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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 14°C
Peter Morrison/AP
# Clerical Abuse
Abuse victims divided about meeting apostolic delegation
Irish victims of clerical sexual abuse are divided on whether to meet the apostolic

VICTIMS OF CLERICAL SEXUAL ABUSE have sent mixed messages about whether they will meet with the apostolic delegation sent by Pope Benedict to investigate how the Church handled abuse in Dublin.

One victim, Marie Collins, said she would meet Cardinal Seán O’Malley – Archbishop of Boston, and leader of the delegation – if she was invited to, a move which RTÉ reports has been welcomed by the primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Seán Brady (pictured).

Collins said that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin was the only senior clergyman who had held sessions with victims of clerical abuse and criticised the majority of other clerics who had failed to do so.

Collins was joined by Colm O’Gorman, another prominent victim of the abuse, who described the opportunity to meet with the senior clergymen as a chance to counter the “deceit” of the Catholic Church.

However, another survivor has written off the visitation by the senior church figures as “self-serving window dressing nonsense” and said he had no intention of meeting any of the visitors.

Andrew Madden, who wrote a book on his experiences, made the remark on Twitter last night, followed up by a blog post in which he argued that the views of victims had been consistently ignored when bishops turned down requests for meetings after the publication of the Murphy Report. He wrote:

By having this ‘Apostolic Visitation’, the Vatican is trying to maintain the pretence that the sexual abuse of children by priests was an Irish problem, but it wasn’t Irish bishops who were covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests in Dioceses throughout the United States and in Europe.

The Philadelphia Report described the Catholic Church as having employed well-orchestrated strategies for decades and in all parts of the United States to keep abusing priests in ministry while minimising the risk of scandal or legal liability.

Cardinal Brady told RTÉ News he regretted Madden’s decision and hoped that in time, people would see the visit as a genuine attempt to atone for the abuse.