Pope stops short of outright apology for clerical abuse

Pope stops short of outright apology for clerical abuse

Pope Benedict XVI today has expressed his "profound regret at the actions of some members of the clergy".

Following a meeting with Cardinal Sean Brady and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin in the Vatican regarding the Irish Commission of Investigation’s Report into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, the pontiff said that he "shares the outrage, betrayal and shame felt by so many of the faithful in Ireland", but did not use the words "sorry" or "apologise" in the statement issued.

Last Wednesday, the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference formally apologisedfor the abuse and mishandling of allegations in the Dublin Archdiocese.

The Vatican said after the 90-minute talks that the letter to the faithful of Ireland “will clearly indicate the initiatives that are to be taken in response to the situation.”

The Murphy report detailed allegations against a sample 46 priests who served in Dublin between 1975 to 2004 and found several bishops, including the Bishop of Limerick, Donal Murray, who acted inexcusably in one case, mishandled complaints against priests.

Bishop Murray has also been in Rome all week and is understood to be to be preparing to resign.

Meanwhile two others, Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin Eamon Walsh and Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan, have insisted they have done nothing wrong.

A Vatican spokesman said the Holy See took the central issues raised by the report very seriously, including questions concerning the governance of local Church leaders with ultimate responsibility for the pastoral care of children.

“The Holy Father intends to address a pastoral letter to the faithful of Ireland in which he will clearly indicate the initiatives that are to be taken in response to the situation,” he added.

“Finally, His Holiness encourages all those who have dedicated their lives in generous service to children to persevere in their good works in imitation of Christ the Good Shepherd.”

The statement in full:

Today the Holy Father held a meeting with senior Irish Bishops and high-ranking members of the Roman Curia. He listened to their concerns and discussed with them the traumatic events that were presented in the Irish Commission of Investigation’s Report into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin.

After careful study of the Report, 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 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.

He assures all concerned that the Church will continue to follow this grave matter with the closest attention in order to understand better how these shameful events came to pass and how best to develop effective and secure strategies to prevent any recurrence.

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 Holy Father intends to address a Pastoral Letter to the faithful of Ireland in which he will clearly indicate the initiatives that are to be taken in response to the situation.

Finally, His Holiness encourages all those who have dedicated their lives in generous service to children to persevere in their good works in imitation of Christ the Good Shepherd.

More on this topic

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Bishops hold talks after sex abuse report

Bishop will not quit over abuse cover-up

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