Link to BBC Homepage

Front Page

UK

World

Business

Sci/Tech

Sport

Despatches

World News in Audio


On Air

Cantonese

Talking Point

Feedback

Low Graphics

Help

Site Map

Monday, March 30, 1998 Published at 02:11 GMT 03:11 UK



World: Europe

Catholic order apologises publicly for abuse
image: [ The Brothers, as they are known in Ireland, were founded in 1802 ]
The Brothers, as they are known in Ireland, were founded in 1802

An influential Irish Roman Catholic religious order involved in teaching generations of youngsters has issued an unprecedented high-profile public apology for sexual and other abuse inflicted over years in its institutions.

The congregation of the Christian Brothers in Ireland has taken out half-page advertisements in Irish newspapers admitting that some victims' complaints have been ignored.

The admission follows a number of prosecutions initiated against members of the order, other Irish religious societies and Catholic clergy in recent years over sex and other crimes, often dating back decades.


[ image:  ]
The Christian Brothers have traditionally been associated with boys' schools in Ireland, for many years playing a central role in the country's education system.

At one stage the order ran more than 100 schools and eight orphanages. The apology refers to harsh punishment dealt out to pupils and to sexual abuse.

Telephone helplines


[ image: Well-established institution]
Well-established institution
It listed telephone numbers on both sides of the Irish border to provide help on a confidential basis for any pupils who experienced ill-treatment or abuse at the hands of its members.

According to reports, the apology was decided by leaders with only a minority of the 500 serving Christian Brothers indicating concern or opposition.

"In a way we are putting our hands up and saying this happened. It is painful for all of us, that cannot be denied. But we believe it is worthwhile,"a spokesman at the order's Dublin headquarters is quoted as saying.

"The objective of bringing about reconciliation and healing is worth the price we have to pay.

"We are trying to create an environment where healing and reconciliation can take place and where people who have been hurt can be helped to leave that hurt behind them.

"We want to acknowledge the fact that people have been hurt, listen to what they have to say and try to respond."

As well as Ireland, the order is also active in other countries.

According to reports, in Newfoundland, Canada, nine of the lay brothers were convicted of abuse-related crimes at an orphanage.

The order's founder, Irishman Edmund Rice, was declared "blessed" by Pope John Paul II in 1996.
 





Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage

©

Link to BBC Homepage

  Relevant Stories

26 Mar 98 | World
Catholics spread the word on the Internet

16 Mar 98 | World
Vatican apologises over holocaust

03 Mar 98 | World
Austrian Catholic Church divided

02 Mar 98 | Despatches
Vatican probes Austrian prelate

19 Feb 98 | UK
Priest jailed for indecent assault

10 Feb 98 | UK
Nuns facing abuse claims

 
In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift





Europe Contents

Country profiles