Sex abuse 'devastating' says Parolin

First job to help victims rebuild their lives says Sec of State

(ANSA) - Vatican City, August 22 - Sex abuse in the Catholic Church is "devastating", Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin told Vatican News Wednesday ahead of Pope Francis's visit to Ireland this weekend.
    "I think we are continuing to be deeply struck by this phenomenon which has had a devastating effect on the testimony of the Church," Parolin said two days after Francis said the Church had been tardy in responding to "atrocities" that "abandoned the little ones".
    His statement also came after Pennsylvania authorities detailed abuse of over 1,000 children by 30 priests over 70 years.
    "The pope has always and continues to insist on the fact that our first duty, our first commitment is to be close to the victims, to help them in such a way that they can rebuild their lives," Parolin told Vatican News.
    Asked what the pope would have to say to the Irish faithful after several paedophilia cases there and in the wake of the Pennsylvania report, Parolin replied: "It is not easy to say, because this scandal of clerical sexual abuse has really affected, and continues to affect us, everybody and it has a devastating effect on the life and on the witness that the Church is going to give to the world. "As Pope Francis reminded us many times, and he continues to do so, that our first duty is to take care of the people who have been affected - the victims of this tragic phenomenon. "I think that the Church in Ireland has recognized its failures and at the same time it has provided measures to prevent in the future what happened in the past. "And then, on this framework, attention to the victims, recognition and repentance for what was committed in the past. "And in this effort to prevent such things from happening again, I think that we have to see the journey of the Holy Father as a journey of hope, to help the Church in Ireland and the family in general, just to take a journey with more hope that we can really change and we can build a society in which the children and the vulnerable person are secure, are sure and really the Church can play its role according to the Gospel.
    Victims groups have said the pope's condemnation of sexual abuse has not been matched by sufficient action to prevent such abuse recurring.