During his 2-day visit to Ireland, the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, apologised for the sexual abuse by representatives of his church to thousands of people gathered at Phoenix Park in Dublin.

“We ask forgiveness for the abuses in Ireland”, he told the crowd.

He listed a litany of abuses including clerical sex crimes, a lack of compassion and action by church leaders, and the separation of single mothers and children in industrial laundries.

It seems that around the world, an exclusive group of people fathered by Catholic priests who break their promise of celibacy is growing in number. In Kenya, many families have taken Catholic priests to court for siring and abandoning children. An agency contracted to perform DNA testing of the children says the report will be made public by 24th September.

The firm’s director, Kinyanjui Murigi, said: “When a person seeks a DNA test, we take the sample and also write to the church to send for the official involved. The church has cooperated. The group wants us to give every child and mother a chance if they have sired a child with the priests. It is a straightforward activity.”

Murigi says the results of the DNA tests will be sent to the priest, the mother, the church and the Vatican.

DNA testing in the USA

US resident James C. Graham used DNA testing to prove that his real father was a deceased Catholic priest who had had an affair with his mother. He began his quest for the truth after seeing a picture of the priest and noticing the similarities in their appearance. He appealed to officials in Rome and collected documents that showed Father Thomas Sullivan was almost certainly his father. Conclusive proof was provided when Sullivan’s religious order, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, gave permission to exhume the priest’s body to conduct DNA testing.

Graham hopes his determination will inspire others who believe they may be the offspring of Catholic priests. He also plans to work with Coping International, an Irish community organisation established to provide mental health resources, research and direct pastoral and psychotherapeutic support worldwide to children of Roman Catholic Priests (and their parents).

Vincent Doyle, founder of Coping International, said he was pleased with the results of the DNA tests but criticised the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate for not doing more to confirm Graham’s parentage before he had to resort to a paternity test on his father’s body.

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