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No sense in passing the buck over child abuse: priest

By Victoria O’Hara

The responsibility to repair the damage done to victims by the clerical sex abuse scandal is now down to the Catholic Church within Ireland, according to a north Belfast priest.

Holy Cross parish priest Father Gary Donegan (45) said it was important that the Pope acknowledged the abuse which was covered up for decades by the Church and publicly condemned it.

Pope Benedict XVI yesterday described the abuse of children by priests as a "heinous crime" after a two-day meeting with Irish bishops at the Vatican.

But Fr Donegan said what was important now was how the Church in Ireland moved on in dealing with sexual abuse. "They have gone, they sought the advice, they have sought the blessing and prayer of the Holy Father," he said.

"They’ve had an acknowledgement of the sinful nature of it, the criminal nature of it, the abhorrence of it."

Fr Donegan added: "Anything that in any way acknowledges this has to be seen as a positive step but is not going to be some magical solution.

"There has to be a collective responsibility, there is no sense in washing hands and blaming other individuals or passing the buck.

"Massive mistakes were made of people trying to deal with it in-house, trying to protect family names, trying to protect institutional names."

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