Primate to join cardinals for abuse summit
The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, will join the world's 203 cardinals today in Rome to hold their first collective debate on the Church's response to the global paedophile clergy crisis.
Summoned by the Pope to enable the College of Cardinals “to reflect and pray” about child sex abuse, the special meeting will address the burning issue of decades-long scandals.
Cardinal William Levada, the powerful American head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with abuse cases, will address the princes of the Church on the subject of ‘The Response of the Church to Sexual Abuse’.
But abuse victims around the world have expressed scepticism that this unique gathering of cardinals will produce a major initiative. Some have opted instead to support the Pope's stated intent to rid the Church of clerical paedophilia.
Cardinal Brady, who has been in Rome for the past few days attending a meeting of the Council on Christian Unity, will represent the Irish bishops as Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh.
Ahead of the gathering the cardinal-designate Archbishop of Washington, Donald Wuerl, said he hoped the cardinals would opt for “zero-tolerance” norms like those in the United States, which appear to be effective in preventing new cases and protecting children.
The Church's response to clerical sex abuse is one of six issues on the agenda.
Topics will include religious freedom, Church worship, inter-Church relations and Pope Benedict XVI's controversial plan to bring disenchanted conservative Anglicans into full communion with the Catholic Church.
Tomorrow Pope Benedict will also create 24 new cardinals.