Pope's visit

Bishop Alan McGuckian says Pope 'will take action' over clerical abuse

Bishop Alan McGuckian believes Pope Francis will take action over clerical sex abuse
Seamus McKinney

A Catholic bishop has predicted that Pope Francis will take action to address clerical sex abuse.

Bishop Alan McGuckian said while the Pope’s unprecedented letter to Catholics this week did not contain “concrete proposals,” he believes the pontiff is "clear in his desire that there be accountability".

Like Pope Francis, Bishop McGuckian is a member of the Jesuit Order of priests.

He was appointed bishop of Raphoe in Co Donegal last year.

Bishop McGuckian welcomed the Pope's letter to the “people of God” on Monday.

While victims' campaigners have said the Pope's letter promising that no effort would be spared to prevent abuse and its cover up did not go far enough, Bishop McGuckian said he had no doubt that he would act.

“I believe that the Pope is clear in his desire that there be accountability and he will take action. He will put in place around the world structures into the Church’s law," he said.

“But the first thing has to be that everywhere, the kind of thing that I believe we have here in Ireland, that we now have mandatory reporting."

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In an interview on Donegal’s Highland Radio, the Co Antrim-born bishop said the Church is no different from any other organisation.

“These are crimes and everybody has to be amenable to the law,” he said.

He added that the current debate on clerical sex abuse would be a re-opening of old wounds for many victims.

“I think that Pope Francis really is a man of the truth and a man of love, particularly for people who have suffered and he is serious in what he has written.

“The Catholic Church is a world church; the world is a very big place and there is a great deal of pain and suffering in it and this is probably a long, slow road and yet I believe Pope Francis is absolutely committed to moving us forward."

The papal visit was also addressed by Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown last night.

In a homily marking the opening of the World Meeting of Families, he said he hoped Pope Francis would “place a mirror in front of both Church and state.”

“I hope he will ask awkward questions and speak the truth in love about how the Church needs to repent and equip itself if it is to be a credible witness of God’s mercy and love in 2018,” he said.

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