Irish Catholic bishops have accused a member of the Vatican's
investigation team here of grossly misrepresenting the Irish Church's
ongoing outreach to clerical child sexual abuse survivors.
A statement from the hierarchy last night rejected comments by
Baroness Sheila Hollins at an international conference in Rome on the
sexual abuse of children within the Catholic Church.
Psychiatrist Baroness Hollins had remarked that "in Ireland it is
said that very few victims have had any counselling or therapy".
Ms Hollins is one of four people appointed by Pope Benedict to
investigate abuse in the Archdiocese of Armagh, where she has met dozens
The Irish bishops said this grossly misrepresents their - and the religious congregations' - ongoing outreach to survivors.
It said it has supported over 5,000 survivors in 250,000 separate
confidential sessions with independent and fully-accredited therapists
and other professionals.
The bishops also rejected Ms Hollins' comments that few survivors had received an apology or compensation.
They cited the Dublin Archdiocese, which had a €13.5 million
compensation bill, and said many apologies had been given by bishops and
congregational leaders to individual victims, groups and wider society.