Dublin archbishop sorrowed by clerical abuse

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin at the Briefing on the World Meeting of Families at the Holy See Press Office March 30 2017 Credit Daniel Iba n ez CNA Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin speaks at the Holy See press office, March 30, 2017. | Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

Amid clerical sexual abuse scandals in Ireland, Chile, Australia, and the US, the Archbishop of Dublin lamented the scale of the problem, but said the Church in Ireland has greatly improved.

"In Ireland we have made extraordinary progress. We have mandatory reporting obligations and carry those out within a day as soon as we find a substantial allegation and we follow up on them," Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said Aug. 22 at the World Meeting of Families.

The Church in Ireland has been implicated in numerous historical scandals concerning the abuse of children and the mistreatment of unwed mothers and their children.

Pope Francis will be in Ireland Aug. 25-26, and is expected to meet with abuse victims while in the country.

Archbishop Martin said that " in Ireland because of the industrial schools, the day schools, the Magdalene laundries, the mother and baby homes, the children abused by priests in parishes, the numbers of those abused is immense and the numbers that have come forward is only proportionate of that and there are many people holding in their hearts the sadness of abuse."

He said the Archdiocese of Dublin has "done a lot" for child protection, adding that that he had provided an investigatory commission "80,000 documents and the chairman said it was the most of substantive of contributions to that process."

"I believe the truth will make you free, even if it's unpleasant, and it's far better we work together," he stated, adding that "We have good relations of trust with the police and health authorities."

"The factors that contribute and protect abusers have to be addressed definitively everywhere," Archbishop Martin said.

He also suggested that the Irish judicial system could be changed to "make it easier for people in court," saying that "the number of prosecutions is also very low and because of the system in our courts, it's not an easy thing for someone to appear and tell their story in court."

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