VATICAN CITY -- The Catholic archbishops of New York and Boston will meet personally with victims of abusive priests as part of a Vatican investigation of the Catholic Church in Ireland, the Vatican announced Nov. 12.
Pope Benedict XVI called for the investigation, called an Apostolic Visitation, last March in an open letter to Irish Catholics that addressed a growing scandal over clerical sex abuse of children.
Since 2003, four government-sponsored investigations have revealed widespread child abuse over a period of decades by Irish Catholic clergy. The revelations have led to the resignations of three bishops.
The five-month visitation aims to assess the church’s effectiveness in responding to abuse cases, assisting victims and protecting children under the church’s care, the Vatican said. It will not investigate or make judgments on particular cases of abuse.
The Vatican statement noted the responsibility of Irish church authorities to investigate abuse charges, and to “inform the competent civil and ecclesiastical authorities, in conformity with the current civil and ecclesiastical laws.”