By Sarah Mac Donald - 12 December, 2014
The Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin has prayed that when people celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace at Christmas, that won’t forget people whose inner peace was robbed by “those who should have known and acted better”.
Bishop Denis Nulty made his comment at the diocesan launch of Towards Peace, a spiritual support service for survivors whose faith has been damaged by abuse, which took place on Thursday in Carlow.
He said there are no more disturbing memories than the memories of an innocent victim of abuse by someone who should have cared, someone who was in a position of respected trust, someone who represented the Church – a priest, a religious, a parish worker.
Towards Peace, along with Towards Healing and the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, is one of the services that form the pastoral response to abuse by the Irish Church.
The new service is being rolled out on a regional and a diocesan basis at this time. It was launched in Ferns on Wednesday.
“It is important that as many people as possible, both survivors and those who come in contact with them, are aware that this spiritual support is now available to those who have suffered horrendous abuse by people who represented the church to them in Ireland,” Dr Nulty said.
Recently 645 parishioners from Kildare and Leighlin’s 56 parishes attended safeguarding information evenings.
Bishop Nulty described Towards Peace as a survivor-led initiative, in that it is a direct response to what survivors of abuse asked for; a direct response to help them come to terms with, and cope with what has happened in their shattered lives.
“We realise each one is on a journey of their own. Each one is in a different place and this initiative accepts wherever the victims find themselves and doesn’t push them further than they are ready to journey,” he said.
For more information on Towards Peace please see www.towardspeace.ie