Thursday, November 26, 2009

Irish clerical child abuse report to shock and horrify

Irish clerical child abuse report to shock and horrify
1 hour 57 mins ago

Padraic Halpin A second report into child abuse in Roman Catholic institutions will shock and horrify Irish people when it is published on Thursday, a child abuse support group said. Skip related content
Related photos / videos A hand is seen lighting a candle during mass at a church Enlarge photo Disclosures in May of decades of floggings, slave labour and gang rape in much of Ireland's now defunct system of industrial and reform schools shamed Ireland and further eroded the Catholic Church's moral authority.

The Irish Survivors of Child Abuse (SOCA) said that while the report on the handling of allegations of child sex abuse in the archdiocese of Dublin will not be on the same scale as the earlier findings, it will be just as shocking.

"It's likely to be horrific reading. It will not simply be the victims who will be shocked, parishioners are going to be mortified and likely to question their faith," John Kelly, coordinator of SOCA, told Reuters.

"It won't be on the scale in terms of the number of people but you'll get a sense of the shock and horror. People will be shocked at the scale of what one person can do, how one priest had abused over 100 children," he said.

The report, which focuses on the period of 1975 to 2004, will be released at 2:15 p.m. by the Justice Ministry and church leaders have already warned of its horrific content.

"In these days we will be reading of sordid events that took place within the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Dublin," Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said at a ceremony last week.

Work on the report, which began in 2006, was completed months ago but publication was delayed until clearance was given by the High Court last week with some details removed because they could jeopardise criminal proceedings.

The National Counselling Service said it had organised a coordinated response with other groups after it saw a 49 percent increase in calls following the publication of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse findings in May.

In the five-volume report, which took nine years to compile, orphanages and industrial schools in 20th century Ireland were described as places of fear, neglect and endemic sexual abuse.

That inquiry, chaired by a high court judge, criticised religious authorities for covering up the crimes and the Department of Education for colluding in the silence. It noted children were also preyed upon by foster parents, volunteer workers and employers.

SOCA's Kelly said the church must embrace change and provide every assistance possible to victims.

"I know the people who got abused and dreadful things happened. The road is going to be very, very long and tough for these people," Kelly said.

"They (the victims) have to be made human again. The church must embrace change and ensure they provide every type of help the victims need for this difficult restorative process."

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