ARCHBISHOP Diarmuid Martin has said children who were abused by priests must be remembered during any criticisms of the Murphy Commission.
He was responding to a new review of the commission's report into the handling of allegations of clerical sexual abuse within the archdiocese of Dublin.
The review claims the Murphy Commission lacked fair procedures and exceeded its terms of reference. Commissioned by the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), it launched in Athlone yesterday at the ACP's agm.
Archbishop Martin said one should never overlook the context which gave rise to the establishment of the Murphy Report, which revealed decades of abuse were ignored because clerics were effectively granted police immunity.
"A strikingly large number of children were sexually abused by priests within the Church," he said. "Anyone who loves the church must be truly saddened by this fact. The children who were abused and their families and dear ones must be uppermost in our minds."
Fr Sean McDonagh of the Association of Catholic Priests said: "We are not trying to minimise the enormous damage that was done to children."