By Siobhán Cronin
THE new Bishop of Cork and Ross, Fintan Gavin, has apologised for historical child abuse at the hands of the church.
Speaking to congregations at two separates masses in Skibbereen last Sunday week, Bishop Gavin said: ‘We can never allow this to happen again.’
Bishop Gavin, who was ordained the previous Sunday, said he wished to address members of the local community who had suffered at the hands of priests.
‘To those who have lost their faith or are struggling to hang on in there, particularly because of the awful things that individuals or institutions have done in the name of the Church, we need to stretch out a hand of dialogue and listen so that their voices are heard,’ he said, ‘so that we can apologise once again and learn from the awful things that were allowed to happen.’
He directed an apology to the local community: ‘Some of you have witnessed or experienced first-hand some of those awful things and some of you may be present this morning. To you I offer a heartfelt and sincere apology,’ he said.
Referring to the challenges facing the church now, Bishop Gavin said that the church needs to go out of its way to ‘encourage, foster, nourish and promote vocations.’
He added: ‘The priesthood is a challenging but wonderfully fulfilling life. We need to help young men, all those who feel that Jesus may be calling them to follow him as priests, to hear and respond to God’s call to the priesthood. Priests come from our families and as families we must nurture and support those vocations.’
He also said that young people are the best missionaries and witnesses to other young people. ‘We need to support them in their faith so they can be the church, the people of God of now and of the future.’