The Independent - Ireland December 13, 2010
Church was self-centred and arrogant, claims Martin
By John Cooney Religion Correspondent
ARCHBISHOP of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has denounced the Catholic Church for growing self-centred and arrogant before state-appointed commissions revealed the shocking scale of paedophile clergy.
Dr Martin made his remarks during Mass at the Church of the Assumption in Ballyfermot, the former parish of ex-priest Tony Walsh who was jailed last week for sexually abusing three boys.
In the parish where he grew up, Dr Martin, who ranks in the Irish hierarchy as number two after Cardinal Sean Brady, described the cover-up of paedophile priests as a symptom of a deeper malaise in the church.
He said he came to Ballyfermot yesterday to renew his apologies for the church's hushing up of Walsh's horrendous catalogue of abuse during the 1970s and 1980s.
"I apologise unreservedly," he said. "As I look back, I see more clearly that the catastrophic manner in which the abuse was dealt with was a symptom of a deeper malaise within the Irish church.
"The church had drifted into a position where its role in society had grown beyond what is legitimate", he said.
"It acted as a world apart," he told Mass-goers.
"It had often become self-centred and arrogant. It felt that it could be forgiving of abusers in a simplistic manner and rarely empathised with the hurt of children."
Dr Martin said the church had to honestly acknowledge "with no buts and no conditionality" the gravity and the extent of what happened as it takes a first step on the road to renewal.
Walsh (57), who was named in last year's Murphy Report on clerical child abuse in the Dublin diocese, was sentenced last Monday to 16 years in jail, with four suspended, for abusing three boys.
The now defrocked priest, known as Fr Filth and also as the Singing Priest for his Elvis impersonations at talent shows, was previously jailed for sexually abusing six other boys.
Dr Martin's comments came a day after the Wikileaks revelations about behind-the-scenes contacts between the Vatican and the Irish Government in the wake of the Murphy Report's publication last November.
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The Irish Times - Ireland December 13, 2010
Archbishop Martin apologises over Walsh child sex abuse in Ballyfermot
by PATSY McGARRY | Irish Times Religious Affairs Correspondent
PRELATE'S ADDRESS: CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has apologised unreservedly to the people of Ballyfermot in Dublin following the abuse of children there by former priest Tony Walsh, “and about the way this abuse was hushed up by people with responsibility in the parish and in the diocese”.
Speaking during Mass at the Church of the Assumption in Ballyfermot yesterday, he said: “I came here this morning to renew my apologies to the people of this parish for the facts that this week have emerged.”
He was referring to the jailing of Walsh for 16 years last Monday, four suspended, following his conviction of the sexual abuse of three boys from Ballyfermot during the late 1970s to the early 1980s.
“I come to bring my apology to a parish to which I owe much. I grew up here; it is a parish to which I belonged and to which I feel I still belong. It is a parish which grew up in hardship, but whose people worked hard and supported each other and above all gave themselves so that their children could do well in life. This has been the story of Ballyfermot for years, as it is today,” he said.
He asked: “How do I explain to a community marked by such honesty, good neighbourliness and hard work that the church failed many children of this parish?”
Many of those who came forward “did not want to damage the church they loved. They simply wanted abuse to be stopped, effectively and definitively. Their love of the church was betrayed by leadership in the church,” he said.
He could not “but recall that in the years in which I lived in this parish I was exactly at the age of many of the children who were abused by Tony Walsh and sadly by a number of other priests who worked in this parish over the years. I apologise unreservedly.”
Looking back, he said, “I see more clearly that the catastrophic manner in which the abuse was dealt with was a symptom of a deeper malaise within the Irish church . . . It had often become self-centred and arrogant . . . and rarely empathised with the hurt of children.”
The first step on the road to renewal was for the church to “honestly acknowledge with no ‘buts’ . . . the gravity and the extent of what happened”, he said.
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