Religious congregations in Ireland are feeling betrayed by Church leadership over actions and statements following the Ryan report.
It has also been claimed that at least three victims of abuse have died by suicide since publication of the report, The Irish Times said.
Fr Tony Flannery, a Redemptorist priest, has revealed that many members of the congregations feel "terrified", "ashamed", "hurt" and "betrayed", not only because of the actions of the guilty among their own colleagues, but also because of the actions and public statements of the Archbishop of Dublin and other members of the hierarchy who, he said, have led the public criticism of members of Ireland's religious congregations.
Fr Flannery has said "there is enormous anger among religious (members of the congregations). They feel that they have been scapegoated, particularly by one member of the hierarchy, the Archbishop of Dublin," the newspaper said.
Feminist theologian Mary Condren has agreed. "A lot of priests and religious feel extremely betrayed by the fact that the cardinal and the archbishop went to Rome without having spoken with them, then came back and made public statements, again without speaking to them."
She also claims at least three victims of abuse have died by suicide since publication of the Ryan report because they were unable to cope with its public revelations about long suppressed trauma.
Fr Flannery expressed doubts about whether the congregations will ever recover from public vilification.
"By and large, what we're talking about is institutions comprising people in their 70s and 80s, which have hardly any young members joining them. So that within the next 10-15 years, the large majority of the religious orders in Ireland, as we know them today, will be gone."
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