The new Archbishop of Glasgow yesterday said the Catholic Church should feel ashamed over the child abuse scandal while praising survivors for speaking out.
William Nolan also insisted the Church must “change our ways to ensure what happened in the past does not happen again”.
His comments came as he was installed as the new leader of Scotland’s largest Catholic community at a mass in the city’s St Andrew’s Cathedral. Pope Francis had nominated the former Bishop of Galloway for the role after the former archbishop, Philip Tartaglia, died following contracting Covid-19 last year.
As he was welcomed into his new role, Nolan spoke about “scandals” that have impacted the Church in recent years and “in particular the child abuse scandal”.
He praised those who had been abused and who had gone on to speak out for having “taken what happened in the dark and brought it to light”.
He told the congregation: “I was here a few years ago in this Cathedral when Archbishop Tartaglia, my predecessor, apologised to the victims of child abuse in the Catholic Church, and I would like to repeat that apology today.
“I would also like to say how much I admire those victims, those survivors, who have come forward and told their story, who taken what happened in the dark and brought it to light and therefore challenged us to face up to the reality.”
He said while “theologians have always told us that a church is a church of sinners”, it was only in recent years he had “realised how sinful people in the Church can be”. The abuse scandal “affected everyone” in the Church, not just its victims, he added.
He said: “Everyone associated with the Church can only hold their head in shame at what has happened. And that is not enough. We have to reach out to the victims, the survivors and try to help them and we have to change our ways to ensure what happened in the past does not happen again.”
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