| 28th September 2000 | Modified: 14th October 2014 | Christianity, News Releases | Seen 42 times

28 September
Sep 28
28th September 2000

Statement on the conclusion of the trial of Sister Marie Docherty of the Sisters of Nazareth.

Statement on the conclusion of the trial of Sister Marie Docherty of the Sisters of Nazareth.

Sister Marie Docherty has been found guilty of four substantially reduced charges of cruel and unnatural treatment of children in her care.

She was originally charged with the systematic abuse of 23 children. The prosecution failed to establish this.

We can confidently restate that cruel and unnatural treatment did not form part of any official policy of discipline promoted or accepted by the Sisters or the Church then or now.

It is true that codes and practices of discipline, intended for the good of children within local authority care, have changed drastically over the last 30 years. Some practices which, rightly, today seem excessive and even cruel, would not necessarily have been viewed in this light many years ago. Nevertheless some actions are always wrong, and we deeply regret every one which may have left its mark on the lives of vulnerable individuals, and have affected their sense of personal worth.

These convictions do not moreover invalidate the great good which was done by the Sisters of Nazareth, including Sister Marie, in caring competently and appropriately for many thousands of children over the last hundred years. Many testimonials to this effect have been received by the Bishop personally and by the Sisters. They have been attested to in open court.

The Catholic Church, in common with other public bodies to whom the care of vulnerable persons is entrusted, applauds and fully supports the policy changes which lead to the safe and positive development of persons to their full human dignity.


28th September 2000

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