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Saturday 17 March 2018

Protecting children a pro-life issue, says Martin

Sarah MacDonald

THE Catholic Archbishop of Dublin has described the care of children and their protection from sexual abuse as a pro-life issue.

Dr Diarmuid Martin hit out at the church's lack of concern for children abused by priests.

Responding to the findings of Chapter 20 of the Murphy Report, published on Friday, he said its criticisms of the church showed "there was concern for everybody except the child".

"It sometimes strikes me that in all the discussions – you read a report like that – there is concern for everybody except the child," he said.

"The priest was looked after, people were kept quiet, and many of those children, they weren't even spoken to.

"Some who came ... their parents who came were given sympathy, treated nicely and sent off. So in that sense, the care of children is a pro-life question in the broadest sense of the word.

"There is no way in which the church of Jesus Christ should have treated children in that way."


Paying tribute to all those who work in the church's child protection services for the "huge progress" made, he criticised the State's failure to keep pace.

"The church has been putting into practice its norms, ahead of the pace of the State," he said. "Things promised some years ago still have to be even presented in the form of legislation."

Dr Martin said there was a very strong commitment among priests to moving forward with child safeguarding norms.

"We have to find a way in which young people can come to church and their parents will feel they are safe. A church without young people wouldn't be a church," he said.

In his official response to the release of Chapter 20, the archbishop said there were those who considered that with its publication "we can now draw a line under this dark period in the history of the church".

Speaking in Dublin's Pro Cathedral on Saturday when he attended a vigil in response to the Dail's passing of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, he said: "To try and attack those findings and to start parsing about commas and verbs isn't the way to show our respect for those who are the victims."

Irish Independent

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