The Vatican must be held accountable for the damage its teachings have caused to LGBTI children, the former president of Ireland has said.
Mary McAleese also said the Church should be held accountable for LGBTI rights.
‘I think in the past we presumed they would do everything right,’ McAleese said.
‘We now know, of course, that was a dangerous, dangerous presumption behind which dreadful appalling things happened to children,’ she added.
‘We know of the abuse that children suffered both physical and sexual. I’m now talking about the mental and emotional torture of children which we may have overlooked.’
McAleese, who served from 1997 to 2011, was speaking at Trinity College in Dublin.
This is the latest in McAleese’s scathing comments on the Catholic Church’s record on LGBTI rights.
Earlier this month, the former president call the Church’s teaching on homosexuality ‘evil’, the BBC reports.
Her comments come just a few days before the Pope is due to visit Ireland to attend the World Meeting of Families in Dublin.
Support for LGBTI rights
This is not her first rebuke of the Vatican’s approach to LGBTI youths.
In 2012 she said the Catholic Church is partly responsible for the growing number of gay men who take their own lives, and that young gay teens are one of the most at-risk groups in Ireland.
She said: ‘They will have heard words like “disorder”, they may even have heard the word “evil” used in relation to homosexual practice.
‘And when they make the discovery, and it is a discovery and not a decision, when they make the discovery that they are gay when they are 14, 15, or 16, an internal conflict of absolutely appalling proportions opens up.’
McAleese has been a strong advocate for LGBTI rights.
‘A yes vote costs the rest of us nothing. A no vote costs our gay children everything,’ she said. The yes vote went on to win the referendum by 62%, making Ireland the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote.
McAleese also has a son who is openly gay.