Open Letter to Nuncio Calls on Pope to Remove Bishops

By Genevieve Carbery
The Irish Times
December 6, 2009

PROTEST: A SMALL group of lay Catholics delivered a letter to the office of the papal nuncio on Saturday calling on the pope to hold an inquiry into the failure of bishops to protect children.

The open letter to Pope Benedict also called on him to remove the bishops who “enabled abuse” and urged him to bring in a culture of accountability.

During a protest at the apostolic nunciature in Dublin, the 10 protesters also called on papal nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza to apologise for the failure of his predecessor to co-operate with the Murphy commission. They also asked for him to fully co-operate with the commission from now on.

They were part of Voice of the Faithful Ireland, a group of Catholics that wants to see structural change in the church and a more active role for lay members.

An apology from Archbishop Leanza would show that he and the pope cared about how the bishops had “failed the Catholic children of Ireland”, Brian Maguire, a member of the group and a survivor of clerical abuse, said.

Acting co-ordinator Sean O Conaill hoped that an apology and full co-operation with the commission might repair some damage to links between the Irish church and the wider church which have “been very seriously undermined”.

Mr Maguire also spoke about how his faith was often challenged as a survivor of abuse.

“The more it goes on and the more we realise that they are not going to change anything about the way bishops are appointed and the way bishops are held accountable the more I think maybe I am just barking up the wrong tree,” he said. “But as long as I can I will keep going.”

Mr O Conaill said the papacy “has to understand that change is needed and that the model of church it is defending at the moment has betrayed children and therefore it has betrayed the church also.”

The group said it had been told that the nuncio might be able to meet it but was later told that the letter would be taken in at the door. The nuncio’s office was not available for comment.


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