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Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
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Outraged by Dublin revelations, Pope plans pastoral letter on abuse scandal

December 11, 2009

After meeting on December 11 with the leaders of the Irish Catholic hierarchy, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his “outrage, betrayal, and shame” at the revelations that sex-abuse complaints had been covered up in the Dublin archdiocese. Recognizing the devastating effects of the scandal on the faithful, the Pope promised to write a pastoral letter on the subject to the people of Ireland.

In a statement released after the meeting, the Pope voiced “his profound regret at the actions of some members of the clergy who have betrayed their solemn promises to God, as well as the trust placed in them by the victims and their families, and by society at large.” He offered his prayers for the victims and vowed that “the Church will continue to follow this grave matter with the closest attention in order to understand better how these shameful events came to pass and how best to develop effective and secure strategies to prevent any recurrence.”

The papal statement indirectly acknowledged serious concerns about the performance of bishops who had failed to respond to complaints of sexual abuse, saying that the “Murphy Committee report” had raised “questions concerning the governance of local Church leaders with ultimate responsibility for the pastoral care of children.”

The Vatican did not address the question of whether some Irish bishops might be encouraged to step down in light of the administrative negligence exposed by the Murphy Commission. Bishop Donal Murray of Limerick, who was an auxiliary bishop in Dublin during the period covered by the Murphy Commission’s investigation, has been in Rome this week for talks with Vatican officials, with many observers expecting him to tender his resignation.

In a related development, the Irish episcopal conference announced that a group of bishops had met with groups of sex-abuse victims and planned to continue such meetings. The bishops decided this week to subsidize support services for abuse victims.


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  • Posted by: opraem - Dec. 11, 2009 11:19 PM ET USA

    i'll believe it when it happens. will 'uncle benny' criticize or fire the negligent irish bishops? when is his letter apologizing to the us catholics coming out? while i can appreciate his shame, i can not understand why the pope does nothing to discipline the errant us bishops. can you imagine the shock if he really did more than bloviate? the pope needs our prayers.