The new Papal Nuncio to Ireland has revealed how Pope Benedict was ‘scandalized and dismayed’ by the clerical sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church.
Archbishop Charles John Brown confirmed that the Pope was appalled by the tragedy of clerical child abuse in Ireland and acknowledged that recent years had been ‘difficult’ for Irish Catholic believers, the nuncio said.
Speaking at a liturgical reception hosted for him at the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin, Archbishop Brown spoke of his remit from the Pope to help build a new church in Ireland.
“He felt deeply the wounds of those who had been harmed and who so often had not been listened to,” said the Papal Nuncio.
“The Pope is resolute and determined to put into place changes that will give the church the ability to deal more effectively with those who abused trust, as well as provide the necessary assistance to those who had been victimized.
“Pope Benedict has been relentless and consistent on this front, and I assure you that he will continue to be.”
Having worked at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 1994, the Manhattan native told the Irish Times that he represents various realities.
“I am the descendent of men and women of Ireland, who emigrated from this island, possessing little more than the treasure of their Catholic faith, which they, through the generations, have passed on to me,” he said.
“Were it not for the faith of Ireland, I would not be a Catholic today.”
Archbishop Brown also recalled he had worked with the then cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, in the Roman Curia, the central administration of the Catholic Church.
He said: “I was a newly ordained bishop of the Catholic Churchand, as such, with all my limitations and defects, a successor of the Apostles.
“I am standing before the people principally as the representative of the Bishop of Rome and the successor of the Apostle Peter.
“In his name, I greet you all and I bring you his best wishes for all the people of Ireland, for the Government, and all members of the diplomatic community.”
He is also quoted by the paper as saying that the Pope always had, and continues to have, a great love of Ireland and a high regard for the Catholic Church in Ireland, with its history of missionary richness and tenacious faith.
The nuncio also remarked that next June’s Eucharistic Congress in Ireland would be a ‘very significant event, not only for the Irish church but the universal church’.
He said: “It has been carefully and creatively organized and prepared. The gathering will renew the faith in the reality at the absolute center of Catholic life: the real presence of Christ himself in the Eucharist.
“Ultimately, it is renewed faith and love for the Lord in the Eucharist that will renew our lives and renew the life of the church.”