Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has responded to Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier of Durban’s comments on sexual abuse. The Dublin Archbishop has stated that the abuse of a child is “very clearly a crime.”

Speaking to the BBC earlier this week, Fox Napier had said that pedophilia was an illness, not a crime, and questioned whether those who had this psychological defect should be punished.

Martin told the congregation at the Pro Cathedral in Dublin that regardless of the idea that those who committed the abuse suffered from a psychological problem this did not exempt them from the law.

He said, “No one has the right to harm a child. And no one can excuse themselves from that.”

The Archbishop was speaking after a thanksgiving Mass for the election of Pope Francis I.

When asked by the Irish Independent if he believed Pope Francis would see the appointment of women in the Catholic Church, Martin said, “I think there is absolutely no doubt. The papacy will give a lead, will set a tone, but much of this work has to be done in the local churches and this is where the church in Ireland has to question itself and look forward."

The Mass was concelebrated by the Papal Nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown.

Brown told the congregation he believes Pope Francis will continue to take a strong stand on sexual abuse.

He said, “I think all the signs are that Pope Francis will be a courageous reformer in the church.”