Pope must address abuse when he visits Ireland, archbishop says

Dr Diarmuid Martin also clarifies his comments on Josepha Madigan row

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said it is important that Pope Francis addresses the issue of abuse when he visits Ireland later this year. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said it is important that Pope Francis addresses the issue of abuse when he visits Ireland later this year. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin has said it is important that Pope Francis addresses the issue of abuse when he visits Ireland later this year.

In an interview on RTÉ Radio 1’s Marian Finucane show on Saturday, Dr Diarmuid Martin said: “It is important, I believe, that he [Pope Francis] does address it because the wounds are there and new wounds are emerging.

“If I had been asked two years ago I would have been talking about institutions and abuse by clergy . . . now it’s Magdalene laundries and mother-and-baby homes and a whole series of other places [where issues are emerging].”

The archbishop also clarified his comments in relation to Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan’s leading of prayers at a Dublin church last month.

Dr Martin said he never stated that Ms Madigan should not have highlighted her grievances with the Catholic Church in public. He said that what he objected to was the linking of Ms Madigan’s personal grievances with the Church to a priest not showing up for the Mass where she ended up leading prayers.

Ms Madigan, who led Fine Gael’s campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment in May’s referendum, led the prayer service in her local church in Mount Merrion on Saturday, June 23rd last.

Amid the fallout following the service, the Minister said it was not her fault that a priest was not available for Mass on Saturday evening and that it would be wrong of her not to highlight inequalities within the Church.

Dr Martin said some of the media reaction to that event had been “amazing”.

“I never said that she shouldn’t have done it, I never said it.

“There’s a shortage of priests, but if we think that the shortage of priests is about Masses on Sundays then you are making the priests into a Mass-machine,” he said.

‘Using an opportunity’

The archbishop said he had “no problem” with Ms Madigan’s statement that there is a shortage of priests, but that to link that to the event in her local church was “using an opportunity”.

Asked by Ms Finucane what was wrong with Ms Madigan saying there should be married and women priests, Dr Martin said he never criticised her for her views.

“I never complained about that either. I simply said that to link all that with an event on one day was using an opportunity to do something else. Some of the newspaper comments were incredible . . . There were people saying, how could he possibly say something like that. Then they went into saying things I never said.

“Taking the other incident and building it up, that’s what I didn’t like.”

Dr Martin said there is “vast interest” in the pope’s visit, from “a wide cross-section of society”, with all 500,000 tickets for the pontiff’s Phoenix Park event booked out.