November 05, 2005

This Life: The sins of the fathers

Belfast Telegraph

By Alf McCreary, Religion Correspondent

05 November 2005
THE recent reports of sexual abuse by a number of Roman Catholic clergy were shocking and disturbing. They were shocking because of the numbers allegedly involved -more than 241 priests over the years - and disturbing because of the way in which complaints of were mishandled by the Catholic hierarchy.

The Ferns Report revealed horrific stories of abuse, incompetence, neglect and cover up. This abuse of clerical trust and privilege was not confined to the Republic , and more than 50 priests in Northern Ireland have been accused of child abuse. There are probably more cases that will never be reported, partly because those guilty have taken their dark secrets to the grave.

This week the Irish bishops at Maynooth apologised to the victims of child abuse. This was the latest in a long line of apologies, including several from the primate, Archbishop Sean Brady, on behalf of the clergy at large.

Such apologies - though sincere - have limited effect. The Catholic hierarchy have been fighting an uphill battle to clear the stain from the Church's reputation, but the latest revelations - some new, and others already known - have maintained a shadow over the institution.

Posted by kshaw at November 5, 2005 07:03 AM