Page last updated at 07:48 GMT, Monday, 22 March 2010

Bishop of Clogher did not report abuse claim

Interior of Catholic church
The Bishop of Clogher has also admitted he knew of abuse allegations

Another senior Irish Catholic clergyman has admitted failing to tell police about a paedophile priest.

The Bishop of Clogher admitted he knew of abuse allegations against a priest in his diocese in 1989, six years before the cleric appeared in court.

Bishop Joseph Duffy was told Enniskillen priest Fr John McCabe had abused a young boy in his car.

A diocesean spokesman said that Bishop Duffy was "bound to secrecy by the victim's parents".

In 1995, McCabe, who had then left the priesthood, was jailed for 20 months for abusing the boy between 1979 and 1985.

The spokesman said that because of the protocols in place such a situation would "not happen now" and the the bishop has said he regrets the matter was not dealt with "in a speedier manner".

At the weekend Pope Benedict XVI apologised to victims of child sex abuse by Catholic priests in Ireland.

In a pastoral letter to Irish Catholics, he acknowledged the sense of betrayal in the Church felt by victims and their families.

The Pope said there had been "serious mistakes" among bishops in responding to allegations of paedophilia.

Letter

The pastoral letter is the first statement of its kind by the Vatican on the sexual abuse of children.

It follows revelations of paedophilia within the Irish Catholic Church, which have rocked the institution.

Scandals involving Catholic priests have been reported in other countries, including the Pope's native Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria and the US.

Addressing the victims of abuse, the Pope wrote: "You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry."

He continued: "Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated... I openly express the shame and remorse that we all feel." He said those guilty of abuse must "answer before God and properly constituted tribunals for the sinful and criminal actions they have committed".

Although the Pope said Vatican officials would visit Ireland to inspect some dioceses, he did not call for any restructuring of the Church in Ireland.

He also did not call for the resignation of any bishops, although a few have already volunteered to leave their posts.

The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, has resisted calls to resign over his handling of abuse allegations in the 1970s that saw victims sign confidentiality agreements.



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