Irish bishops meeting the Pope in Rome have been told that the child sex abuse linked to Ireland’s Catholic Church was “abominable”. One of the Vatican’s top cardinals made the comment at a Mass before the meeting.
Pope Benedict has said he is disturbed and distressed by last year’s Murphy Commission report, which strongly condemned child sex abuse by priests in Ireland.
It pinpointed a culture of cover-up where Church leaders sought to protect their own institution rather than the children in their care.
The Murphy report said the Church in Ireland had “obsessively” hidden child abuse in the Dublin archdiocese from 1975 to 2004. It accused all the city’s bishops during that period of being aware of some complaints but of operating a policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell”.
Victims’ groups say they will seek monetary compensation over the scandal. Four bishops have resigned and the Pope has said he shares the “outrage, betrayal and shame” felt by Irish people. But critics argue that the Vatican and the Church haven’t done enough to hand over suspected abusers to civil justice.