Page last updated at 12:51 GMT, Friday, 22 May 2009 13:51 UK

Archbishop abuse view 'unhelpful'

Archbishop Vincent Nichols
Archbishop Nichols has praised the courage of abusive priests

The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has criticised remarks made about child abuse by the new head of the Church in England and Wales.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, said priests who admitted abusing children showed courage by facing facts from their past.

In a newspaper interview, Dr Martin said that the comments were unhelpful.

A report published on Wednesday exposed widespread abuse of children by Irish religious orders.

The Most Reverend Diarmuid Martin told the Irish Independent that the Archbishop of Westminster's "comments, as reported, have not been helpful."

He added that he thought the victims were the real heroes because of the courage they found to come forward and tell their stories.

The Archbishop of Westminster sought to clarify his remarks telling the BBC the main use of the word courage referred to the victims and that anyone who overcame an addiction had to overcome self deceit.

He said: "It is a tough road to take, to face up to our own weaknesses.

"That is certainly true of anyone who's deceived themselves that all they've been doing is taking a bit of comfort from children."

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