STATEMENT - Andrew Madden
Irish Catholic Bishops – Towards Healing and Renewal
I wish to take the opportunity to respond to the document published today by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference to mark the first anniversary of the publication of the Pastoral Letter of Pope Benedict to the Catholics of Ireland last year.
It is disappointing but by no means surprising that there is not a single reference to the role the Catholic Bishops played in causing the sexual abuse of so many children by covering up for the priests carrying out that abuse. Instead the role of Bishops is once again glossed over with such terms as ‘The inadequate response by some Church leaders’ and ‘so many in leadership failed to give priority to the love and care of children in their response to such heinous crimes’.
Last year I was one of those survivors who asked that any bishops who had played any part in the cover up of child sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests resign their positions. To me that was an important early step I had hoped for from the Catholic Church in the response, not only to the publication of the Murphy Report, but to the Bishops’ own statement in December 2009, that they recognised that the culture of cover up as revealed in the Murphy Report indicated a culture that was widespread in the Catholic Church.
Some time ago Pope Benedict used the term ‘the filth in the Catholic Church’ to describe priests who had sexually abused children - I don’t think it is too much to ask of a Church that looks to rebuild confidence and trust in itself and its current child protection measures that it at least put forward a leadership free of the filth that is those who covered it up.