Irish Archbishop Urges Pope to Speak Frankly About Abuse

The archbishop of Dublin said he hopes Pope Francis will speak frankly about the “darkness” of priestly sex abuse during his upcoming visit to Ireland, which has been clouded by new revelations of misconduct in the U.S. Catholic Church.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who has spent years trying to recover the Irish church’s credibility following decades of abuse and cover-up, dedicated his Sunday (Aug. 19) homily to Francis’ Aug. 25-26 trip. He said it comes at a time of heightened anxiety over the future of the church in Ireland and beyond.

Martin acknowledged that sex scandals had produced “deep-seated resentment” at both the abusers and the church leaders who facilitated their crimes and sought to protect themselves. In addition to clerical abuse, Martin cited Ireland’s mother and baby homes, where unwed mothers were often sent to avoid scandal and where they experienced “extraordinary harshness” by the church.

“It’s not enough to just say sorry,” Martin said. “Structures that permit or facilitate abuse must be broken down, and broken down forever.”

He said the pope won’t be able to answer all the questions that might be asked of him, but he said he hoped Francis would speak kindly and frankly.

“The recent history of the church in Ireland had its moments of real darkness,” Martin said in the Dublin cathedral. “We need a church of light, a light that exposes darkness for what it is, and a light that is such that the mechanisms of cover-up and self-justification cannot extinguish or tone down.”

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Source: Religion News Service