26/11/09 Personal Statement of Cardinal Desmond Connell

26/11/09 Personal Statement of Cardinal Desmond Connell

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Personal Statement of
His Eminence, Desmond Cardinal Connell,
Archbishop Emeritus of Dublin

The report of the Dublin Archdiocese Commission, which has now been published, gives a shameful picture of the pattern of sexual abuse of children by priests in the diocese during the period of the Commission’s remit.  While acknowledging the work that was done and the structures that were gradually developed to deal with this appalling problem during my tenure as Archbishop, the report is severely critical of the diocesan response, particularly in my earlier years in office.

From the time I became aware of this history, I have experienced distress and bewilderment that those placed in a position of sacred trust could be guilty of such heinous offences and cause such appalling harm to vulnerable young people. The abuse of children is an unspeakable crime. Perpetrated by priests, it becomes something even more gravely reprehensible, involving as it does so grievous a betrayal of innocence and trust. I wish to express without reservation my bitter regret that failures on my part contributed to the suffering of victims in any form.

I have spoken of my utter abhorrence of these grave offences and apologised for them on many occasions during my time as Archbishop. Although I am all too aware that such apologies and expressions of regret can never be adequate as a response to so much hurt and violation and, in any case, lose their value through repetition, I apologise again now from my heart and ask the forgiveness of those who have been so shamefully harmed.

It has long been my prayer that they may be able to rebuild their lives and find healing and hope for the future.
Note to editors: Cardinal Connell has indicated he will not be making any further statements to media at this time