The archbishop of Toronto, Thomas Collins, who investigated clerical abuse within the Catholic Church in Ireland has spoken of Pope Benedict’s determination that such wrongdoings don’t happen again.
Speaking at a penitential service in Thurles Cathedral, Co. Tipperary, the archbishop warned the congregation that “even one priest gone wrong” caused harm and that throughout the world priests had done unspeakable evil.
Pope Benedict has asked Archbishop Collins to conduct an inquiry into the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly and submit his findings by Easter.
The Toronto Archbishop said there was practical way in which the Catholic Church could show empathy by “doing all that we can to learn from this experience of evil and so to try to be sure that it never happens again".
He added that the abuse of the vunerable children was more destructive when the abusers were clergy men.
“But even one priest gone wrong causes immense harm, and throughout the world priests have done unspeakable evil, sometimes within the very sacramental setting which should above all environments be most sacred and safe.
"But it is the sacred responsibility of us all, but most especially of the authorities in the church, to do what we can to prevent such evil, and to deal with it effectively whenever it is found.
"The crimes themselves, and the failure of church authorities to respond adequately to them, are both great scandals.
"We recognize the courage of the victims and their families who came forward and shone the cleansing light of truth on their suffering," he added.
As part of this enquiry Archbishop Collins will hold confidential meetings with abuse victims over the coming days. He has already met with 20 priests.