Abuse survivor slams justice 'paralysis'

The authorities are paralysed to bring paedophile priests and the senior clerics who covered up decades of horrific abuse to justice, victims have claimed today.

The authorities are paralysed to bring paedophile priests and the senior clerics who covered up decades of horrific abuse to justice, victims have claimed today.

In a letter to Pope Benedict XVI, victims insist inaction over the scandals had created resentment towards the Catholic church in Ireland.

The Pontiff is holding unprecedented two-day talks with 24 Irish bishops at the Vatican over the devastating sexual abuse revelations.

The letter, written by abuse survivor John Kelly, was expected to be handed to the Pope by the Irish senior clerics in Rome.

Mr Kelly stated said it was entirely inappropriate for the Vatican to "stand idly by".

“The secular powers in Ireland appear paralysed to bring to civil justice some of those who carried out acts of horrific abuse as well as those who assisted by acts of omission or even outright collusion after the fact,” Mr Kelly said.

“In addition the religious orders to whom those persons belong remain intact and continue to operate within and outside the state.

“This has led to popular feelings of resentment in a country that was once a bastion of Catholic faith and hope.”

In the letter Mr Kelly said the Vatican must compensate the state for the fall-out from the revelations.

He also called for the Pontiff to set-up a special commission to investigate the misconduct of religious orders and the priests who carried out the abuse.

“In addition we ask that you, on behalf of the universal Catholic Church, accept that there is a moral responsibility to indemnify the Irish Nation for the damages arising from the abuse scandals and that it is entirely inappropriate for the Catholic Church to stand idly by at this time,” the letter stated.

The 10-paragraph note, dated February 8, also asked for Pope Benedict to come to Ireland and help restore the faith that has been “shaken so profoundly” after establishing a commission.

Meetings between the Irish Bishops and the Pontiff were held in the Vatican throughout the day with a further session planned for tomorrow morning.

Pope Benedict and up to seven of his senior Cardinals and aides were due to attend.

All-Ireland Primate Cardinal Sean Brady opened the summit with a presentation, before each bishop was to be given seven minutes to speak.

Four bishops have already resigned over the damning Murphy report, which unveiled a catalogue of child abuse and subsequent cover-ups over three decades by the Catholic hierarchy in Dublin.

Auxiliary Bishops of Dublin Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field bowed to weeks of intense pressure and announced at Christmas Eve services that they were quitting their posts.

They were the latest senior clerics to stand down after the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, James Moriarty, and the Bishop of Limerick, Donal Murray, also resigned.

Current Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan, also named in the Murphy report, repeatedly faced down calls for his resignation.

Survivors have called for the Pope to remove Bishop Drennan from office immediately.

But Bishop Joseph Duffy, spokesman for the Irish Bishops Conference, said it was not for individual bishops to talk about resignations.

Earlier, the bishops celebrated mass in St Peter’s Basilica at the tomb of St Peter, close to the burial place of Pope John Paul II.

A spokesman for the Bishops said: “Prayers were offered for the survivors of abuse, the people, priests and religious of Ireland and for the intentions of Pope Benedict XVI.

“Prayers were also offered for the success of the meeting, which takes place today and tomorrow in the Vatican.”

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