Dublin, Ireland, Aug 21, 2018 / 10:00 am
Several Irish bishops, as well as victims of clerical sexual abuse in the country, have offered responses to a letter Pope Francis’ issued Monday on sexual abuse in the Church. The pope’s letter condemned abuse, and encouraged the entire Church to pray and fast.
Pope Francis is due to visit Ireland this coming weekend, Aug. 25-26, for the World Meeting of Families. The trip will mark the first papal visit to the country since Pope St. John Paul II, who came to Ireland in 1979. In the years between the two visits, the Church in Ireland has been implicated in numerous scandals concerning the abuse of children and the mistreatment of unwed mothers and their children.
An Irish child sexual abuse survivors’ group, One in Four, gave a critical reception to Pope Francis’ letter, saying they were “disappointed and frustrated” by it, and that the letter contained “meaningless apologies.” One in Four also said that the letter did not contain any “concrete” steps in how to successfully combat the issue of clerical abuse.
Maeve Lewis, the director of One in Four, said that Francis’ visit to Ireland was “very distressing to many survivors, retriggering old emotions of shame, humiliation, despair and anger.” Lewis said that survivors were owed a “clear commitment” from the Church that it “finally intends to deal with clerical child sexual abuse.”