Amnesty International slams Irish Catholic Church on abuse

VATICAN CITY (RNS) A new report by the Irish branch of Amnesty
International says the sexual abuse of children by Ireland's Roman
Catholic priests "included acts that amounted to torture and inhuman and
degrading treatment."

The 430-page report, released Monday (Sept. 26), "reminds us that
Irish children were subjected to treatment that would be horrifying if
it were done to prisoners of war, never mind little boys and girls,"
said Ireland's Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances
Fitzgerald, in Dublin.

The study is a response to four major government probes of clerical
sex abuse in the Catholic Church conducted since 2003. Those
investigations revealed widespread child abuse over several decades by
clergy and members of religious orders, leading to the resignations of
three bishops.

The most recent government report, published in July, concluded that
child protection policies established by Irish church leaders in 1996
were "not fully or consistently implemented" in the diocese of Cloyne,
where sexual abuse allegations against priests were made as late as

The Vatican launched its own investigation of clerical sex abuse in
Ireland last November, which has finished its "first phase." A published
report of its findings might not appear until next year.

In May, Amnesty International accused the Holy See of falling short
of its treaty commitments to protect children from sex abuse.
Separately, abuse victims have filed a complaint at the International
Criminal Court that seeks to hold Pope Benedict XVI and others
responsible for the "systematic and widespread concealing of rape and
child sex crimes throughout the world."

Francis X. Rocca

Francis X. Rocca writes for Religion News Service.

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