Tackling sexual abuse in the Catholic church

The Guardian

The Vatican should assist the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, says John Powell, while Jane Harding suggests compulsory celibacy should have no place nowadays

‘Surely it is time for the pope to acknowledge that compulsory celibacy is no longer appropriate,’ writes Jane Harding. Photograph: Alessandra Tarantino/AP

No doubt there will be many expressions of regret and other fine words in Rome (Pope calls for prayers as bishops head to Rome for ‘urgent’ sexual abuse summit, 18 February). The reality might be better judged closer to home by the response of the Vatican’s apostolic nuncio in London, Archbishop Edward Adams, to the recent five-day hearing of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse into the long-running catalogue of sexual abuse at Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s School, Ealing. In spite of numerous requests from the inquiry to the nunciate to contribute, no assistance or comment was given.
John Powell
Lampeter, Ceredigion

• Once again the Catholic church has to face charges of sexual abuse. Surely it is time for the pope to acknowledge that compulsory celibacy is no longer appropriate. We have been told that popes in the past had children, and that priests had relationships, sometimes with their housekeepers, but such hypocrisy is no longer acceptable. It is difficult to understand the necessity nowadays – priests would not be forced to marry if they wished to remain single, but at least some level of unnecessary abuse might be avoided.
Jane Harding
Winchester

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