Thursday, November 26, 2009

Litany of abuse 'eroding trust in Catholic Church'

Litany of abuse 'eroding trust in Catholic Church'

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Mass-goers in the heart of the Dublin Archdiocese today claimed that the devastating clerical abuse scandals were wiping out trust in the Catholic Church.

As the daily afternoon service began at St Mary's Pro-Cathedral - the capital's main parish - many people said the shocking revelations were turning away a once deeply devout nation.

Vincent McGuinness, 60, from Whitehall, said the hierarchy had been deliberately covering up the truth.

"Money won't compensate them (the victims). What do you give someone who has been raped?" he asked.

"They're hiding an awful lot.

"Where did they send the priests? Off to America, get them off-side.

"They're not all bad. But... they've left a stain now that will never be lifted."

Mr McGuinness said his own grown-up children refused to go to Mass because they did not trust priests.

"Half of this is not going to come out. What they're doing is they're actually censoring the damn thing before we see it," he said.

A website - - has been set up for disaffected Catholics who have left the church.

To date 3,365 people have completed a Declaration of Defection.

The 19th century cathedral, in the heart of the city, was around half full for the service, mostly with elderly women.

Many declined to comment, waving off questions before shuffling into the large chapel.

But some of those at St Mary's claimed not to be surprised by the scale of the abuse.

Margaret Gavin, from the north inner city, said she knew many people who attended church-run schools and saw the effect that years of physical abuse had on them.

"Yeah, it was shocking. I don't really trust them (priests) as much now," she said.

"In other years we were pushed to go to church, but if my children want to go to church now it's up to them really."

The shocking report is the third devastating scandal to rock the Catholic Church in the last four years.

Mark O'Brien, 38, now living in London but born in Dublin, was waiting on the front steps of the church to speak with a priest about a recent death in the family.

He said people were being turned away from the Church because they were not supporting their communities.

"You looked up to priests for most of your life," Mr O'Brien said.

"It's disgusting. It's just a disaster when you think about it."

Annette O'Brien, from north Dublin, said only the elderly in her neighbourhood went to Mass regularly.

"They've walked away scot-free from this, the majority of them," she said.

"I only know two priests that have done time for it, and one of them died in prison. They should be treated like everyone else if they've done the crime."

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