The investigation which led to this report was requested by survivors of sexual abuse who wanted the full truth about what happened so that they could move towards closure with their past.
When they reported to Church authorities the abuse they had suffered, they felt that the Church put its own protection ahead of the welfare and protection of children.
The double trauma they endured upsets me deeply. First, there was the enormous damage done to them through sexual abuse. Then there was the added pain of feeling they were dealing with a self-defensive management system when they brought their plight to the attention of the Church. Their suffering was compounded. I humbly offer my apologies to all who suffered in these ways.
I believe them when they say that their experience was of not being listened to and of not being believed. I admire them for their persistence and courage, and I hope that this report will convince them that they have been heard and believed.
My fervent desire is that, learning from this report, we will understand why Church authorities failed these people and their families, and why, in the past, the Church didn’t act decisively in favour of the safety and welfare of children.
Above all, I pray that all of those who have been hurt and abused in this sad chapter of our history will be able to move towards the healing and peace they are looking for and deserve.
I want to assure the faithful of the diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora that the highest possible training and standards apply to child welfare and safety in all our parishes so that such events may never happen again.
Details of our policies and structures in this regard are located under Services on our diocesan website www.galwaydiocese.ie.
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