Pope Benedict speaks out to Irish victims of sex abuse by priests
March 20, 2010
(ChattahBox) - Pope Benedict XVI whose former archdioscese in Munich has also been caught up in the scandal of sex abuse by priests and other clergy, which has shattered faith in the church, has spoken out. In the first public document ever issued by the Vatican on the subject of sex abuse, the Pope castigated Irish bishops for “grave errors of judgment” in their handling of the paedophilia scandal saying:
“You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity violated. We are all scandalized by the sins and failures of some of the Church’s members.”
The Pope’s seven-page letter, due to be read out in churches across Ireland on Sunday, described the sexual and physical abuse perpetrated by priests, brothers and nuns as “sinful and criminal”, saying they had betrayed the trust of the faithful, brought shame on the church and now must answer to God and civil authorities.
“Conceal nothing,” he said. “Openly acknowledge your guilt, submit yourselves to the demands of justice, but do not despair of God’s mercy.”
the Vatican has been trying to contain damage as a string of scandals over sexual abuse of children by priests has hit Ireland, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. But in this letter to Ireland, the Pope made no mention of any Vatican responsibility, and gave no specific punishments for bishops who have been blamed by victims and Irish government inquiries for having concealed the abuse.