Now that the Apostolic Visitation to certain Dioceses, Seminaries and Religious Institutes in Ireland has been concluded, it is intended here, in accordance with what was stated in the Communiqué of 6 June 2011, to offer an overall synthesis indicating the results and the future prospects highlighted by the Visitation.
It should be borne in mind that the Visitation was pastoral in nature; the Holy Father’s intention was that it should “assist the local Church on her path of renewal” (Pastoral Letter of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to the Catholics of Ireland, 19 March 2010). It was not intended to replace or supersede the ordinary responsibility of Bishops and Religious Superiors, nor to interfere “with the ordinary activity of the local magistrates, nor with the activity of the Commissions of Investigation established by the Irish Parliament, nor with the work of any legislative authority, which has competence in the area of prevention of abuse of minors” (Communiqué of the Holy See Press Office, 12 November 2010).
In communicating this summary of the Findings of the Apostolic Visitation, the Holy See re-echoes the sense of dismay and betrayal which the Holy Father expressed in his Letter to the Catholics of Ireland regarding the sinful and criminal acts that were at the root of this particular crisis.
The Visitation to the Dioceses was carried out in the four Metropolitan Sees during the first few months of 2011.[...]