Church is at breaking point: Martin

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has warned the Church is at a breaking point due to the sex abuse scandals — and said “problems” with child protection still remained.

In an interview which is to be broadcast to millions of Americans on Sunday night, Archbishop Martin tells the primetime CBS news programme, Sixty Minutes about the effect of the abuse revelations.

He is asked whether the Church has reached breaking point.

“It has reached a breaking point,” he said. “It is at a very difficult stage.”

He is then asked to what extent the crisis in the Church is due to the sexual scandals to which he replies: “Enormously.”

The programme shows footage of Archbishop Martin at a service of atonement for abuse victims, during which he is seen washing the feet of those victims.

It then cuts to him speaking of how the revelations which emerged in the Murphy Report into abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese and in Cloyne are now being treated in some quarters.

“There is a real danger today of people saying: ‘The child abuse scandal is over. Let’s bury it. Let’s move on’,” he said. “It isn’t over. Child protection and the protection of children is something that will go on for the rest of our lives and into the future. Because the problems are there.”

Archbishop Martin has been one of the most vocal critics within the Church of the way the abuse scandals were handled.

Previously he referred to a “cabal” within the Church hierarchy, which refused to recognise decades-old procedures for reporting abuse cases.

Archbishop Martin also tells Sixty Minutes of the decline in numbers within the Church in Ireland.

Bringing the presenter on a tour of his old seminary in Dublin, he tells him: “When I entered this building there were 120 of us, and they were building a new extension. At the moment, I have 10 seminarians.”

The programme also speaks to natives of Allihies, a West Cork village.

Parish council member Monica Polly tells the film crew: “They cover it up because the priests were supposed to be perfect. They had an image of what they should be and they kept to that image rather than the reality. To be honest, I don’t think we’ve seen it all yet.”


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