Last Sunday 20 November, Archbishop Dermot Farrell of Dublin celebrated Mass in Blackrock Parish for the Solemnity of Christ the King.

During his Homily, the Archbishop of Dublin addressed the ongoing revelations of abuse in schools run by Religious Orders. He said, “The anger and revulsion experienced by many in response to the recent revelations regarding the horrendous sexual abuse of children by members of the clergy or religious communities and the whitewashing of those crimes is understandable; it is entirely justified. Furthermore, these revelations reawaken once again for survivors the horror of childhood abuse.

“No matter what words we use to describe our revulsion at hearing about these heinous crimes, they can never capture the reality of suffering endured by victims and survivors of sexual abuse, suffering compounded by the pathetic responses of those who failed to protect the people they were ordained to shepherd. Because trust was breached in a most egregious manner survivors have suffered years of irreparable damage. For that, no word of apology will ever be sufficient.”

Archbishop Farrell continued, “Too often those in leadership in dioceses and religious orders have failed to safeguard those entrusted to their care–whether through ignorance, misplaced loyalty or a sense of self-preservation. Despite the many reports and serious findings on this subject here in Ireland, these most recent reports and revelations of predatory behaviour, appalling abuse and neglect inflicted on so many children are nonetheless truly shocking. The evil that was perpetrated upon so many people, in the first instance, upon survivors and their families, but also upon the community of faithful who rightly feel betrayed.

“It is right that the truth of these crimes comes to light so that the abuse itself can be named, the pain, injustice, and offence to the integrity and dignity of the person accepted, and the long journey of healing undertaken and supported. This can only happen when the response of the human heart that is willing to go even deeper than the childhood terror inflicted on far too many children in schools. It is at the level of the heart that we pay attention to the motives for our actions. The courage of abuse survivors who first brought the horrific truth of sexual abuse to light must continue to be matched by our unflinching commitment to listen to the survivors and, to respond in truth and in justice to all of them.”

In conclusion, the Archbishop of Dublin said, “The questions that have been raised in recent days not only bring the community to focus on the seriousness of abuse, they are also a reminder to us all of the imperative of the call to the responsibility of safeguarding, and the mission of prevention, so that the future will be different from our history.”

ENDS