Authors Greg Erlandson and Matthew Bunson continue the discussion they began in the book from Our Sunday Visitor, Pope Benedict XVI and the Sexual Abuse Crisis: Working for Reform and Renewal. Send us feedback at email@example.com. Kindle Edition available for download at amazon.com.
This looks like vindication for observers (like us) who were slow to interpret Pope Benedict XVI's decision not to accept the resignation of two Irish auxiliary bishops as a "rebuff" to Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.
Irish media are reporting, some with a degree of surprise, that this week the archbishop received a hero's welcome at a massive gathering of lay faithful in Italy, and that sources in the Vatican say he's been in regular, extensive contact with Pope Benedict XVI on the clerical sex abuse crisis.
Sources in the Holy See have confirmed that Archbishop Martin has recently had exhaustive discussions on the sex abuse crisis with Pope Benedict, who remains in complete agreement with the manner in which Dr Martin has confronted the Irish church’s tortured and long-running trauma.
While there has been understandable concern among the Irish faithful that the resignations of the two auxiliaries mentioned in the Murphy report were in effect rejected by Pope Benedict, church observers this week have emphasised that this “reinstatement” in no way represents a vote of no confidence in Archbishop Martin.
On the contrary, Vatican sources point to the fact that both auxiliaries are to be assigned to new, but as yet undefined, roles.
One of the very few bright spots in the current troubles faced by the Irish Church over the sex abuse scandal has been the outspoken (many would say courageous) presence of Archbishop Martin. He has won credit from both Catholic and secular leaders in Ireland for his commitment to reform, renewal, transparency and healing in the midst of the greatest crisis in the modern history of Irish Catholicism.
His speech in Italy this week brought a standing ovation. He was introduced as someone who had “paid in person” for his leadership in the sex abuse crisis and was also praised the day before at Rimini, with thunderous applause, by Irish President Mary McAleese for doing an “amazing job.”
For his part, Archbishop Martin is no stranger to the Holy See and certainly knows how the Roman Curia functions as well as the idiosyncrasies of its Italian, ecclesial and bureaucratic culture. He worked in the Vatican from 1976 to 2001 in the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and was ordained in 2001 as an archbishop and appointed an apostolic nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See at the U.N offices in Geneva. While he may have some detractors within the Curia, he certainly has many supporters and friends. Pope Benedict appears to be among them.
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