Dublin's Archbishop on the child abuse report

Image: IrishTimes.com

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Dublin's Archbishop Diarmuid Martin writes an opinon piece for IrishTimes.com in the wake of the publication of the Ryan Commission report on abuse of children in Catholic institutions in Ireland.
Irish sex abuse crisis
Here's a quote; the complete article is here:


The first thing the church has to do is to move out of any mode of denial. That was the position for far too long and it is still there.

Yes, there was abuse in other quarters. Yes, childcare policy in Ireland at the time was totally inadequate. But the church presented itself as different to others and as better than others and as more moral than others. Its record should have shown that and it did not. Ryan reveals church institutions where children were placed in the care of people with practically no morals.

Where the church is involved in social care it should be in the vanguard. That is different to a situation in which the church proclaims that it is in the vanguard. In industrial schools the church, with good intentions, became involved in a Victorian model of childcare and became more Victorian than the Victorians, and when Victorianism was shown to be wrong, those responsible did not have the foresight to recognise that and children were exposed to pathological Victorianism.

There is a sense of shock among many good priests and religious at what has happened. But that sense of shock should not slip into a situation in which they feel themselves almost as the victims. No one in the church must ever try to water down or reformulate the suffering of survivors. Let the survivors speak and tell their stories as they experienced them.



  1. Well, Archbishop Martin has perfectly described the problem. He and his mates knew 40 years ago that their fellow students had been abused in these schools but NOBODY took any action.

    The system was / is so corrupt that even if they did say something, they would have been ignored, silenced, or punished. According to the report, the police were complicit as well.

    Worst of all, the government made a deal with the Christian Brothers so they didn’t have to name names, let alone subject any of these criminals to actual punishment.

    It will be interesting to see what ACTION Archbishop Martin will take in his Dublin diocese once that report is published later this Summer. Martin is right about one thing, “When it has to be said so often, then “sorry” is no longer enough.”

    Cardinal O’Malley knows the names of credibly accused sexual abusers in the archdiocese of Boston, but he won’t make them public. SNAP, Bishop Accountability, and VOTF have been calling for this for years.

    The Cardinal ignores them, or says he’s “considering it”. Other than that, there has been no pressure from RCAB Catholics, in general, for the Cardinal to do so. Is this a systemic and endemic problem? Nobody wants to make waves. They defer to the authority. Does that sound familiar?

    Still haven’t heard from all those outraged by President Obama speaking at Notre Dame. Maybe this is just old news with no need to comment.

  2. Great comments Michael! I doubt that the hierarchy will ever admit that "they get it" or that they fully understand what they did...or at least MEAN it when they say it. So much respect has been lost.


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