July 12, 2005

Church bracing itself for fallout from publication of Ferns report


From:The Irish Independent
Tuesday, 12th July, 2005

THE archdioceses of Armagh and Tuam have used two separate meetings of priests to prepare them for the potentially explosive outcry and damaging effect on priestly morale that may accompany publication of the Ferns report.

The Ferns report, an investigation into clerical sex abuse in the Ferns diocese undertaken by the State, is thought likely to be published in the autumn when the Dail reconvenes.

One participant at the Tuam meeting said that the basic intention was to tell priests to "steel yourselves".

In addition to Ferns, the Stewardship Trust, the fund established by the bishops to compensate clerical abuse victims and run the Church's child protection office, was discussed.

A spokesman for Archbishop Sean Brady, who organised the gatherings, said the meetings were arranged following a promise the bishops made at their quarterly meeting in March to consult with priests and laity about the sources of funding for the Stewardship Trust.

He said the Ferns report was also discussed in the context of how the report might affect the "pastoral relationships" of priests with their parishioners.

The feeling among bishops is that publication of the report could re-ignite public anger at the Church's handling of the scandals.

Posted by kshaw at July 12, 2005 06:45 AM