Archbishop says abuse report 'will shock us all'

Thu, Apr 9, 2009, 01:00

THE IMMINENT report of the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation into clerical sex abuse “will shock us all”, according to the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Most Rev Diarmuid Martin.

In a homily to be delivered this morning at Mass in the Pro-Cathedral, he says: “It is likely that thousands of children or young people across Ireland were abused by priests in the period under investigation and the horror of that abuse was not recognised for what it is. The report will make each of us and the entire church in Dublin a humbler church.”

The report is due to be published this summer.

In his homily, which was released to the media last night, Dr Martin also says there are now 10 times more priests over 70 than there are priests under 40 in Dublin’s Catholic archdiocese.

“In just a few years we will only have a little over 200 diocesan priests to minister to our almost 200 parishes,” he says.

He will announce that the archdiocese, along with the Church of Ireland diocese of Dublin and Glendalough, hopes to begin a “Year of Evangelisation” next June. Where young people are concerned, he says, “we have no time to waste. There is a dramatic and growing rift between the church and our younger generations and the blame does not lie principally with young people”.

He says that “very often, as I begin to celebrate Mass here in the Pro-Cathedral, I am distracted by the words on the poster on that column towards my left: ‘Dublin needs priests’.

“It is an appeal to young men to look into their hearts and see where the Lord may be calling them in their lives, and perhaps to respond in a generous way if they feel that the Lord is calling them to follow him in the ministry of the diocesan priesthood at the service of the people of God in this archdiocese. The diocese of Dublin needs priests.”

He adds: “Parishes are growing rapidly and their needs are increasing. Fewer priests are being asked to respond to more calls on their time and their ministry. Inevitably the structures of priestly ministry will have to change . . .”

He says that “in the archdiocese of Dublin, in a way which we have not seen for generations, lay men and women are today bringing their own charisms to unite them with the charisms of the ministerial priesthood, working together for the building up of the Church and Christ’s kingdom”.

Following the tradition of the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday clergy will come together as “a community of priests united in one ministry”. He will tell them that they must ensure “the love of God . . . dominates the way we interact with each other”.

Dr Martin also asks for the “forgiveness of anyone that I may have hurt or left feeling neglected. I know my own failings and limitations and I wish to renew sincerely today my respect and concern for each and every priest of this diocese or working in this diocese”.

Tomorrow at 12.30pm in the Phoenix Park, Archbishop Martin will lead a “Way of the Cross” procession from the Wellington monument to the papal cross.