By Sarah Mac Donald - 22 September, 2019
In a message for Diocesan Safeguarding Day, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has said that the tenth anniversary of the publication of the Murphy Report is a reminder “of that dark and pain-filled chapter” in the Church’s history.
In his message to parishioners across Dublin diocese, Archbishop Martin underlined that for many of those who were abused as children in the Church and their loved ones, that pain is a constant reality, “one which will endure for the rest of their lives”.
“We cannot undo the past. We can, however, honour the courage of those who have spoken of their experiences of abuse by doing all in our power to ensure a better and safer Church for the children of today and of tomorrow,” Archbishop Martin said.
Referring to Pope Francis’ recent apostolic letter, Vos Estis Lux Mundi, he noted that this document teaches that the faithful have equal responsibility for the welfare and protection of vulnerable adults.
Describing safeguarding as “vital”, the Archbishop in his message thanked all those who work to make the Church in Dublin a safer place for children and for vulnerable adults.
He also highlighted that since the publication of the Murphy Report in 2009 there has been a decline in the number of child abuse allegations coming to the attention of the Diocesan Child Safeguarding and Protection Service.
However, Archbishop Martin underlined that the decline does not mean that such allegations have ceased, only that there are fewer of them.
“There are no grounds for complacency. It is important that we remain committed to this vital work.”
Asking the faithful to remember those who were abused and to pray for them, Dr Martin also acknowledged the safeguarding work that has been done in Dublin’s parishes to make the Church a safer place for children and vulnerable adults.
“Our parish clergy, already under pressure due to declining numbers, have had to accept additional responsibilities in this area, such as ensuring that those involved in public ministry are vetted.
“I wish to thank also the hundreds of parish safeguarding representatives and the thousands who have attended safeguarding training.”
Last year alone, nearly 3,000 people from Dublin’s parishes attended safeguarding training.
The Archbishop also thanked all those parishioners “who have kept faith with us through this difficult time.”
“I do not underestimate the dilemma of parents who want their children to grow strong in the faith but hesitate about allowing their children to become involved in parish activities. I say to you: your children are dear to us, as they are to you, and we will do all in our power to ensure their safety and protection from abuse.”
The practices that the Archdiocese of Dublin has put in place in its parishes to keep children and vulnerable adults safe include such measures as choosing carefully those who work with children and vulnerable adults in parishes, and this includes vetting those involved in public ministry; ensuring parish workers and volunteers behave appropriately towards children and vulnerable adults; making proper arrangements for activities involving children and vulnerable adults, including ensuring adequate supervision of such activities.