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Ireland greets pope's apology with skepticism

Mainstream Catholics call the pope's analysis flawed.

The extent of skepticism in Ireland about the papal message was evident at a conference of Ireland’s main opposition party Fine Gael in Killarney at the weekend. There the traditionally conservative delegates gave a standing ovation to abuse survivor Andrew Madden when he called on the pope and Brady to resign. Madden said the pastoral letter failed to accept the cover-up of clerical abuse in Ireland and the part the Irish bishops and the Vatican played in it.

Voice of the Faithful, founded in Boston following revelations of Cardinal Bernard Law's negligence, agreed there was no recognition “that the concentration of powers exercised by bishops led to a conflict of responsibilities, to a culture of secrecy and in too many cases to an unjust and intimidatory response to victims which compounded their sufferings.” The pope said he felt shame and remorse for what the victims had endured and found it understandable that those abused in residential institutions found it hard to be reconciled with the church. He acknowledged grave errors of leadership by Catholic authorities in Ireland and the sometimes grievous failure “to apply the long-established norms of canon law to the crime of child abuse.”

The Catholic archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, indicated that the state’s inquiry into clerical child sex abuse in Ireland should be extended. “Without accountability for the past there will no healing and no trust for the future,” said Martin, who has been at the fore in exposing the scandal of abuse in Ireland. He told the congregation at the Pro Cathedral in Dublin city center that the church “tragically failed many of its children: it failed through abuse, it failed through not preventing abuse, it failed through covering up abuse.”