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Dublin archbishop calls on Church to become more like John the Baptist

Catholic World News - December 13, 2010

‘Archbishop slams Catholic Church’ screamed the headline of a wire story by the Press Association, a leading news service in Great Britain and Ireland.

In reality, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, during a December 12 homily at his home parish, apologized unreservedly for abuse perpetrated by a priest there and issued a call to repentance.

“The figure of John serves as a warning to us today, to all believers, to the Church and to Church organizations of every age of our need to draw our strength from Christ alone, rather than from identifying with the cultural patterns and fashions of the day, which in any case come and go,” he preached. “The Church in every age must become like John the Baptist, an uncomfortable reminder of how we must repent and allow the truth of Jesus to break into and enlighten the darkness that can at any moment enter into our lives or the life of the Church.”

He added:

How do I explain to a community marked by such honesty, good neighbourliness and hard work that the Church failed many children of this parish? How do I explain to those who were abused? How do I explain to parents and family members, especially to those who had courage to come forward and denounce what was happening? Many of those who came forward did not want to damage the Church they loved; they simply wanted abuse to be stopped effectively and definitively. Their love of the Church was betrayed by leadership in the Church.

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