March 17th, 2010
11:00 AM ET

Cardinal sorry for failures in response to abuse

The head of the Irish Catholic Church, Cardinal Sean Brady, admitted Wednesday that the church's response to abuse had been "hopelessly inadequate."

"The church must continue to deal with the enormity of the hurt caused by abuse of children by some clergy ... and the hopelessly inadequate response to that abuse in the past," Brady said Wednesday.

Church leaders must "own up to and take responsibility for any mismanagement or cover-up of child abuse," he said.

The cardinal also apologized for his role in the church's investigation into an abusive priest in 1975.

"I want to say to anyone who has been hurt by any failure on my part that I apologize to you with all my heart," he said at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh, Ireland.

"I also apologize to all those who feel I have let them down. Looking back I am ashamed that I have not always upheld the values that I profess and believe in," Brady said, according to a copy of the remarks released by Ireland's Catholic Communications Office.

The deeply Catholic country has been badly shaken by a government-backed report that found the Archdiocese of Dublin and other Catholic Church authorities in Ireland covered up child abuse by priests from 1975 to 2004. Child sexual abuse was widespread then, the report found.

Pope Benedict XVI said Wednesday he has finished writing his official statement, or pastoral letter, on the child abuse scandal facing the Catholic Church in Ireland.

He will sign the letter Friday and send it "soon after," Benedict told the faithful in an address on St. Patrick's Day.

"My hope is that it will help in the process of repentance, healing and renewal," he said.

- CNN's Frederik Pleitgen in Berlin, Germany, contributed to this report.

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soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Grumpy

    The real definition of remorse includes 3 things:
    1. a sincere apology,
    2. a request for forgiveness from the victim(s), and
    3. the intention and promise not to let it happen again

    I'm still waiting to see ALL THREE. Until then, I remain a devout Christian and an equally devout skeptic of organized religion.

    March 22, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Janice Hooper

    The priesthood became a hiding place for pedophiles and homosexuals during the time when two different issues collided: culture's push for conformity and the shortage of priests. I am a devout Catholic but I left the Church for many years after watching my aunt cleaning the altar and knowing the whole time that, as a woman, she was only allowed on the altar to clean. The Church has come quite a distance from that time but we have so much further to go.Pedophies need treatment and need to be kept far away from children no matter what their position in society is. It is a crime and should be treated as such. Anyone who haa covered up such a horrible crime should be punished after a court trial, no matter what.
    The main point that everyone seems to forget is that clergy take a vow of abstinence. Abstinence means no sexual contacct – period. If you break that vow, your covenant with God is broken. Leave the clergy! Stop hiding behind the Church. If you have injured a child – your soul is in peril. Stand up and ask for forgiveness, take your punishment, stop your sinning to show that you are truly penitent. Surely, you have learned something in all your years of religious studies.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
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