'Shameful catalogue of cruelty'
RELIGIOUS ORDERS' REACTION:Great wrong and hurt were caused to some of the most vulnerable children in Irish society, the Catholic Primate of All Ireland Cardinal Sean Brady said in a statement this evening.
The statement follows the publication of the long-awaited report by the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse which found sexual abuse was “endemic” in some institutions and children were exposed to “daily terror” over decades of abuse in Church-run homes.
“Today's publication of the Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, by Mr Justice Sean Ryan, throws light on a dark period of the past,” Cardinal Brady said.
“The publication of this comprehensive report and analysis is a welcome and important step in establishing the truth, giving justice to victims and ensuring such abuse does not happen again.
“This report makes it clear that great wrong and hurt were caused to some of the most vulnerable children in our society. It documents a shameful catalogue of cruelty: neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse, perpetrated against children.”
Cardinal Brady said he was “profoundly sorry and deeply ashamed” that children suffered “in such awful ways”.
“Children deserved better and especially from those caring for them in the name of Jesus Christ.
“I hope the publication of today's Report will help to heal the hurts of victims and to address the wrongs of the past. The Catholic Church remains determined to do all that is necessary to make the Church a safe, life-giving and joyful place for children.”
The Christian Brothers order said it would respond more fully once the full report had been examined.
“In advance, the Christian Brothers apologise openly and unreservedly to all those who have been hurt either directly or indirectly as a result of the deplorable actions of some Brothers, or by the inaction or inappropriate action of the Congregation as a whole,” the order said in a statement by Brother Edmund Garvey.
“We are deeply sorry for the hurt caused. We are ashamed and saddened that many who complained of abuse were not listened to. We acknowledge and regret that our responses to physical and sexual abuse failed to consider the long term psychological effects on children.
“As we have come to better understand the impact of such abuse, our goal and best endeavour has been to promote healing for complainants. We appreciate that no healing is possible without an acknowledgement of our responsibility as a Congregation for what has happened.”
The Conference of Religious in Ireland (CORI) apologised unreservedly for the hurt and pain inflicted on children.
“We recognise that as religious congregations we were part of a system, which failed many of these children in different ways. By their design, lack of support and supervision, the institutions were unsuitable to deliver the kind of care the children needed. Consequently, such institutions failed to meet the needs of many vulnerable children,” the group said.
“Most importantly, all of us must now make certain that we continue to learn from the past by ensuring that all vulnerable people are provided with quality care which respects their needs and dignity and reflects the compassion of Christ.”
The Sisters of Mercy order of nuns said it would thoroughly examine and reflect upon the important and detailed findings of the report.
“We accept that many who spent their childhoods in our orphanages or industrial schools were hurt and damaged while in our care,” the order said in a statement released this evening.
“We renew our unconditional apology to all who suffered while in our institutions.
“We are mindful of all who, as children, were cared for by us in our institutions. We know that it is a very painful time for you as you read the findings of this report. It is a very difficult time for our sisters and our lay staff who gave long service in caring for children in our residential institutions.
“There is a great sadness in all of our hearts at this time and our deepest desire is to continue the healing process for all involved”.