Friday, March 26, 2010

Shame, shock and suffering ‘that will last for generations’

From The Times March 26, 2010

Shame, shock and suffering ‘that will last for generations’
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent 3 CoThe Archbishop of Westminster has described the child abuse committed within the Roman Catholic Church and its concealment as “deeply shocking and totally unacceptable”.

Writing in The Times today , the Most Rev Vincent Nichols admits serious mistakes have been made within the Church. “I am ashamed of what happened, and understand the outrage and anger it has provoked,” he said.

His comments come as some of the country’s leading lay Catholics predicted it would take generations for the Church to recover from the scandal.

Catholic weekly The Tablet said only “drastic action”, including retirement of bishops and replacement by a new generation, would rebuild confidence.

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John Cornwell, author of Hitler’s Pope, in which he accuses Pope Pius XII of remaining silent during the Holocaust, said: “What the Pope has got to cope with is the consequences in terms of people turning away from the Church. I think this will last for generations. The terrible consequences for the people who were abused are awful.”

The Catholic commentator Clifford Longley said: “Catholics in the pews are a lot less shockable than some Church authorities think. They live in the real world and know all about rotten apples, crooked policemen, dodgy doctors, bent solicitors, and they know the clergy can go wrong too. What the laity can’t stand is lying.

“Ordinary Catholics know in their bones that they are the Church, which does not belong to priests and hierarchies but is a shared enterprise.”

Luke Coppen, editor of The Catholic Herald, said: “Catholics, by and large, are not principally worried about the impact of the crisis on the Church’s reputation. They are, rather, primarily concerned with the suffering of the abused: their fellow Catholics whose dignity was violated in the most revolting way.

Jack Valero, of Opus Dei, said: “There is a huge problem of sexual abuse which we have not faced. Some of it is in the Church but most happens in the family, by people who are not celibate, in schools, in sports clubs. Men abuse their daughters, sometimes with the knowledge of the mothers. There is a problem in the Catholic Church but it is not only in the Catholic Church. Sexual abuse is endemic in all of society.”

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