The organisation representing priests here has said it would be “very bad policy” to isolate seminarians.
In its first comments on the clerical child sexual abuse report, the Association of Catholic Priests said it would not be too happy with the suggestion regarding seminarians, as the last thing the association would want to see is seminaries being reconstituted along the lines of the 1940s and 1950s.
Speaking on Six-One, Fr Brendan Hoban of the association said it wanted the reforms of the Second Vatican Council to be introduced and taken seriously by the Catholic Church here, as the association believes they would be the answer to a lot of the problems the church has in relation to child sexual abuse and vocations.
Fr Hoban said the association welcomed the report’s publication, but said as it was a summary, the detail is not there. He added that the association hopes that the full report is made available to them. He said the association had met the visitors on four occasions and discussed the situation of the Catholic Church in Ireland, the child sex abuse scandals, how they were dealt with and how victims were being helped. He said there was agreement that care needed to be taken to ensure that child protection protocols are of the highest standards.
He said the association also brought up an issue priests have about justice and fair play when they are being dealt with. He said in cases where allegations were made against a priest and the Director of Public Prosecution decided not to prosecute it, sometimes people were reinstated, but in most cases they were not.
This, he said, left a lot of priests in limbo situations, and he said the church needed to deal with such scenarios on a case-by-case basis. He said priests are very unhappy with a situation where a bishop can say an allegation has been made against them and that priest would be out of ministry forever.
Pope Benedict promised report
The report was promised two years ago by Pope Benedict XVI in his letter to Catholics in Ireland.
The Pope expressed horror and dismay in the wake of the Ryan and Murphy reports, which revealed a 70-year history child abuse by a significant number of priests, brothers and nuns and cover-ups by their religious superiors. The Pope assigned six teams to formally assess the implications of the abuse scandals in each of the country’s four archdioceses, in religious orders and congregations based in Ireland and abroad.
Some of the teams met victims and concerned Catholics in advertised locations, as well as individual survivors behind closed doors.
Mr Varadkar said legislation to put the Children First regulations on a statutory footing would go to committee before Easter, while a standalone referendum on children’s rights would be held before the end of the year.
The Vatican published its report on the apostolic visitations
Father Brendan Hoban, from the Association of Catholic Priests, said they are not dissident priests