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Pray for abuse victims, urges Cardinal Brady

The Cardinal Primate of All Ireland last night made a dramatic plea for Catholics to pray constantly for the complete healing of victims of the ‘shameful legacy' of abuse within the Church and in society.

Opening the annual Knock Shrine novena — which is the most popular devotional event in the Church's calendar — Cardinal Sean Brady said he wanted to pray in particular for the victims of physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

Cardinal Brady made his public appeal three months after the publication of the Ryan Commissions shocking findings of systematic abuse in orphanages and reformatories run by religious orders.

The Cardinal was also preparing Catholics for further instances of horrific abuse of thousands of children by paedophile priests in the archdiocese of Dublin contained in the report by Judge Yvonne Murphy that is set for mention in the High Court next month.

But Cardinal Brady said he would not be commenting on the extent of abuse in the country’s largest diocese until the High Court had cleared for publication its findings in full or in edited form.

However, he underlined the devastating impact of the abuse scandals on the Irish Church when he highlighted the sufferings of victims of abuse as the priority prayer for up to 20,000 pilgrims over the next nine days to the Our Lady of Knock Shrine.

“I want to pray in particular for one group of people,” Cardinal Brady said in his opening remarks.

“The people who have been broken and wounded through abuse of any kind, whether physical, emotional or sexual; or through neglect within the family or outside the family home, whether at the hands of clergy, religious or lay people.

“We pray that those most affected will be strengthened in their search for justice and healing for all that they have experienced and survived.”

“I invite all of you to pray now, and often, for the complete and total healing of all who have been hurt in any way by this shameful legacy of abuse within the Church and in society.”

Turning to the novena’s theme of The Seeds of Hope, the Cardinal, who celebrates his 70th birthday tomorrow, also prayed that the novena, marking the 130th anniversary of the reported apparition of Our Lady in the east Mayo village, would be a source of healing and renewal of hope for everyone and for Ireland.

But he warned the continued effort of individuals and groups to introduce abortion to Ireland and the increasing pressure to accede to legalised euthanasia are a fundamental threat to human hope.

“They threaten the inherent dignity of us all. Respect for life is a prerequisite of hope,” he added.

In a wide ranging address Cardinal Brady spoke of hope for political developments in Northern Ireland and for recovery from the current economic recession.

He appealed to economists who were Catholics to pioneer a new more socially caring approach to econonomic issues.

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