Pope 'scandalised by clergy abuse'

Archbishop Charles J. Brown.

Pope Benedict XVI was scandalised and dismayed by the abuse perpetrated by some members of the clergy and of religious congregations, his new envoy to Ireland said today.

Archbishop Charles J Brown told Massgoers in Dublin the Pope knows the recent years have been difficult for Catholic believers in Ireland.

The new papal nuncio maintained the Holy Father has been relentless in trying to make changes within the Church and help those abused by clerics.

“Again I speak from my own experience when I tell you that Pope Benedict was scandalised and dismayed as he learned about the tragedy of abuse perpetrated by some members of the clergy and of religious congregations,” said Archbishop Brown, in his homily at the Pro-Cathedral of Dublin.

“He felt deeply the wounds of those who had been harmed and who so often had not been listened to.

“From the beginning, Pope Benedict was resolute and determined to put into place changes which would give the Church the ability to deal more effectively with those who abuse trust, as well as to provide the necessary assistance to those who had been victimised.

“Pope Benedict has been relentless and consistent on this front, and I assure you that he will continue to be.”

Ireland has been rocked by several clerical abuse reports in recent years, including the sickening Ryan and Murphy inquiries which revealed paedophile priests were moved from parish to parish and protected from the law.

The Mass was the first celebrated by the US-born Archbishop since he presented his credentials to President Michael D Higgins during the week.

Representatives from Dublin parishes, church organisations and the diplomatic corps attended the service.

Archbishop Brown worked in Roman Curia, the central administration of the Catholic Church, in Rome with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he was appointed Pope.

Pope Benedict has been asked to attend the 50th Eucharistic Congress in June.

Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, told the congregation the Holy See and Ireland have deep-rooted links which go back long into history.

The controversial closure of the Irish embassy there will end Ireland’s 83-year diplomatic presence in Rome.

“Irish people have profound bonds of affection for the Holy See,” Archbishop Martin said at the Mass.

“The diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Ireland have been fruitful in fostering the interests of Ireland, of the Holy See and of our common interests in the good of the human family.

“International relations and diplomacy are concerned not just with the political and economic challenges of the day, no matter how vital, but with the fundamental values and aspirations of people which must then shape relations between peoples and states, and in this context the Holy See plays a vital role.”

David Cooney, secretary general at the Department of Foreign Affairs, has been nominated to take up the role of non-resident ambassador to the Holy See.

The last papal nuncio in Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, was recalled to Rome just days after Taoiseach Enda Kenny strongly criticised the Vatican for what he said was an attempt to frustrate an inquiry into child sex abuse cases in Cloyne.

Mr Kenny accused Church hierarchy of downplaying the rape of children to protect its power and reputation and said the Church’s inability to deal with the abuse cases showed a culture of “dysfunction, disconnection, elitism and narcissism” at the Vatican.

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