Friday 6 December 2019

Pope's weasel words add to victims' pain

Shame on the Catholic Church and shame on Ratzinger, head of that church, for not insisting that ses abuse perpetrators are exposed to the rigours of the law forthwith. In my view, clergy who do not notify the police of the identity of those accused are guilty of obstruction of justice and of aiding and abetting the abusers to avoid prosecution.

How dare Ratzinger make cheap political points against Vatican II and attempt to use it as a distraction when he should be concentrating on making reparations to the victims already abused and exposing the abusers.

He knows full well from information available to the church over the years that sexual abuse had been going on within the church since the Middle Ages. It has nothing to do with secularisation and is not exclusive to Ireland.

Instead of Ratzinger's weasel words to the abusers, "acknowledge your guilt, submit yourselves to the demands of justice, but do not despair of God's mercy", he should be demanding that they come forward immediately and make a full confession to the secular authorities and submit themselves to the due process of law which every other citizen in the country is subject to.

A full confession would demonstrate true repentance and consideration for the victims who would then not be obliged to appear as witnesses and to revisit their very distressing memories.

After the secular courts have dealt with them and after they have served any sentence imposed following the judicial process, the ecclesiastical courts could take over.

Why not set up a national ecclesiastical tribunal for the whole of Ireland specifically to deal with all cases of sexual abuse carried out by any member of the clergy during his or her lifetime.

The tribunal should be transparent and the conclusions in each case should be published.

The remit of the proposed Apostolic Visitation to look at "certain" dioceses in Ireland is too narrow. Its remit should be to look at all dioceses in Ireland as well as seminaries and religious congregations.

Why leave the job half done when the opportunity is there to do it properly?

Evelyn Ryan

Irish Independent

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