The Derry-born head of the Catholic Church in Ireland says the “shameful shadow” of clerical sex abuse has left an “indelible mark” on the lives of so many people.
Branding the abuse scandal a “pitiful chapter in the life of the church”, Archbishop Eamon Martin says no-one should forget the legacy of “betrayal, trauma and shame” that it has had in Ireland.
Dr Martin was speaking at the opening of the first National Safeguarding Conference hosted by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland.
He said that, if the weekend event in Athlone was to be worthwhile, “I suggest we ground our deliberations in two underlying themes: the legacy of past failure and the importance of safeguarding as a shared responsibility within the Church.”
The primate added: “Child sexual abuse destroys lives, ruins relationships and breaks trust which, for some, may never be repaired. We should not be offended if the reaction of some people to this conference is: How dare you! Our discussions should, therefore, be rooted in a promise that we are now doing everything possible to ensure that the terrible things which happened them in the past shall not happen again.”