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Protest against clerical abuse of children Photo by: Google Images

Clerical sex abuse victims slam Vatican’s response to Cloyne Report

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Protest against clerical abuse of children Photo by: Google Images

Victims of the clerical sex abuse outlined in the Cloyne Report have reacted with dismay to the Vatican’s statement on the issue.

The Cork victims, many of whom gave evidence to the Murphy commission which compiled the damning report, are critical of Rome’s response.

They have again accused the Holy See of ‘failing to accept responsibility’ for the abuse carried out by serving clergy within the Munster diocese.

One woman told the Irish Times that the Vatican statement, released on Saturday, reminded her of the response from the diocesan child protection officer Monsignor Denis O’Callaghan.

She told the paper: “Again it seems to me they are shirking responsibility, saying it’s not their fault. It reminds me of O’Callaghan after the report came out.

“They are so out of touch with the reality of what it is to be abused, they just don’t get it.

“They are never going to realize and appreciate what this is all about until they meet people like myself and the other girls who were abused and hear what it’s been like for us and the impact that this has had on our lives for the past 30 years or more.”

Another woman, who also testified to Judge Murphy, claimed the Vatican is doing nothing to bring the abusive priests to justice and questioned the sincerity of the statement and the apology it claims to include.

She said: “It makes no mention of the fact that Bishop Magee wrote up two versions of his meeting with Fr Brendan Wrixon where he admitted abuse: one which Magee sent to Rome confirming the abuse and one which he gave to the gardaí (police), making no mention of Wrixon’s admission.”

Clerical abuse victim Andrew Madden made reference to the famous Dail speech by Irish PM Enda Kenny as he responded to the Vatican statement.

“The gimlet eye of the canon lawyer has been busy preparing the document,” said campaigner Madden.

“The document reveals the Vatican’s efforts to continue to absolve itself of any responsibility for the cover-up of the abuse.

“The Holy See’s response said members of Irish Catholic hierarchy shared the Vatican’s view that the 1996 child protection guidelines were non-binding.

“The only people who seemed to think that Catholic bishops were implementing child protection guidelines were the Irish Government and the Irish people”.

Madden added that the bishops were ‘disingenuous’ in giving a false impression about the 1996 guidelines.

Victim support groups have also come out against the Vatican statement.

One in Four group spokesperson Maeve Lewis said “The response document will anger and frustrate victims of abuse.

“The Vatican takes no responsibility for its role in creating a culture where secrecy and cover-ups were routinely used to maintain the reputation of the church while placing children at continued risk of sexual abuse.

“The Vatican is completely out of touch with public outrage regarding church management of child abuse.”

Amnesty International Ireland director Colm O’Gorman wrote on his internet blog that he was struck by the Vatican’s ‘totally disingenuous’ portrayal of its role in the abuse scandals.

“Nowhere in the 26 pages could I read or even discern a basic acceptance of the principle that with an assertion of supreme authority must come an acceptance of very significant levels of responsibility,” wrote O’Gorman.

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