Cloyne victims to have face-to-face meetings with Bishop Magee
VICTIMS of clerical sex abuse in the Cork diocese of Cloyne are to be offered face-to-face meetings with Bishop John Magee who was in charge when abuse allegations went unreported.
The report into the handling of abuse in Cloyne - the final chapter of which was published yesterday - found serious lapses in how children were protected.
Archbishop Dermot Clifford, who took over the diocese two years ago, said some priests failed to report child sexual abuse because they saw it as a sin, rather than a crime.
Under a new scheme, he said victims would be able to meet his predecessor and Monsignor Denis O'Callaghan, who was in charge of child protection.
Monsignor O'Callaghan was severely criticised in the report into the handling of abuse cases in the diocese.
The programme, which Archbishop Clifford said was successful for victims in the US, will begin in the New Year here.
Archbishop Clifford again apologised to victims and to their families.
The senior cleric, appointed Apostolic Administrator in Cloyne since John Magee stood down as bishop, insisted all efforts were now being made to protect children.
The cleric named in 'chapter nine' of the Cloyne Report into the abuse, known as Fr Ronat, was suspended from all ministry in Cloyne in November 2005. He has not been allowed to minister to the public since.
"He was only allowed to celebrate Holy Mass in the privacy of his own home without a congregation," the Archbishop said.
"He was also instructed not to wear clerical dress or present himself as a priest.
"Priests are in a position of special trust and responsibility, particularly where young people are concerned. To betray that trust by engaging in the heinous crime of child sexual abuse is appalling."
The Archbishop said it was a huge regret the Catholic Church's own rules on reporting abuse allegations were not followed as recently as 2008.
"As a result, further hurt and distress was caused to complainants," he said.
"They were also denied the justice they deserved."