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Cardinal ‘delayed probe into abuse’

30 August 2013

PA

"Objections": Cardinal Keith O'Brien, pictured in 2010

"Objections": Cardinal Keith O'Brien, pictured in 2010

THE Archbishop Emeritus of Glasgow, the Most Revd Mario Conti, suggested last week that an examination of historic abuse cases in the Scottish RC Church was delayed after objections were raised by Cardinal Keith O'Brien.

In a letter to The Tablet, published last Friday, Archbishop Conti said that "all but one member" of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Scotland had in recent years intended "to commission an independent examination of the historical cases we had on file in all of our respective dioceses, and publish the results".

This had, however, been "delayed by the ob-jection of the then-President of the Conference", Cardinal O'Brien, the former Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh, who stood down earlier this year after admitting that his "sexual conduct" had "fallen below the standards expected" ( News, 8 March). Archbishop Conti's letter went on to say that "without full participation of all the dioceses, the exercise would have been faulty."

The Scottish Catholic Media Office said in a statement last Friday that, at a meeting in June, the Bishops' Conference "agreed to publish the existing National Audits conducted by the National Safeguarding Office. These audits draw together the work of the Diocesan Safeguarding Offices in any one calendar year, beginning in 2006. It is hoped to publish these audits late in the autumn of 2013. They will contain all the aspects of the work of the eight dioceses of the Church in Scotland with regard to safeguarding, and will detail any complaints made about clergy, church workers, volunteers, or anyone else, and how these complaints were dealt with.

"Prior to 2006 there was no National Audit, and so at present renewed consideration is being given to how the statistics which exist for the earlier years can be drawn together and published. The Church remains willing to engage in any process that allows lessons to be learned and survivors to be supported."

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