Pope's panel to probe Ireland abuse

2010-05-31 21:28

kalahari.com

Vatican City - Pope Benedict XVI on Monday appointed nine prelates, including the archbishops of Boston and New York, to investigate child abuse in Ireland's Catholic institutions.

The pope urged the Irish church to support the investigation, saying it could be a chance for hope and renewal. In a March letter to the Irish faithful, Benedict had promised an investigation that addressed chronic clerical child abuse in Ireland and decades of cover-ups by church authorities.

Also on Monday, the Vatican announced that the pope had accepted the resignation of an Irish-born archbishop who had led the Benin City diocese in Nigeria and faced accusations that he carried on a 20-year relationship with a woman that began when she was 14.

Archbishop Richard Burke, 61, had been suspended. He was the latest bishop to resign amid the church abuse scandal, as Benedict moves to get rid of bishops who either admitted they molested youngsters or covered up for priests who did.

Damages

Child-abuse scandals have caused exceptional trauma in Ireland, a once-devoutly Catholic nation. An Irish government collapsed in 1994 amid arguments over its failure to extradite a paedophile priest to Northern Ireland.

Since 2002, a government-organised compensation board has paid out more than $983m to 13 000 people abused in Ireland's church-run residential institutions for children.

The investigation in Ireland will deal with the handling of cases of abuse and providing assistance to victims. It will begin in four archdioceses, including Dublin, and then be extended to other dioceses, the Vatican said. It will also look at seminaries and religious houses.

The nine investigators will look at the procedures currently in place to prevent abuse and seek ways to improve them.

The pope invited "all the members of the Irish Catholic community to support this fraternal initiative" and hoped the investigation will be "an occasion of renewed fervour in the Christian life, and that it may deepen their faith and strengthen their hope," the Vatican statement said.

The investigators named by Benedict include the archbishops of Westminster in England, Boston, Toronto and Ottawa.

Priestly formation

Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, will investigate the Irish seminaries as well as the broader issue of priestly formation. Two nuns were appointed to investigate religious institutes for women.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston will investigate the Dublin archdiocese. O'Malley was brought in to Boston after a priest sex abuse furore erupted there in 2002, prompting Cardinal Bernard Law to resign.

"The Church must be unfailingly vigilant in protecting children and young people," O'Malley said in a statement posted on the archdiocese's website.

"It will also be important to respond to the concerns of the Catholic community and the survivors in the manner that will promote the process of healing."

Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin praised O'Malley's appointment, saying his "experience and personal commitment render him particularly suited" for the task. Martin, who has been trying to root out abusive priests, called the investigation an "important element" in the purification and renewal of the Dublin church, which "addresses the truth of a dark moment in its history."

Oath of celibacy

The pope apologised for the chronic abuse in his unprecedented letter to Ireland, rebuking church leaders for "grave errors of judgment" and appealing to priests still harbouring sins of child molestation to confess.

Three Irish bishops have stepped down since December, and there have been calls for the country's top prelate, Cardinal Sean Brady, to leave because of his handling of a notorious child rapist.

In the Burke case, the St Patrick Missionary Society said Burke resigned for "his failure to observe his oath of celibacy".

However, the society said its local investigator in Nigeria never found evidence that Burke began having sex with the woman when she was 14. Burke said the sexual relationship began only after she turned 18, while he served as a priest in Warri, a city in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

"(Burke) has apologised to all those whom he has hurt by his actions and has taken full personal responsibility for what he has done wrong," the society said.

Burke served in Warri for about a decade before heading back to Ireland. In 1996, he returned to Warri and later became bishop, sometimes serving as a negotiator between Nigerian militants who kidnapped foreign oil workers and the oil companies.

Burke became archbishop of Benin City in 2007.

Catholicism is fast-growing religion in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation with 150 million people.

- AP
Read more on:    roman catholic church  |  pope benedict xvi  |  ireland  |  child abuse
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Be open, network and share your intentions and ideas as these may be the vital seeds to the imminent change that can be starting...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.