Connell apologises for sex abuse by priests


Cardinal Desmond Connell hasexpressed deep regret for the mistakes hehad made in dealing with sex abuse by priests in a letterdistributed throughout the Dublin diocese this weekend.

"We failed in significant ways to deal with it appropriately,"the letter says,. "For these failures we ask for forgiveness."

The cardinal says incalculable harm has been done to those whowere abused and he urges victims who have not done so to contact thepolice.

Cardinal Connell, acting in his role as Archbishop of Dublin, says thatas a result of a 50-year trawl through the archives he ordered in1995, the names of 17 Dublin priests were given to police.

Since that time, in accordance with 1996 guidelines "the namesof priests known to have abused or suspected of abuse have beengiven to Gardai (police), except where the Gardai were known to bealready in possession of that information."

He said further "scandal" has undoubtedly been caused by thefact that, having approached the Catholic Church in expectation ofthe best possible care and the most sympathetic response, peoplesuffered further hurt.

He apologises to those who suffered abuse "with a keen sense ofour failures to deal more adequately with the problem."I deeply regret the mistakes I have made in seeking to come togrips with the problem."

The cardinal pledged to fully cooperate with a commission headedby a judge that the Irish bishops established to examine what wasknown by bishops and religious superiors about complaints of childsexual abuse by clerics and the church authorities' response to it.

The letter is to be read during Sunday Mass at churches all over the country.