In 1995, Andrew Madden spoke publicly about the abuse he suffered as an altar boy in the parish of Cabra in Dublin at the hands of Ivan Payne, becoming the first person in Ireland to highlight the sexual abuse carried out by the clergy of the Catholic Church.
Madden has now decided to formally leave the Catholic Church, and last week he received notice of his "cessation of church membership by formal act of defection."
Madden also received a letter expressing regret and sadness from the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, who said that he hoped the Catholic Church could learn from Madden’s decision to leave the church.
Madden responded to Martin over the weekend, saying that since the publication of the Murphy report he was “appalled, as I believe you may have been, by the behavior of your fellow bishops as they did everything to try and hold onto office, four of them failing”.
He said the bishops, “added insult to injury by a collective failure to immediately offer their resignations in acknowledgment of what they had done, or failed to do, and out of respect for the experiences of children sexually abused by Catholic priests in Dublin”.
The rest of Madden’s statement read:
“A church whose leading members behave in this way is not a church I want in my life, not even in name only. A church whose bishops shielded pedophile priests is not a church I want in my life.
“A church whose priests congregate to express support for those bishops continuing in office in direct opposition to what many victims asked for is not a church I want in my life.
“A church which finds Bishop Drennan acceptable in its episcopal ranks, despite having been part of a church in Dublin between 1997 and 2004 which covered up the sexual abuse of children is not a church I want in my life . . . A church which parades itself as a state when it wants to avoid accounting to the citizens of a country whose children it has abused is not a church I want in my life.”
“No priest will ever preach to me standards his own church doesn’t even try to live up to. No priest will ever comfort me when I am sick. No priest will hear my ‘sins’. No priest will instruct me in penance. No priest will bless my relationship with my beautiful partner, Alan.
"No priest will pray over my coffin when I am dead. And no priest will bury me in ‘consecrated ground.’”