Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has told an Irish TV documentary on church abuse there were “hundreds” of pedophiles in the church.
He stated that so many children were abused that some of the pedophile priests responsible do not even remember who their victims were.
“My people will ask, for example, a priest if a new case comes up from one of these historical cases: ‘Does this name mean anything to you?’
“Sometimes they say, ‘Yes, I abused that person.’ Sometimes – this is the more worrying – the name means nothing but they can say it could’ve happened. Which means they didn’t even know how many people they abused,” he says.
Former Irish president Mary McAleese says the abuse of power was profound.
She stated the abuse scandals showed how “careless” the Catholic Church was of our children.
“We trust them with our children, 90 percent of our little primary school children we trust to them,” she said. “To be that trusted they have to be that accountable.”
Former government minister Michael McDowell says the abuse numbers were shocking. He says “no one was prepared for the sheer scale of the abuse that was perpetrated on children by clergy.”
Clergy “had a unique position of power in Irish society. They were trusted with our children implicitly. That allowed some priests to act with impunity,” he says.
Archbishop Martin believes that “the future of the Irish church will be a very different one, and I’m optimistic that the church will come out of this in a stronger position ... much less present in structures of society but probably stronger in society with another type of influence, as is the case in many other European countries.”