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Irish bishops rebut criticism at Rome conference on abuse

Catholic World News - February 09, 2012

The Catholic bishops of Ireland have taken issue with comments made by a noted Irish psychologist during a conference on sexual abuse at the Gregorian University.

Baroness Sheila Hollins told the conference that in Ireland “very few victims have had any counseling of therapy.” She also charged that “very few had received an apology and hardy any had received compensation.”

The Irish bishops conference said that the presentation by Baroness Hollins “grossly misrepresents the reality and extent of the ongoing outreach” by the Irish bishops’ conference and the country’s religious congregations.

The “Towards Healing” center offered by the Irish Church has provided 250,000 counseling sessions for 5,000 abuse victims, and stands ready to help more, with hours available every day. The Dublin archdiocese alone has paid €13.5 million (almost $18 million) in compensation to victims. The Irish bishops’ statement continued:

Regarding the issues of apology and failure raised by Baroness Hollins: on many occasions bishops and congregational leaders have apologised publicly and privately to survivors--individually and to their representative groups--and to all in civil and religious society outraged and let down by the Catholic Church’s failure of moral leadership and accountability. Church apologies to survivors have been well documented by the media.

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