Last month’s “Liturgy of Lament and Repentance” Mass in St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral in Dublin was “a true step forward” by the Irish Catholic Church to repentance, according to a “New York Times” editorial.
The Mass was held for victims of those sexually abused by Catholic priests and was celebrated by Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin and Cardinal Séan O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston.
“It was a reminder that the scandal, a global catastrophe for the Roman Catholic Church and a national tragedy in Ireland, is also a universe of individual tragedies,” “The New York Times” editorialized.
The “Times” hailed Martin’s apology as the “most specific apology yet” which showed an empathy “rare among his peers.”
With 400 church goers in attendance, lectors read passages from official reports on the decades of horrific abuse that occurred in Irish parishes and schools. Some victims also gave accounts of their own stories of suffering.
“What the hell did I do wrong as a child?” asked Robert Dempsey, who spoke about being abused in a mental institution. “What the hell did any of us do?”
During the Mass the archbishop and cardinal “made personal the church’s act of contrition” when they washed and dried the feet of eight abuse victims.
Gestures and rituals can be meaningful according to the “Times,” and forgiveness must begin somewhere “which is why the Dublin Mass seemed to be a true step forward.”
During the service Martin apologized to all those gathered and said that only the victims themselves and God could grant forgiveness.
“When I say ‘sorry,’” the archbishop said during the Mass, “I am in charge. When I ask forgiveness, however, I am no longer in charge. I am in the hands of the others. Only you can forgive me; only God can forgive me.”