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Christian Brothers, Irish archbishop apologize ‘unreservedly’ for abuse

Catholic World News - May 22, 2009

The Christian Brothers have apologized “openly and unreservedly to all those who have been hurt either directly or indirectly as a result of the deplorable actions of some brothers, or by the inaction or inappropriate action of the congregation as a whole.” The recent report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse documented endemic child abuse committed by members of the order in Ireland.

“We are deeply sorry for the hurt caused,” the order’s statement continued. “We are ashamed and saddened that many who complained of abuse were not listened to. We acknowledge and regret that our responses to physical and sexual abuse failed to consider the long-term psychological effects on children.”

The victims’ “stories of horrible abuse are, in many cases, stomach turning; their courage in telling their stories admirable,” said Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin. “We must find ways of ensuring that the cries and anxieties of children are heard and listened to. This is not a report to be put on a shelf-- it’s a real cry for a new look at the way we care for our children. If we truly regret what happened in the past we must commit ourselves to a very different future.”

In a statement issued by the bishops’ conference, Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam said, “I apologize unreservedly, on behalf of the Church, for our failure to protect children,” adding, “It is good that this report offers the opportunity to many to have their story heard and believed. In this way I hope and pray that healing may come about.”

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