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