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Diarmuid Martin: 'It's hard to believe that evidence has simply vanished and that no one can remember'

He called on the Church to avoid returning to attitudes it had shown in the past.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin (file photo)
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin (file photo)
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

ARCHBISHOP DIARMUID MARTIN has said that an Interim Report by the Commission of Investigation on Mother and Baby Homes has left him with “profound distress”.

Responding to the publication of the report yesterday, Martin called on the Church to change its ways and to avoid returning to attitudes it had shown in the past.

“The Church has to change,” he said during his homily for the annual Chrism mass.

“I have to say that the Interim Report published yesterday by the Commission of Investigation on Mother and Baby Homes leaves me with profound distress, even indignation…

“I find it hard to believe that evidence has simply vanished and that no one can remember.”

Martin was responding to claims in the report that despite extensive inquiries and searches, the Commission has only been able to establish the burial place of only 64 of around 900 children who died in Mother and Baby Homes in the past.

The commission established that the burials of children who died in the three Sacred Heart homes – Bessborough, Castlepollard and Sean Ross – had not been recorded at all.

The Archbishop of Dublin urged the clergy in Ireland to recall advice given to bishops by the Pope during his visit to Ireland last year.

“I am brought back to the strong words that Pope Francis addressed to the Irish bishops on the occasion of his visit to Dublin,” he said.

““Do not repeat”, he noted, “the attitudes of aloofness and clericalism that at times in your history have given the real image of an authoritarian, harsh and autocratic Church.”"

Martin added that the Catholic Church in Ireland had to take time to reflect upon the negative effects of how it exercised a dominant role in Irish society in the past, but also called on members of the Church not to renounce its role in modern Irish society.

He concluded: “Let us commit ourselves this morning to being a Church that radically opens itself to the power of freedom that springs from faith in Jesus Christ and brings freedom and good news into hearts that are troubled.”

With reporting from Michelle Hennessy.

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