Many priests were ‘traumatised’ in wake of Murphy report, says Diarmuid Martin

Archbishop says not enough was done to help priests after the report’s publication

Sat, Apr 19, 2014, 01:03

He felt “a more robust collaboration” between the Department of Education and the church “would make these things move a little quickly”.

Martin said he was “not happy with somebody who really doesn’t believe being forced to be the religious education teacher in a school”. Teachers “should be able to move to the type of school where they would be happier in accordance with their own conscience and convictions”.

On protection-of-life issues in hospitals, he noted that, “as yet, the Government has to produce guidelines. Hospitals have an ethos. In some cases that ethos is contractual and can’t be legally broken. I would hope that we’d be able to leave space for conscientious objection of individuals.”

Pope Francis had “shown a real sense of governance” and “changed the whole atmosphere of a place where people are more proud to belong to the organisation. He has done that by charism and by dedication, but he has also shown a very sharp sense of governance.”

The pope’s move to Santa Marta had “broken down a whole system of people who managed access to him and he hasn’t relinquished on that”. He was “still very, very determined that he’s not going to be pushed into the system. You can see in certain parts of the church a great unease about this man because they simply don’t know what next, and they’re right.”

When Martin met Francis in Quebec during the 2008 Eucharistic Congress, he was a “very quiet, reserved man. He didn’t have that sense of reaching out that he has now. In that sense he has changed and he has changed at the age of 78, which is quite a remarkable achievement.”

In the context of Pope Francis’s call for a poor church for the poor, Martin said of Archbishop’s House in Drumcondra: “My living quarters are smaller than [the pope’s] . . . My staff is half that of my predecessor. I probably cook more meals for myself than he did. I look after myself, my own shopping.”

He said the pope would usher in “more a change in the atmosphere in which people are being asked to live than a change in teaching, but that is not to be underestimated”.

Martin felt pope John XXIII and Pope Francis were similar. “Both wanted to open windows and blow away cobwebs. This man wants even the windows that don’t open to be transparent.”