Church Says Sorry to Sex Abuse Victims

By Marie Foy
Belfast Telegraph [Ireland]
December 4, 2003

The Catholic Church apologised to child sex abuse victims across Ireland as a major report into the issue was published by Catholic clergy in Dublin today.

Ireland's most senior Catholic, Archbishop of Armagh Sean Brady, was among those who attended the launch of the document called "Time to Listen - Confronting Child Sexual Abuse by Catholic Clergy in Ireland".

This is the first occasion internationally that the Church has commissioned an independent study into the matter.

On behalf of the Irish Bishops Conference, Bishop John McAreavey, of Dromore, said that the report's 19 recommendations were welcomed and over half had already been implemented.

"The issues we have been coming to terms with anecdotally over the last number of years have now been scientifically detailed in this report.

"Notwithstanding the report's acknowledgement that when dealing with abusers in the past, bishops followed - in good faith - the best psychiatric advice available at the time. Clearly, in relation to clerical sexual abuse, we failed many young people over too long a period.

"For what has happened we are truly sorry and while we cannot undo the wrongs of the past, we can use this research to help us deal with victims of abuse with understanding, compassion and sensitivity."

The Church was committed to improving existing policies and the processes to deal with the issue, he said.

The report was commissioned by the IBC and carried out by the Health Services Research Centre at the Department of Psychology of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Around 1,280 people contributed to the study - more than 1,000 members of the public were researched.


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