Catholic Church Still Receiving New Sex Abuse Claims

By Caroline O’Doherty
Irish Examiner
June 13, 2015

Allegations of child sex abuse have been made against five more Catholic priests from the country’s largest diocese.

The new claims came as Archbishop Diarmuid Martin admitted he was still not satisfied that all clergy were doing enough to protect children and survivors of abuse.

“The culture of safeguarding is not evenly embedded across the Church and that is a cause of concern,” he said.

Three of the five priests who were reported to the Dublin Archdiocese during 2014 are now dead and the other two are retired.

Archbishop Martin said while this made investigation difficult, it revealed much about the trauma inflicted on those who were abused.

“Survivors are still coming forward which means that for years they have been suffering without feeling able to tell their story and share their grief,” he said.

The Archbishop said he only knew what he had read in newspapers about the Vatican’s planned tribunal to investigate bishops who covered up abuse, and he could not speculate on the possibility that 12 Irish bishops, who have been criticised in various inquiries, could be called before it.

But he said he did not think the tribunal should be hampered by the fact that historically there was no specific offence under Canon Law of concealing abuse.

“I think they will have to apply the normal principles of justice. If what happened was a breach of the law and a breach of the responsibility of the bishop then they should feel free to investigate it.” Archbishop Martin became emotional when talking about survivors. “The sexual abuse of a person touches a person in their depths,” he said.

“It’s not just the horrible mechanics, it’s an attack on their dignity, on their worth. Basically somebody who abuses a child sexually is saying ‘you’re worth nothing and I can do what I like to you’. You don’t get over that overnight.”

He said there was no room for complacency.

“There is a tendency to say this is all something that happened in the 1990s or 1970s. The statisticians will tell you that paedophilia remains a constant in our society.

“We shouldn’t just simply say if we got no complaints for a few years, it doesn’t mean that there may not be something out there.” The Catholic Church yesterday launched a new service for survivors who want to explore or reclaim their faith or spirituality without necessarily returning formally to the Church.

The Towards Peace service will connect survivors to trained lay members of the Church with whom they can discuss and debate questions they are left with, such as why God didn’t protect them when they were being abused. Contact or 086-7710533








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