Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Bishop sorry over sex abuse remarks

A Catholic Bishop who said he used to think paedophilia was friendship gone too far has apologised
A Catholic Bishop who said he used to think paedophilia was friendship gone too far has apologised

A Catholic Bishop who said he used to think paedophilia was friendship gone too far has apologised.

Bishop of Clonfert John Kirby made the remarks after a church child abuse watchdog revealed he moved two priests from parish-to-parish after allegations were made against them.

In a public letter sent to 24 parishes in east Galway and parts of Roscommon and Offaly, the Bishop admitted he had made a mistake over the transfers and the subsequent paedophilia reference.

"I may have given the general impression that I was somehow minimising the gravity of the criminal activity which we know to be child sexual abuse," he said.

"This was never my intention and I wish to apologise, especially to all survivors, on this point.

"The fact is that I reported the allegations to the civil authorities in the 1990s within days of becoming aware of the issue because I knew that crimes may have been committed.

"What I failed to appreciate sufficiently at that time was the addictive and repetitive compulsion of sexual abuse."

The Bishop said his words came across negatively.

"I am very sorry for any anxiety or embarrassment that I may have caused to people in Clonfert or throughout the country," he added.

The transfer of the two priests was uncovered by the church's own watchdog, Ian Elliot, head of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church.

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