Archbishop Eamon Martin has invited the faithful in Ireland to share their thoughts on abuse ahead of a universal Church summit on safeguarding in Rome next month.
As well as consulting with victims and survivors, Archbishop Eamon is also inviting Catholics, in an open letter, to pray, reflect and offer feedback on a number of key questions (see questions below).
The archbishop said he is conscious that “a group that is often forgotten is the faithful who have been deeply impacted by the grave scandal of abuse in the Church. Many of them have been bewildered, angered and had their faith tested in recent years by the revelations of these terrible things happening. I want to give them the opportunity to reflect and to pray and put pen to paper to me if they wish.”
Those interested in offering feedback can do so by post to: Ara Coeli, Cathedral Road, Armagh, BT61 7QY or by email to [email protected]
Open Letter from Archbishop Eamon Martin:
As you and your readers will be aware the Holy Father Pope Francis has called the presidents of bishops’ conference to Rome to discuss the vital issue of safeguarding at a meeting from February 21-24. As we are all too painfully aware in Ireland, this is an issue that has profound consequences for those who have experienced abuse and their families, and it is also a deep wound to the Body of Christ – the Church.
Ahead of my participation at the meeting on behalf of the Irish Episcopal Conference, I shall be meeting with some victims and survivors of abuse, and the organising group has also requested that the participants reflect on a number of questions. I would like to share these questions with your readers in the hope that they will reflect and pray with me about this important issue in the life of the Church. I would welcome their thoughts and suggestions regarding these questions:
- How would you describe the present situation regarding sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Church in Ireland?
- How would you describe the level of awareness of this topic among the public?
- In your opinion, what are the greatest risk factors for the sexual abuse of minors in Ireland?
- What are the factors in Ireland that contribute to a lack of adequate response by the Church in dealing with child sexual abuse?
- What are the most effective preventive measures that the Catholic Church in Ireland has adopted to protect children from sexual abuse in the Church?
- If you had one key message to communicate to the meeting in Rome on this issue, what would it be?
As I continue my reflections ahead of the meeting, I would appreciate any feedback on these questions so we can continue to build on the important work of safeguarding that is already an integral part of our mission to ensure that the Church is a safe environment for children and other vulnerable people. Your readers may write to me at the address below or via email to [email protected]
Archbishop Eamon Martin,
President of the Irish Episcopal Conference,
Armagh BT61 7QY.