Deputy First Minister Martin Mc Guinness looks to Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to lead the catholic church out of the grip of child abuse scandals. Mr Mc Guinness has spoken for the first time since Cardinal Sean Brady said he is not quitting.
Northern Ireland’s deputy First Minister has thrown his weight behind the Archbishop of Dublin as the row over child abuse by some priests rages on.
When the story broke in March that Cardinal Sean Brady committed two of Fr Brendan Smyth’s young victims to a vow of silence Martin Mc Guinness who was in America at the time said “Cardinal Brady should consider his position.”
Last Friday Dr Brady confirmed he is not stepping down as the leader of Irish Catholics. So what does the deputy First Minister think now?
“Cardinal Brady has reflected on his position. He has made his position clear. I note that with considerable interest but I also note with interest there appears to be a tussle going on in the hierarchy of the church, a church I give allegiance to and want to see come out of this stronger than ever before.
“Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has been leading the charge in terms of the need for reform and support for victims. All of us have a responsibility to support someone who is showing himself to be fearless and very anxious to do good and to see the church strengthened as a result of this.
“I am not making any judgement on Cardinal Brady or any other bishop within the church except to say I am impressed by the way Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has set about confronting what he sees to be wrong within the church.
“I think the speeches and statements and interviews that have been given by Archbishop Martin have clearly shown him to be someone who is greatly agonising and pained by the way the church appears to be at sea.
He has shown himself in Dublin to be very pro-active in terms of safeguarding children and I think the fact that he has been prepared to come out very publicly himself, very forthrightly in terms of what he thinks needs to be done.
“He certainly has my admiration and my support. And I say that as someone who is pained as anybody else about the difficulties the Catholic church is going through at this time.
“I try to be the best Catholic that I can. My allegiance is to the Catholic Church. I am also very broad-minded about other religions but it is a source of great agony and discomfort to see the church going through these trials and tribulations.
“What I am looking for is for someone who is clearly identifying where the problem lies and clearly identifying a route to the resolution of that.”
The question is then, should Cardinal Brady have resigned? Mr Mc Guinness added:
“Cardinal Brady has made his decision. That is the end of it. It’s really a matter for Sean Brady and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.
“What I am speaking about is my absolute admiration for Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and the very determined approach he appears to be taking to see a clearway forward for the ‘church’ which deals with issues of child abuse, deals with history of all that but places the Church on a sound footing for moving forward.
“The vast majority of Catholics now want to see a resolution to these difficulties and are greatly pained by what are now weekly stories and headlines which do no credit whatsoever.”
So what is the downside to the status quo obtaining with Cardinal Brady staying on as the leader of the church on the island of Ireland? “Even Cardinal Brady has said the status quo is not acceptable. He has come out in his own way very strongly in favour of the safeguarding of children and I welcome that.” said the deputy First Minister. But he added:
“I think given that now because of the public articulation of different views within the church over the course of recent times, many catholics will be making judgements as to who is providing a way forward which will see the ‘church” emerge stronger from the difficulties it is facing. An awful lot of catholics that I speak to are full of admiration for Archbishop Martin and the stand that he has taken”