Pope Doesn’t Ask for Resignations in Abuse Talks

Feb 17th, 2010 | By | Category: Signs of the Times (click on article name)

Pope Doesn’t Ask for Resignations in Abuse Talks

Updated: 15 hours 34 minutes ago

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Pope Benedict

(Feb. 16) — Pope Benedict XVI today ended two days of talks with Irish bishops on the sexual abuse scandal involving Ireland’s Catholic priests, but no mention was made at the meeting of the victims’ demands that leading bishops be forced to resign, the Vatican said.

A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the issue “was not addressed,” adding that the pope had “already expressed profound regret,” The Associated Press reported.

The meeting followed an investigation in Ireland that revealed the widespread scope of child sexual abuse over decades in the Dublin diocese. The findings matched previous reports from other parts of Ireland, and showed that the Catholic hierarchy appeared more concerned with covering up the crimes than bringing anyone to justice.

Pope Benedict XVI meeting with Irish bishops at The Vatican.

Osservatore Romano / AFP / Getty Images
Pope Benedict XVI met with Ireland’s bishops about the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic church in Ireland.

The Vatican meeting was intended to restore confidence in the church, and Lombardi said the pope “shares the outrage.” The pope also urged the Irish clergy to be courageous in confronting the scandal.

But Irish victims of the abuse are unlikely to find much solace in the Vatican’s statements.

After the meeting was announced, Andrew Madden, the first victim to go public in 1995 with the revelation that he had been paid by the church to remain silent, told Dana Kennedy of AOL News, “I have a feeling the pope will just disappoint us again.”

He added: “Every time you engage with the Vatican, you hold out hope they’ll react in a way that’s real and human and connected, and they never do.”

A Vatican statement today said the pope called the sexual abuse of children “a heinous crime” and a “grave sin which offends God.”

Twenty-four Irish bishops were involved in the meeting and were to be given seven minutes each to be questioned by the pope, according to published reports. A number of bishops were scheduled to hold a news conference later today before returning to Ireland for Ash Wednesday church services.

Some of those at the Vatican meeting were identified in the various reports as having taken part in the cover-ups and were said to be considering resigning.

The investigation covering the Dublin diocese, known as the Murphy Report, examined the cases of more than 320 victims from 1975 to 2004. One priest admitted molesting children at least once every two weeks for 25 years.

Meanwhile the Vatican’s diplomatic representative to Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, declined an invitation to testify before a parliamentary committee looking into aspects of the scandal, the Irish Times reports. One member of the committee, Alan Shatter, called that decision “not only regrettable but incomprehensible.”

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