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Archbishop Martin says Connell 'was the one who finally began to realise the extent of the abuse'

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin referenced the Cardinal’s response to abuse allegations at his funeral today.

The funeral of Cardinal Desmond Connell took place this morning.
The funeral of Cardinal Desmond Connell took place this morning.
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

IN THE HOMILY given by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin at the funeral of Cardinal Desmond Connell today, Martin credited Connell as being the church figure who “began to drag out information” around abuse allegations inside the Catholic Church.

Martin said that it was “not enough” to make the comment that Connell was slow to recognise the extent of the problem of child sexual abuse when he was Archbishop of Dublin.

He added that Connell marked the beginning of a “new culture” within the diocese by establishing a child protection service.

Martin said:

Cardinal Connell became an Archbishop at a difficult time in this diocese. Many comments in these days noted that he was slow to recognise the extent of child sexual abuse by priests. It is not enough to make that comment now from a distance.

“It must be said that he found himself surrounded by a culture and at times by advisors who were slow and perhaps even unwilling to recognise both the extent of the problem and the enormous hurt that had been done to children, a hurt they still carry with them.

It is also true that it was Cardinal Connell who was the one who finally began to realise the extent of the abuse and the extent of the damage done to children and, with difficulty, began to drag out information which some were still reluctant to share.

Desmond Connell was appointed Archbishop of Dublin by the Holy See in 1988 and made a Cardinal-Priest by Pope John Paul II in 2001.

He was the subject of criticism for the way he handled allegations of child sexual abuse and formally resigned as Archbishop of Dublin in April 2004, when he was replaced by Diarmuid Martin.

DIARMUID MARTIN NEW ARCHBISHOP OF DUBLIN RELIGION IN IRELAND RELIGIOUS ISSUES Cardinal Connell (left) and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (right) Source: Gareth Chaney/Photocall Ireland!

The Murphy report, published in 2009, found that Connell’s refusal to admit liability often added to the grief and pain felt by victims of abuse.

The authors of the report said they also had little doubt that clerical child abuse was covered up by the Archdiocese of Dublin, and other church authorities.

He died earlier this week, aged 90, after a long illness.

Read: Former Archbishop of Dublin Desmond Connell dies aged 90

Read: Pope Francis says it’s better to be an atheist than a ‘hypocritical Catholic’

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Sean Murray

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