Victims of clerical abuse last night dismissed the Pope's statement as “inadequate” and “meaningless”, with one man vowing to take legal action because of the slow response from the Church.
Mervyn Rundle, who was abused while serving as an altar boy, had been vociferous in his calls for Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray to resign over criticisms contained in the Murphy report.
But Mr Rundle said yesterday that he was now tired of waiting for the “appropriate” response.
“They've riled me up so much that I can safely say I'm taking it further, taking it to the criminal end of things,” he said.
“I'm pushing the gardai now to get a criminal case, and if I don't get any satisfaction from that I'm going to the European courts.”
Mr Rundle was abused by Fr Thomas Naughton. The Murphy report branded Bishop Murray's failure to properly investigate Naughton following complaints as “inexcusable”.
However, legal sources said last night that it is unlikely Mr Rundle would be able to bring such a case.
The legal offence under which clerical abuse victims could bring such a case has been abolished.
Another survivor, Andrew Madden, said yesterday that Pope Benedict's statement “where he said he was deeply disturbed and distressed by the contents of the damning report into clerical abuse” meant nothing.
“What I'm expecting is for five bishops to resign, and whether I hear it from the Vatican or Twitter I don't care,” he said.
“That would be the appropriate response from the Church. Words and prayers and offers to pray for the victims are just meaningless drivel.
“Most victims say that the five bishops that are still in place and who were in place at the time of the abuse should resign,” Mr Madden said. Survivors' groups also criticised the statement with Maeve Lewis of One in Four saying that an apology for the Catholic Church's culture of secrecy and cover-up was what was required.
“To say that he is disturbed and outraged by the accounts of clerical abuse is disingenuous at the very least given that the files of the clerical sex abusers have been routinely sent to the Vatican over the years,” she said.