THE PAST 50 years in the Irish Catholic Church have been marked with a darker side, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said in his opening greeting at the International Eucharistic Congress at the RDS today.
Remembering “all those who suffered abuse and who still today bear the mark of that abuse”, Martin said that the church had seen “sinful and criminal abuse and neglect of those weakest in our society”.
“In a spirit of repentance, let us remember each of them in the silence of our hearts,” he added.
The church in Ireland is on the path to renewal, the archbishop told the audience, but warned that it will be a “lengthy journey”.
About 20,000 people are at the RDS today for the opening of the 50th IEC. The event, which is held every four years, hasn’t been hosted by Ireland since 1932.
The rest of the archbishop’s greeting focused on the theme of the event – rejoicing in the Eucharist. He welcomed the thousands of pilgrims who have travelled from all over the world.
He also prayed for a renewal in “priestly life and in religious life”.
A number of small protests, including one by abuse survivors and another by an LGBT group, were held outside the RDS ahead of the event this afternoon.