Archbishop Martin rues lack of accountability over abuse

 

THE CATHOLIC Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has said he cannot accept a situation “that no one need assume accountability” following findings of the Murphy report and “in the face of the terrible damage that was done to children in the church of Christ in Dublin and in the face of how that damage was addressed”.

When the report was published in November 2009, “the responses seemed to be saying that it was all due to others or at most it was due to some sort of systems fault in the diocesan administration”, he said.

“Within days of the first ritualistic expressions of regret” at what the report revealed “people were quickly encountering a ‘church of silence’. No one was accountable.”

There were “even those who claimed that I should challenge Judge Murphy herself and the quality of her report. No report can ever be without its defects, but in its essence the Murphy report illustrated a reality which can only be described as horrendous.”

All he did at the time, “it was said, was to recognise the failures of priests and bishops”.

Speaking at a conference in Marquette University, Milwaukee, in the US on Monday, Dr Martin said that “in the face of the disastrous situation revealed in the Murphy report” the minimum he expected was that “there would have been recognition that the decisions taken were the wrong ones and that they should be recognised as having been wrong”.

During the Murphy commission investigation he could not speak about what was emerging and “was left in an invidious situation. Priests were suspicious of me, feeling that I was allowing uncontrolled access to their personal information.

“In fact, the commission required discovery only of documents regarding individual priests who had been the subject of allegation or suspicion. There was no generalised handing over of documents.”

Since the Murphy report, the archdiocese had received “more and more complaints especially about a number of serial paedophiles who had been ministering in the diocese over a long period of time”.

It was “generally accepted that the number of children who were abused must run into thousands, possibly by about 10 priests who were clearly serial paedophiles”, he said.