Pope signs letter on child abuse cases in Ireland

March 19th, 2010 - 9:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Vatican City, March 19 (DPA) Pope Benedict XVI Friday signed a highly anticipated pastoral letter to Catholics in Ireland dealing with a child sex abuse scandal involving priests, the Vatican said.
The letter will be published Saturday and will be accompanied by a briefing on its contents by papal spokesman Father Federico Lombardi to media outlets accredited with the Holy See.

On Wednesday Benedict told the faithful attending his weekly general audience that he hoped the letter “will help in the process of repentance, healing and renewal.”

The pontiff’s remarks coincided with an apology by the head of Ireland’s, Roman Catholics, Cardinal Sean Brady, for failing to alert police about a priest convicted of sexually abusing 20 children over a 40-year period.

Irish bishops were summoned to the Vatican in February to discuss the crisis caused by the child abuse revelations and ensuing cover-up.

The Vatican announced that Benedict was working on the pastoral letter shortly after the meeting.

Since then revelations have also surfaced of widespread abuse by priest at Catholic-run institutions in the pontiff’s native Germany, but also the Netherlands and Austria.

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