LEICESTER, United Kingdom — One of the top campaigners against clerical sexual abuse in the Church said the Vatican must recognize its failings during this week’s abuse summit in Rome.
“Let everybody recognize the failings – let’s not try to smooth it out,” Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin told the Irish Independent on Sunday.
“For a good period of time the Holy See wasn’t responding adequately and in fact, at times, was causing great difficulty,” the Irish prelate said.
“I think of my predecessor Cardinal [Desmond] Connell who went to the Holy See and many different congregations with a difficult case and came back extremely upset at the fact that he wasn’t listened to.”
Martin spent decades as a Vatican official and diplomat before taking over the Dublin archdiocese in 2004. Since assuming office, he has been outspoken about clerical sexual abuse in the Church.
In August, the archbishop criticized the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, the Vatican’s chief safeguarding body, saying it’s “not getting its teeth into where it should be.”
The commission is led by American Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley.
Martin said the Vatican commission is “too small” and “not robust enough” and that “puts all the pressure back on” Pope Francis, which places him “almost in an impossible situation.”
The archbishop said the pontiff “really needs a better, stronger and more robust team around him.”
When Francis announced plans for the Feb. 21-24 abuse summit, there were whispers that Martin’s outspokenness left him off the speakers’ list, despite his expertise in the area.
Martin hasn’t commented on his omission, but did tell the Irish Independent he was “a bit surprised to hear some comments by the organizers saying that this was something that came to public attention in the United States in 2002. The Irish Church had norms in 1996.”
The archbishop told the newspaper “there are still many challenges to be faced.”
“The situation in different parts of the world is different…We have done a lot in Ireland,” Martin said.