Statement by Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, in response to the report of the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation
The report of the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation has been published. I wish to echo Archbishop Martin’s reaction in that it makes for sad and shocking reading. The sadness and shock are all too familiar to those of us who have had to deal with similar problems in our own dioceses. So many lives have been devastated, so much suffering of the innocent, so much harm inflicted.
Everyone is deeply disgusted and disillusioned by the awfulness of the abuse, the vulnerability of the victims and the betrayal of the sacred trust placed in those who carried out this abuse. With our priests, I share these strong sentiments.
The report gives voice to the stories of the victims of abuse. There is an onus on us now never to forget this suffering and these stories. The failure of the Church to act on abuse allegations, as outlined in the report, contributed hugely to the suffering of the victims.
We can respond to these revelations in either of two ways. We can, in anger, allow ourselves to be overcome by despair. We can opt for a world where sin and selfishness have the final say, where there is no such thing as faith, reconciliation or hope. On the other hand, we can work and pray together so as to ensure that the child safeguarding structures, already in place across the country, will greatly help to prevent such evil deeds from ever recurring in a Church environment.
I am mindful of the perceived hollowness of repeated apologies. I must, however, be even more mindful of the many and life-long effects of clerical abuse on children. In this context, as a Bishop whose diocese has also had to confront evidence of child abuse on the part of some priests, I wish to apologise again, humbly and without reservation, to all who have suffered and to their families.
I hope that this report may provide victims with a sense that their story is believed and that they will be enabled to put the broken pieces of their lives together and be helped to move forward.
The Archdiocese of Tuam is fully committed to implementing best practice in terms of safeguarding children who are in the pastoral care of the Church. If anyone has any concern regarding the safety and well being of any child in its care I would urge them to contact the relevant authorities without delay.