Pope must pay heed to Irish abuse victims

 

Sir, – Victims and survivors of clerical abuse await anxiously the words and gestures of Pope Francis when he comes to Ireland soon and, as Marie Collins points out (Opinion, August 8th), simply saying “sorry” doesn’t even begin to address the substantive and outstanding issues. Healthy families do not “play happy families”.

Functional families know very well that to ignore problems is to perpetuate those problems.

As a family, the Catholic Church, universally and locally, has suffered devastating wounds, through clerical abuse, as well as its enabling and cover-up.

Latest allegations concerning Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and other prelates, deepen and worsen those injuries. Furthermore, claims by former president Mary McAleese, that the Vatican sought to “bury Church documents” (Front page, August 7th), in relation to clerical abuse, are deeply disturbing. As regards clerical abuse in Ireland, Pope Benedict XVI stated that the harm caused to the church and its mission, was worse than that inflicted by three centuries of persecution (Pastoral Letter to Irish Catholics, March 20th, 2010).

Such is the full reality of the Irish Catholic Church to which the Pope is coming and not merely for the World Meeting of Families.

It is absolutely crucial, therefore, that he attends, meaningfully, to the ongoing anguish of those so profoundly harmed by clerical and institutional abuse.

The Word of God warns us that God despises those feasts of His people that are devoid of the true justice and right relationship with others, that God demands from us (see Amos 5:21-24). The World Meeting of Families could be a moment of grace and hope for victims, who have been repeatedly failed and tragically betrayed, to date. – Yours, etc,

Fr PATRICK

McCAFFERTY,

Corpus Christi Parish,

Belfast.