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Need for “distinction” in clerical abuse cases

A distinction should be drawn between paedophile priest and those who have committed a minor indiscretion with a teenager, says the Association of Catholic Priests.

A DISTINCTION SHOULD be drawn between paedophile priests and clerics who are responsible for committing minor indiscretions, according to a spokesman for the new Association of Catholic Priests.

RTÉ reports that the head of the new association, Father Tony Flannery, said that many clerics sympathised with priests who had been excluded from ministry even though their behaviour since a minor transgression had been blameless.

Following the association’s first regional meeting in Claremorris, Flannery said that those attending the meeting expressed that a distinction should be made between a paedophile who had a history of abusing children, and a man who had inappropriately behaved towards a teenager shortly after emerging from a seminary three decades previously.

The 45 priests who attended the two-hour meeting debated how bishops and religious superiors should deal with allegations of child abuse made against colleagues.

Flannery said that those at the meeting also expressed a desire for help in how to minister more effectively.

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