In a sign of growing divisions within the Irish Catholic Church, Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin told the press this week that he was 'angry, ashamed and appalled' by the actions of his fellow Irish churchmen following a damning report into child abuse in the diocese of Cloyne in County Cork.
Martin's comments came days after a historically unprecedented attack on the Vatican by Irish prime minister Enda Kenny, who bluntly accused the Roman Catholic hierarchy of violating the country’s sovereignty by attempting to frustrate the inquiry.
Kenny told the Irish parliament that the Cloyne report revealed that the Vatican was dominated by a culture of 'dysfunction, disconnection, elitism and narcissism.'
'The rape and torture of children were downplayed or 'managed' to uphold instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and 'reputation',' Kenny said.
'For the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago, not three decades ago,' Kenny added.
Archbishop Martin, who sounded close to tears speaking to Ireland's national broadcaster RTE, said he hoped the prime minister's blunt language would teach his fellow churchmen a 'lesson.'
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'I find myself asking today, can I be proud of the Church that I'm a leader of?, Martin said. 'What I'm seeing – I have to be ashamed of this, and I have to be ashamed because of what was done to the victims and what was done to other people.'
Martin then called on the Vatican to announce its full support for the mandatory reporting of abuse allegations to the state authorities.