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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.