Victims call for Papal audience

A former Derry homeboy is hopeful of an audience with Pope Francis after the Vatican confirmed that his request was forwarded to the Holy Father.

Brian Doherty, who has talked openly about being abused in the Termonbacca Home for Boys under the care of the Sisters of Nazareth, requested an audience with the Holy Father on behalf of Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (Savia) group.

He told the Journal that he had asked that a large delegation made up of people who suffered abuse while in Catholic-run institutions be granted a meeting with the Pontiff either in the Vatican or in Ireland.

Brian told the ‘Journal’: “I would hope that we could get a group of around 60 people to meet the Pope but even if a smaller number is permitted that would be acceptable. We’ve written letters to the Vatican in the past and never even received an acknowledgment, so we’re hopeful that something will come of it this time around.”

The correspondence from the Vatican, which is stamped ‘Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, is signed by Vice Prefect Ambrogio M Piazzoni. It states: “With respect to your thoughtful desire to send a copy to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, we have forwarded your letter to the following address: Office Correspondence to the Holy Father’.

Mr Doherty, who has spoken openly about abuse during two terms under the care of the Sisters of Nazareth at Termonbacca, has for many years been at the centre of a campaign to meet with senior church figures. SAVIA is a mutual support and campaign group of survivors and victims of institutional abuse in Northern Ireland.