THE MOST senior member of the Catholic Church in Ireland has admitted that abuse scandals have caused people to ‘no longer trust’ the Church’s message.
Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, was speaking at the World Meeting of families at RDS in Dublin on Wednesday.
Archbishop Martin was giving the keynote speech in place of Archbishop of Washington Donald Wuerl, who withdrew following a Pennsylvania grand jury report that suggested he had previously mishandled abuse allegations.
According to BBC News, Archbishop Martin said revelations of clerical abuse in the State had left people so shocked they could no longer trust the Church’s message.
“In the aftermath of the child abuse scandals and other shameful episodes of the past in the Church, there are those who feel they can no longer trust our message,” he said.
“Maybe because they’ve been directly hurt and betrayed in their own families by the experience of church, or because the revelations of such heinous crimes by clergy and religious and other Church personnel have shocked them to the core.”
Archbishop Martin, who previously said the result of Ireland’s referendum on abortion was not a surprise, said he wanted the Church to promote the importance of the family unit, particularly the “union between a married man and a woman”.
“We must work together with all people of goodwill to encourage the state to support the family,” he said, “and especially the uniqueness of the faithful and exclusive union between a married man and a woman as a cherished space for the bearing and upbringing of children.”
Pope Francis, who arrives on Saturday, is expected to address the issue of clerical sexual abuse and meet with survivors during his visit.