Dr Martin also expressed regret at the failure of the Vatican and the Papal Nuncio to respond to requests by the Dublin Diocese Commission for access to Church documents.
Asked if senior clergy criticised in the report should resign their office, Dr Martin said it was for individuals to assess their own performance on how they had protected children now and in the past in deciding on what action to take.
Dr Martin said he would appeal to all those named in the report who had put children in peril to assess if their past and present behaviour was “witnessing effectively to the desire of the Church to safeguard children”.
The Murphy Report also highlighted how the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome and the formal Papal Nuncio to Ireland Giuseppe Lazzarotto, had ignored the commission’s request for information in 2006 and 2007.
“I believe that letters should be answered,” said Dr Martin at a press conference at the Diocesan Library in Clonliffe College yesterday. “I regret that this happened in this way.”
The Vatican subsequently contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs to complain that the commission was not using appropriate diplomatic channels, even though the inquiry is independent of Government.
Dr Martin said he found it difficult to find words to describe how he felt on the publication of the report.
“What can I say when I have to share with you the revolting story of the sexual assault and rape of so many young children and teenagers by priests of the Archdiocese or who ministered in the diocese,” he said. “No words of apology will ever be sufficient.”
Archbishop Martin said no report could ever give an indication of the suffering and trauma endured by victims and their families.
He acknowledged that the Murphy Report highlighted devastating failings of the past and warned that there was no room for any reversal of existing Church guidelines on child protection.
“The sexual abuse of a child is and always was a crime in civil law; it is and always was a crime in Canon Law; it is and always was grievously sinful,” remarked Dr Martin.
Dr Martin apologised to all survivors, adding that the damage done to abused children could never be undone.
He claimed the many good priests of the Dublin Archdiocese shared his sense of shame about the conduct of their colleagues.
Cardinal Seán Brady said he was deeply sorry and ashamed about the abuse of children documented in the report.