Vatican reports on abuse due this spring


REPORTS FROM the seven visitation teams sent to Ireland by the Vatican last year are on course to be published this spring, Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said.

The teams, which visited Ireland’s four Catholic archdioceses, seminaries and male and female religious congregations, all completed and sent their reports to Rome by the end of last year. The apostolic visitation was ordered after publication of the Murphy report into clerical sex abuse.

A factor which would influence the publication of the team reports was the occurrence of Holy Week and Easter early next month, said Dr Martin.

He was speaking at a press conference in Maynooth yesterday as the Irish Bishops’ Conference ended its spring meeting.

“The strong view on the part of the bishops” was that ongoing reviews of dioceses, congregations and other Catholic institutions by the National Board for Safeguarding Children “should move forward quickly”, he said. Each diocese had agreed to fund their own review, with “a waiting list of bishops wanting to be reviewed”. The work of the board to date was “very satisfactory”, he said.

In a report to the bishops, board chairman John Morgan and director of safeguarding Teresa Devlin said they expected a further seven reviews, of dioceses and congregations, to be completed by the summer.

Turning to next June’s Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, Dr Martin said he believed the church was turning a corner in Ireland and that the congress was “an important part of that”. There were “significant signs of hope . . . the beginnings of a new way of living church in Ireland”.

To illustrate this he pointed to “the level of willingness of lay people to take part” in events.

Bookings for the congress have to date reached 7,000, with 95 countries represented.

Where Irish emigrants were concerned, Bishop Donal McKeown of the diocese of Down and Connor said the work of Catholic chaplaincies abroad was being extended to cities in Australia beyond Sydney, to Canadian cities and the Middle East. “Their role is much more important than organising spiritual events,” he said.

The Bishops’ Council for Emigrants is preparing a practical information pack for emigrants, the publication of which is to coincide with St Patrick’s Day.