I wish to express my huge disappointment at the meeting that took place today between Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and some survivors of child sexual abuse by priests in Dublin. Diarmuid Martin certainly came across as a very different man to the man I met last Saturday in advance of his trip to Rome. I put it to him that he appeared to have had his wings clipped in Rome and that this might go some way to explaining why his fellow Bishops seemed so happy on their return to Ireland; Diarmuid Martin preferred the view that it was more likely because they were delighted to have met Pope Benedict as most of them had never met him before.
Despite no reference in the Vatican Statement of 16th February 2010 to any of the points we submitted in advance of the Rome meeting, or indeed to some of those submitted by other survivors, Diarmuid Martin was not of the view that our views had been ignored but could provide no evidence to the contrary.
Diarmuid Martin accepted the Vatican Statement that all Bishops come back from Rome ‘to speak with one voice’ despite saying last Saturday that the only thing worse than disunity amongst the Bishops was unity amongst the Bishops, as they would unite around the lowest common denominator.
Diarmuid Martin saw no difficulty with the Vatican Statement saying Bishops should ‘identify concrete steps aimed at bringing healing to those who had been abused’. We had identified our requirements in advance of the Rome meeting, had conveyed them to Pope Benedict and to Diarmuid Martin and they had been ignored. Is Martin Drennan a man fit to identify steps that would bring healing to victims?
Diarmuid Martin could not explain why he thought it was appropriate for Bishop Drennan to remain in office, though he did agree with the Murphy Report that just because the Catholic Church produced guidelines in 1996, that did not mean that all cases were dealt with properly after that time.
END - 19/02/2010