Catholic Church tried to ‘fix’ pae­dophile priests

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

LON­DON: The Catholic Church in Scot­land has ad­mit­ted it made a “huge mis­take” by send­ing pae­dophile priests away to be “fixed” rather than prose­cut­ing them.

A se­nior cleric said re­cently that abuse was seen as a “sin” and the church fo­cused more on “treat­ing” child mo­lesters than on help­ing their young vic­tims.

He said there were oc­ca­sions when prose­cu­tors turned a blind eye and agreed not to bring charges on the con­di­tion abusers re­ceived ther­apy, with their crimes seen as a “moral fault that could be fixed by prayer and re­treat”.

Some abusers were sent to a hos­pi­tal in Ire­land, he re­vealed.

Mon­signor Peter Smith, for­mer chan­cel­lor of the arch­dio­cese of Glas­gow, told a hear­ing of the Scot­tish child abuse in­quiry in Ed­in­burgh that abuse had “al­ways been seen as a se­ri­ous sin for a cleric” and that there was an in­ter­nal court process for ac­cused priests. But he said the “re­al­ity was th­ese pro­cesses were sel­dom used” be­cause the abuse was seen as a “sin” that could be “sorted”.

He ac­knowl­edged that was a “dread­ful mis­un­der­stand­ing” and when asked by the in­quiry’s lead coun­sel Colin MacAu­lay QC if a crim­i­nal trial was “rel­a­tively rare”, Mon­signor Smith said: “It was (seen as) bet­ter to fix the per­son, to re­deem them – and that was a huge mis­take.”

Mon­signor Smith, of St Paul’s Par­ish Church in Whiteinch, Glas­gow, said some or shared by bish­ops” be­cause of those ac­cused were sent to a it was “em­bar­rass­ing”. “hos­pi­tal fa­cil­ity in Ire­land”, He said: “It still is hor­ren­dously where they em­bar­rass­ing that such were treated by things could have been done to psy­chol­o­gists. an in­no­cent party.”

Some He in­sisted that there was al­leged abusers “most def­i­nitely an as­sess­ment were of risk” posed by al­leged abusers re­moved from and it had “not been an the church for am­a­teur ar­range­ment”. good but oth­ers But he ad­mit­ted: “Many were con­sid­ered to be “fixed” of th­ese places thought that and re­turned to the min­istry, ther­apy was suf­fi­cient. We he said, adding that cases of know sadly and to the cost of abuse were not “talked about many in­no­cent peo­ple that that wasn’t true.”

Mon­signor Smith in­sisted prose­cu­tors did be­lieve at the time that the most ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion was treat­ment and that “a year in prison might not be as help­ful as a year in ther­apy”.

The mat­ter was dis­cussed be­tween the pros­e­cu­tor and the bishop, but the fam­i­lies of vic­tims were not con­sulted “as a rou­tine”.

Canon Thomas Boyle, for­mer as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of the Bish­ops’ Con­fer­ence, who last week is­sued an apol­ogy to vic­tims on be­half of the Catholic Church, said they had let vic­tims down.

He said: “We didn’t hear them. We didn’t un­der­stand the na­ture of abuse – that it wasn’t a moral fault that could be fixed.”

Judge Lady Smith asked: “Could it re­ally have been the case peo­ple were not aware that some peo­ple were a risk? That there was some­thing about their fa­mil­iar­ity with chil­dren that wasn’t right?’

Canon Boyle said that the church was de­ter­mined to “learn from past mis­takes”.

The in­quiry con­tin­ues. – Daily Mail

Cases of abuse were not talked about or shared by bish­ops

Vic­tim: The Catholic Church ad­mit­ted fail­ing abuse vic­tims.

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