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Monday 27 March 2023 Dublin: 9°C
# Catholic Church
'Crying need' for atonement over Church abuse, says Archbishop of Armagh
Eamon Martin was speaking at a graduation in Maynooth University.

ARCHBISHOP OF ARMAGH Eamon Martin has said that there is a “crying need” for hope and atonement in the face of revelations about abuse in the Catholic Church.

In an address at Maynooth University to the graduate class of 2022 in theology and philosophy, Martin said that since he left the college 35 years ago, the church has seen “the significant decline in regular sacramental practice, the fall-off in vocations to the priesthood and religious life” and “shocking revelations of abuse in the Church”.

It comes after an RTÉ radio documentary which broadcast allegations of abuse relating to the Spiritans order in Blackrock College in Dublin.

The Archbishop said:

Church wise, so much has changed in this last 35 years. I could never have imagined, leaving Maynooth, 35 years ago, the seismic changes that were to take place – the significant decline in regular sacramental practice, the fall-off in vocations to the priesthood and religious life, the shocking revelations of abuse in the Church.

“I sometimes wonder why it is that, when we were studying theology here in the 1980s, we didn’t anticipate what was about to happen in the Church – perhaps we should have.

“Was it because, in our studying and reading of theology and philosophy, we didn’t engage enough in open discussion and dialogue, or really grapple with the big questions of the day for the Church and its mission?”

When asked whether the Archbishop’s comments were made in light of recent revelations, a spokesperson for the Catholic Communications Office said they referred to “any and all abuse.”

Martin, who is Chancellor of Saint Patrick’s Pontifical University in Maynooth, told the graduates that “there are clear calls for greater transparency and participation in decision making and for more accountability within our parish and diocesan church structures.”

Referring to a major report on Irish Catholics’ views on church doctrine, he said: “The National Synthesis reveals significant challenges for the handing on of the faith in Ireland.

There is, he said, “a call to discover fresh models of responsibility and leadership in the Church which will facilitate the role of women, as well as men, and help reach out to those who in recent decades have left the Church, or who feel excluded, forgotten or ignored.

“There is a crying need for atonement, inner healing and hope in the aftermath of the abuse scandals.”