Cleric calls for more accountability
Published 18/03/2010 | 05:00
A SENIOR Catholic cleric yesterday called for greater accountability in the church during the St Patrick's Day Mass in Dublin's Pro-Cathedral.
The annual special service in honour of the national saint at which the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, presided, was attended by the President Mary McAleese and her husband Martin.
In his homily, the chief celebrant, Monsignor Eoin Thynne, who is chaplain to the Armed Forces, drew a distinction between the difficulties facing the institutional church and the continuing strong faith among Catholics. Mgr Thynne encouraged the large, but not packed, congregation to meet the moral and spiritual challenge of renewing their church.
But Mgr Thynne admitted that the recent scandals had weakened the church through the frailty of clerics who had abused children.
During the difficult times for church and the nation, Catholics could find strength in working together for accountability, the monsignor added.
"We have to stand up for what we believe", said Mgr Thynne, reminding worshippers of the spirit of St Patrick and Christ's message of love and salvation.
Afterwards, Archbishop Martin declined to comment on the public response to his call on Tuesday evening for church leaders to be accountable.
This was his first public intervention in the controversy surrounding the embattled Cardinal Sean Brady after it was revealed that he conducted a canon law investigation in Cavan 35 years ago, in which he bound to secrecy two children abused by paedophile priest Brendan Smyth, and did not pass evidence on to the gardai.
In the light of "the bombshell" news about the cardinal's central role in the Smyth cover-up, Archbishop Martin said that while he still questioned if a nationwide investigation into clerical sex abuse was the best way to spend resources to improve child protection, inquiries into all 26 dioceses might be necessary -- indeed "the only way" for the truth to emerge.
As President McAleese was greeted on the steps of the cathedral, she privately indicated her approval of this suggestion when she was heard saying to Archbishop Martin, "You are on the right road".
Asked by the Irish Independent to verify the accuracy of this attribution to the President, Archbishop Martin said: "No comment."