Europe

Papal Legate to Eucharistic Congress meets abuse victims

The Papal Legate to the 50th International Eucharistic Congress has met a group of survivors of clerical child abuse in Ireland.

The two hour meeting took place during a pilgrimage to Lough Derg by Cardinal Marc Ouellet.

Each survivor told the legate about the abuse they suffered and its impact on their lives.

The group included men and women from across Ireland.

Cardinal Ouellet undertook the penitential pilgrimage on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI as a public expression of penance and repentance for the abuse of children by clerics in the Irish and universal Catholic church.

Forgiveness

After the meeting he celebrated mass in in St Patrick's basilica on the island with around 100 Irish and international pilgrims, some of whom had travelled to the island as part of their attendance at the Eucharistic Congress.

During his homily, Cardinal Ouellet said the Pope had asked him to come to Lough Derg and ask God's forgiveness for the times clerics have sexually abused children not only in Ireland but anywhere in the Church.

He said: "I come here with the specific intention of seeking forgiveness, from God and from the victims, for the grave sin of sexual abuse of children by clerics.

"We have learned over the last decades how much harm and despair such abuse caused to thousands of victims.

"We learned too that the response of some Church authorities to these crimes was often inadequate and inefficient, in spite of clear indications in the code of canon law.

"In the name of the Church, I apologise once again to the victims, some of which I have met here in Lough Derg," he said.