November 29, 1994
BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) -- The head of Ireland's Roman Catholic Church said he feels betrayed by child-molesting priests and denied the church tries to cover up molestation.
His remarks came in response to molestation charges against several priests recently.
"We are humbled by the whole experience," Cardinal Cahal Daly said in a radio interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. in Belfast.
"Everybody has been betrayed, we've been betrayed, bishops have been betrayed. We put trust in people. They abused that trust," he said.
Ireland's government collapsed when a coalition partner pulled out this month, complaining it failed to turn over a priest wanted for child-molesting in Northern Ireland. The priest returned to Northern Ireland voluntarily and is serving a 4-year prison sentence.
Northern Ireland police revealed last week they are investigating another priest accused of molesting a girl. He is living at an abbey in southeast Ireland, where authorities have promised to cooperate fully.
Daly, trying to dispel complaints the church wants to suppress sex abuse allegations, said more incidents would surface
"because we are dealing now with cases going back 10, maybe 15, 20 years. But they should be reported and they should be dealt with."
The Rev. Cyprian Condon, president of Ireland's National Conference of Priests, said the church needed to be
"much more open and much more up front about these things."
Speaking in Dublin, Condon said it now seemed to be "open season on the church," but added that the church had a real problem.
"There is a necessity now for the church to handle the matter differently," he said. "Words like pedophile priest have practically gone into the lexicon of the language."
The Irish Times of Dublin reported Tuesday that police are investigating allegations that a religious brother sexually abused a 50-year-old mentally ill woman at a home in County Cork, southwest Ireland.
Four other Catholic clerics have appeared in court this year on sex-crimes charges, including a brother from Northern Ireland who admitted molesting three 11-year-old girls and Belfast priest charged with molesting boys aged 9 to 15.
Daly denied the church tried to protect clergy who molest children.
"The church has no desire to cover up or shelter or shield anybody," he said. "They should be handed over to the authorities. Once substantial cases are verified and known to be substantial, the police should be informed."