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Monday 23 April 2018

Victims of abuse warn clergymen to 'get act together'

Breda Heffernan

SURVIVORS of clerical abuse have warned the Irish bishops meeting the Pope in Rome today that they have two days to "get their act together" and if no meaningful response comes out of the summit they will break off all engagements with them.

Andrew Madden, one of the first people to go public about the abuse he suffered at the hands of a Dublin priest, said he didn't want "bland" statements to come from the Irish delegation following their meeting with Pope Benedict XVI.

Mr Madden said that while he didn't want to speculate about what would and would not be up for discussion in Rome, the resignations of certain bishops was high on the agenda of survivors.

"We have set out what would be an appropriate response to the Murphy report from the bishops and from the Vatican," he said.

"They have two days to get their act together. If they don't do that, there is no point in engaging with them any more."


He said a meeting on Saturday between Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin and a group of abuse survivors had been positive.

"A couple of victims, who wouldn't be known (publicly), relayed their feelings and their anguish and how this was made worse by the reaction of the church," Mr Madden said.

He also touched on the worrying "surge in denial" among certain quarters of the hierarchy following the publication of the damning Murphy report, which showed a systematic cover-up of clerical child abuse.

"Diarmuid Martin is one of the good guys, but there are 24 bishops going to Rome and if the success of that is reliant on them rowing in behind him, the odds aren't great," said Mr Madden.

Marie Collins, another survivor of abuse, said that if the Pope didn't accept the resignations of bishops James Moriarty, Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field, it would be a bad indication for the future of the church in Ireland.

"It's the very first thing that needs to happen to move forward," she added.

Irish Independent

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