Cardinal Calls for Renewal of Church in Ireland

Says Now Is a Defining Moment

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ARMAGH, Ireland, JAN. 7, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Church in Ireland is experiencing a decisive moment in the aftermath of reports exposing various cases of child abuse by priests, says the primate of Ireland.

Cardinal Sean Brady, archbishop of Armagh and primate of Ireland, affirmed this Tuesday in his homily during the funeral Mass of Cardinal Cahal Brendan Daly.

Cardinal Daly, a former archbishop of Armagh, passed away Dec. 31 in Belfast at age 92.

Cardinal Brady noted that his predecessor was «well aware that the next steps» for the Catholic Church in Ireland «will be among the most critical and most challenging of its history.»

He continued: «The abuse of children and its shameful mismanagement by those charged by God to protect his ‘little ones,’ have wrought such damage on those who were abused.

«It has caused such justified anger and outrage on the part of the faithful and damaged trust so profoundly in the integrity of the leaders of the Church.»

Public outrage followed the Nov. 26 publication of the Murphy Commission Report, which detailed abuse cases in the Dublin Archdiocese from 1975 to 2004. The publication of this Dublin report came several months after the May 20 release of the Ryan report, which described widespread child abuse in Catholic schools throughout the country.

In response to this scandal, Benedict XVI called several Irish prelates, including Cardinal Brady, who is currently president of Irish bishops’ conference, to Rome at the beginning of December to discuss the issue.

Humble service
 
Cardinal Brady affirmed in Tuesday’s homily, «No one can doubt the Catholic Church in Ireland is now at a defining moment in its history.»

«The only way to authentic renewal,» he affirmed, «is that of humble service to God’s people.»

The prelate stated that «the rebuilding of trust will entail making sure that children are safe at every moment and in every Church setting.»

He continued, «It will require complete commitment to the path initiated by Cardinal Daly, of working with the civil authorities and whole parish communities to ensure best practice, cooperation and accountability in safeguarding children in all Church activities.»

Cardinal Brady also recalled his predecessor’s work for peace in Northern Ireland.

«In so many ways Cardinal Daly was ahead of his time,» he said.

The prelate affirmed: «Cardinal Daly remained adamant always that justice, mutual respect and purely peaceful means were the only way forward. It was a source of considerable satisfaction for him later to see politicians take courageous risks for peace.»

Today, he said, our task is «to continue along the path of mercy and to tackle all remnants of sectarianism in our midst.»

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