Ir­ish arch­bishop urges pope to speak frankly

The Western Star - - WORLD -

The arch­bishop of Dublin said Sun­day he hopes Pope Fran­cis will speak frankly about the “dark­ness” of priestly sex abuse dur­ing his up­com­ing visit to Ire­land, which has been clouded by new rev­e­la­tions of mis­con­duct in the U.S. Catholic Church.

Arch­bishop Diarmuid Martin, who has spent years try­ing to re­cover the Ir­ish church’s cred­i­bil­ity fol­low­ing decades of abuse and coverup, ded­i­cated his Sun­day homily to Fran­cis’ Aug. 25-26 trip.

He said it comes at a time of height­ened anx­i­ety over the fu­ture of the church in Ire­land and be­yond.

Martin ac­knowl­edged that sex scan­dals had pro­duced “deep-seated re­sent­ment” at both the abusers and the church lead­ers who fa­cil­i­tated their crimes and sought to pro­tect them­selves.

In ad­di­tion to cler­i­cal abuse, Martin cited Ire­land’s mother and baby homes, where un­wed moth­ers were often sent to avoid scandal and where they ex­pe­ri­enced “ex­tra­or­di­nary harsh­ness” by the church.

“It’s not enough to just say sorry,” Martin said. “Struc­tures that per­mit or fa­cil­i­tate abuse must be bro­ken down, and bro­ken down for­ever.”

He said the pope won’t be able to an­swer all the ques­tions that might be asked of him, but he said he hoped Fran­cis would speak kindly and frankly.

“The re­cent his­tory of the church in Ire­land had its mo­ments of real dark­ness,” Martin said in the Dublin cathe­dral.

“We need a church of light, a light that ex­poses dark­ness for what it is, and a light that is such that the mech­a­nisms of coverup and self-jus­ti­fi­ca­tion can­not ex­tin­guish or tone down.”

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