Dublin's Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said in a homily at the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass in Dublin's Pro-Cathedral that there could be no over looking or rewriting of the church’s past.
Martin highlighted the fact that the church's response to the clerical abuse was "hopelessly inadequate".
“Shameful abuse took place within the Church of Christ. The response was hopelessly inadequate. I do not wish to give the impression that I want to go on forever hammering home a message of grief about the past, that I am obsessed with the past. Some ask me: ‘Can we not leave all that aside now, proclaim closure and move on?’ I cannot agree.
"There can be no overlooking the past. There is no short cut in addressing the past. The credibility of the church in this diocese of Dublin will only be regained when we honestly recognize the failures of the past, whatever our share of responsibility for them. There can be no rewriting history. There is no way we should impose fast-track healing on those whose vulnerability was abused,” he said.
Martin acknowledges that to move forward the church has to address the past but "cannot become imprisoned in the past.
"We must turn to Jesus. We must move forward, but we can only do so bearing within us the wounds of what has happened. Yet recognizing our woundedness may indeed be our strength, if we witness more authentically to the Jesus who renounced all arrogance of power,” he added.
Martin also urged the church to form a closer bond with other Christian Churches, such as the Church of Ireland. Martin also pointed out that Pope Benedict's letter to Ireland “reached out to priests who feel discouraged and even abandoned."
Martin was also familiar with the fact that many people felt that priests were guilty by association and were "somehow responsible for the misdeeds of others."
The Archbishop went on to thank the lay members of the church and the priests of the diocese for their "commitment".
"I thank the priests whose first thoughts in the midst of such a situation went out not to themselves, but to the victims and survivors and their families and also to the need for reparation and renewal in the life of the church."