Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic World News

Dublin archbishop rebukes new Westminster archbishop over abuse remarks

May 22, 2009

Archbishop Vincent Nichols was installed as the eleventh Archbishop of Westminster on May 21, succeeding Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. In his installation homily, Archbishop Nichols defended the role of the Church in public life. “As a society, if we are to build on this gift of faith, we must respect its outward expression not only in honoring individual consciences but also in respecting the institutional integrity of the communities of faith in what they bring to public service and to the common good,” he said.

The archbishop’s installation was overshadowed by remarks made in a BBC radio interview. Commenting on the recently released Irish abuse commission report, he said:

It’s very distressing and very disturbing and my heart goes out today first of all to those people who will find that their stories are now told in public. Secondly, I think of those in religious orders and some of the clergy in Dublin who have to face these facts from their past, which instinctively and quite naturally they’d rather not look at. That takes courage, and also we shouldn’t forget that this account today will also overshadow all of the good that they also did.

Archbishop Nichols added, “It is a tough road to take, to face up to our own weaknesses. That is certainly true of anyone who’s deceived themselves that all they’ve been doing is taking comfort from children.”

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin publicly criticized Archbishop Nichols’s remarks. “His comments, as reported, have not been helpful,” he said. “My thoughts and anger are entirely on the side of victims.”

“Rubbish is too kind a word for what the archbishop has said,” added a spokesman for Survivors of Child Abuse. “It is the verbiage of unreason, and it leaves me cold.”


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