Archbishop Diarmuid Martin“Following the Holy Father’s Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, the Apostolic Visitation of certain Irish dioceses, seminaries and religious congregations will begin in autumn of this year.” So begins a statement issued by the Vatican today which names four Catholic prelates to act as apostolic visitors to four Irish dioceses where sexual abuse has been a particular issue.

The visitation, which will be extended later to other dioceses, is intended to assist the Irish church and go more deeply into the handling of abuse cases:

Through this Visitation, the Holy See intends to offer assistance to the Bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful as they seek to respond adequately to the situation caused by the tragic cases of abuse perpetrated by priests and religious upon minors. It is also intended to contribute to the desired spiritual and moral renewal that is already being vigorously pursued by the Church in Ireland.

The Apostolic Visitors will set out to explore more deeply questions concerning the handling of cases of abuse and the assistance owed to the victims; they will monitor the effectiveness of and seek possible improvements to the current procedures for preventing abuse, taking as their points of reference the Pontifical Motu Proprio “Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela” and the norms contained in Safeguarding Children: Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland, commissioned and produced by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church.

Read the Vatican’s statement in full on along with statements by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, and Archbishop Sean O’Malley of Boston who is to visit that diocese and assist him.


Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet