Public Statement by the Spiritans
The Irish Province of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit initiated a review of its compliance with Safeguarding Children – Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland. This review was conducted by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) and covered the period from 1975 to 2012. It has now been completed and its report has been published today.
The Spiritans fully accept the findings of the review and will implement all of its recommendations.
The review relates the stark reality of abuse perpetrated by members of the Irish Spiritans in a 50-year period, from the earliest recorded instance, in 1944, to the most recent, in 1994. Commenting on it, outgoing Provincial of the Congregation, Fr Brian Starken C.S.Sp. said “What happened to these victims and their families is inexcusable. As a religious Congregation we are filled with shame but our shame cannot compare with the immense suffering and hurt experienced by victims and their loved ones.”
Fr Starken continued “We acknowledge the failure of the Congregation to protect and safeguard at all times those who were confided to our care or who put their trust in us. Even at this late stage, we urge anyone who has suffered abuse by any Spiritan, living or dead, who has been unable, for whatever reason, to make that known to us to please contact us. Our congregation is committed to finding ways of reaching out to victims and participating in a process of healing with all those whose lives have been traumatised by abuse.’ He added that: “We apologise unreservedly to those abused, hurt or damaged by any Spiritan and we seek to participate fully in the process of justice and healing.”
We can never fully repair the damage and hurt of the victims of abuse by Spiritans. We acknowledge our failure in not responding adequately to victims and their families.
The Province is satisfied that all the appropriate procedures and necessary protections are in place today and has committed to another review within the next five years. We would like to assure everybody that all our works and communities apply rigorous standards for child protection as laid down by the Health Service Executive, the Department of Education and Skills, the Catholic Church inIreland, and the Congregation’s own policy. As the Patron of five secondary and three junior schools we constantly work with management, staff and parents to ensure that these schools continue to be safe places where children can learn and grow in maturity and faith.
The Spiritans in Ireland renew their firm ongoing commitment to work with the NBSCCCI and all statutory bodies to ensure the highest possible standards regarding the protection of children and vulnerable adults.
To all those who have suffered abuse by Spiritans or whose trust and confidence in us has been betrayed by this appalling legacy we offer our deepest apologies.
The Provincial Leadership Team