The Pope – in a meeting with Irish bishops in the Vatican – has said the wounds from sexual abuse in the Irish Church “run deep”. He told the bishops that they should prevent repeat offences and rebuild trust. Revelations in Ireland in the 1990s of systematic sexual abuse by priests over decades shattered faith in the Church.
“In the exercise of your pastoral ministry, you have had to respond in recent years to many heart-rending cases of sexual abuse of minors. These are all the more tragic when the abuser is a cleric. The wounds caused by such acts run deep,” said the Pope.
Though he was addressing bishops from Ireland, the words will resonate in other parts of the world, not least the United States. A paedophile priest scandal which erupted in Boston in 2002 spread to almost every Catholic diocese in the country.