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Tuesday 21 November 2017

Church at breaking point, says archbishop

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

ARCHBISHOP of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin will appear on the most popular news programme in the US tomorrow night to claim the Catholic Church in Ireland is at "breaking point".

In an interview recorded with CBS's '60 Minutes' in Dublin recently, Dr Martin said that, with the church in crisis, now was not the time to forget the scandal of clerical child sex abuse.

Speaking of the state of the church here, he said: "It has reached a breaking point. It is at a very difficult stage.

"There's a real danger today of people saying the child abuse scandal is over, let's bury it, let's move on. It isn't over, child protection and the protection of children will go on for the rest of our lives and into the future because the problems are there," he added.

The programme hears how the clerical child sex abuse and its cover-up by church leaders has taken a devastating toll on what was once one of the most Catholic countries in the world.

It says that some parishes, which previously saw attendance rates of 90pc, now have only 2pc of parishioners regularly attending Sunday Mass.

Dr Martin brings interviewer Bob Simon on a tour of his old seminary in Dublin. He speaks about the dramatic decline in vocations and how a country that once produced so many priests it exported them around the world, now does not have enough for its own churches.

"When I entered this building... there were 120 of us, and they were building a new extension. At the moment, I have 10 seminarians," said Dr Martin as he walked around the Holy Cross College in Clonliffe.

The programme describes Dr Martin as one of the highest-ranking officials to openly criticise the Catholic Church and credits him with "confronting the church head-on" for the behaviour that caused the scandal and its cover-up.

Irish Independent

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