The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Dr. Diarmuid Martin has hit out at the church’s lack of concern for children abused by priests.

He was responding to a just-published report which was severely critical of three previous archbishops of Dublin including Cardinal Desmond Connell.

The report, Chapter 20 of the investigation by Judge Yvonne Murphy into abuses in the Dublin Archdiocese, was released for publication by the High Court on Friday although the rest of the judge’s findings were published in November 2009.

Chapter 20 was censored from the initial publication pending trial of defrocked priest Patrick McCabe.

The chapter, when finally published last week, found there was “shocking” Garda (police) “connivance” with the church authorities when one serious complaint was stifled, there was failure to investigate another, and McCabe was allowed by his superiors to leave the country.

Martin, hitting out at the lack of concern for children abused by priests, said Chapter 20’s criticisms of the church showed “there was concern for everybody except the child.”

“The priest was looked after, people were kept quiet, and many of those children weren’t even spoken to.  There is no way in which the church of Jesus Christ should have treated children in that way.”

Former priest McCabe, now 77, was jailed for 18 months last October for a number of abuses against schoolboys, one aged only nine.

The Murphy Report found he was able to flee to the U.S. after Garda connivance with church authorities. He was arrested in the U.S. in August 2010 and extradited to Ireland in June 2011.

Before he fled to the U.S. McCabe served in several dioceses in Dublin between 1971 and 1983. He worked in the Santa Rosa diocese in California between 1983 and 1986. His faculties as a priest were withdrawn in 1987 and he was laicised in 1988.

He left a psychiatric hospital in February 1988. The Irish bishops allowed him to return to the U.S. Judge Murphy, in one of her most damning indictments in her report, summarized, “They, in effect, set him loose on the unsuspecting population of Stockton, California.” 

Martin said, “For those abused by Patrick McCabe, the wait for truth has been a long one.”