Saturday, January 16, 2010

Abuse not just Irish issue -- McAleese
Abuse not just Irish issue -- McAleese
By Grainne Cunningham
Saturday January 16 2010

PRESIDENT Mary McAleese insisted yesterday that child abuse scandals are not "peculiar" to Ireland.

Mrs McAleese stressed the fact that child abuse was a global issue, just two days after a senior Vatican figure suggested the clerical sex abuse scandals here were not representative of the vast majority of Catholic priests.

Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy, said, in the Vatican daily 'L'Osservatore Romano', that it would be wrong to "make generalisations" as a result of the Irish experience.

Asked if events "in certain parts of the world" suggested something had gone wrong between bishops and their priests, the cardinal said: "The painful Irish happenings -- which, by the way, have seen some bishops assume their responsibilities and resign -- simply do not relate to the entire episcopal ministry."

Referring to the Ryan and Murphy reports, President McAleese said that such matters "rightly absorb us in Ireland" but that the problems addressed by the reports, "as well as the vulnerability of children to abuse in the home, are peculiar neither to Ireland nor to the Catholic Church".

Mrs McAleese made her comments in the presence of the Papal Nuncio and dean of the diplomatic corps, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, and representatives from 58 countries at her annual New Year's greeting for the diplomatic corps at Aras An Uachtarain.

The Archbishop, who was attending the event for the first time since his appointment last spring, had earlier extended best wishes for the new year to Mrs McAleese and her family and the people of Ireland, on behalf of the diplomatic corps.

The ambassadors and their families enjoyed a drinks reception before being formally greeted by the President.

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