Bishop John MageeGoogle Images
Ireland's Catholic Primate, Cardinal Sean Brady, was one of many who released statements expressing their strong feelings on the release of the Cloyne report, on sexual abuse within the Church, yesterday. The Cloyne archdiocese is in Cork.
His statement said that the report's release represents "another dark day in the history of the response of church leaders to the cry of children abused by church personnel."
The 400-page report focused on, former Bishop of Cloyne, John Magee's reluctance to root out sex offenders from within his diocese. The report, carried out by the Irish government, found that 19 priests in his diocese were accused over a 13 year period, from 1996 to 2009. It also looked as his own inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old boy.
During this period the Catholic Church had established its own child protection guidelines but as Sean Brady explained in his statement the Bishops were not forced to report abuse.
The Vatican had branded the document, agreed on by the Irish Bishops Conference in 1996, "not an official document". The Irish bishops were free to "ignore" the guidelines.
Brady's statement said the report confirms "grave errors" of judgment and "failures" of leadership.
He said "This is deplorable and totally unacceptable. I apologies and express my shame and sorrow at what has happened.”
He added that the Church environment nowadays for children “is a totally different one to that of the past.” He said that this was one of the positive things to come of the report.
Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dermot Clifford, said "I am appalled by the depth of damage and suffering caused by a minority of clergy in the diocese, as outlined in this report. Great pain was also caused to the families of those abused, whose strong relationship with the Catholic Church was, in a number of cases, damaged or destroyed."
Clifford was appointed administrator of the diocese of Cloynes in March 2009
He continued "It is a very sad day for all the priests and people in the diocese of Cloynes…We sincerely hope that our responses to complaints and the ongoing efforts in safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults in the diocese will go some of the way to atone for the grave failures of the past…Such failures must never be permitted to happen again."
Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor, pointed out that this report highlights that the Catholic Church needs to remain "vigilant and self critical” so there is never a repeat of these “disgraceful failings”.
He said "No words of apology from me for the culture of self protection in the Irish church at the expense of survivors of abuse can, in themselves, ease the pain of those who have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of the abuses of the past…Nevertheless, I apologize once again to all those who have suffered in any way.”
He said the Catholic Church should listen to the "cry of survivors and help them to cope with the continuing pain with which they have been burdened by the sins of clergy.”
“Although much has been done to advance safeguarding and many trained volunteers are now working very effectively in our parishes, we still have a way to travel to regain the full trust of the people.”
A statement from Leo O'Reilly, the Bishop of Kilmore, said he felt "great disappointment and dismay” at the failings of the authorities.
He said "Their failure has compounded the suffering of those who have been abused and their families.” He also added that the findings remind Bishops that they must ensure procedures are "fully and consistently" implemented. He appealed for anyone with information about sexual abuse by priest in his diocese to contact the police of the Health Service Executive.