A DELEGATION of senior Catholic Church officials has acknowledged that sex abuse scandals in Ireland have led to a loss of trust in members of the clergy.
The findings form part of the Holy See’s investigation into seminaries and dioceses across Ireland in the wake of controversy over the church’s handling of clerical sex abuse cases.
The report also proposes a number of reforms to improve child protection, along with pastoral priorities to help with the renewal of the church. The report was completed after seven teams of Vatican-appointed church leaders visited Ireland. The teams visited the four archdioceses, two seminaries and male and female congregations.
It found that while guidelines to protect children are being followed, academic programs in seminaries should put more focus on the issue. During their stay in Ireland, members of the apostolic visitation were able to see how much shortcomings of the past gave rise to an inadequate understanding of and reaction to the terrible abuse of minors, the report stated.
“With a great sense of pain and shame, it must be acknowledged that… innocent young people were abused by clerics and religious to whose care they had been entrusted, while those who should have exercised vigilance often failed to do so,” it states.
It notes that many lay people have experienced a loss of trust in their pastors, while many good priests and religious have felt unjustly tainted by association.
On the other hand, it says this “time of trial” has brought to light the vitality of the Irish people’s faith, how many religious are living out their vocation and the level of lay involvement in areas such as child protection.
Source: The Irish Times
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