Archbishop Diarmuid Martin was confronted by a dozen survivors of clerical abuse when he arrived to say Mass at Dublin's Pro-Cathedral on Sunday.
The protesters were all former residents of Church-run institutions, and they draped the cathedrals railings with children's shoes and black ribbons. Some of the protesters were refused entry into the church by stewards.
Protester John Ayers told the archbishop that he "was beaten every day to make me a Catholic." "Your church is not welcome in my country any more. It is a Nazi religion. I want it to leave my country, I want you too leave my country," said Ayers.
Kevin Flanagan's brother Michael was institutionalized in Artane for 15 years. He challenged the Archbishop to confront the protesters and be accountable for the Churches actions.
"He was talking on the radio about accountability. I said you're covering up for Cardinal Connell...there's no accountability there. He should be charged for withholding information about criminals," said Flanagan.
However, after the offertory, two female protesters that were allowed into the church brought pairs of children's shoes to the altar "as a symbol" of recognition to those that were clerically abused.
As the two protesters returned down the aisle they were heckled by some of the congregation who shouted: "You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. It's a disgrace. How dare ye!’ and "Shame on you."
Protester "Rose" told the Irish Times that she spent 15 years in an industrial school that was run by nuns. She cried as she recalled, being put in with pigs, being stung with nettles, splitting up her family of six and being made to eat substandard food.
Marie Therese was a resident at Goldenbridge orphanage in Dublin and said she was not allowed to step outside the orphanage for seven years.
Marie stood with a copy of Oliver Twist in one hand and a doll in the other, to symbolize the childhood she never had. Archbishop Martin said he understood the Plight of the protesters and said it happened wherever you encountered a loss of childhood.