Vatican expected to respond to Ryan abuse report


THE VATICAN is expected to respond publicly to the Ryan report, the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, has said.

Commenting yesterday on the meetings in Rome last week involving him, the Catholic primate Cardinal Seán Brady, seven cardinal-prefects of the Roman Curia and Pope Benedict, Archbishop Martin said the pope was “very visibly upset” to hear of some of the things in the Ryan report – “how the children had suffered from the very opposite of an expression of the love of God”.

Speaking in Maynooth yesterday, as the Irish Episcopal Conference began its three-day summer meeting, Archbishop Martin added: “I think the dialogue we have established will continue and something will come of that. When exactly I don’t know.’’

The Dáil is scheduled to debate an all-party motion prompted by the report at 10.30am on Thursday.

It will continue without interruption, until 7pm, resuming on Friday at 10.30am and continuing until 1pm.

The debate was originally to begin today but has had to be postponed to Thursday due to an Opposition no-confidence motion in the Government following last Friday’s elections.

Speaking to reporters in Maynooth yesterday, Cardinal Brady said both he and Archbishop Martin had met with seven of the nine cardinal-prefects of Vatican congregations, as well as with Pope Benedict last Friday.

“No doubt he [the pope] will be listening to the seven cardinals we spoke to during the course of the week,’’ Cardinal Brady said.

At yesterday’s opening day of their summer meeting, Cardinal Brady and Archbishop Martin briefed their colleagues in the Irish Episcopal Conference about their meetings in Rome last week.

On Sunday evening last Cardinal Brady briefed members of the Conference of Religious of Ireland (Cori) on the Rome meetings. Cori represents 138 religious congregations in Ireland, including the 18 relevant to the Ryan commission investigations.

Yesterday, Archbishop Martin was at pains to point out that no differences had emerged between the Bishops and Cori following publication of the Ryan report on May 20th last.

“We would want to avoid any idea that we are in conflict with Cori and the many congregations that belong to it, or indeed with the many congregations who have done exemplary service in the country,’’ he said.

Last week it emerged that calls on May 24th and 25th last by some bishops, including Cardinal Brady and Archbishop Martin, on the 18 congregations to contribute more to people who had been resident as children in their institutions, were made prior to discussion by the bishops with Cori, or any of the relevant congregations.

Speaking yesterday of their 45- minute meeting with the pope last Friday, Cardinal Brady said he [the pope] ‘‘listened very carefully, very attentively, very sympatheticly, to what we had to say and he said, in reply, that this was a time for deep examination of life here in Ireland, of the church.’’

Pope Benedict had also repeated to them the four points he had made to the Irish bishops during their ad limina visit to the Vatican in October 2006, the cardinal said.

Then the pope urged them “to establish the truth of what has happened; ensure that justice is done for all; put in place the measures that will prevent these abuses happening again; [and] with a view to healing the hurt suffered by survivors.’’

Archbishop Martin added: Let’s listen and learn . . . and do a little bit of soul searching about what way the church in Ireland will look in years to come.”

Asked earlier yesterday about the morality of a letter sent by the Christian Brothers, five days before publication of the Ryan report, in which they denied all claims of abuse in their institutions, Archbishop Martin responded “there has been huge denial about abuse.’’

The bishops’ meeting continues today and tomorrow. It is expected a statement will be issued by them at a press conference in Maynooth tomorrow afternoon.