In Roman Catholic churches throughout Ireland, Pope Benedict XVI’s unprecedented letter apologising for chronic child abuse within the Catholic church was read to congregations.
The words from the pulpits have failed to quell the anger of many victims. The Pope’s message rebuked church leaders and apologised. But it did not go far enough, was the response.
“Sorry is the beginning and that’s all it is, it is the beginning. We need to see the Pope coming here. He needs to hear us, meet us in the flesh. We need to see him with our abusers in a reconciliation forum,” said Christine Buckley, an abuse victim and campaigner.
The eight-page pastoral letter is the first statement of its kind by the Vatican on the sexual abuse of children.
The Pope stands accused by victims of evading the question of Vatican responsibility, while the letter did not say bishops implicated in the scandal should resign.
Campaigners in Ireland gathered signatures for a petition calling for a criminal investigation into the scandal. One US based Catholic group said the letter should have addressed abuses throughout the church. Response to this letter, it seems, has only served to highlight recent scandals in other countries, not just Ireland, and deepen the growing crisis in the Roman Catholic church.