However, one abuse survivor and campaigner has dismissed the move as “another piece of window-dressing” that would not tell the Church anything that survivors had not already told it.
The five-member apostolic visitation group, most of whom have played key roles in tackling the issue in their own countries, will begin their work in the autumn in the archdioceses of Dublin, Armagh, Tuam and Cashel and Emly. Simultaneous inquiries will take place in the seminaries and in the religious congregations and missionary orders, followed by the dioceses.
The five members are Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston; Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York; Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto; Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa; and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-Connor, retired Archbishop of Westminster.
Cardinal O’Malley, in particular, is a veteran in the field and this assignment is the fourth time he has been asked to intervene in a diocese.
Michael Kelly, deputy editor of the Irish Catholic, said the members were strong characters with strong powers that came straight from the Vatican.
“No one’s going to be able to pull any wool over their eyes. The fact that they are outsiders means they aren’t part of the old-boys’ club and they won’t care about whose toes they step on.”
Abuse survivor Andrew Madden said he would have no interest in meeting with the group. “They make a big deal of wanting to listen to victims and then ignore what they say. They have no credibility coming over here to discuss the safety, welfare and protection of children, if they think it’s OK for Pope Benedict to remain in office and for [Cardinal] Sean Brady to stay on.”