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Bishops are branded 'narcissistic sociopaths'

A priest who suffered sexual abuse has branded bishops and priests who fail to reach out to abuse victims as "narcissistic sociopaths".

Father Patrick McCafferty has launched a blistering attack on the institutional church, claiming it was inflicted with a deep sickness "from the top down".

The outspoken priest, who is currently a doctoral student at Dublin's Milltown Institute, has also called on the Church to repent and make reparation for the sins of its members.

Speaking yesterday, he revealed he had been sexually abused as a child between the ages of four and seven. He also claimed he was assaulted by a priest when he was a young seminarian.

"I know the particular devastation clerical sexual abuse has on victims," he said.

He was speaking on Donegal's Highland Radio in response to claims that jailed paedophile priest Eugene Greene had been sent financial gifts from parishioners.

Former parishioners in west Donegal have expressed outrage at the claims

Lisburn-born Fr McCafferty added: "This man has done a great evil. This man has brought horrendous shame on the church."

Greene (80) was jailed for 12 years after pleading guilty to 41 sample charges of buggery, gross indecency and indecent assault on young boys.

He is due for release later this year, four years early.

Fr McCafferty has expressed anger at the lack of empathy from many bishops and priests and their failure to reach out to victims of clerical sexual abuse.

"With some notable exceptions, they have just walled these victims out of their hearts.

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"The institutional church is very sick. Bishops are very sick. Priests are very sick. Not all of them, by any means, but many of them are narcissistic sociopaths.

"They are self-absorbed. They are self-serving and they are incapable of feeling the suffering of human beings when it comes to this issue."

He said that by and large, the lay community had provided him, as an abuse victim, with more support than the Church.

He added that the same church representatives had no difficulty feeling sympathy elsewhere.

"They can feel sorry for people with cancer. They can feel sorry for people who have been in a road accident... but when it comes to victims of predator priests they have hearts of stone.

"It is diabolical and I mean diabolical in every sense of the word -- of the devil."

Fr McCafferty has undergone extensive therapy to overcome depression, sleeplessness, panic attacks, anxiety and an eating disorder he has suffered as a result of abuse.

"At times I felt suicidal. There are still times when it is so black and you hope it will get better but you don't know that it will get better," he said.

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