The leader of the Irish Church has accused Archbishop Carlo Mario Viganò of hijacking the World Meeting of Families in Dublin last August.
In an interview with Crux, Archbishop Eamon Martin said he was personally “very saddened” by the former US papal ambassador's release of his letter on the eve of the second leg of Pope Francis’ visit.
In the letter of 25 August, in which Archbishop Viganò called on Pope Francis to resign, Viganò accused the Pontiff of being aware of sexual misconduct by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and of not acting on those concerns.
“I was saddened that this was overshadowing what was otherwise a really important celebration of family and the importance of families in the new evangelisation of the faith,” said Archbishop Martin. He added: “In some ways, I felt our World Meeting of Families had been hijacked in a way by this particular letter.”
He said he felt Pope Francis dealt with the matter “very quietly and with great serenity”.
Overall, the Primate of All Ireland said the Church in Ireland was “extremely happy” with how WMOF2018 went.
But he said it was a tale of two congresses: on the one hand there was what happened on the ground, and on the other there was what happened in the media, where there was “a huge concentration on the abuse issue”, which he acknowledged was merited due to the abuse reports from the States and elsewhere around the world.
Of next February’s meeting between Pope Francis and the heads of every bishops’ conference to discuss clerical abuse, the Primate of All Ireland said: “It would be rather foolish” to think that the meeting was “going to solve this deeply entrenched crisis”.
But he said countries like Ireland, England, and the United States would be able to share what they have been doing and “perhaps jolt some of the other countries out of the natural denial that there tends to be within a family or in a parish or a church that this is a reality”.
He said the big issue would be the accountability of those who have mismanaged cases of abuse.
The Archbishop also said his Dublin counterpart, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, had a knowledge and understanding of this issue that was second to none and so he felt his presence at the meeting “would be hugely positive”.