Survivor calls on pope to resign

Sat, Mar 20, 2010, 00:00

Clerical abuse survivor Andrew Madden reiterated his call for the resignation of Pope Benedict and Cardinal Seán Brady after studying the Papal pastoral letter this afternoon.

Expressing disappointment with the document, he said: "It changes nothing. They should both resign.''

Mr Madden said that the document represented "not an inability to do the right thing, but an unwillingness to do the right thing''. He did not feel that the pope would be any more willing to do it on a visit to Ireland than in Rome.

Mr Madden was speaking to journalists in Killarney where he was addressing the Fine Gael national conference on the theme "cherishing our children''.

He said that a major problem with the pastoral letter was the pope's failure to accept the cover-up of clerical sex abuse.

"The whole Murphy report was about the cover-up of the sexual abuse of children by priests in this country for three decades,” he said.

"For the Pope not to acknowledge the cover-up, and the part that Irish bishops and the Vatican played in it, is really just not on.

"Obviously, if we are going to respond in any meaningful way to the Murphy report, in particular, and the Ferns report, because it revealed the same thing...that ought to have been addressed.''

Dismissing the suggestion that the Papal document was part of a process, Mr Madden said that approach was "buying time, moving things out.''

He said that when the Irish bishops went to Rome there were great expectations that something useful would come out of that meeting. Instead, he added, the bishops had said at the time that people should wait for the pope's letter.

"They beefed up that quite a lot, as if this was going to be the thing,'' he added.

Speaking  separately at the Fine Gael conference, the party’s spokesman on children Alan Shatter described the pope’s “silence” on the issue of abuse victims being sworn to secrecy by the church as “surprising and disturbing”.

He said a new criminal offence should be introduced “which expressly applies to the concealment of information about child abuse, both past and present, and to the administration of any oath obliging any individual to conceal such conduct from either An Garda Síochána or our child care services.”