New Irish American Papal Nuncio says he has ‘a lot to learn’ about the Irish
Praises Dublin Archbishop Martin as ‘admirable’ on issue of child abuse
Already immersing himself in Irish news, courtesy of the online edition of the Irish Times, the new Papal Nuncio has also printed the entire Murphy, Cloyne and Eliot reports ahead of his arrival in Dublin.
He added: “I have not seen anything yet. I have a steep mountain to climb and I hope to be there helping. As for reforms to the Irish church, I am agnostic about this. I need to study all that material and then talk to the Irish bishops.
“Not to be a broken record, I have a lot to learn, I know this is a society that has changed rapidly, that has experienced incredible economic prosperity and then problems, one that has moved from a country of emigration to immigration.
“The church was left behind the curve on all of that, the church has to modernize and to find new ways of presenting her message to people in this new context of the materialism and consumerism of a society that is now more similar to other European countries than it was in the 1980s.”
Archbishop Brown did address the clerical sex abuse issue in his interview with the Irish Times, pointing out that all his experience at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) was working on doctrinal issues rather than handling those specific sex abuse cases that come to the congregation.
“At the CDF, our section would be part of the larger discussion of the problem of sexual abuse as impacting on faith and morals in any given country. So, on that level, I would like to think that I am up to speed,” he said.
“The horrible scandal of clerical sex abuse in a country that epitomises Catholic culture is horrible for everybody because we have learned to hold up Ireland as something special and something great.
“However, Archbishop Martin, for example, has been admirable in the way he has faced the problem. There is a dynamic in the sex abuse thing that relates to the publicity, the visibility and transparency with which it can be identified and denounced in a particular culture.
“I don’t think that sexual abuse in the church is that much more prevalent in northern cultures than in other cultures, for example in Latin cultures. However it is much less reported and discussed in Latin cultures.”
Having started clerical life in the St Brendan’s parish in the Bronx, Archbishop Brown may know more about the Irish than he thinks.
“I go to Ireland with courage and trust in God. In some senses, this is completely out of the box, I pray to God that I don’t make too many mistakes and do something decent,” he concluded.
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