Pope’s letter on sexual abuse of children


Sir, – Talk is cheap (unlike this papal visit).

If Pope Francis wants us to believe that he means the words of his apology, he would be well advised to bring his cheque book. Atonement requires action. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6.

A chara, – Pope Francis’s recent letter on child abuse cover-ups quotes two predecessors who presided over the cover-ups. This seems tone-deaf, if not insulting.

At any rate, the letter is of little substance. It does not commit the Catholic Church to an official apology, compensating victims or even opening up church records for investigations.

I would be pleasantly surprised if Pope Francis announces these things during his visit but I do not take his letter as any indication that he will. If he falls short, fawning coverage of his visit would be a great disservice and insult to the Irish people. – Is mise,



Dublin 16.

A chara, – You quote the pontiff as stating, “The only way that we have to respond to this evil that has darkened so many lives is to experience it as a task regarding all of us as the people of God”.

Might I suggest that a more appropriate response would be to furnish the relevant authorities – in Ireland, Pennsylvania and elsewhere – with the names of the abusers so that they might face prosecution for their crimes?

While this will not change the past for “the little ones” who were abused and abandoned, it might discourage some of the ongoing and future abuse.

I feel sure that the relevant authorities would equally be interested in the names of those clergy who facilitated further abuse by moving abusers to new parishes, encouraging parents to not act on their children’s reports of abuse and buying the silence of many.

Another response might be to cancel his planned visit to Ireland. – Is mise,



Co Clare.

Sir, – In 1961, before the Second Vatican Council convened, Pope John XXIII stated that it was time to “open the windows and let in some fresh air”. In 2018, is it now time for Pope Francis to convene a “Third Vatican Council” and to ask the church to open the doors and let in some fresh thinking? – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – Pope Francis is truly blessed to be coming to a little country that has difficulty running an effective health service but whose political classes all know how he should run the Catholic Church. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – Reading the letter from Pope Francis yesterday, a phrase lifted my heart: “ . . . every one of the baptised should feel involved in the ecclesial and social change that we so badly need”.

A nod to the ordination of women?

Probably our best hope is Pope Francis. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 3.

Sir, – Are Pope Francis and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin going to be tough on clerical sexual abuse and tough on the causes of clerical sexual abuse?

Are they going to tackle the celibacy rule and the distorted masculinity which pervades the church?

Are they going to address the conceited culture of the church that allows clerics to rationalise their actions and opportunistically use vulnerable people?

Are they going to ask themselves why an institution that is supposedly divine and holy needs to have more safeguards than any other to keep society safe from its depredations?

Are they? – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – The letter by Pope Francis on sexual abuse of children within the Catholic Church is strongly worded, but continues the church’s practice of using language that is less than direct. Pope Francis writes, “We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.”

This is true, but it is not the whole truth – the church did not merely abandon children.

Rather, a more complete statement of the behaviour of the church hierarchy would be, “We showed no care for the little ones; even though we knew that they were being sexually abused, we abandoned them.” – Yours, etc,




Sir, – Pope Francis should order the Irish hierarchy to make individual public statements, without mental reservation or equivocation (or what most people know as lying), as to whether or not they have been involved in covering up clerical sexual abuse in any way.

Mental reservation is the technique of “speaking the truth to God in the mind”, while speaking untruthfully, misleadingly or ambiguously aloud. – Yours, etc,



Co Clare.

A chara, – On the eve of Pope Francis’s visit to Ireland, following so much media criticism of the Catholic Church, and some even of the pope himself, about what was done, or not done, in the past, I believe that it is time now to prepare for a genuine welcoming of his holiness to Ireland, with our traditional “céad míle fáilte”.

The world will be watching our ancient and Christian nation. I’m sure that, like me, the great majority of people would wish to be inspired by the words and deeds of Pope Francis on his historic, and hopefully successful, visit to Ireland. – Is mise,


An Charraig Dhubh,

Co Átha Cliath.