Speaking this week on his return from meeting with Pope Benedict in Rome, the Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Dr William Lee, said the Pope had described the sexual abuse of children as ‘a heinous crime and a grave sin that offended God’.
Dr Lee said he and his fellow bishops were determined that the mistakes of the past would not be repeated. He, as Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, had cooperated fully with the statutory authorities, and with the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, to ensure that procedures concerning child sexual abuse were being completely implemented
Bishop Lee revealed that, before traveling to Rome, he had listened to survivors of abuse and they had left him in no doubt as to the dreadful betrayal of trust experienced by them. He fully understood that, when details of the abuse emerged, all decent people were angry, bewildered, shocked and saddened. People had rightly asked how such things could have happened. It was a source of great pain and sorrow to him that people felt so badly let down by Church leaders. It was also true that many generous, hard-working priests and religious also felt let down and were very demoralised.
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