Welcoming the letter published today, Bishop Leahy said that the evil of abuse must be rooted out and he asked for Catholics throughout the Diocese of Limerick to spend some time of prayer this Wednesday in support of victims and reparation.
Said Bishop Leahy: “There are absolutely no words good enough to adequately apologise for the abuse perpetrated by representatives of the Church and the abysmal failure to manage and report cases. There can be no justification for any type of cover up anywhere. Nothing that is said can take away the pain of those who have been abused and of their families. I completely accept that. But it is essential that we acknowledge the darkness of what has happened.
“The Pope has spoken before of his deep regret but I think it was important that he issued his letter today. Straightaway the opening line is striking, ‘if one member suffers, all suffer’. It’s a clarion call. There can be no let-up in our resolve and compunction to fight a reality that led to what the Pope calls ‘atrocities’.
“At every turn it was absolutely disturbing, starting of course with the horror of what was done to these young people, the warped mindset of the perpetrators, the cover-up that followed. One also has to question how did this evil, in the first instance, penetrate the very place, the Church, that is supposed to be a shrine for love and peace.
“We have to work on this together and I am grateful to the lay people who have committed themselves to this in our Diocese: parish delegates, members of various advisory bodies, those engaged in training and publicity initiatives.
“The Pope’s letter reminds us of how important this commitment is. As he puts it, ‘we want solidarity, in the deepest and most challenging sense, to become our way of forging present and future history’. We have a lot to make up for; people’s lives were destroyed by those who were supposed to protect them and this has understandably led to a trust issue.
“Trust will never be regained unless we learn the lessons from the past and make sure that the most robust systems are in place so that this never happens again. To that end, I would call on anyone who has been abused or know of anyone who has been abused in this diocese to contact us. We need your help to make sure we can root this evil out of the Church once and for all.”
He added: “We must not forget the power of prayer in this; we must pray for healing. I would ask that, as an immediate response to Pope Francis’ letter, Catholics throughout the Diocese of Limerick to spend some time of prayer this coming Wednesday so that we can grow in the gift of compassion, in justice, prevention and reparation.”