« Previous | Main | Next »

Pope Benedict: "outrage, betrayal and shame"

Post categories:

William Crawley | 14:02 UK time, Friday, 11 December 2009

pope_benedict-1.jpgPope Benedict has expressed outrage at the findings of the Dublin child abuse report, after a briefing today from the archbishops of Armagh and Dublin, and has pledged to write a pastoral letter to Catholics in Ireland setting out the church's strategy in response to the report.

The Vatican statement includes this telling sentence: "The Holy See takes very seriously the central issues raised by the Report, including questions concerning the governance of local Church leaders with ultimate responsibility for the pastoral care of children."

One might read this comment in a number of ways. Is this an indication that the Pope believes episcopal heads should roll? Or is this a careful effort to distance the Vatican from the decisions taken by Irish bishops? The phrase "ultimate responsibility" is striking because an outside observer might believe the Vatican bears ultimate responsibility for the pastoral care of children; but the statement places that responsibility, in this case, on the shoulders of Ireland's bishops.

Here is the full statement:

Today the Holy Father held a meeting with senior Irish Bishops and high-ranking members of the Roman Curia. He listened to their concerns and discussed with them the traumatic events that were presented in the Irish Commission of Investigation's Report into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin.

After careful study of the Report, the Holy Father was deeply disturbed and distressed by its contents. He wishes once more to express his profound regret at the actions of some members of the clergy who have betrayed their solemn promises to God, as well as the trust placed in them by the victims and their families, and by society at large.

The Holy Father shares the outrage, betrayal and shame felt by so many of the faithful in Ireland, and he is united with them in prayer at this difficult time in the life of the Church.

His Holiness asks Catholics in Ireland and throughout the world to join him in praying for the victims, their families and all those affected by these heinous crimes.

He assures all concerned that the Church will continue to follow this grave matter with the closest attention in order to understand better how these shameful events came to pass and how best to develop effective and secure strategies to prevent any recurrence.

The Holy See takes very seriously the central issues raised by the Report, including questions concerning the governance of local Church leaders with ultimate responsibility for the pastoral care of children.

The Holy Father intends to address a Pastoral Letter to the faithful of Ireland in which he will clearly indicate the initiatives that are to be taken in response to the situation.

Finally, His Holiness encourages all those who have dedicated their lives in generous service to children to persevere in their good works in imitation of Christ the Good Shepherd.


  • Comment number 1.

    Did you see Martin and Brady after the meeting? They looked like they'd seen a Rottweiler.

  • Comment number 2.

    And if you can still slap your wrists, then you haven't gone far wrong.
    Tell-tale signs of those that pray & those that don't.
    Can you still slap your wrists after a long argument with God?
    As God's Entertainments Manager/ess, I don't get into any long argument with God unless He gets a kick from it.
    Then there's the cost element.
    Never get into an expensive argument with God.
    Ideally, any arguing with God shouldn't cost anything unless you're taking God on a day out.
    The idea is not to disobey God.
    Now that's a GOOD idea.
    And those that can't slap their wristipoos?
    They came after us wrist-slappers some time ago.
    Will they ever stop coming after us wrist-slappers?
    I could pretend not to be a wrist-slapper.
    Most of the time, I don't slap my wrists anyway.
    Dear Lord, does this mean I'm Gay & effeminate?
    Dear Lord, does it ever show in the slightest?
    Are there any Catholic wrist-slappers?
    Because I'm a Presbyterian wrist-slapper & I liked Father Ted better than All Gas & Gators.
    P.S. After searching YouTube for [Transvestite Prophet], I found out our very old friend Mohammed's a bit of a wrist-slapper too.
    He is still our very old wrist-slapping friend isn't he?

  • Comment number 3.

  • Comment number 4.

    I've just read the statement. Nauseating is the only remotely appropriate word that is likely to pass moderation.

    If the pope's statement does not include the words 'Mea culpa! Mea maxima culpa!' it will ring very hollow indeed.

  • Comment number 5.

    Did you see what I saw on the Holy See-Saw? Did a miracle happen? Did someone manage to arouse the Pope out of his coma? Or is it just a case of sudden realization that the franchise is in jeopardy? Having worked in many large organizations myself, I know that instinctively one of the knee-jerk reactions of any such group when there is a serious problem is a re-org. Deck chairs on the Titanic? The only difference...they had a band. I'll know they are serious when they agree to investigate the entire global structure and cooperate with any and all local authorities in every country if some of their members have broken the law thereby putting all Priests everywhere on notice. Can a Catholic priest take confession say in a prison if there is no confessional box? I think he can. I know they can administer last rights. What if he's been de-frocked, does it still count...I mean with god? Do those who confess still get out of going to hell?

  • Comment number 6.

    I am appalled by the pope's remarks. He can identify with the betrayal of those who have been sexually abused by priests and sisters? Before he became pope, he was the go-to guy for reports of sexual abuse by priests. Therefore, he knew what was going on in Ireland. He was the man who wrote the document telling all cardinals and bishops to keep reports of this particular trangression top secret. He KNEW what was happening!! He has not been betrayed - he IS the betrayer!! He allowed thousands of innocent lives to be irreparably wounded by his silence and his inactivity! He gave permission to sexually predatory priests and complicit bishops and cardinals by his silence and inaction. I really do not know how he can touch the Eucharist, let alone look at himself in the mirror!! Does he not realize that he, too, will have a last judgement?

  • Comment number 7.

    I don't know how many ways to say this or repeat it but Ratzinger did not tell anyone not to go to the police. He wanted Rome involved to show the seriousness of situation.

  • Comment number 8.

    Ratzinger told the Bishops to report to Rome and reminded those involved that they were to remain silent, under pain of excommunication.

    He continues to reward Cardinal Law for his silence.

    In his latest statement he makes it clear that the problems in Ireland are the responsibility of the Irish Bishops - not Rome.

    He cant have it both ways. The moment he sent that document, he took responsibility. He should resign.

  • Comment number 9.

    You disagree that the Irish bishops are responsible?

  • Comment number 10.

    As many Nazi war criminals bleated after the war, "We were only following orders...."


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.