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Pope Benedict ‘visibly upset’ by abuse report, Irish prelates say

.- Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin on Monday reported that Pope Benedict XVI was “visibly upset” by the details of a recent government report detailing child abuse in Irish institutions run by religious orders.

Archbishop Martin and Primate of Ireland Seán Brady had a meeting with the Pope on Friday, in which they discussed the Ryan report. They reported on their meeting to Irish bishops in Maynooth, after which the cardinal released a statement to journalists.

Cardinal Brady said the Pope had listened “very carefully, very attentively, very sympathetically to what we had to say and he said in reply that this was a time for deep examination of life here in Ireland in the Church,” the Irish Times reports.

The cardinal said the Pope urged the two to establish the truth of what happened and to ensure that justice is done for all. Pope Benedict also urged them to instate measures that will prevent the abuses from happening again, with a view to furthering healing for the survivors.

“The Pope wrote his first encyclical about the love of God. He was very visibly upset, I would say, to hear of some of the things that are told in the Ryan report, how the children had suffered from the very opposite of an expression of the love of God,” Archbishop Martin said.

“The message again that we bring back with us is that we have to listen to the victims, we have to listen to the survivors, they’re the ones who have gone through this,” he continued. “Let’s listen and learn from what’s in the report and do a little bit of soul searching about what way the Church in Ireland will look in years to come.”

According to the Irish Times, Archbishop Martin said dialogue with the Vatican would continue and predicted “something will come of that.”

Before the meeting, Archbishop Martin was asked about a Christian Brothers letter claiming there had not been any abuse in their institutions. In response, the archbishop said there was “huge denial” about abuse.

The Irish Survivors of Child Abuse (SOCA) on Sunday welcomed the meeting between the leading Irish prelates and the Pope, expressing its willingness to help the Vatican in any inquiry into the misconduct of religious orders in Ireland or elsewhere.

An announcement on the web site of the Archdiocese of Armagh said groups of survivors of abuse were organizing a “silent march of solidarity” on Wednesday to coincide with a scheduled Irish Dáil debate on the Ryan report.

However, the debate will likely be delayed until Thursday because of the Fine Gael party’s post-election decision to call for a motion of no confidence in the Government.

Organizers of the march include Survivors of International Abuse Ireland (SOIAI) and John Kelly of SOCA Ireland.

The organizers asked for as many as possible to attend and called for those who cannot make it to the march to wear a white ribbon and to sign a petition of solidarity.

The white ribbon will symbolize “the lives shattered in these institutions.”

“We the people of Ireland join in solidarity and call for Justice, Accountability, Restitution and Repatriation for the unimaginable crimes committed against the children of our country by religious orders in 216 Institutions” the petition reads, according to the Archdiocese of Armagh.

The petition will be handed to representatives of the Conference of the Religious of Ireland and the 18 religious orders who participated in a 2002 indemnity agreement concerning child abuse committed by members of religious orders.


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