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Extent: Paperback

Publisher: Veritas

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Pastoral Letter of the Holy Father Pope Benedict X

by Pope Benedict

€0.20

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DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF THE CHURCH IN IRELAND, it is with great concern that I write to you as Pastor of the universal Church. Like yourselves, I have been deeply disturbed by the information which has come to light regarding the abuse of children and vulnerable young people by members of the Church in Ireland, particularly by priests and religious. I can only share in the dismay and the sense of betrayal that so many of you have experienced on learning of these sinful and criminal acts and the way Church authorities in Ireland dealt with them.

The task you now face is to address the problem of abuse with courage and determination. No one imagines that this painful situation will be resolved swiftly. Perseverance and prayer are needed, with great trust in the healing power of God’s grace the Church in Ireland must first acknowledge before the Lord and before others the serious sins committed against defenceless children.

Historically, the Catholics of Ireland have proved an enormous force for good at home and abroad.

We must try to understand the disturbing problem of child sexual abuse, among the contributing factors we can include: inadequate procedures for determining the suitability of candidates for the priesthood and the religious life; insufficient human, moral, intellectual and spiritual formation in seminaries and novitiates; a tendency in society to favour the clergy and other authority figures; and a misplaced concern for the reputation of the Church and the avoidance of scandal, resulting in failure to apply existing canonical penalties and to safeguard the dignity of every person.

On several occasions since my election to the See of Peter, I have met with victims of sexual abuse, as indeed I am ready to do in the future.

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