Primate's apology for failing children


THE CATHOLIC Primate of All Ireland Cardinal Seán Brady has asked forgiveness, for himself and on behalf of the church, for failing “the little ones”, and has spoken of the “deep shame” felt as a result.

“May God forgive us for the times when we as individuals and as a church failed to seek out and care for those little ones who were frightened, alone and in pain because someone was abusing them,” he said in a homily at a Mass in the RDS yesterday at the 50th International Eucharistic Congress.

“That we did not always respond to your cries with the concern of the good shepherd is a matter of deep shame. We lament the burdens of the painful memories you carry.

“We pray for healing and peace for those whose suffering continues.”

The cardinal added: “I want to take this opportunity of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress to apologise for the times when some of us were blind to your fear, deaf to your cries and silent in response to your pain.”

Referring to the large granite Healing Stone unveiled at the congress opening ceremony last Sunday, he said: “My prayer is that one day this stone might become a symbol of conversion, healing and hope. I hope it will become a symbol of a church that has learned from the mistakes of the past and strives to become a model for the care and wellbeing of children.

“What this stone represents,” Cardinal Brady said, “what has happened in the church in Ireland and in other places in the world, is a stark warning to all that there can be no passing by on the other side, no room for half-heartedness in our care for the vulnerable and the young.”

The stone would “serve as a reminder of those children and young people who were hurt by a church that first betrayed their trust and then failed to respond adequately to their pain. The words of the Gospel echo in my mind: ‘It is not the will of your Father that any of these little ones should be lost’.”

He said “every moral choice we make, no matter how small, has consequences . . . As Pope Benedict said, ‘our lives are involved with one another, through innumerable interactions they are linked together. No one lives alone. No one sins alone. No one is saved alone’.”