Pressure on Pope to Reveal Names of Abuse Case Priests Ahead of Irish Visit
By Laura Larkin
August 20, 2018
A list of dozens of Irish clergy convicted of or linked to child sexual abuse is to be published for the first time today, adding to growing pressure on the Vatican.
Campaign group BishopAccountability.org, which has published similar lists of those accused of abuse in the US and South America, says it contains more than 70 names of clergy convicted of abuse or named in State inquiries.
The organisation is also calling on Pope Francis to release the names of all priests worldwide who have been disciplined by the Church for child sexual abuse and to release files relating to these people.
The group will ask Ireland's Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, to endorse this idea to the Pope.
The pontiff will visit Ireland this weekend amid a deepening international scandal around its handling of child sexual abuse by clergy members.
"An institution with a long and troubled history of concealing child sex abuse has two moral imperatives: to protect children and to help survivors heal," said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org.
"Disclosing the names of the credibly accused is a powerful way for the Catholic Church to achieve both these goals."
Meanwhile, Irish survivor Mark Vincent Healy will publish a body of work derived from audits by the National Board of Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church of Ireland.
It points to a low conviction rate for clergy members accused of abuse. In a number of dioceses no convictions were secured against those who were accused of sexual abuse.
Mr Healy said he believes with the focus on the papal visit it is a prime time for Ireland to take a fresh look at the scale of abuse carried out here by clergy.
|Irelandís Papal Nuncio Archbishop Okolo|
He fears people have become "desensitised to what has been the most appalling attack on the youth of Ireland who have had to live with this trauma".
He said he would like to see Pope Francis, whom he has met previously, hand over the Vatican's files on child sexual abuse to an "independent truth and conciliatory body" which can examine the documents on a global scale.
Mr Healy added that it was time for a "new paradigm" for dealing with the issue of child sexual abuse, decades after the issue first emerged in the Church.
He warned that the "name and shame" approach advocated by BishopAccountability.org would need to include strict controls to ensure there is zero room for false allegations.
However, the mandatory reporting approach advocated in Ireland falls short as there is no provision for mandatory care for those who come forward, he said.
Separately, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has backed calls for the release of Church files to State bodies.
Speaking to a Sunday newspaper, he was asked if he believed the Church should hand over relevant files.
He replied: "What we need, I believe, is truth, justice and healing for the victims. And, yes, that does involve making available any information that the State authorities ask for."
The Fine Gael leader has said he believes the Pope should address the issue of child sexual abuse when he visits but said ultimately it was a decision for him to make.
The Archdiocese of Dublin and the Vatican did not respond to requests for comment.
However, speaking at the Pro-Cathedral, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin called for the Pope to speak "frankly" about the Church's past.
Archbishop Martin said: "My hope is that he will speak kindly but also speak frankly.
"The recent history of the Church in Ireland had its moments of real darkness.
"We need a Church of light, a light that exposes darkness for what it is, and a light that is such that the mechanisms of cover-up and self justification cannot extinguish it or tone it down.
"My hope is that Pope Francis will challenge the Church in Ireland to be different, to be more authentically the Church of Jesus Christ in a culture that is different."
Archbishop Martin added: "The Pope has to speak frankly about our past but also about our future."
He said the scandals had produced deep-seated resentment amongst believers.
Speaking afterwards, the archbishop suggested the Vatican's Commission for the Protection of Minors is "too small" and does not get its teeth in where it should.
However, he said he believed that the Pope will be able to bring through reforms he wants to implement in the church eventually, despite resistance.
Meanwhile, two cardinals have pulled out of events at the World Meeting of Families in the RDS next week.
The Catholic Archbishop of Washington DC, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, was due to give Wednesday's keynote address.
The cardinal was heavily criticised in a Pennsylvania grand jury report over his handling of child sexual abuse allegations while he was bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006.
Cardinal Sean O'Malley has also pulled out due to issues at his pastoral seminary in Boston.
He was due to moderate the first ever World Meeting of Families seminar on safeguarding children on Friday with clerical abuse survivor Marie Collins.