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Irish bishops issue pastoral statement on abuse

Catholic World News - March 21, 2011

Marking the first anniversary of Pope Benedict’s letter to Irish Catholics, the bishops of Ireland have issued a pastoral statement, “Towards Healing and Renewal.”

“The abuse of children by some priests and religious was an appalling wrong,” the statement begins. “The inadequate response by some Church leaders has left a deep wound that may never be fully healed. No apology, no gesture of repentance or sorrow can ever make up for the hurt that has been caused to those abused and to their families: they have been grievously harmed and let down by people who professed the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

“We are deeply ashamed of this and we are profoundly sorry for any failures on our part,” the bishops continued. “Today we wish to give expression to that sorrow by expressing our commitment to existing initiatives as well as to a number of new initiatives.”

Initiatives described in the pastoral statement include prayer, spiritual and financial support, and abuse-prevention programs.

“We specifically invite contemplative orders in Ireland to dedicate part of their daily life of prayer to pray for those who have been abused by priests and religious,” the bishops state. “We have committed ourselves to dedicating the first Friday of each month to prayer and fasting in reparation for abuse by clergy and for the failure of leadership in the Church to respond to it effectively. We encourage all parish communities to offer public and private prayer for all who suffered abuse as children.”

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