Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pope to get open letter on failings of bishops

Pope to get open letter on failings of bishops

Saturday December 05 2009

AN OPEN letter to Pope Benedict calling for a thorough inquiry into the failures of bishops to protect children will be delivered today.

The letter tells Pope Benedict that the time to root out paedophile clerics is now.

It wants an inquiry to find out why "so many bishops endangered so many children by their failure to act decisively against sexual predators".

The protest comes as the papal nuncio Archbishop Leanza has agreed to meet Foreign Minister Micheal Martin at Iveagh House in Dublin next week to discuss the scandal.

The letter will be handed to the papal nunciature in Dublin by Catholics belonging to the Voice of the Faithful in Ireland group, which campaigns for church accountability.

Sean O Conaill, the group's coordinator, said that they would hold "a small, dignified protest" outside the Navan Road residence of Archbishop Leanza.

The protesters will include an Irish survivor of clerical abuse. The open letter to Pope Benedict urges him to order a church-wide inquiry into "the appalling failure of so many Catholic bishops in Ireland and abroad to protect children from clerical child sex abuse".

Mr O Conaill said the group would issue a short statement protesting at the failure of the nunciature in Dublin "to respond in a timely and appropriate manner" to requests for information by the Murphy Commission of Investigation into the Archdiocese of Dublin.

The group wants the pontiff to publish the findings of any inquiry "for the enlightenment of the Church and the world".

Severing

Meanwhile, record numbers of Catholics are severing ties with the Church since the shocking findings of the report.

Since the Murphy report was published 10 days ago, 8,000 people have contacted voluntary group Count Me Out -- the organisation that provides all the necessary documents to abandon the Church.

Spokeswoman Grainne O'Sullivan said the organisation had been inundated with inquiries from Catholics looking to cut all ties with the religion.

"They want to send an unambiguous message to the Church to count them out."

Ms O'Sullivan said their main reason for leaving was a sense of disgust at the revelations contained in the report.

- John Cooney and Aine de Paor

Irish Independent

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