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Ireland's accidental hero

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David Gibson has some thoughts about the Irish clergy sexual abuse scandal and a profile of Archbishop Diarmuid Martinof Dublin, After Clergy Abuse Scandals, Ireland Needs a New St. Patrick. He writes:

What is noteworthy about the Irish scandal, however, and much different from the American situation, is that the Irish church has so much further to fall than U.S. Catholicism, and that there is at least one bishop who has been willing to critique both his fellow bishops and the church culture that helped enable the abuse: Diarmuid Martin, the archbishop of Dublin.

Martin is something of an accidental hero of this story, and an unlikely one in the view of many. But for those who know him, as I have since we first met in Rome in the late 1980s, his record during the Irish scandal is not surprising.

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Gibson quotes Martin:

"I think that a Church that is humble in its style will be much more effective in today's world," he said. "I have to find a different style of being archbishop."

From the start Martin rejected the common approach of denying problems, or denouncing modern Catholics for bad faith or bad behavior, and he accepted the church's responsibility in creating the current difficulties.

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