Action needed more than words
I welcome the Pope's candid apology and the empathy reflected in his letter. His language is straightforward and direct. It would have been impossible for a single letter to have dealt conclusively with the complexity connected to clerical child sex abuse in Ireland.
His letter has the potential to open a new relationship with Ireland -- if words are followed by actions that chart a new direction which inspires confidence and recovery. But much hard work is required to achieve this and it may not be possible for change to come quickly enough to satisfy many people.
The first response to systemic failure in an organisation or institution is to put new faces at the helm, even if those affected by such change believe that they are not directly culpable for adversity uncovered. The consequences of such change is to achieve effective accountability, inspire trust and revitalise the institutional culture.