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Irish Primate warns against abuse becoming ‘political football’

The Primate of All-Ireland has criticised Catholics who use the issue of clerical abuse to score points against people they disagree with in the Church.

The Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin, also rejected the idea that abuse scandals can be blamed on priests who are gay. However, in an interview with The Irish Catholic, he also insisted that the Church has to do a lot more research on the impact of an unhealthy approach to celibacy by some priests and religious.

In comments ahead of the major Vatican summit on the protection of minors, which begins today and will run until 24th February, Archbishop Martin – who as president of the Irish bishops’ Conference will attend the summit – expressed the view that the “danger is that the issue, the horrendous chapter of abuse in the Church, becomes some sort of ecclesiastical political football, which is batted about between different wings within the Church”.

Abuse, he said, “is like a virus that destroys and infects everything that it touches”.

On the issue of homosexuality in the priesthood, Archbishop Martin warned against looking for simplistic answers or scapegoating.

“Let’s be cautious about thinking that we can explain away the horrendous breach of trust and breach of vocation that is abuse by a priest, or a religious. By all means, with the help of proper expert research, let’s look at all the issues,” he said.

Picture: Ahead of a major Vatican summit on the protection of minors, Archbishop Eamon Martin criticised Catholics who use the issue of clerical abuse to score points against people they disagree with in the Church. Archbishop Martin is pictured in a 26th August 2018, photo in Dublin. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).