BY CIAN MOLLOY IN DUBLIN
VICTIMS of clerical child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin have said they are close to despair because the Church will not take full responsibility for covering up the abuse.
Clergy abuse survivors Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin to discuss the outcome of the meeting of Irish bishops with Pope Benedict XVI and senior officials from the Roman Curia. The Vatican meeting reviewed a November report by an independent commission that investigated how the Dublin archdiocese handled complaints of clerical child sexual abuse between 1975 and 2004.
The commission, led by Judge Yvonne Murphy, “found that the Church deliberately covered up allegations of child abuse, but the only senior person who seems to accept that is Archbishop Martin”, said Maeve Lewis, director of the One in Four abuse survivors’ group.
She said that in the statement issued by the Vatican the Pope only accepted “the failure of Irish Church authorities for many years to act effectively in dealing with cases involving the sexual abuse of young people by some Irish clergy and religious”.
“That is not good enough,” she said, adding that the abuse victims want “complete acceptance by the Pope of the findings of the Murphy report”. “Archbishop Martin also told us that there was a chance that the Pope wouldn’t accept the resignations of the three auxiliary bishops named in the report who have offered him their resignation. If that would happen, the victims would find it unbelievable, they really would despair,” she added.
Four bishops criticised in the Murphy report have offered their resignations, but so far the Pope has officially accepted only one of them.
Asked about the idea of the Pope meeting survivors Miss Lewis said: “Without a meaningful dialogue it’s hopeless. The Pope would have to listen to survivors and accept what they say before there could be some kind of reconciliation, but that seems to be an unlikely proposition given the way meetings between the Pope and survivors of clerical abuse were handled in Australia and the US.” Another victim, Marie Collins, told RTÉ News that she was “totally depressed by what transpired at the meeting” with the Dublin archbishop, who, she said, “seemed like a defeated man. He told us he had passed on our concerns to the Pontiff, but that none of them were addressed.” Miss Collins said she was disappointment by the Vatican statement about the papal meeting, which she branded “pathetic”.