Press Release issued by Bishop John Buckley, Bishop of Cork and Ross on Ash Wednesday, 17 February 2010
Irish bishops met with Pope Benedict and Cardinals of the Roman Curia during the past two days and, together, they examined the failure of church authorities in Ireland to act effectively in dealing with abuse of young people by some Irish priests and religious.
They recognised that this has led to a lack of trust in Church leadership and has damaged her witness to the Gospel. The meeting took place in a spirit of prayer and there was a frank and honest exchange of views.
They described the great work that is at present being provided by trained and dedicated lay volunteers at parish level to ensure the safety of children and to guarantee that the church’s policies and procedures are followed.
The pope described the abuse of children as a heinous crime and as a grave sin, which offends the dignity of the human person and he urged the bishops to address the problems of the past with determination, honesty and courage. The bishops assured the Pope that, insofar as is humanly possible, the mistakes of the past will never happen again.
The pope remained with the bishops on Monday from 9.30am to 7pm and again on Tuesday morning. He said that he approached the meeting with a great sense of responsibility before the Lord and all the people of Ireland. He listened attentively throughout the meeting. The bishops also informed the pope that the whole parish community will have shared responsibility for the safeguarding of children.
Rev Dr Tom Deenihan
Diocese of Cork & Ross