Clergy sexual abuse of children in Ireland had “opened many wounds” causing people to lose trust in their pastors, the Vatican said in its report into Ireland’s child abuse.
Fruit of a year-long investigation, the report, published on Wednesday, acknowledged the Irish Catholic Church had failed many innocent young people and “those who should have exercised vigilance often failed to do so effectively”.
“The Holy See re-echoes the sense of dismay and betrayal which the Holy Father expressed in his Letter to the Catholics of Ireland regarding the sinful and criminal acts that were at the root of this particular crisis,” the report says.
The apostolic visitation came as the Church in Ireland faced a storm of criticism in the wake of reports that showed many bishops had failed to curb sexual abuse by priests, protecting the guilty clerics and covering up evidence of their misconduct.
“Those who should have exercised diligence often failed to do so effectively,” the report said.
The Vatican’s report was particularly critical of seminaries and their processes and outlined a seven-point list of improvements including maintaining proper equilibrium between human, spiritual and church dimensions, and the importance of having good admission criteria and intellectual formation for seminarians.
The report calls for religious leaders to continue the reforms begun in order to avoid a similarly shameful scandal in the future.
While priests and the Church’s hierarchy have praised the document, and the child protection measures implemented since the 1990′s have been labelled ‘excellent’, victims of clerical sexual abuse have labelled it as “window dressing”.
News category: World.