Friday, December 05, 2008


As a government investigation prepares to close and diocesan stats found over 400 men and women experiencing continued trauma after being abused by Dublin clergy over the decades, the Irish capital's Archbishop Diarmuid Martin wrote his priests in advance of the state inquiry's final report:
'This is a staggering figure and it is most certainly not final,'' Dr Martin writes.

The archbishop is to host a number of meetings to prepare priests for the fallout from the report of the Dublin Inquiry into abuse in the diocese. The inquiry is expected to finish its work at the end of January 2009 and the report may be published within weeks.

''We as priests are extremely upset and offended by what has happened through the actions of some. The good name of all priests and indeed of our priesthood is tarnished,'' he writes.

The series of meetings scheduled to take place early next month, are aimed at allowing priests the opportunity to discuss the report.

Dr Martin says that the meetings are for priests to ''reflect on how we can pastorally address the needs of those people affected by or involved in the report of the Commission.

''Suffering will be reawakened in the hearts of many by the publication of the report.

''As a diocese we have to respond with honesty, regret and courage, but also in a manner which shows Christian care and understanding,'' the archbishop adds.

The five meetings are scheduled to take place in different parts of the diocese and the archbishop will attend each meeting. ''I believe that the matter is of such significance for all of us to request that every priest will do everything possible to attend,'' he writes.
The scandals having taken an immense toll on the Irish church, in an effort to renew the million-member Dublin fold -- where, in some parts, weekly participation runs as low as 10% -- lay missionaries will visit every registered Catholic household in the archdiocese in the coming year.