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A barefoot pilgrim climbs Croagh Patrick on a previous Reek Sunday Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
Reek Sunday

Archbishop: Clerics hurt too by the Church's mishandling of abuse claims

The Archbishop of Tuam, Michael Neary, addresses pilgrims on top of Croagh Patrick as part of “spiritual” Reek Sunday in Mayo.

THE ARCHBISHOP OF TUAM, Michael Neary, has told pilgrims on Croagh Patrick that clerics were as “angered and appalled” as anyone by how the Catholic Church has handled child sex abuse claims.

Neary took the opportunity of the annual ‘Reek Sunday’ Mass on top of the Co Mayo mountain to address the issues raised by the Cloyne report and reaction to it. Newstalk reports that it was “understandable” that practicing Catholics might be discouraged by the criticism of the Church and its mishandling of allegations.

Just this week, the Vatican recalled the Papal Nuncio to Ireland, Giuseppe Leanza, to Rome for “consultations” over the findings of the Cloyne report. In a statement about his recall, the Vatican criticised “some excessive reactions” after the report was released. This was understood to be a reference to the statement Taoiseach Enda Kenny made to the Dail on the obstructive role of the Vatican in implementing child protection measures.

Archbishop Neary had sent a message to the faithful earlier this week to prepare them for Reek Sunday, posting a Youtube video about the “spiritual dimension” of pilgrimage. The annual Croagh Patrick climb – which some people have traditionally performed in bare feet, or even on their knees – was a “very penitential exercise”, he said, “but it’s also an opportunity to enter into contact with God”. Around 20,000 people climbed the mountain today in poor weather conditions.

This is Archbishop Neary’s message from earlier in the week:

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