Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
March 22, 2010
Irish cardinal apologizes for role in clergy crises
Pope Benedict says he will send letter to Irish faithful 'soon'
MICHAEL KELLY AND CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh, Northern Ireland, apologized during a St. Patrick Day homily for his role in the case of a priest accused of sexual abuse.
The cardinal said March 17 during Mass at St. Patrick Cathedral in Armagh that he wanted to "apologize to all those who feel I have let them down."
"I want to say to anyone who has been hurt by any failure on my part that I apologize to you with all my heart," he said.
"Looking back, I am ashamed that I have not always upheld the values that I profess and believe in," he continued.
The apology came after the cardinal acknowledged March 14 that he never told police about statements from victims that he collected about a pedophile priest in 1975.
"This week a painful episode from my own past has come before me," Brady said during the Mass which was broadcast throughout the country. "I have listened to reaction from people to my role in events 35 years ago."
The cardinal also called on his fellow bishops to "acknowledge our failings."
"The integrity of our witness to the Gospel challenges us to own up to and take responsibility for any mismanagement or coverup of child abuse," he said.
"For the sake of survivors, for the sake of all the Catholic faithful as well as the religious and priests of this country, we have to stop the drip, drip, drip of revelations of failure."
Meanwhile, Pope Benedict asked Irish Catholics to read his pastoral letter on the sexual abuse crisis "with an open heart and in a spirit of faith."
Addressing Irish visitors at his weekly general audience March 17, the pope said he had written the letter as "a sign of my deep concern" over "this painful situation."
He used his audience to announce that he would sign the letter March 19, the feast of St. Joseph, and send it "soon after."
"My hope is that it will help in the process of repentance, healing and renewal," he said.
In December, the pope had said he would write the letter in the wake of the scandal that followed publication of the independent Murray Commission report that faulted the Church for its handling of 325 sex abuse claims in the Archdiocese of Dublin in the years 1975-2004.
The report said bishops sometimes protected abusive priests, and were apparently more intent on protecting the Church's reputation and assets than on helping the victims.
Pope Benedict called all the bishops of Ireland to the Vatican in February, discussing both the scandal as well as the potential content of his letter.
At his audience, he said "the Church in Ireland has been severely shaken as a result of the child abuse crisis."
In another development, Dublin's Archbishop Diarmuid Martin supported a call for an examination of every Catholic diocese in Ireland.
Martin said funding a countrywide probe may not be the best way to spend money intended to improve child protection, but "it may be the only way" to expose the full extent of the abuse and how the Church handled it.
Victims of clerical abuse have been calling for an independent inquiry to be undertaken nationwide. The Irish government has resisted such calls.
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