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Exclusion from abuse conference not a snub for Martin

The Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has played down claims he was snubbed by the Vatican as a speaker at a major conference on clerical child abuse next February.

Dr Martin told journalists he had not seen the list of speakers drawn up by Rome's Gregorian University.

"I have not seen the programme," said Dr Martin, at the opening of the National Eucharistic Congress at the Marian Shrine in Knock, Co Mayo, on Saturday.

Dr Martin was informed that the Pope's spokesman had said he had not been overlooked intentionally and that the organisers of the conference of bishops and heads of religious orders wanted speakers from all continents.

"I have no problem with that," said Dr Martin, who has been the subject of continuing speculation about a rift between the Vatican and himself.

"More power to them. The more people that are involved, the better."

Dr Martin then joined most of the Irish bishops and 160 priests in Knock Basilica where they anointed sick people ahead of the National Eucharistic Congress Mass, at which Cardinal Sean Brady presided.

During the Mass, which was attended by 13,000 pilgrims, candles were blessed and lit for display at Sunday Masses in all 26 diocesan cathedrals, signalling the countdown to next June's 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Ireland, the first time since 1932.

While the 1932 Dublin congress fostered national pride and national unity in an Ireland divided by the Civil War, the church today also needs healing and reconciliation, Dr Martin said.


"The reality of the abuse of children that took place in Ireland and the manner in which it was dealt with has been a source of immense hurt for those who were the victims and survivors, but also for the members of the church, lay people and priests."

Noting that many Catholics had lost confidence in the church, Dr Martin insisted that spiritual renewal needed to be rooted in parishes at the central celebration of Holy Communion.

Dr Brady said he hoped that both the national and international congresses would help "to bring healing to the social, economic, spiritual and moral wounds that have so deeply afflicted our country and church in recent times".

Irish Independent