The Irish primate, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, says the church's ability to communicate has been undermined by the global abuse scandals: "There are those who believe they can no longer trust our message".
Martin said this as a keynote speaker at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin; "perhaps because they have been directly hurt and betrayed in their families by their experience of the Church – or because the revelations of such heinous crimes have shaken them to the core," The Tablet newspaper quoted from Martin's speech.
Child abuse scandals have also undermined the church's ability to spread its message about marriage and family, the primate acknowledged. Martin replaced Washington's Cardinal Donald Wuerl as the meeting's keynote speaker. The latter had withdrawn his participation after being criticized in an extensive abuse report by a grand jury in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania over his time as bishop of Pittsburgh.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Dublin's Archbishop Diarmuid Martin had described as "immense" the number of people sexually abused by clergy and abused in church institutions in Ireland. At the same time, he said, the number of those who have come forward is only part of the actual number of victims. "Many people still carry the grief of the abuse in their hearts," Diarmuid Martin said.
Challenge for the Church
In his address, Primate Eamon Martin said the church is challenged to find new ways and learn to "re-communicate our sincerely held perspectives" on marriage and family and other ies.
To the thousands gathered in the open-air arena in Dublin, he said, "Into this complicated world with its twisted minds, we have the joy and challenge of communicating a clear and positive vision of family and marriage, the good news that human life is sacred, that every person comes from God (…); that we are wanted by God, who loves each of us."