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[ The Archbishop actually said "strong forces" but he did not object when the Irish Independent misquoted him to make things sound more dramatic! ]

Dark Forces Hiding Truth Over Abuse, says Martin

Archbishop reveals he has 'never felt so disheartened'

Irish Independent, May 11 2010 by John Cooney

AN emotional Diarmuid Martin claimed last night that "strong forces" in the Catholic Church wanted the truth about clerical sex abuse scandals to remain hidden.

The Archbishop of Dublin revealed he had never felt so disheartened and dejected since assuming the post six years ago.

His remarks could be interpreted as a broadside at the Vatican and Irish hierarchy.

In a deeply personal but sombre address, the 65-year-old church leader indirectly hit out at Cardinal Sean Brady and other bishops for failures to fully protect children from paedophile clerics.

Dr Martin was speaking at Ely Place in Dublin, the headquarters of the archly conservative church group the Knights of Columbanus, on 'The Future of the Catholic Church in Ireland'.

Almost six months after the publication of the Murphy Report on abuse cover-ups in the Dublin diocese, Dr Martin revealed the most obvious reason for his discouragement was "the drip-by-drip never-ending revelation about child sexual abuse and the disastrous way it was handled".

"There are still strong forces which would prefer that the truth did not emerge," he said.

"On a purely personal level, as Diarmuid Martin, I have never, since becoming Archbishop of Dublin, felt so disheartened and discouraged."

His comments will dismay those who see him as the man to restore the fortunes of the church in Ireland after it has been battered by cover-up scandals and the refusal of a number of bishops to quit.

And he explained that a second and deeper root of his discouragement was that he did not believe that people had a true sense of the crisis of faith that existed in Ireland.

He also spoke about his pain over "the level of willingness to really begin what is going to be a painful path of renewal and of what is involved in that renewal".

In his address Dr Martin identified mixed signals in sociological data about the state of religion in today's Ireland.

"Public opinion varies from those who would like the Catholic Church slowly, through its own implosion, to fade into the social irrelevance of private individual choice, to those who would like reform on their own terms, to those who would blindly stay with things as they are, to those who call for renewal through repentance," he said.

Insisting that the church was a reality of faith, he said he could not be pessimistic about its future in Ireland.

"As a person of faith I know that the future of the church in Ireland is not in my hands, but that its future will be guided by the Lord, who is with his church at all times."

In reconciling these differing trends, Dr Martin said he had no choice but to lay aside personal discouragement and continue day by day the search for personal conversion and Christian renewal.

"The future of the Catholic Church in Ireland will see a very different Catholic Church in Ireland," he predicted.

"Renewal will only come through returning to the church, which we have received from the Lord."

The archbishop also spoke of his anxiety about the level of religious knowledge in Ireland and of a widespread lack of understanding of Catholic Church teaching on sexual morality.

"There are fundamental fault lines within the current structure for Catholic schools that are not being addressed, and unattended fault lines inevitably generate destructive energies," he said.

"Our system of religious education. . . bypasses our parishes, which should, together with the family, be the primary focal points for faith formation and membership of a worshipping community."

He said that within the church and outside of it, discussion focused on challenges in the area of sexual morality, where the church's teaching was either not understood or was simply rejected as out of tune with contemporary culture.

"There is, on the other hand, very little critical examination of some of the roots of that contemporary culture and its compatibility with the teaching of Jesus," he insisted.

"The moral teaching of the church cannot simply be a blessing for, a toleration of, or an adaptation to the cultural climate of the day.

"The manner in which the moral teaching of the church is presented to believers is far too often not adequately situated within the overall context of the teaching of Jesus, which is both compassionate and demanding."