DUBLIN (CNS) — Irish priests who have been falsely accused of sexually abusing children are being offered group therapy sessions in a bid to improve their mental health.
Ireland’s Association of Catholic Priests will run its first so-called “Circle of Healing” later in November in Cork, as part of an innovative new move to help innocent churchmen who have been affected by past abuse scandals.
Father Roy Donovan, a spokesman for the 1,000-strong priests’ group, said the purpose of the workshops was to not only “help heal the scars” of clergymen cleared of abuse allegations, but also to provide support to clerics who still felt traumatized or a sense of collective guilt over crimes carried out by the minority of pedophile priests in their fold.
“A lot of good, decent priests have been affected by the abuse carried out by other priests in the past,” he said. “They’ve suffered shock and a sense of shame over what’s happened, and that’s partly why we’re holding a circle of healing.”
He said the sessions were in response to demand from the group’s members.
“Hopefully, those who attend will find some benefit and, if it goes well, then it’s quite likely that we’ll hold regular circles of healing around the country,” he said.
The Association of Catholic Priests, the largest priests’ representative group in the country, has advocated for change in the church, including women priests, allowing former priests who have married back into the fold, and relaxing strict celibacy rules for ordained clerics.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103