Friday 19 January 2018

Reform Church or lose authority

ONE week from now, the Irish Catholic bishops will travel to Rome to discuss with Pope Benedict XVI the disclosures of clerical sex abuse which culminated in the Murphy report on the archdiocese of Dublin, and which, along with the shocking evidence of mishandling and cover-ups, have shaken the church in Ireland to its roots.

At the centre will be Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin. He was appointed to his high and immensely demanding office in 2004 for the specific, though not openly stated, purpose of carrying out reform -- not only in respect of the sex abuse scandals but on church governance and more widely.

The Murphy report bore out the wisdom of his appointment and his actions. He warned the archdiocese and the nation, in advance, of the dreadful truths it would contain. The truths were indeed dreadful. But the response often differed from what might have been expected.

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