Pope shares 'outrage' at sex abuse by Irish priests

Pope Benedict XVI “shares the outrage” of Irish Catholics over revelations of decades of child sex abuse by priests and a cover-up by top churchmen, the Vatican said in a statement on Friday.

“The holy father shares the outrage, betrayal and shame felt by so many of the faithful in Ireland, and he is united with them in prayer at this difficult time in the life of the church,” the statement said.

The statement came after the pope met with Ireland’s top two Catholic churchmen, primate of all-Ireland Cardinal Sean Brady and Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

The pope feels “profound regret at the actions of some members of the clergy who have betrayed their solemn promises to God, as well as the trust placed in them by the victims and their families, and by society at large,” the statement said.

He “asks Catholics in Ireland and throughout the world to join him in praying for the victims, their families and all those affected by these heinous crimes” revealed in a damning report last month.

The report by Judge Yvonne Murphy, capping a three-year investigation, concluded that Dublin archbishops concealed clerical abuse and failed to inform police of their crimes over a period of more than three decades.

One priest admitted to sexually abusing more than 100 children, while another confessed that he had abused on a fortnightly basis over 25 years.

The pontiff “assures all concerned that the church will continue to follow this grave matter with the closest attention in order to understand better how these shameful events came to pass and how best to develop effective and secure strategies to prevent any recurrence”, the Vatican statement said.

“The Holy See takes very seriously the central issues raised by the report, including questions concerning the governance of local church leaders with ultimate responsibility for the pastoral care of children,” it said.

Four archbishops and other senior church officials cited in the report face growing pressure to resign.—AFP

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