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Dublin: 2°C Sunday 5 December 2021

Archbishops appeal for forgiveness from clerical abuse victims

Diarmuid Martin urges victims to continue speaking out against abuse and apologised yesterday in his own name for the “insensitivity and hurtful” reactions they encountered.

Image: echiner1 via Creative Commons

IN AN “ACT OF HUMBLE SERVICE” yesterday, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin and the Catholic Archbishop of Boston Seán O’Malley washed the feet of a number of victims of clerical abuse.

Readings, including excerpts from the Murphy and Ryan reports, and were read by victims of clerical abuse and relatives at the service in Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral, the Independent reports.

At the service, Archbishop Martin said he apologised in his own name for “the insensitivity and even hurtful and nasty reactions that you have encountered”, adding:

I appeal to you to continue to speak out. There is still a long path to journey in honesty before we can truly merit forgiveness.

Martin also said that no one who shared any responsibility for what happened in the Dublin archdiocese “can ask forgiveness of those who were abused without first recognising the injustice done and their own failure for what took place”.

Seán O’Malley appealed for forgiveness on behalf of the Pope for the sexual abuse of children by members of the clergy and for the Catholic Church’s failures to “respond appropriately to the problem of sexual abuse”.

The eight people whose feet were washed included clerical abuse survivors Marie Collins, Darren McGiven and Christine Buckley, the Irish Times reports. The church service was interrupted twice as victims presented papers alleging continued abuse by civil authorities and spoke of their own experiences of abuse.

The Boston Globe reports that at least one abuse survivor described yesterday’s service as “another stunt by the Catholic Church to absolve itself of the rape and abuse of children all over the world”.

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