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Pope apologises for Irish Church sex abuse scandal

New allegations of child sex abuse emerge as Pope Benedict XVI apologises to victims of Catholic priests abuse in Ireland.

New allegations of child sex abuse emerge as Pope Benedict XVI apologises to victims of Catholic priests abuse in Ireland.

In a letter read out at Masses across Ireland on 23rd March 2010, Pope Benedict XVI apologised to victims of clerical child sex abuse and announced a formal Vatican investigation of Irish dioceses affected by the scandal.

The letter follows the publication of a series of reports revealing shocking cases of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Ireland.

In his letter, Pope Benedict XVI told victims: "I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured."

The Pope acknowledged that "It is understandable that you find it hard to forgive or be reconciled with the church."

He also admitted that "grave errors" were made by the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland: "It must be admitted that grave errors of judgement were made and failures of leadership occurred. All this has seriously undermined your credibility and effectiveness."

The head of the Roman Catholic Church urged Irish bishops to cooperate fully with the civil authorities and announced that Vatican officials would visit a number of Irish dioceses to investigate the way matters were handled in the past.

The controversy about the handling of sex abuse allegations by the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland seems far from over as shortly after the Vatican Letter the Bishop of the Diocese of Cloyne, John Magee, resigned from his duties.

Bishop Magee, who was at the centre of a controversy concerning his handling of sex abuse cases in the Diocese of Cloyne, said in his departing statement: "I want to offer once again my sincere apologies to any person who has been abused by any priest of the diocese of Cloyne during my time as bishop or at any time."


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