Friday, December 28, 2007

Church plea on child abuse

SAFEGUARDING childhood in Ireland and worldwide was highlighted as a major challenge by the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin in his Christmas Day sermon.

Preaching in the Pro-Cathedral, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin deplored how thousands of children die daily of hunger and from curable diseases, while others are drafted into the horrors of war at a young age.

"Sadly, representatives of the Church have damaged and abused children," he said, referring to recent clerical child-sex abuse scandals.

"We still have a path to go to ensure that all Church structures recognise the extent of such hurt, and work in a unified way to safeguard children."

But the Archbishop also regretted that children were abused in many other areas of society, and that the Ireland of plenty had not provided the same opportunity for all its children.

"We need a renewed vision and a pledge to work together to ensure that our educational system provides the best for all our children, whatever their social or ethnic background," the Archbishop continued.

Later on Christmas Day, Archbishop Martin also said Mass in Dublin's Mountjoy Prison.

"This is certainly not the place that you would have wished to be on this Christmas morning," he told inmates. "But I hope that you will experience some of the joys of the day and that those same joys will be present with your families, your loved ones, and especially your children, wherever they are."

In his Christmas Day sermon, the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, John Neill, highlighted the plight of the homeless and praised the work of the Simon community in providing accommodation for the most vulnerable in society.

Dangerous

Preaching in Christchurch Cathedral, Dr Neill said that there were fewer people living on the streets in Dublin than there were a few years ago.

But some of the hostel accommodation was virtually as dangerous as being homeless, and for the very young, even more dangerous.

"There are very many young people among the homeless, and the health consequences for them are only too obvious," the Archbishop said.

Dr Neill reminded the congregation that it was not only the socially deprived who were vulnerable.

"Those who have lost all sense of direction and meaning in life, in a society focussed on wealth creation and instant gratification, are extremely vulnerable," he said.
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