Rutherglen Man Tells the World about Abuse at Hands of Nuns

By Kenny Smith
Rutherglen Reformer
September 23, 2010

A RUTHERGLEN man took advantage of the Papal visit to outline to the world allegations of abuse against the Catholic Church.

Chris Daly has appeared in newspapers and televisions across the globe as he sought to use the Pontiff's visit to highlight the need to support victims of abuse within the Catholic Church.

Chris (45) himself suffered physical and mental abuse at the hands of Nuns at Nazareth House in Aberdeen.

He took part in a press conference organised by the National Secular Society in London on Friday alongside four others who had been victims of sexual abuse, while news outlets across the world carried quotes from an interview he gave with a press agency.

He was also involved in protests about the visit in Glasgow.

Chris, who will petition the Scottish Parliament this week for a forum for all survivors of abuse to be given the chance to tell their stories, told reporters about his experiences in Nazareth House and the importance of a proper redress system being in place.

Speaking to the Reformer after the visit had ended, Chris said: "I told them that what has happened to me has created a shadow as long as a lifetime. A lot of people say this is a historic issue, but for the survivors, we have to live with the legacy of abuse every day."

Chris watched with interest as Benedict XVI apologised to the victims of abuse, saying: " I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes."

But Chris said that mere words were not enough.

He said: "There has to be an element of accountability where the Church has been complicit in covering up abuse, when they haven't been open or truthful.

"What we were looking for from the Pope was a fulsome apology and a vow that there would be accountability.

"We want to sit down with the Church, we have offered them an olive branch and he's offered to sit down with us, so now it is up to the Catholic hierarchy.

"Obviously people do not want counselling from the Church because they do not feel safe but he has offered material help so perhaps he can put some money into funding survivor programmes that will allow people to look for counselling and support.

"The Scottish Government has also not shown any evidence that they have opened up dialogue with the Church."

Chris hopes his petition will be the next step in his bid to have a complete redress system implemented, similar to the one they have in Ireland.

The current pilot forum only deals with victims of abuse at Quarriers facilities, and Chris said that should be immediately extended to all survivors.

He is due at Holyrood tomorrow (Thursday, September 23) and said the Pope's visit had helped to raise the profile of their cause.

He said: "I know it was a hugely important event for a lot of practising Catholics. I didn't have an issue with the visit, I just wanted to highlight the appalling way that the Church has handled the sexual, physical and mental abuse that happened in Scottish facilities.

"It was a lovely ceremony at Bellahouston I'm sure but, in amongst that, they have to be seen to be doing the right thing for survivors.

"I wouldn't say our stories have damaged the visit but it was important we got our message across."

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