Thursday, May 21, 2009

Archbishop praises 'courage' of guilty clergy

New Archbishop engulfed in Catholic abuse row for praising 'courage' of guilty clergy
By Daily Mail ReporterLast updated at 2:38 PM on 21st May 2009
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Victims of child abuse in Ireland's state and church-run institutions today blasted the new leader of Catholics in England and Wales for praising the courage of clergy who came clean.
The Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, who was formally installed at a ceremony in London, said a harrowing catalogue of sexual, physical and emotional torture, uncovered in a nine-year inquiry, should not be allowed to overshadow the good work of priests and nuns.
He also angered victims by calling for abusers to be charged - even though the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse was founded on the basis of immunity.
The Irish Survivors of Child Abuse (Soca) branded the Archbishop's remarks outrageous and demanded he back a Vatican inquiry into the Irish abuse.

Praise for guilty clergy: The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, center, arrives at the Westminster Cathedral in London for a service to be installed as the 11th Archbishop of Westminster today
Soca spokesman John Kelly said: "That is the challenge today on his installation as Archbishop of Westminster - will he advance the cause of justice and help bring closure to this appalling scandal?"
The Ryan Inquiry detailed the abuse of thousands of children by religious orders from the 1940s until as recently as 1995, when one of the last institutions closed.
It implicated 800 priests and nuns in systematic rapes, beatings and neglect - none will be prosecuted.
Responding to the report yesterday, Archbishop Vincent Nichols said it was distressing and disturbing but praised the courage of orders and some clergy in Dublin for examining the abuse.
Only one order, the Rosminians, was praised by Commission chairman Judge Sean Ryan for its work in attempting to understand the abuse as well as document it.

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The Christian Brothers, which ran the largest number of institutes, only agreed to drop legal challenges and give evidence to the Commission after a deal was done not to name and shame the abusive clerics.
Mr Kelly said: "It is an outrageous statement to make, suggesting that the Christian Brothers were very brave in coming forward. That will cause more hurt to victims.
"The Religious Orders ran to the safety and sanctuary of the Ryan Inquiry knowing full well that their guilty evidence was granted privilege and immunity."

John Kelly, from the group Survivors of Child Abuse, protests at not being allowed into the hotel for the launch yesterday
A spokesman for Archbishop Nichols responded to the criticism from victims.
"Archbishop Nichols has unequivocally condemned all abuse. He said his heart went out to all those who had been abused and that the perpetrators of abuse should be held to account," the spokesman said.
"He clearly said that where offences demand such action, the perpetrators should face legal and police processes."
He added: "The really courageous thing is for the victims to stand up and tell their stories which will require them to relive that pain. That is the truly courageous action."
Soca called for Pope Benedict to convene a special Consistory in Rome to investigate the abuse and deal with the perpetrators.
President Mary McAleese praised the victims for having the courage to tell their stories, describing their suffering as an atrocious betrayal of love.

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