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Fr. Aidan Troy in Belfast

Top Irish cleric: No more priest recruitment until abuse issue is properly addressed

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Fr. Aidan Troy in Belfast

A prominent Irish priest has called on the Catholic Church to halt recruitment of new priests until they properly address Ireland’s clerical child abuse controversy.

In May, Ireland’s Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse published its shocking Ryan report, which revealed that thousands of Irish children had suffered extreme physical and sexual abuse over decades in institutions run by the religious orders.

Father Aidan Troy now accuses the church of “a wholly inadequate response to the horrendous abuse that has been uncovered.”

Troy told Ireland’s Sunday Tribune that the Catholic Church in Ireland has been more concerned with its image rather than helping those who suffered at the hands of priests. "I'm ashamed by the church's response to the Ryan report. It has been more about improving the church's image than tackling fundamental problems," he said.

Troy, who came to prominence as a parish priest of Holy Cross in north Belfast, stated that church officials must "take radical action rather than engage in window dressing,” and said they should ask the pope to visit Ireland to publicly apologize for the destruction of children's lives.

The priest addressed the downfall of the Catholic church in Ireland.

"In the 1970s, I was sent around schools to recruit pupils to the priesthood. I couldn't do that now. Back then, parents were delighted if their sons chose to become priests. Now, most would understandably oppose it and try to talk them out of it,” he said.

"The church must halt recruitment, reform and reorganize, then begin again. Instead, it says 'this abuse is awful' but continues its old failed ways. We have a broken, wounded church and those wounds are self-inflicted."

Troy, who famously walked with the Ardoyne schoolchildren past a violent loyalist protest in Belfast, was controversially relocated to a Paris church last year.

He also questions this decision: "I received a phone call saying I was out of Ardoyne. That was it. The procedure was hardly sensitive or democratic.”

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