Thousands of pilgrims have travelled to Dublin for the International Eucharistic Congress, which comes at a time when public trust in the Catholic Church has been deeply damaged by the clerical sexual abuse scandal and the criminal conspiracy to cover it up. The tone of many of the addresses was subdued – no false rhetoric like we are hearing here in the U.S. – just an acknowledgement that the Church’s journey to renewal will be a long one and the male institutional hierarchy of the Catholic Church must, with great humility, ask forgiveness of those it let down.
Read key speeches from the Dublin Congress:
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: the Church’s journey to renewal will be long: “The 50 years since the Second Vatican Council have brought many graces to the Church in Ireland. The message and teaching of the Council still constitute the blueprint for our renewal. But those 50 years have also been marked with a darker side, of sinful and criminal abuse and neglect of those weakest in our society: children, who should have been the object of the greatest care and support and Christ-like love. We recall all those who suffered abuse and who still today bear the mark of that abuse and may well carry it with them for the rest of their lives. In a spirit of repentance, let us remember each of them in the silence of our hearts.”
The Pope’s representative, Cardinal Ouellet, apologizes to abuse victims on behalf of the Church: “I come here with the specific intention of seeking forgiveness, from God and from the victims, for the grave sin of sexual abuse of children by clerics. We have learned over the last decades how much harm and despair such abuse has caused to thousands of victims. We learned too that the response of some Church authorities to these crimes was often inadequate and inefficient in stopping the crimes, in spite of clear indications in the code of Canon Law. In the name of the Church, I apologize once again to the victims … ”
Cardinal Sean Brady apologises for the Church’s failure to safeguard children and young people: “There is a much larger stone that sits in a place of honour here before this altar. It will serve as a reminder of those children and young people who were hurt by a Church that first betrayed their trust and then failed to respond adequately to their pain. The words of the Gospel echo in my mind: “It is not the will of your Father that any of these little ones should be lost”. May God forgive us for the times when we as individuals and as a Church failed to seek out and care for those little ones who were frightened, alone and in pain because someone was abusing them. That we did not always respond to your cries with the concern of the Good Shepherd is a matter of deep shame. We lament the burdens of the painful memories you carry. We pray for healing and peace for those whose suffering continues. I want to take this opportunity of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress to apologise for the times when some of us were blind to your fear, deaf to your cries and silent in response to your pain. My prayer is that one day this stone might become a symbol of conversion, healing and hope.”