of children by individual priests happened in the diocese.

"During the past decades there have been very poor judgments and mistakes made," said Bishop Philip Boyce in a statement released this morning.

"There were horrific acts of abuse of children by individual priests, that should never have happened, and if suspected should have been dealt with immediately in the appropriate manner."

He also admitted insufficient emphasis was placed on the needs of victims, often in the "misguided attempt" to protect the reputation of the Church.

"We are truly sorry for the terrible deeds that have been inflicted on so many by a small minority of priests," the statement continued.

"We offer our humble apologies once more and seek their forgiveness for the dreadful harm that has been done to them, their families and friends.

Reports into the handling of sex abuse allegations in six Catholic dioceses are being published this morning.

Bishop Boyce said the sexual abuse of a young person by a member of the clergy "inflicts a terrible wound in the lives of victims, families, communities and in the Church".

"It is repugnant and constitutes a stumbling-block to a life of faith in those who suffer," he added.

"It gives scandal to the whole of society and is rightly regarded as repulsive.

"I have spent endless hours and given much time and energy to eradicating this evil, repairing what was damaged as best I could, restoring justice and putting structures in place to prevent, as far as possible, this criminal sin from happening again."

Bishop Boyce said the diocese intends to make renewed contact with survivors of child sexual abuse by members of the clergy so as to make sure that their needs for appropriate counselling, spiritual support or words of apology are adequately met.

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