Martin speaks of lasting damage of sexual abuse
Published 24/02/2010 | 05:00
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin last night spoke frankly of the damage sexual abuse of children does to the victims.
He said such abuse was in itself horrendous but was also an attack on the victim's self-esteem which lasted possibly a lifetime.
Dr Martin was speaking to a gathering of young people at the Church of St Therese, Mount Merrion.
The informal gathering, which included a question and answer session with the archbishop, was held under the title 'Our Church, do we need to begin again?' and was attended by about 150 people.
Delivering his address, the archbishop said sexual abuse of children was about the abuse of power.
"It is saying to a person, I can do what I like with you, I have my power and I will use it. I do not care about you. The more I assert my power the more I insult your self-esteem."
Dr Martin said that a church where such "horrendous" abuse happened was very hard for him to understand. He said the difficulties experienced by Ireland in recent years were perhaps due to a "false idea" of "a harsh, punitive God".