Archbishop asks forgiveness for child sex abuse priests
THE Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin yesterday called for God's forgiveness of priests who have abused children.
It was his second reference during Holy Week to the scale of the child abuse which is expected to rock the Dublin diocese to its foundations when it is revealed in a report next month.
The Archbishop made his remarks as he led the Good Friday Way of the Cross procession in Dublin's Phoenix Park.
At the Chrism Holy Thursday Mass, he predicted that a shocking report by the Commission of Investigation into clerical sex abuse in the Dublin archdiocese would reveal that thousands of children were abused by priests in the 30 years from 1975 to 2004.
Yesterday, Dr Martin mentioned indirectly the biggest scandal in the history of the Dublin diocese, when he prayed to the Lord to be merciful towards those who had in any way abused the authority and trust placed in them.
"Restore and heal all who have been abused or betrayed," he added.
"Restore relationships of integrity and respect and truthfulness."
Dr Martin also prayed for the 300,000-plus people who have lost jobs, homes and security in the recession, and called for a renewal of Irish culture and society which would be rooted in "a spirit of solidarity and responsibility and care for others".
In brisk but occasionally sunny weather, Dr Martin joined over 1,000 pilgrims to walk behind a cross-carrier from the Wellington Monument to the Papal Cross, in commemoration of the passion and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
This was the seventh annual silent procession in the Phoenix Park organised by the Italian spiritual movement Communion and Liberation, which is staunchly supported by the former Vatican diplomat.
Stopping at five stations on the way for prayer and hymn singing, Dr Martin, dressed in his ceremonial vestments and wearing a biretta, delivered a serious of reflections re-enacting Jesus's suffering .
Dr Martin reminded the pilgrims that they were commemorating the Way of the Cross, but not in the manner in which they would read a history book or watch a documentary.
"No, you and I are called to follow the same path as Jesus did, to take part in the same path, to be challenged in the depth of our being and activity by the same Way of the Cross with all its mystery," he said.
During each of these five scripture reflections, the archbishop related the events of 2,000 years ago to current events and preoccupations, ranging from prayers for peace, a caring society, church renewal to idealism in the younger generation and the remembrance of the victims of the earthquake in L'Aquila in Italy.
The Dublin diocese reported last night that large congregations attended St Mary's Pro-Cathedral for three different ceremonies to mark Good Friday.
Particularly popular was the noon service, at which the Stations of the Cross were dramatised with music.
The traditional 3pm service of the Solemn Celebration of the Lord's Passion was led by Auxiliary Bishop Eamonn Walsh, with music sung by the Palestrina Choir, including Allegri's 'Miserere'. Last night a service of 'Prayer around the Cross' was held on the model pioneered by the French monastery in Taize, offering contemplation on life today to the Passion of Christ.