The Catholic bishop of Iceland has issued an apology in response to several people coming forward recently and saying they suffered sexual abuse within the church’s walls. He added that the church will also begin an internal investigation into the matter.
While the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland has received a great deal of attention for its poor handling of a sex abuse scandal within its own walls – in particular, because the perpetrator was the former bishop of Iceland, and the current bishop admitted to hiding evidence of his crimes for a year and a half – they have not been alone. A number of Catholic Icelanders have recently come forward saying they, too, were sexually abused by clergymen, within the Catholic church.
Vísir now reports that Catholic Bishop of Iceland Pétur Bürcher has publicly apologised to the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests or other staff, and asks for their forgiveness. In so doing, he said, he is following the example of Pope Benedict XVI, who issued a similar statement not too long ago.
Law professor Róbert R. Spanó, who led the team which investigated the Church of Iceland, has been asked to do the same within the Catholic church. Specifically, he has been asked to assemble a team to investigate the Catholic church in Iceland, and submit its findings no later than 1 September. The bishop will then make the findings of the report immediately available to the public.