Sharing the lessons of bitter experience – Archbishop Eamon Martin
Archbishop Martin says that the Vatican meeting on the ‘Protection of Minors’ is an opportunity to help others to avoid the past mistakes of the Irish Church.
The meeting on the ‘Protection of Minors’ will take place in the Vatican from 21- 24 Feb 2019. Pope Francis has called a representative from every Episcopal Conference around the world. Archbishop eamon Martin as president of the Irish Episcopal Conference will represent the Irish Church.
Reflecting on the upcoming Rome meeting on the ‘Protection of Minors’, Primate of All Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin says that a “sacred trust” had been broken
“When trust is broken it’s very difficult to rebuild it but we must continue to do that.”
Ahead of the Rome meeting, Archbishop Eamon has engaged in a wide-ranging consultation process including meeting abuse survivors, asking what lessons the Irish Church has learned.
While praising the high safeguarding standards now in the Irish Church, Archbishop Eamon acknowledged a point which emerged from the consultation process –
“… because you know any successes we have had, have come through bitter experience. Some people say to me in the listening exercise everything you’ve done positively has had to be wrung out of you”
Archbishop Eamon went to praise the role that the media has played.
“I have to pay tribute to the media because the media have highlighted this issue in a way where it remained buried, the tendency in issues like child abuse in families, communities, in organisations, among celebrities, where it might be, in the Church, is to try to hush it up, to keep it quiet and its in that silence the abuser finds his wicked way.”
In conclusion, Archbishop Eamon said he hopes to share the lessons from the experience of the Irish Church with his fellow Bishops in Rome next week
So I have a hope that messages from Countries which have experienced the awful reality of abuse to the extent that we have here in Ireland will help others to learn lessons so that they don’t make the same mistakes that we made about lack of transparency moving people around who were abusers perhaps not fully co-operating with civil and statutory authorities. We can communicate that message so that others are not hurt in today and in the future”