"Simon: To what extent, archbishop, do you think this crisis in the church is
due to the sexual scandals?
Martin: Oh, enormously."
Simon:There's overwhelming evidence that the Church hierarchy was not only aware of
the sexual abuse, but did little about it. The Dublin Archdiocese knew who the
predator priests were, even wrote reports about them but then locked up the
files. Investigators on a state panel, the Murphy Commission, asked for the
files, but the Church refused until Diarmuid Martin became archbishop.
Martin: I provided the Murphy Commission investigation into Dublin Diocese
over 65,000 documents. And the material was there. It was in my archives.
The documents revealed that one priest admitted abusing over a hundred
children. Another said he abused children twice a month for 25 years. Archbishop
Martin believes thousands of children suffered similar fates.
Martin: Abuse isn't-- it isn't-- it isn't just the, you know, the actual
sexual acts, which are horrendous, but sexual abuse of a child is-- it's a total
abuse of power. It's actually saying to a child, "I control you." And that is
saying to the child, "You're worthless."
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
It was refreshing to see the Sixty Minutes interview with Archbishop Martin of Dublin. He states the truth. He turned over the damaging evidence, unlike the majority of his brother bishops. He is to be commended for breaking ranks with the hierarchy.
The most powerful moment for me is when the Archbishop broke down as he described a meeting with 8 year old children in a chapel in Ireland. He asked to meet with the children so he could understand better he pain that a child of this age might suffer when raped by a priest in a chapel.
When will Pope Benedict take responsibility for the global cover-up that he directed? Things are so bad that even a top Vatican official accuses the Vatican of mafia like silence in the global cover-up of sexual abuse. See Reuters story.( link is in this blog)
Protecting the clerical, good old boys network is at the heart of this horrific story. Nothing short of a complete renewal of the church, including putting structures of accountability into place at every level of church life. This encompasses a renewed priestly renewed ministry and decision making roles for the community of faith, Catholics in the pews, in how their church is run.
The good news is that the faith of the people lives on in holy women and men everywhere including leaders of the church, like Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin. Now, I wonder if some of these bishops, like Martin, will rise up and support women priests, even, dare I say, have the courage to ordain women priests-- now that's a holy shakeup that would be welcome in Ireland, the land of women leaders, like co-patron saint, Bishop Brigit of Kildare! The Association of Irish Priests are on the right track with their supportive statement on women priests. So are the Austrian and German priests and theologians!
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP