THE POPE’S PERSONAL representative to the International Eucharistic Congress has met with a group of survivors of clerical sexual abuse – and asked them for foregiveness for the abuse.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet met with the victims, from both sides of the border, during a two-day pilgrimage to Lough Derg.
After the meeting Ouellet celebrated Mass at St Patrick’s Basilica where he said Pope Benedict XVI had asked him to come to Lough Derg and ask for God’s forgiveness for any instance where someone had been abused anywhere in the Church.
“I come here with the specific intention of seeking forgiveness, from God and from the Victims, for the grave sin of sexual abuse of children by clerics,” he said in his homily.
We have learned over the last decades how much harm and despair such abuse caused to thousands of victims.
We learned too that the response of some Church authorities to these crimes was often inadequate and inefficient in stopping the crimes, in spite of clear indications in the code of canon law… In the name of the Church, I apologise once again to the victims, some of which I have met here in Lough Derg.
Describing clerical abuse as a “source of great shame and enormous scandal”, Ouellet affirmed the Church’s commitment to “create a safe environment for children and we pray that a new culture of respect, integrity and Christ like love would prevail”.
He said later that he would meet personally with the Pope on his return to Rome and would report on the meeting to him, sharing how he was “deeply moved” by his meeting.
The Papal Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown, and the Bishop of Clogher Liam MacDaid joined Cardinal Ouellet on his overnight pilgrimage.