Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the leader of the current Apostolic Visit to Ireland, said yesterday that he looks forward to meeting with as many Irish Church abuse victims as possible.
O'Malley will meet with bishops, priests and the religious and the laity of the Dublin archdiocese this week, explaining his packed schedule was in recognition of the fact that "the crisis of the sexual abuse of minors has profound repercussions in the life of the entire community."
Speaking in Dublin’s pro-cathedral on Sunday the cardinal said: "Anyone wishing to share their testimony can contact me through the apostolic nunciature here in Dublin, to request an appointment, or submit their thoughts in written form, also through the nunciature.”
The cardinal is scheduled to be in Dublin until Friday, when he will leave for Rome. “I shall return early next year to continue this important work. Please pray that this visitation will be helpful to the people of Ireland, will advance the safety of children in society as a whole and promote the healing and reconciliation that we all desire,” he said.
“The Holy Father envisions this as a pastoral visit to assist the church here on the path to renewal. We are here to be available to meet with some of those who have been harmed by abuse and wish to meet with us. We will attempt to communicate to them the apologies of a contrite church and the pastoral solicitude of the Holy Father."
“Likewise, we will try to assess how well the guidelines of Safeguarding Children, produced by the national board, are working,” O'Malley added.
"In Dublin much has been done already to address the crimes of the past and to develop sound policies to ensure the safety of children and to provide assistance to the victims of child abuse. The task of the visitation is to bring new eyes to the situation, to verify the effectiveness of the present processes used in responding to cases of abuse. We are not here to reduplicate investigations or studies of the past.”
Welcoming the cardinal and his team to Dublin, Archbishop Martin said the archdiocese was wounded by sinful and criminal acts of priests who betrayed the trust of vulnerable young children.
"People have lost their trust in the church," Martin added. "For many young people the recent scandals have become the final element in their alienation." Martin called for a renewal and the recognition of what was done wrong in the past, particularly to the weakest.