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British Cardinal calls for Church 'honesty'

The Church should not be afraid to acknowledge mistakes and willing to remedy them, according to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor.

The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales was addressing an audience earlier this month on the subject of the authority of the Church.

Referring directly to the recent child abuse scandals which have rocked the Church, the Cardinal told those gathered at St Mary's College, Twickenham that it is absolutely imperative for the Church to address such issues, and if necessary to follow the Pope's example and offer formal and sincere apologies.

"This is not the place to explore the deep pain felt in the Church, particularly in the West, with respect to paedophilia - we are only too aware that the acts of a small minority of clergy have been both shameful and deeply damaging to authority in the Church," said the Cardinal.

"But I do want to stress the importance of honestly addressing these issues," he said. "We have a prime duty to ensure that allegations of abuse are properly and scrupulously dealt with, so that children can be protected from any kind of harm or exploitation from whatever quarter.

The Cardinal went on to explain that the Church must always be open to reformation and development and that fair criticism can address this process.

The Universe

24 Oct 2002