Page last updated at 12:22 GMT, Tuesday, 11 May 2010 13:22 UK

Dublin archbishop disheartened by child abuse response

Dr Diarmuid Martin
Dr Diarmuid Martin said he felt personally disheartened

The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin has warned of "strong forces" in the Church in Ireland which would prefer the truth about child sex abuse stayed hidden.

Speaking to the Knights of Columbanus in Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin said he felt "disheartened and discouraged".

He talked about the lack of willingness by some in the Catholic Church to begin the "painful path of renewal".

There were "signs of subconscious denial on the part of many about the extent of the abuse," he said.

The Archbishop said he was surprised at the way church academics and church publicists acted calmly as pundits on the root causes of the abuse, as if the scandals had nothing to do with them.

Where were they, he asked, while a Church culture failed to recognise what was happening.

The Archbishop said he did not believe that people had a true sense of the crisis of faith in Ireland.

He said Irish Catholic schools had educated young people who were "among the most catechised in Europe, but among the least evangelised."

Bishop of Killaloe Dr Willie Walsh said he largely agreed with Dr Martin's comments on the Catholic Church's handling of clerical child sexual abuse.

Bishop Walsh said the Catholic hierarchy was still in denial.

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