Finishing the first chapter – final report on the Apostolic Visitation in Ireland

More than two years ago, the abuse crisis started to explode in Europe. One of the first, and still one of the most significant, steps taken by the Holy See was the organisation of a thorough inspection of the Church in Ireland. Soon afterwards, countries like Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands were forced to deal with the similar abuse cases from the past, but none of these countries has been subjected to a process like Ireland has. Here, the pope wrote an unprecedented letter to all the faithful of Ireland, bishops were fired and five foreign prelates from the Irish diaspora were appointed to lead the Visitation and the country’s four Metropolitan Archdioceses and the seminaries. Further visitators were appointed for the religious communities in Ireland.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh and Nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown at yesterday's press conference

Yesterday, the findings of the Visitation, which was inherently pastoral in nature, were published. Although it recognises the progress that has been made in recent years, it does call for further unification of the programs of formation, continued cooperation with state-appointed officials, and generally more control, both from the laity up as from the bishops, even Rome, down.

Like the letter that Pope Benedict wrote to the Irish Catholics in 2010, these findings may also be considered an example for the Church in other abuse-hit countries. Hence my decision to offer a Dutch translation.

Photo credit: Irish Episcopal Conference