Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Abuse victim calls for Catholic Church files to be handed to authorities

A victim of clerical abuse in Londonderry has called for all files concerning the abuse held by the Catholic Church to be given to the civil authorities.

John McCourt was one of five victims who met with Bishop Seamus Hegarty last week at St Eugene's Cathedral.

The group received an apology for the abuse they suffered at the hands of the Sisters of Nazareth.

Speaking about the Pope’s letter addressing clerical abuse victims McCourt said: “When he was writing about the principals of justice my interpretation of that is the law of the land. He asked the bishops in 2006 to establish the truth of what happened in the past and to bring healing to the victims. They failed.”

“There are properly constituted tribunals — they're called courts. They should have a general inquiry in the Church alongside one that recognised the rule of law. The Church needs to progress. The Pope said the Church is in crisis, this is more than a crisis, particularly for the victims, this is a disaster.”

Mr McCourt said the Pope’s letter had “rocked me on Saturday in the Cathedral in Derry”.

He said he felt the Pope’s pastoral letter did express sorrow and remorse but it failed to deliver any solid proposals.

“There has to be something about the Church redeeming itself but there is nothing,” he said.

Mr McCourt also called on organisations that help abuse victims to make themselves known and to let people know what help is out there for them.

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