Irish victims of clerical child sexual abuse are deeply disappointed by Pope Benedict's letter of apology as it fails to address the role of senior church leaders, a group representing victims said on Saturday.
"My first response was deep disappointment in the letter," said Maeve Lewis, executive director of victims group One in Four. "We feel the letter falls far short of addressing the concerns of the victims," Lewis told Reuters.
She said the pope's letter focused too narrowly on lower-rank Irish priests without recognising the responsibility of the Vatican and senior Irish clerics for protecting offenders and dealing with victims.
"There is nothing in this letter to suggest that any new vision of leadership in the Catholic church exists," Lewis said.
The letter also does not refer to the resignation of the head of the church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, which victims' groups have demanded, she added.
Ashamed by events
Brady said earlier this week he was ashamed by events in the 1970s when he did not report to police allegations of abuse against a Nobertine priest, Brendan Smyth, who was later convicted and died in prison.
Brady then said he would reflect on his position but in a speech after mass on Saturday in Armagh, Northern Ireland, he did not specifically address the issue of resigning.
"I welcome this letter," Brady said.
"It is evident from the Pastoral Letter that Pope Benedict is deeply dismayed by what he refers to as 'sinful and criminal acts and the way the Church authorities in Ireland dealt with them,'" Brady said in his address which went through the papal letter.
"He says the Church in Ireland must acknowledge before the Lord and others the serious sins committed against defenceless children."
ReutersGüncelleme Tarihi: 21 Mart 2010, 10:31