The superior general of the Christian Brothers, Brother Philip Pinto, has stated that the congregation is “ashamed and humbled,” and is calling on the Brothers to “seek forgiveness” from victims of child abuse in Ireland.

Ireland’s recently released 2,600-page Ryan Commission Report into abuse in Christian Brothers-run schools in the country found that rape was “endemic” in over 250 Irish Catholic institutions from the 1930s to the 1990s, and the Church protected abusers from arrest.

In the wake of these findings, Br. Pinto, the world head of the Christian Brothers, sent a letter to the Congregation.

“I ask our Brothers to join with me in this exercise of reaching out to former residents of our residential institutions,” he wrote.

“I am asking that we begin to dialogue with these hurt groups and see how we are able to use our resources to bring healing to them.

“People who are hurt want to know that their cries have been heard, that what happened was not their fault, and that we want to set things right.

“As we read the report we were all dismayed at the findings and what they revealed about the harshness we were guilty of and the depravity of some of our Brothers.

“It is all too easy to dismiss the report as exaggeration, as not telling the whole truth. To do so is to evade the awful truth presented to us. This is our sin and all of us are guilty.”

Br. Pinto went on to say that the Brothers “forgot” God, and are in need of “deep soul-searching.”

“We all need to take time to look at the report, study it and see what went wrong for us,” he said. “How could we have strayed so much from the compassionate vision of Blessed Edmund?

“For me the answer is very simple: we strayed from the gospel experience at the heart of what Blessed Edmund did, from the spiritual core of who we are. We forgot the God who gave us birth.”

Br. Pinto is calling for an annual day of prayer and fasting for the Christian Brothers, suggesting the date of June 27.