Friday 19 December 2014

Irish abuse survivor describes meeting with Pope as a 'huge vindication'

Sarah Mac Donald

Published 07/07/2014 | 12:23

Pope Francis. Reuters
Pope Francis. Reuters

ONE of the two Irish survivors of abuse who met Pope Francis this morning in the Vatican has described the meeting as a “huge vindication” for her.

Marie Kane, who has never spoken publicly about the abuse she suffered at the hands a curate in the archdiocese of Dublin, told the Irish Independent that the meeting with the Pope would help bring her healing.

“It was pretty amazing. There were no time constraints on the meeting and the only others in the room were Marie Collins, who came as a support to me and [Cardinal] Sean O’Malley who acted as translator,” she said.

In all six survivors of abuse, two from Ireland, two from Britain and two from Germany met the Pope individually this morning, the first official meeting the pontiff has held since his election in March 2013. The other Irish survivor was a man. His identity remains unclear at the moment.

According to Marie Kane, the Pope “listened intently” to her and “at times seemed frustrated by what he was hearing” about her experiences. Her case was covered in the Murphy Report into the mishandling of allegations of clerical abuse in the archdiocese of Dublin. Her abuser was taken out of ministry but has not been defrocked.

Of her encounter with the leader of over one billion catholics worldwide, she recalled, “He is really humble. There was no pomp or ceremony and plus he is not really tall, so he is not towering over you which is really nice. He holds eye contact very well.”

The 43 year old from Bray, who now lives in Carlow, said she was invited to meet the Argentinian pontiff a month ago by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, who she said “has been very good to me”.

Asked about the significance of the meeting, Marie Kane said, “There is still a long way to go” for the Church on this issue and she explained that one of the things survivors would like to see is greater accountability for those bishops who covered up clerical abuse.

“Until people like Sean Brady are gone, I will never believe that there is change and I said that to the Pope Francis and he understood that. He heard what I said and understood where I was coming from.”

She told the Irish Independent that she left three letters with the Pope, one from herself and two from her 18 and 14 year old children in which they outlined what needs to change in the Church.

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