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RC bishop sorry for abuse line

21 September 2012

THE Roman Catholic Bishop of Clonfert, in the west of Ireland, Dr John Kirby, has apologised for describing paedophilia by two priests in his diocese as "a friendship that crossed a boundary line".

In a review of safeguarding measures conducted by the RC Church's National Board for Safeguarding Children, Dr Kirby was found to have moved two abusing priests to other parishes in the 1990s, and gave his controversial response last week as an explanation.

"I may have given the general impression that I was somehow minimising the gravity of the criminal activity, which we know to be child sexual abuse. This was never my intention, and I wish to apologise, especially to all survivors, on this point," he said in a statement read out at masses across the diocese on Sunday.

Dr Kirby reported the abuse allegations to the civil authorities within days, but said: "What I failed to appreciate sufficiently at that time was the addictive and repetitive compulsion of sexual abuse. Unfortunately, my words last week, separated from their context, came across negatively.

"I am very sorry for any anxiety or embarrassment that I may have caused."

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