Zero Tolerance for Abuse of Minors Cases in Northern Ireland

Source: FSSPX News

Mgr John McAreavey.

The resignation of a bishop in Northern Ireland accused of taking too long to denounce a priest suspected of abusing minors was accepted by the Holy See on March 26, 2018, in the context of the “zero tolerance” policy launched by Benedict XVI and pursued by Pope Francis.

Bishop John McAreavey was bishop of Dromore in Northern Ireland from his nomination by John Paul II in 1999 until March 26, 2018.

The prelate found himself in an untenable position when BBC went public with accusations for abuse of minors against a priest of his diocese who died in 2002. The bishop had taken no particular measures even though he knew of his fellow priest’s misconduct as early as 1994, when he himself was still a priest.

Bishop McAreavey only revealed the affair in 2006, four years after the death of the priest whose funeral Mass he celebrated himself.

The Holy Father has named the bishop emeritus of Raphoe, Bishop Philip Boyce, as Apostolic Administrator of the diocese, announced the website of the diocese of Dromore.

Ever since the month of June 2017, Pope Francis has decided to increase the pressure placed on the hierarchy by opening the path to revoking bishops guilty of “negligence” in cases of abuse of minors in the Church.

On this painful subject, statistics in France show, according to the National Observatory for Social Action, that in 75% of the cases recorded, abuse of minors happens in the family. Minors are themselves responsible for 27.5% of the cases of abuse of other minors “due to a gang effect”, explains the source, without providing details as to where these “gangs” originate.

In France, the percentage of Catholic priests convicted and imprisoned for such acts, all penalties included, is 0.48% of the clergy, as the Episcopal Conference of France pointed out on January 23, 2017. This number in no way lessens the gravity of the fault that some priests commit, betraying their priestly ministry and destroying the lives of their victims.