Wednesday, March 17, 2010

FP morning post 3/17

Irish cardinal apologizes as pope promises to address abuse scandal

Top news: Cardinal Sean Brady, the head of Ireland's Catholic Church apologized in his St. Patrick's Day sermon today for the role he played in covering up the sexual abuse of children by a priest during the 1970s. On Tuesday, the Irish Catholic Church released details showing that Brady was present at a meeting in 1975 in which two victims, aged 10 and 14, were asked to sign vows of silence over allegations of abuse against Fr. Brendan Smyth, who, two decades later, was convicted of dozens of offences against children.

"I also apologise to all those who feel I have let them down," Brady said. "Looking back I am ashamed that I have not always upheld the values that I profess and believe in."

Pope Benedict XVI promised today to address the ongoing scandal in a letter to Irish catholics later this week. Benedict acknowledged that the Church has been "severely shaken" by the allegations and hoped his letter would help in the healing process. Irish government investigations have brought to light cases of abuse involving more than 15,000 children since the 1930s.

Benedict did not refer in his statement to the abuse cases in other European countries, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the allegations in her country for the first time today, saying that "the only way for our society to come to terms with it is to look for the truth and find out everything that has happened."

For background on the unfolding scandal, read FP's roundup of the latest allegations.

Mideast policy: U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated U.S. support for Israel amid concerns of a rift between the two countries. Clinton will keynote a conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee next week.

Middle East
  • Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has surged past current Prime Minsiter Nuri al-Maliki in Iraq's election results.
  • Yemen's Houthi rebels have released 178 captives as part of a peace deal with the government.
  • Israel lifted its closure of the West Bank as yesterday's rioting subsided.
Asia and Pacific
  • Spain's prime minister has blamed the Basque separatist group ETA for the killing of a French policeman.
  • Veterans of a Latvian military unit that fought with the Nazis against carried out their controversial annual march.
  • France and Germany are protesting U.S. handling of the contract for construction a new refueling tanker for the Airforce after European contractor EADS alleged foul play.
  • Riots broke out in Uganda after the tombs of five ancient kings were destroyed by fire.
  • At least ten people were killed in a machete attack on a mainly Christian village in central Nigeria.
  • Zimbabwe's president and prime minister began a new round of power-sharing talks mediated by South African President Jacob Zuma.
  • FBI investigators say there's no evidence that Mexican gunmen deliberately targeted U.S. embassy employees in Ciudad Juarez last week.
  • Brazilian authorities are investigating three Catholic priests for allegedly molesting altar boys.
  • Mexico announced a new austerity plan to cut government spending by $3.2 billion over the next three years.
-By Joshua Keating

Franco Origlia/Getty Images

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