Cardinal to meet victims of abuse before papal talks
CARDINAL Sean Brady promised yesterday to meet victims of clerical sex abuse before Irish bishops travel to Rome next month for their mini-synod with Pope Benedict.
Dr Brady said that the hierarchy's first concern was the healing of survivors and to appreciate properly all that they had suffered and endured.
"For that reason, we will listen to them before going to Rome," he said yesterday.
The bishops of all 26 dioceses were summoned to a two-day meeting in Rome, starting on February 15, for what Dr Brady described as a "mini-synod on Ireland".
The Pontiff has called the extraordinary meeting to consider initiatives to be proposed in his forthcoming Lenten letter to the Catholics of Ireland.
The cardinal said they were going to Rome to discuss a "painful situation in the Catholic Church in Ireland".
Dr Brady said the bishops would engage in as much consultation as possible with lay people, the religious and priests before going to Rome.
Asked about the value of bringing a lay person on the delegation, such as Dame Nuala O'Loan, the former Northern Police Ombudsman, Dr Brady said the invitations were a matter for the Pope.
However, he said that the lay consultation process wasn't something they were "pulling out of the air to make things look good".
The cardinal said he did not know what the outcome of the Rome meeting would be.
"I expect to be heard very respectfully by the Holy Father, who said he wants to listen to us in order to help," he said.
Dr Brady said the meeting in Rome would be one step, adding that it wouldn't "resolve all of our problems".
Meanwhile, Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe yesterday indicated the Government may ask the 18 religious orders named in the Ryan report for more money. The orders had been involved in a controversial 2002 Church-State indemnity deal which capped their contribution at €128m. As a result they have paid just 10pc of the €1.2bn victims' compensation bill. He said a report on how much their assets were worth and how much they would contribute had been completed.