A leading Irish priest and theologian, Father Brendan Purcell has stated that the child sex abuse issue in Ireland is like the Holocaust for the church.

Purcell was speaking to NBC reporter Jim Maceda about the fallout from the scandals in Ireland.

"It's a bit like the Holocaust.You don't put the Holocaust behind you, but effectively, we can't allow that, while it's happened, to prevent us from doing the work we should be doing anyway. If we are priests, it's to bring God to people when they feel they need something more in their lives."

Purcell admitted that every priest had to take some of the blame. He stated he used to believe he was innocent because he never took part in such activities, but now he says he realizes he is part of a community where "disordered people have done this terrible thing."

In terms of the Catholic Church's future, he says the major issue was how would they fit into the modern world post scandal.
"Can we offer a message that's exciting, that's interesting? And if we can't, we should close shop."he stated

Purcell made his comments as a new scandal emerged in Cork where Father Bill Bermingham, who was appointed child protection delegate for the the Cloyne diocese by the Church, admitted he had taken confidential documents from a woman alleging abuse by another priest and shared them with that priest.

It was revealed that Birmingham took an informal statement from the  woman last year and gave a copy of the statement to the accused priest before he was questioned by the police.

It has also emerged that several other priests saw the confidential statement.