Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"You Broke Open My Deafness": At Patrick's "Purgatory," The Vatican Meets The Victims

As noted in the moment, last night Cardinal Marc Ouellet -- the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and a key B16 confidant -- spent an evening's seclusion at Lough Derg, the traditional site of Irish repentance, in atonement for the scandals of sex-abuse and cover-up which have gutted the Isle church over the last two decades, taking on the mission at the Pope's "express request."

The Canadian prelate's overnight came in the context of his assignment as Benedict XVI's personal representative to this week's 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin. While it previously emerged that the cardinal had received requests for a meeting from groups of survivors, only this afternoon was it announced that Ouellet met for two hours with a "representative" delegation of victims from both the country's church-run residential institutions and Irish dioceses during his stay on the Donegal island.

According to a communiqué from the Irish bishops, during the encounter "each survivor spoke of his or her own personal experience of abuse and its impact on their lives."

The meeting echoed the emotional private sessions Benedict has held with victims on several occasions during his pontificate, the first of which took place in Washington during the Pope's 2008 trip to the US' East Coast.

Following the meeting, Ouellet celebrated Mass for the group. During his stay, the Vatican chief was accompanied (above) by the New York-born "director" of the Pope's intended reformation of the Irish church: the newly-named Nuncio to Dublin, Archbishop Charlie Brown, long a collaborator of the now-pontiff's at the CDF, who Benedict ordained himself on Epiphany Day this year.

Known in Ireland as "St Patrick's Purgatory" due to a story from the patron's legend, the choice of Lough Derg as the venue for the survivors meeting struck at least some prominent parties as "strange." In one early response, Marie Collins -- one of the country's most prominent survivors -- mused whether "the Papal Legate [saw] it as part of his penance to talk to survivors."

Collins was the lone victim to speak at the first-ever Vatican-sponsored conference on clergy sex-abuse at Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University held in February, during which Ouellet led a liturgy of repentance.

Here, this morning's full homily given by the cardinal-prefect....

And following Ouellet's preach, the Prayer of the Faithful included the following intercessions:
-- For the failure to love, respect, nurture and cherish young people, particularly the most vulnerable, we ask your forgiveness. Lord, hear us.

-- For the crimes and sins of sexual and physical abuse perpetrated against children and young people, especially in Church-run institutions, by clergy and other servants of the Church. Lord, hear us.

-- For the inadequate response often given by Church leaders when abused people told their stories, we ask forgiveness. Lord, hear us.

-- That all whose lives have been broken by abuse of any kind may experience support and lasting healing. Lord, hear us....
...Lord, graciously hear us.

PHOTO: Catholic Communications Office