Abuse victims voice anger at Irish bishops' meeting with Pope

Statue commemorating Pope John Paul II's visit to Maynooth

Statue commemorating Pope John Paul II's visit to Maynooth

Survivors of clerical abuse have voiced their anger and disappointment at Pope Benedict's  response to the scandal after his two day meeting with the  Irish Bishops in Rome this week.

In a statement yesterday, the Vatican said the Pope had told the bishops the sexual abuse of children and young people was not only a "heinous crime", but also a “grave sin that offends God and wounds the dignity of the human person created in his image”.

It said: “While realising that the current painful situation will not be resolved quickly, he challenged the Bishops to address the problems of the past with determination and resolve, and to face the present crisis with honesty and courage."

Accusing the Pope of "washing his hands" of the scandal, the survivors groups said the statement fails to  acknowledge the cover-up or formally apologise for the four decades of abuse by clergy in Dublin revealed in the Ryan Report.

Campaigners are also angry that Pope Benedict has not sacked  the Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan,  or even formally accepted the resignations of other bishops, who were criticised in the Murphy Report for their mishandling of cases of sexual abuse. They say the Vatican also ignored the failure of the Papal Nuncio to co-operate with the Murphy Commission's investigation.

In his statement, Pope Benedict pointed to "the more general crisis of faith affecting the Church and he linked that to the lack of respect for the human person and how the weakening of faith has been a significant contributing factor in the phenomenon of the sexual abuse of minors."

Maeve Lewis, from support group One in Four, said:  “It is deeply insulting to survivors to suggest they were abused due to failures of faith, rather than because sex offending priests were moved from parish to parish, and those in authority looked away while further children were sexually abused,” she said.

Abuse victim and campaigner Marie Collins said the Pope had said paedophilia was a “heinous crime” but he should have said that it was a heinous crime for a bishop to put an abusive priest in charge of children.

To read yesterday's statement on the meeting see: www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=15655

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